Today I had a very odd experience. Honestly, not a whole lot surprises me in Japan anymore. When I first arrived the culture shock was so severe that I had a hard time surviving the first year. Nowadays, eight years after I first arrived (three of those years spent actually living in Japan) I really don’t get shocked at a lot. But today, something rather odd happened.
So, I’ve been taking lessons with my Japanese teacher, Shiraishi-sensei, who is my first male teacher ever, for a while. He is a very nice guy, about 33, handsome, and very kind. I have been trying to figure out for a while if he is single for a while but he has been somewhat vague. Even last week, I told him that I had told some of my single, young, English students about him and what a nice guy he is. To my recollection, I think he said something like, “Sure, introduce me!”
Today, mid-class, I was shocked…there on his hand was a platinum wedding ring! I started stuttering and said, “エーー！結婚していますか？”which is like, “what?? you’re married!?” and he said yes, he was married. Then he held up the ring with a rather annoyed look on his face and said, “See this ring? Just bought it. It was soooo expensive!” Then I asked, “Who is your wife?” He tilted his head in the direction of another classroom and said that he was married to the other Japanese teacher.
I never would have guessed that he was married, let alone to the other teacher. Why all the secrecy? He said that he got married in May and has been hiding it from people. He and the other teacher always act so professional that I never would have guessed they were married. He told the story about their marriage so quickly, saying he proposed in a Japanese izakaya, or pub. He said at the end of the short story, “It’s not romantic at ALL!” After that we had a very long conversation about relationships and I went home thinking about the strangeness of this.
As an American, it’s hard to imagine someone not telling anyone that he or she is married. Or not buying a wedding ring for three-four months after you get married. At the very least, it would have been nice if I had thought, “Ohhh….yeah they did seem very friendly with one another, come to think of it.” No, they were not in the least bit romantic and I never would have been able to tell they were dating let alone married for the last 3-4 months.
Well, things are pretty quiet here. Not much interesting to report except that elections are coming up (meaning lots of noisy propaganda trucks riding around all the time) and that I have almost been hit by a car at least a dozen times while riding my bicycle. Japan is so bike-friendly but people always do not see me on my bike – annoying! I also saw a man passed out cold on the street recently. His wallet was right beside him, ready to be taken. Nobody had tried to take it but my friend and I went up to him, woke him up, and told him he should really put his wallet away so no one takes it.He was so drunk but did put away his wallet and then went back to sleep on the ground.
One last thing…a few weeks ago my friend left his $300 video camera in its bag on the ground. A Japanese person found it, recognized it was my friend’s, drove around in his car with his family to find us, ran up to us, and handed my friend his video camera. Would that EVER happen in the US??? I doubt it!!!!