Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Meetin' the parents

So I'm heading to Borneo with the girlfriend. She's only coming for the first week, after which she has to go back to work and I'm left on a tropical island paradise all by my lonesome. *sniff* It's hard being me...

As a condition of her going, her parents had to meet me. Guess they didn't want their eldest daughter running off to a foreign country with some baka gaijin. And they don't speak a lick of English, so I was left to charm them with my eloquent Japanese. Riiiight.

Sayaka and I met before so we could go over our trip. She's especially excited about seeing orangutans, and this is the entire reason that I'm not headed to Mongolia to drink fermented mare's milk and wrestle fat, sweaty men. I'd found an online tour offered that would organize a night on Turtle Island, where we could watch sea turtles come onto the beach to lay eggs, then head to the orangutan reservation to see big, orange monkeys. Unfortunately, the tour company, which had been so enthusiastic about getting me on this tour, then emailed me to regretfully inform me that Turtle Island was fully booked that night and we couldn't go. So we're scheduled for a river cruise instead. Dunno how good that will be, but Sayaka thinks we might see wild orangutans, so she's psyched.

After talking about monkeys, we wandered over to the department store where she works so she could show me off to her co-workers. Foreigners in my area are rather common, or at least they are to me, and most Japanese folk seem to be accustomed to our presence. Well, I guess some people just aren't that used to us. I expect it with kids, because they don't get out much. But the moment I walked into the store (incidentally one of the biggest chains in Japan), her two co-workers could do nothing but stare at me like I'd grown another head. One mustered enough English to tell me her name was 'Kana.' The other just stared until her friend elbowed her and from that point she just babbled in Japanese about my eyelashes. I guess they're long or something.

Well, at least they liked me. I suppose. And then it was off to meet the parents. Her family's actually quite lovely. She and her younger sister don't look a thing alike, but they both have eyes that resemble their mother's. It's funny how two people can not look like each other, but readily resemble a third. I'd had nightmares about inadvertently blurting out something inappropriate, or perhaps mentioning that weekend in Izu that she supposedly went on with her friend (don't worry, they can't speak English).

As it turns out, her father and sister handle alcohol as well as Sayaka, ie, half a can of chu-hi and it's lights out. So they stayed sober and Mom and I got blitzed. We stuffed ourselves silly with sushi and tempura, really good stuff. I think I just can't always find the good restaurants. That place was spectacular. All in all, things went well and her parents approve of me. Which is good, because if they didn't, I don't know what we'd do about the grand she spent on tickets and the ton I've dropped on reservations.

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