When the night, has come wo wo wo, and the land is dark…

11 Feb

If you have lived in Japan long enough you would have no doubt encountered the English or Gaijin Leech. And, I’m sorry, but when ever I hear the word leech I automatically think of leeches of the penile sucking variety from Stand By Me.

But really, there isn’t a better way to describe them. They are interested in you for the sole purpose of upping their awesomeness by being seen hanging out with the gaijin (and no, I’m not being ‘that’ pretentious gaijin who just thinks everyone wants to hang out with them cause they are cool. I’m being quite serious. Being a gaijin sometimes carries a sense of awesomeness regardless of how much of a fucktard you were/are in your own country), or they just want to practice English on you.

I have had nice, more genuine leeches (the kind you actually become friends with before you realise their true motive was for you to teach their 4 month old English) but man, this woman the past week has been mental. In fact I actually suspect that medically there is probably some important chromosome missing and thus I do have to try and at least be seen to attempt some political correctness.

but FUCK ME. I have never seen this woman in my life, ever ever. Unless she has put on 40kg, chopped her hair and is in fact the strange woman who lives 13 rice paddies and 7 houses away – who happens to have the same last name as us. Fuck it, in which case I hope she hasn’t got a chromosome missing cause dang, we’re probably related.

So, on Sunday I am at the coin laundry place with Shou. We are just waiting in the car for the last 3 minutes or so until our dryer cycle is finished, when a woman parks up on her bicycle and kind of looks around nervously and then comes straight up to my window and stares in with a big doongy smile on her face and her nose practically squashed against the glass. Seriously, it was like something out of the Blair Witch Project or similar scary shit movie. She then starts to introduce herself in halted junior high text-book English.

I haven’t had a leech for ages (and therefore my leech antenna weren’t extended to their full satellite potential) and the washing was finishing so I go to open my door. She grabs it and sticks her entire head around the side. If I was still in a horror movie I could have quite easily taken the moment to decapitate her. But, I didn’t. I’m nice like that. Apparently she has seen me on a hundred different occasions at the local supermarket. She has always wanted to come up and talk to me, because she has level 3 of the English exam. Its amazing how many people think that just because they passed an exam they need to go up to foreigners they have never met and tell them what their favorite animal is and similar.

She is saying this all in Japanese by the way, which means I guess her leech status has to be a bit of both the English and the Gaijin lover one. She questions my family, where I live etcetera etcetera. Obviously not entirely convinced she isn’t going to come and stab me in my sleep, I try not to give too much away. Never mind though, Shou pipes up with the rest, including the name of our frickin cat.

I realise she is going to stay there, with her face in my car door, for a long time. I push the door open, all the while bowing and saying excuse me and oh, watch your head and other Japanese niceties. I shut the door, get my washing and then excuse myself again while I get past her and back into the safety of the vehicle. She asks if she can say hello next time she sees me. Never the one to be too rude, I say of course, figuring I haven’t seen her once in over ten years so what are the odds really of running into her again?

Turns out those odds would be quite high.

Yesterday I drive into the supermarket car park and notice, too late, that she is just getting on her bike to leave. She has to bike past me, and fearing for the well-being of my window glass, I pick up my phone and pretend to be in an animated phone conversation – which by the way was a one-sided (obviously as actually talking to self) conversation with my sister about my impending English immersion six month trip to New Zealand.  Was great conversation.

After she leaves I check my wallet and realise I actually only have 37 yen and what with this being the technologically advanced country that doesn’t yet have EFTPOS, I have to go to the bank. Fuck it. Fortunately she is at the post office and I can get in and out of the bank quickly and without exclaiming how great it is that her favoraite fruit is watermelon. Money in wallet I go back to the supermarket.

It would appear that in the 2 minutes and 46 seconds I was at the bank she has gone back to the fuckin supermarket. I didn’t realise this until I was inside though, and while I could have just left agian I really needed to get the shopping done so I chose to ninja round the supermarket instead. I don’t think I’ve had an adrenelin rush like that for ages. I was so proud of myself for making it out. She did try to intercpt me on two occassions but I was quite lite on my big feet and made it out alive.

On way home I had to pick up load of washing from the coin laundry. Has been mad weather week with lots of rain and then some see-through snow – which is what Ryu called it but really was just more rain. He really wanted it to snow.

I am in the car waiting the last five minutes when she fuckin rocks up on her bike. As luck would have it I got an imaginary phone call at that exact time – that lasted the entire 13 minutes she was hanging round trying to find a minute she could tell me that the post office is next to the bank, or similar.

I am now nominated for a Golden Globe.

Must say though, having conversation with self is actually very good. Can get answers to problems and all sorts.



11 Responses to “When the night, has come wo wo wo, and the land is dark…”

  1. Mari February 11, 2014 at 3:22 am #

    Oh I feel with you, those people are sooo annoying..
    For me sometimes people come up to me and ask if they can touch my hair just because it’s blond or tell me “Your eyes blue!”. In clubs it happened that girls asked me if they can touch my boobs wtfwtf.
    Here in Tokyo I mostly ignore them and walk away or if they are really persistant I say “Ok, I actually do give English conversation lessons if you want. 1h for 5.000Yen plus my drink and transportation costs, are you fine with that?” Then they usually leave lol *fingerscrossed*

    • gaijinwife February 11, 2014 at 3:33 am #

      Oh yes, had a lot of boob touching. Fortunately didn’t run into woman at supermarket today, and its finally sunny so I don’t need to frequent her next spot, the coin laundry.

  2. SD February 11, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    Haha!! 13 mins on the phone with yourself is really impressive, I gotta say! Were you in the car at that time? You could sing a song.. Or three.

    • gaijinwife February 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

      you should have seen it. It was a great phone call 🙂

  3. Ruth February 11, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    Oh God! I feel your pain. I used to hate when people think just because your foreign you want to speak English with them. I’d never randomly walk up to a Japanese person to practice my Japanese on them.

    When I was in Tokyo a few years ago, a guy actually walked into a coffee shop off the street to ask if he could talk to me. It’s just way too creepy!

    • gaijinwife February 11, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

      really!! in Tokyo no less. I can ‘almost’ understand it here where I’m a rare occurance!

  4. littlebelgianwriter February 11, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Yuck, I even got a creepy feeling while reading this …

  5. Mr sekimachihato February 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    How old is this women? (Just so I can complete the mental image I have come up with of this leech).
    Haven’t had a leech around me for a while now come to think about it, but they’re out there.
    I do miss the old days when Japanese junior high school girls used to giggle and say “kakkoii” to me back when us gaijin were in sparse numbers. Seems like there are only leeches left.

    • gaijinwife February 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

      high school girl giggling is totally acceptable 🙂 My leech is, I reckon, between 35 and 45.. !!!????

  6. Koucha1 February 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    This made me laugh out loud- because there are a few leeches in my neighbourhood i find myself running in the opposite direction and hiding from them. I often get ambushed by them in the local department store on weekends and rainy days so i never go those days. One leech leans into the pram that was my two year olds is usually in and he turns away and even yelled stop it at her, as she rubbed his head upon which i tried to pull the pram away and back into a man standing behind me a few weeks ago. The leeches know i avoid them now and bother me less but i avoid crowded places and have been known to run off in the opposite direction on a festival day. Can be a pain ithough. Good Luck with it.

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