17. Catch and Release

For the first few months, the silence was disappointing, yes, but only mildly so—I was too busy to dwell on it, to be quite honest. But by the end of the summer, that disappointment started to grow into a gnawing resentment and I’m now embarrassed to admit it began to seep into the relationships I was having with students, my colleagues, my wife and sons. I wasn’t bitter, mind you. Just frustrated, very, very frustrated.

Ten months had passed since that night at the farmhouse, and I could still feel your breast in my hand, burning like the stigmata in my palm. I longed to feel that pert nipple between my fingers, so badly, that one sultry evening in August I stood, sweating before an oppai pabu, or a titty pub, in Tōkyō’s Kabukichō,[1] and debated with myself the merits of going in or not. I had never been to anything remotely fūzoku[2] in nature in Japan and I was hesitant to start. I worried that it would be a hard, and expensive, habit to break if I ever started.

As I stood there, two young women, one tall and slim with her hair in a long ponytail and another shorter and plump with a bob cut, stepped out and approached me. They looked Chinese.

“Why don’t you come in and join us, o-nī-san?”[3]

Their accents confirmed my suspicion.

“I, uh . . .”

“Come with us,” the shorter one with a bob cut said, sidling up to me and pressing her ample breasts against my shoulder. “You like it, don’t you?”

“It’s not a matter of liking . . .”

“Ooh, your Japanese is so good.”

“Yours, too.”

“That’s not the only thing I’m good at, o-nī-san,” she said, flashing me her cleavage.

“You are obviously a woman of many talents, but I’m afraid . . .”

And then the second lankier Chinese girl came and grabbed my wrist.

“Play with me, too, o-nī-san.”

“I wish I could, but . . .”

The two started to pull on my arms, yanking me into the direction of the oppai pabu.

“I’m afraid I don’t quite have the time . . .”

I dug my heels in, leaned back away from the direction they were trying to pull me, and started to squirm.

“Don’t be shy, o-nī-san,” the short busty one said, with a powerful shove from behind.

It was all I could do to free myself from their clutches. When I twisted out of the grip of the taller girl had on my wrist, she screamed: “You’re hurting me! You’re hurting me!”

“Oh, please! That couldn’t possibly have hurt.”

“You jerk! You injured me! Look my nail! It’s broken!”

She tore the cracked nail off and threw it at me.

Halfway down the street a beefy-looking man in a black suit and sunglasses noticed the scuffle and started galloping in our direction.

This doesn’t look good, I thought. And, I made a run for it, the girls hurling curses and insults at me in Chinese and broken Japanese.


[1] Located just northeast of Tōkyō’s Shinjuku Station, Kabukichō is an entertainment and red-light district, home to many host and hostess clubs, love hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs. The name comes from a never realized plan in the late 1940s to build a kabuki theater there.

[2] Fūzoku (風俗, lit. “public morals”) is the term most commonly used to refer to the Japanese sex industry, although in a legal sense it also covers dancing and gambling. The word originated from the law which regulated business affecting public morals (風俗営業取締法, Fūzoku Eigyō Torishimari Hō) of 1948. Since prostitution is defined as “intercourse with an unspecified person in exchange for payment”, most fūzoku establishments offer only “non-coital services”.

[3] O-nī-san (お兄さん) is an honorific term for an older brother or a way of addressing a young man. When used with a much older man, it is meant to butter the man up.

The first chapter of Tears can be found here.

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