I started dating my husband on this day 6 years ago. Already 6! Only 6! Some people wait longer than that before getting engaged, and we’ve been married 4 years already. He always laughs at me because I’m useless at anything to do with numbers – simple arithmetic sends me into a panic – but I can remember important dates and phone numbers like nobody’s business. October 3rd. Mean Girls and Fullmetal Alchemist fans will also remember that date, although for different reasons 😅
We often get asked how we met – a standard question many couples encounter, except we get asked it a ton by Japanese people. This is possibly because Japanese man/nonAsian woman pairs are one of the less common types of couple you’re likely to encounter here, who knows. But, you know, nobody actually wants to settle down for story time when they ask that question so we naturally give the briefest of explanations, but for the sake of documenting lest I forget somewhere down the line (hah), indulge me just a little.
At school, my husband always hated English. All of the arts and humanities, in fact, which is why he veered towards the mathematical and scientific subjects. He did well, becoming the first in his family line to go to university. More than that, he went on to do a Master’s, and then a PhD. While doing his Master’s, his professor sent him off to an international academic conference (a very common occurrence, as many of you will know). It was in St. Petersburg.
This is where he hit a snag. The international language of the science community is, unfortunately, not Japanese. Nor is it even Russian. He could read the posters at the conference, of course, but in order to actually follow all of the talks and interact with his fellow scientists, he needed…
Yes, that’s right, he needed the dreaded English. Horrified by his lack of ability to exchange ideas with respected scientists when overseas, he enrolled at an English conversation school near his home town, and started attending once a week.
Then, as his Master’s evolved into a PhD, he was given some money from the government (thanks, government!) and used it to rent an apartment much closer to university so he could a) research later into the night (nerd) and b) sleep longer in the mornings (relatable). This meant that he was no longer near the branch of English conversation school that he’d originally been attending, and he got in touch with his school’s manager to go about finding a more local branch.
Well, the school closest to home didn’t have his level of class at a time that matched with his schedule. Looking around, they found a class on Saturday afternoon that worked, so he arranged for a short-term transfer.
The Saturday he first came to my school was incidentally the Saturday of the local summer festival, when the station is absolutely heaving and the foot traffic outside the station makes it impossible to get anywhere. Not only was it obscenely crowded, but since it was his first time visiting, he also got lost. Feeling very negatively about the whole damn experience, he finally arrived at my branch and took my coworker’s lesson.
After saying goodbye to my kid students that afternoon, I looked around the lobby and noticed this kind of cool-looking guy with dyed light brown hair and stylish glasses coming out of my coworker’s classroom. He was unfamiliar, so I thought he might be a trial lesson student/prospective customer, so I said hi and was friendly, but the noise of the summer festival was getting louder so he left.
Curious, I asked my head teacher about him, but she said he was a transfer student. Transfers are usually temporary, so I assumed he wouldn’t be back again. Oh well, never mind.
But lo! The following week, he was there again, talking to our assistant, Saya! Saya was doing her best to remain engaged and attentive, but she was beginning to get her slightly glazed, deer-in-headlights look. It was one of the busiest times of day; she needed to get away, but couldn’t politely disengage from conversation with a customer. My next student – a very talented eye surgeon – was off at some important thing, so I had the last two hours of the day free. I had to rescue her.
As I walked over, they were just in the process of talking about hair dye. He pointed to his roots. “My hair is mostly grey!” he said. And with that, Saya escaped, and I took over. His conversation was interesting! But…
He wouldn’t go away. We talked for well over an hour, and try though I might, he never made use of the natural breaks in conversation to take his leave. I learned all about where he was from, what he was studying, even where he currently lived – one station away from me. Dear god, was he ever going to go home!
But go home he eventually did. The following week, I’d caught a stinking cold and couldn’t work, but the week after that, on a Friday night, there he was again. This time, he was in a small room that we used for individual study, proofreading an abstract of a paper he had written.
“Do you want me to have a look at it?” I offered.
“Is that okay?!” He handed it over. It was sadly riddled with errors. While I worked on correcting it, he hesitantly spoke.
“After you were sick last week, I sent you a message… I’m sorry if that was wrong.”
? Message? A message, last week? I knew nothing of the sort. It turned out that he’d looked me up on Facebook (stalker!) and messaged me there saying he’d heard I was sick and hoped I’d feel better, but thanks to message filters I’d not received the notification.
While he was in class I found the message and replied, saying he could add me on Line. No worries. Didn’t think anything further of it.
However, a few days later, I had a disagreement with a coworker. I don’t even remember what it was about; she and I clashed pretty much all the time (she wasn’t a bad person, but our personalities were too different). In a moderately foul mood, I didn’t want to go home straight away but I also didn’t want to go somewhere alone. Quick! That guy who lives near me! He might be down for a drink after work. I shot him a message as I left the office.
He must have leapt up right away, because he was waiting at my home station by the time I arrived. He’d looked up a local wine bar that I hadn’t visited before, so we set off.
But wait. The cogs of my mind slowly began to turn. A wine bar? Just me and this guy? Far too late, I realised that this was probably a date. I hadn’t intended it that way at all!! Crap. Well, he was nice enough. Meh, it could be worse.
A few days later, we were dating for real. And six years later, well… I still guess it could be worse! 😅
Are you good at remembering dates or anniversaries? If not, has it ever got you into trouble?