As the summer of 2000 was coming to an end and Haruka’s return was approaching, how were you feeling?

Naturally, I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I didn’t want the summer to end—Kei and I were having a wonderful time—on the other hand, I knew our affair couldn’t realistically go on forever. Kei, for one, showed no interest in leaving her husband, and, the truth be told, I wasn’t all that eager for her to get divorced.

Why not?

I guess it goes back to the notion of stability being the death of passion. And then there was the fact that throughout the summer Kei was still seeing the doctor. I don’t know if they were having sex or not, but they were still meeting every now and again.

She told you?

I could sense it. As much as I liked, even loved Kei, I did not trust her completely.

Is that why you started seeing a doctor of your own?

That was purely coincidental.

Some people say that there are no coincidences.

And I will counter that Satomi wasa coincidence. The reason I started dating Satomi, if you could call what we did dating, was not because she was a doctor, but rather because she was an intelligent woman who happened to also be drop-dead beautiful. I would elaborate but it’s a tangent that would just go on and on and on.

Fair enough. So, the night before Haruka returned . . .

Kei asked me to meet her at a yatainear her workplace at two.

In the afternoon?

Sorry, two at night. Kei was working the evening shift the hospital and got off around one or so. Like I said before, it wasn’t unusual for us to meet at such odd hours. Looking back on it now, I don’t know how I was able to work on so little sleep.


And copious amounts of caffeinated energy drinks. 


Kei and I met as promised at “Number One”, our second favorite yatai. We ordered beers, yakitori, bowls of ramen . . . And just as we were about to dig in, the sky was lit up with lightning, followed a half-second later by a deafening thunderclap. The winds kicked up and, in an instant, the heavens opened up and rain poured down. Summer storms can get pretty exciting, but there’s nothing like getting caught in one while you’re sitting in a jerrybuilt yatai. Water dripped down from all the joints in the roof. The tarp that had been rigged to the whole thing was flapping violently. Raindrops ricocheted off of the asphalt like bullets. It should have made our date a disaster, but Kei and I just laughed and laughed through it all. And when it ended—as abruptly and it had begun—Kei whispered into my ear that she wanted to spend the night with me.

What about her husband?

That was my question, too. The man was away on a business trip, Kei explained. She had been keeping it a secret so that she could surprise me.

Nice surprise.

You’re telling me. So, after settling the bill, we walked a few blocks towards the wharf where a massive love hotel with a tropical theme called Chapel Coconuts was located, checked in, and went to our room. We made love until dawn and, when we parted later the next day, there were tears in both of our eyes.

The first installment/chapter of A Woman's Hand can be found here.

A Woman's Hand and other works are available in e-book form and paperback at Amazon.


On the morning of New Year’s Day 1997, Akané came to your apartment wearing a stunning furi-sodé kimono.[1] It had a deep purple background, so deep in color it was almost black, but the long sleeves and the bottom half were emblazoned with colorful dahlias, her favorite flower. Around her waist was a wide obi of gold silk.

I’ll never forget how she looked that day. Her hair done up with lovely accessories called kanzashi. She looked just like a maiko.[2] She was terribly pretty.

You went to Hakozaki-gū Shrine together, where you would end up praying for quite different things: you, for your future success.

And Akané?

Akané prayed for happiness, of course. Happiness with you, Peadar, which meant marriage, kids, a house, a dog, the whole kit and caboodle. And were those prayers answered?

Er, no.

And when the two of you returned to your apartment, you “unwrapped” Akané.

She had so many layers on. First, I untied the obi-jimé, a crimson red rope made of silk that was holding everything in place. Then, I unraveled the long gold obi, pulling on it as Akané spun around, giggling, in front of me. There was an obi-agé, also crimson in color, just below that which I undid. The kimono came loose and opened it up to reveal two more layers of undergarments called juban held in place by more sashes. And when I opened up the last layer, I discovered that she was completely naked underneath. No bra or panties. That was such a turn on seeing her naked body lying above all those colorful garments, sashes, and silk ropes.

And you made love to her for the rest of the day and night.

It was one of the few times when Akané didn’t have to scurry away before her carriage turned back into a pumpkin.

Akané’s mother was finally ready to trust you, so convinced that the two of you would eventually marry. She had even spoken to her husband to warn him of what was coming. And rather than fly off the handle as the typical Japanese father might when confronted with the possibility of his daughter marrying a gaijin, do you know what he said to his wife?

I have no idea.

He said, “They’ll have the cutest children!”

Huh . . . I had no idea.

There’s a lot you don’t know, Peadar.

Do I want to know?

Probably not, but you should.


[1] Furi-sodé (振袖) is a long-sleeved kimono worn by unmarried women on ceremonial occasions, such as Coming-of-Age Day, New Year’s Day, graduation ceremonies and weddings.

[2] A maiko (舞子) is a young dancing girl working in the o-chaya (お茶屋, lit. “tea house”) of Kyōto.


Not long after you got back together with Akané, you started dating Haruka again, didn’t you?

I did, yes.

So, could you tell me what that was all about, Peadar?

Haruka wrote me a beautiful, heartfelt letter.

A letter? Oh, that’s right, this was way back in the Nineties. An age when the coke-fired blast furnace and steam engine held great promise for the future of industry . . .

May I continue?

By all means.

After Haruka and I had broken up, she traveled to the U.S. with a friend of hers—this was the same friend, mind you, who had at the very beginning asked me what I thought about Haruka, the one who had encouraged us to go out on that first date. That friend would get married to an American, by and by, and move to Texas with him where they would start a family.

That’s nice.

It is. It is. They’re still married today and have something like five children.


So, I agreed to meet Haruka. And when we got together I found her to be so sincere in her . . . I don’t know what to call it. “Love” seems too strong a word; “admiration”, too controlled . . .

Her “feelings”?

Yeah . . . Haruka was so sincere in her feelings for me that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was over.

How considerate of you, Peadar.

Well, that “consideration” had me dating the two of them for the next twelve months.

How do you think you managed not to get caught again?

I was more careful . . . Busier, too.


I had decided to enroll in the graduate program at Geikōdai, Kyūshū University’s School of Design, and was busy preparing for the entrance exam which was held the following winter. The two of them respected that and gave me the space I needed.

Well, wasn’t that convenient?


You took Haruka to a ballgame on your first date.

Yeah, I did.

How terribly romantic of you, Peadar!

Hey, it was fun. After buying some tickets off of a scalper in the parking lot, we went into the Dome, sat down with some beers, and watched Daiei come from behind and beat Seibu.[1] After the game we went back to my apartment.

Did you score yourself?

No, I was tagged out on second. But, a week or so later, we went out again and I was able to circle the bases, so to speak. That was a fairly typical pattern.

What was?

Screwing a Japanese girl on the second date. She may be just as eager for a roll on the tatami as you are, but she doesn’t want you to get the idea that she’s easy, that she’ll just spread her legs for anyone. I have found that the ones who do end up sleeping with you on the first date tend to be struck with a buyer’s remorse of sorts and are much harder to lure back into the sack than the ones who waited until the second date. Weird, isn’t it?

More determined than ever not to make the same mistake twice, I suppose.

Whatever. Want to know what else is strange?


I can pretty much remember intimate details about the first time I slept with every woman I have “known”—what she was wearing, what she said, where we did it, how she responded, and so on—with everyone, that is, except Haruka. I remember lying on my sofa with her after the ballgame and undoing her shirt, seeing her breasts for the first time—really the loveliest pair I had ever beheld until then . . .

Must have been nice after Tatami.

Oh, it was! Poor Tatami was flat as a board and had nipples the same size, color, and shape as the eraser on a 2B pencil. I remember burying my face in Haruka’s cleavage and thinking, “Thank you, God! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” That second date, though, is a total blank.

Why do you think so?

Beats me. Ours was never the most passionate of relationships. Haruka and I would have sex every now and then, yes, but it was always very conventional, almost boring. Nothing kinky. We never stayed in “love hotels” or watched "adoruto bideo". In a sense, it was also the most “mature” relationship I’d had up until then.

Why do you say that?

From early on Haruka and I would spend our Sundays together, eating at nice restaurants, taking day trips, seeing the occasional film. Most of my relationships until then had been dominated by what was happening in the sack. Every date was designed such that, sooner or later, I would get laid. But with Haruka, it was less about the sex and more about what we were doing together. There was always another place to visit, another restaurant to try, another movie to watch.

I see.

And, it was the first time in my life that I didn’t need to worry about money. It was a very stable time for me after three financially and emotionally tumultuous years.

So, why did you start dating Akané?


[1] In 2005, after years of struggling financially, Daiei was forced to sell its majority stake in the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks to Softbank, a little known Japanese telecommunications and Internet company. The team is now called the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. The Lions added Saitama to their name in 2008 and have since been known as the Saitama Seibu Lions.