Another pretty cold night with high winds. Sam returned from a business trip to a small city in southern Japan and handed me a city guide in English: “Sweet hearts and dreams bring you a roman. The Town with hot springs, the castle and literature.” Bring me a roman! It is my sweet dream and heart!
I’ve been to this city before. The first year I taught English in Japan I visited another English teacher living there for my summer holiday. It was hot, so hot I couldn’t sleep, I’d have to get out of that stifling apartment and take a walk in the middle of the night. Shuttered shopping streets, quiet shrines, dark temples. It was a little dangerous because it was a hot springs town and that means prostitution. A woman walking around alone on the streets at night: open for business. I’d hide behind cars or run down side streets if a car came, because too many of them stopped and backed up when they saw me walking down the street. When my friend and I were going to or coming from dinner or a bar in the downtown area, men said to us “How much?” in English and giggled. I did not have a good impression of Japan at this time. It was, after all, the first time in my life I’d been treated like a prostitute. But of course this is one of the biggest industries in Japan, the whole country would collapse without it. What is it with those meat tubes dangling between the legs of men that’s so important that they get to run everything? Ruin everything, more like it. Sweet hearts and dreams bring you a roman? Bloody romans.