2 November 2001Friday night, I agree to return to where we met, Gas Panic, Roppongi. Dancing runs all night, downstairs, with various friends. We would meet, but it's too loud to talk or do anything except gyrate, drink and smile at each other. The end of the night, morning rises, outside with Ayako, we're getting her car. As five of us wait in the car to head off some some breakfast, a stocky Brazilian youth stands at the window conversing with Ayako. I can't follow what they're saying, but he seems to be egging her on to do something, and she's resisting. Every once in a while he grabs her hand and squeezes it until she squeals. When she says something he doesn't like, he backslaps her forehead.
I'd known her just a few days now, and my feelings were tending definitely towards the tender. So I saw this man disrespecting her, physically, and it bugged me. At the same time, he was far larger than I, and they were bantering fast in a language I couldn't understand. I somehow figured they were friends, and besides, she didn't seem all that bothered or afraid. At least she wasn't making motions to end this affair.
Then this man he opens the door and pushes his way into the car, half sitting on her in the driver's seat, pushing her into the parking brake. Sitting in the passenger seat, still the detached observer, I'm trying to balance my distaste for this whole thing with a desire to resist prejudice against other means of social interaction. From the backseat an older foreigner and a 19 year old Japanese girl urge me to do something about this unwieldy citizen. Finally, after ten minutes of going nowhere, and his occasional slapping and general obstinacy, I walked around to the other side of the car and opened the driver's side door he had closed. Out-spreading my hand, I presented the street to him beyond the car, so he might feel welcome to walk away. His leg shifted, he seemed to see that it was time for him to go.
Still another five minutes went by and he went nowhere. The other foreigner approached with a little bit better, and more uncouth Japanese to ask him to get his rear out of the car. He became irritated. I saw his hand sitting on his leg and I reached out to take his hand and help him out of the car. He kicked out with his workman's boots and hit my leg. Climbing quickly out of the car, he chased the older foreigner around the car, swinging at him wide. I saw he had dropped a plastic bag from the Family Mart with some books in it. I picked up the bag and as he came around the car, I presented the bag to him. He looked at me fuming and cracked me hard in the head with his own thick skull. As I was reeling I saw him take off after the other foreigner, as the girls, now out of the car, tried to restrain him.
Ayako told everyone to get in the car, and we did, locking the doors and rolling up the windows. My head hurt and i felt dizzy, overwhelmed. He came to my window to knock and give me the finger, and swear at me in Portuguese and Japanese. Ayako navigated the confined three way intersection outside of Gas Panic haltingly, finally making off down an alley. As we sat stuck behind a garbage truck, he approached the car, coming to Ayako's window to see if he had left his wallet in the car. We refused to roll the window down; so we communicated by mobile phone. We didn't have it; we took off to Denny's.
Clearly he had stuffed himself in the car because we were going somewhere and he wanted to go. Watching him reminded me of times in middle school when I felt socially excluded by a group of people. He was being physically intimidating to try to get these women to play along. But before that I had seen seen him smiling with an affable disposition. Later Ayako explained that he wasn't a friend, but rather someone she often saw at Gas Panic. He was always inviting her out to play with him, and she was always turning him down. Once he got in a fight with four drunk American assholes at once, at Gas Panic. And he won. She was proud of his victory, but a little mixed about his strong pursuit of her and volatile anger. Fortunately, she tells me, Piu only goes to Gas Panic on Friday nights. Since Saturday night is when Ayako's upset ex-boyfriend goes to Gas Panic, it looks I'm stuck with the workweek. I'm not exactly worried; I take it as a sign I should pursue Aikido and maybe learn to better avoid assholes.