The truck began moving again, but this time the soldier who had checked on Mari shut the canvas flap and made sure it stayed closed by securing it with a metal hook. Mari was fine with not being able to see outside anymore, as she had seen enough. She leaned back and closed her eyes, trying to shut out the sounds as well, to create a space for herself, where maybe she would disappear until they were safe. Above the sound of the engine and the tracks, she could sometimes hear helicopters off in the distance, as well as occasional jet engines roaring with urgency as they quickly passed over head. There were explosions, large booming low frequency sounds from farther away, and crackling bursts closer in. Here and there was the popping of gunfire. The soldiers outside could sometimes be heard, their electronic communications and footsteps moving around, as well as the occasional shouting.
It's not the sounds themselves that fight for your attention, it's your thoughts about them. Stand outside of your thoughts and watch them pass by like a train, each thought a car, moving on without the need for your attention. Mari remembered sitting on the temple floor, meditating as she had been taught, a cool tatami mat underneath her, the warm island breeze around her, most of one side of the room open to the elements. The rest of the room was cluttered with statues and artifacts, but on the wall opposite the open side was a small mirror. Just big enough that you would only see your face, placed among all the deities represented in all the art around it. The mirror reflected everyone who faced it, symbolically showing them the god inside. Mari's parents, though, would always ask her what she saw, as if they expected her to literally see something more than a reflection. When she said she only saw her face, they would say that was fine, as if it was her, not them, that was disappointed. She never saw anything in the mirror other than what anyone else did while her parents were alive, and after they passed, she never looked. She never even went back to the temple.
The truck halted for a little longer than usual, though the engine remained idling at a level indicating it might get going again, so there was no sense that they had arrived anywhere. The flap opened, and, along with one of the masked soldiers that had been accompanying the truck, was a man in the kind of all black riot gear the police wear. He may have been a special division of the police or something else entirely, but Mari didn't know the differences well enough to identify any of them specifically. The man in the riot gear had a face shield and helmet, but not the kind of all encompassing covering that would protect someone from a chemical or biological danger. His gloves were thinner and more form fitting than the soldier's, giving him the ability to use the pen he held along with a clipboard. He scanned the inside of the truck, counting off the people, stopping to look at some of them a little longer than others, though for what, no one could tell.
While they went about their business, Mari could see an overpass a little farther back in the direction they had just come from. There were soldiers or police, armed men in a variety of uniforms, positioned all along it, with searchlights aimed towards Shibuya. On the ground were barricades, and abandoned cars, a lot of them pushed to the side or some of them included in the haphazard barrier. There was motion in the darkness, soldiers running in all directions, a bulldozer on one side of the street, vehicles passing both ways, metal barricades being rolled into place... That was all Mari caught, though, before the two men holding the flap open closed it, and the truck began moving again.
The nature of the sounds heard from outside the truck changed after the checkpoint, and Mari couldn't help but register the different ambiance, even if she was trying to be far away. The road smoothed out, reaching an area free of debris, and the truck stopped halting and turning. There were sounds of other vehicles, large trucks and the kinds of large machine sounds you might expect from a construction site. There was more shouting, more voices that weren't muffled by masks like the soldiers alongside the truck. She heard a serene woman's voice, echoing as it broadcast over the same loudspeakers that played the daily chime at 5 PM, and was also used for community announcements, like voting day hours and earthquake alarm tests.
緊急事態が発生しています。家から外に出ないでください。当局の指示に従い。感染者に遭遇したら、よく知っている人でも絶対に接触しないでください。"A state of emergency has been declared. Do not leave your home. Follow the instructions of the authorities. If you encounter someone infected, do not approach them no matter how well they may be known to you."
The truck came to a stop. There was a long wait, and everyone in the back of the truck could feel that this time was different. The truck engine stopped. They had clearly arrived somewhere, where maybe they would be finally free of the horror, and they couldn't help but feel the anxiety of hope. Every moment that didn't reveal the circumstances outside the truck caused the tension to rise, everyone shifting in their seats, looking toward the flap at the back with anticipation. Mari caught the eyes of the man in the blue windbreaker sitting across from her, and he attempted a nod and a smile to offer comfort, to communicate that maybe things would be okay now. Mari couldn't fake the pleasantry in return, and just looked down so as not to diminish his mood. She didn't feel much safer with the soldiers than she did when she was trapped in the bar.
The flap opened, and there were two soldiers outside. One of them was one of the fully covered soldiers that was with the truck all along. The other was in different military clothing, dark blue and insignias that indicated he might be with the navy. Instead of a mask that completely covered his head in heavy materials and a glass visor, the new soldier had a paper medical mask, and rubber gloves that were bright violet in colour. The two soldiers paused, looking around, making a cursory check of all inside the truck. Then they backed away for a moment, letting the canvas flap fall to a closed position, causing a moment of panic inside as most in the truck felt like the safety that was just in their grasp might not have actually been there. But a moment later, the canvas was pulled back on two sides, and the tail gate was lowered, opening the back of the truck with the clear intention of letting them out.
There were two of the fully covered and heavily armed soldiers standing nearby, though this time they held their guns in a barrel lowered position, pointing off to the side. The soldier with the medical mask waved for Mari to step off the truck, so she she stepped over and climbed down, the soldier putting a hand on her back as a gesture of guidance. Some of the other people in the truck started to move forward, but the soldier waved them back, letting them know this was going to be done one person at a time.
The soldier in the blue seemed to be some kind of medical personnel. He produced a small pen sized flashlight from a pocket.
こちらを見て。はい、次、上。口をあけて下さい。"Look this way. Now up. Open your mouth." He was nowhere near as curt or rough as the soldiers before, his commands said with the calm assurance of someone who knows he's in charge. He would hold Mari's chin to move her, nudging her in the direction he wanted her to, just before she complied, but without pushing. He looked closely at the whites of her eyes, in her mouth, he checked her ears and in her nose. He turned her around to examine her clothes and body.
この血は、あなたの？"This blood, is it yours?"
傷等、何かがありますか？"Do you have any injuries or cuts?"
熱等は？"Fevers or anything?"
感染者と直接接触しましたか？"Any direct contact with any infected?"
Mari had to think through the events. On the train, when she was pushed up against the doors, did that count? She remembered Tanaka San jumping on her. That was definitely contact, but she wasn't sure if he was infected or just stunned and confused from the bomb blast. Her memory of the order of events wasn't certain, but she thought she hadn't heard any infected inside the bar, until after Yuusuke pulled Tanaka San off of Mari. Noriko said something about an open vent, maybe they came in through there. It was too many details that they probably wouldn't listen to, and she was afraid of what they might do with an answer that wasn't straightforward.
The masked soldier paused, looking at her, evaluating her. Mari feared that something in her manner gave away the half of her answer that was an uncertain lie. Her eyes glanced at the guns in the hands of the two soldiers nearby.
服は燃やさせなければなりません。次に消毒室に行ってください。"These clothes will need to be burned. Go to the disinfection station." He waved his hand to the side for her to proceed, without really indicating which direction she should go. She thought she might ask, but he was already looking at the next person in the truck and waving them forward. She stepped past him, her world of awareness suddenly extending beyond the soldiers just outside the truck. Starting with the sensation of her bare feet on the cold asphalt of the road, she felt the cool night air which was cleaner and free of the smells of burning flesh and pulverized concrete in Shibuya.
Near the truck, there was a small driveway that led up to a larger open area in front of a building, crowded with ambulances, soldiers, doctors and nurses, military vehicles, and tents. A red glowing sign just at the foot of the driveway read 「東京ER広尾"Tokyo ER, Hirō". The parking areas and short roadways in front of and around the hospital had been turned into a base camp of operations, brimming with activity.
On the other side of the large street was a short wall with trees with some older buildings just visible beyond them. There was no traffic, but there was a pervasive noise from the the direction the truck was facing toward, about a hundred metres away, just past a concrete lined river that went below the road just in front of a large intersection with an overpass. There was shouting, a crowd of people beyond large stone and metal barricades. There were large blue and white trucks with wire mesh over the windows, the kind the police used. Police were mixed with military soldiers, trucks, and some kind of dark green coloured armoured jeep with a large machine turret on top. Red lights flashed, and there was occasionally someone speaking over a loudspeaker. It was some kind of checkpoint, people being directed either to the hospital or away from it.
The opposite direction down the large street was quieter, darker, less inviting. It was as if all life had been cleared out, and no new life was welcome there.
There were a few soldiers lined up on either side of the driveway, large machine guns at the ready, positioned in such a way so that it was clear to Mari she was to walk between them. The path they formed led to a tent that was a bright yellow colour, just at the top of the driveway. She held her arms tightly across her chest and her head down, as if it might make her less noticeable to the men with guns. Standing beside the entrance to the yellow tent were a few women, covered head to toe in white protective suits with thin blue lines along their seams, made of a plastic coated thick paper like material. Their shoes were wrapped in pale blue plastic, their hands had gloves of similar colour, white masks over their noses and mouths, and clear goggles. One woman, shorter than Mari with a stocky build, ushered Mari into the tent, stepping through a series of thick clear plastic flaps. Mari found herself in a tiny partitioned area, with portable showers, two on either side. Underneath each was a deep metal tray for catching water, and there were plastic sheets seemingly everywhere, dividing the room into separate sections.
服を脱いで、袋に詰めてください。ちゃんときれいにね？"Take your clothes off and put them inside the bag." Mari turned to face the woman and saw she was holding a yellow plastic bag that had a large red biohazard symbol on it, with "BIOHAZARD" written in English above it, and below, in Japanese, 「生物学的危害」. Mari did as instructed, allowing herself to fall into a state of mechanical obedience, so that her sense of self could stand apart, to not be hurt by embarrassments or impositions. When she was fully undressed, the woman guided her to stand in the plastic tray underneath a shower head. The woman turned on the water, and the cold water shocked Mari. She squealed a little, but without any acknowledgement of Mari's reaction, the woman held her by the upper arm to make sure Mari didn't reflexively move out of the way of the water. There were some cleaning products on the floor that the woman picked up, one was a bar of soap that she handed to Mari, the other was a bottle that she opened and unceremoniously poored into Mari's hair. "Make sure to clean yourself thoroughly," the woman said.
傷はありますか？"Do you have any cuts?" The woman was examining Mari's body as Mari scrubbed herself. The woman would turn Mari one way or another, or move a leg or arm out of the way, sometimes pulling skin taught or scrubbing an area harder to make sure there was nowhere that even the smallest injury might escape observation. Through the haze of water vapour, the water and soap flowing through her hair and over her face, beyond all the plastic hanging in the room covered in condensation, Mari could see the shadows of other people being brought into the room, in intervals of a minute or two, and each accompanied by a person in protective gear. Presumably others from the truck, though she had seen other vehicles around, so nothing was for certain. Mari looked down and watched dark grey water swirl around her feet and go down the utilitarian square metal drain. The cleaning continued until the water coming off of her was clear as the water pouring onto her.
The woman turned off the shower, and Mari stood holding her arms in front of her, slightly hunched over, shivering. The pleasantly cool night air now felt like the dead of winter. After handing her a towel that was too thin to be really effective, especially on her hair, and giving Mari not quite enough time to dry herself entirely, the woman ushered Mari forward, to a little area just on another side of more plastic drapes. There was a box filled with light blue gowns for patients made of some thin material that seemed to be somewhere between paper and plastic. At the woman's instruction, Mari pulled one out, and put it on while the woman threw the towel into the yellow bag. The paper like gown was held in place by a series of small squares of double sided tape down one side, and when Mari was unclear on what they were, the nurse adhered them for her, expertly flicking off the plastic backing and sticking them in place in a motion done countless times before. There was also a pile of flimsy plastic slippers beside the box, and the nurse set two out for Mari to step into. A few more steps forward, and Mari was at the back entrance of the tent. The gown covered her so she wasn't exposed visually, but it hung loose, making Mari feel like she was practically standing naked in the cool night air. She wrapped her hands around her both for warmth and not wanting to be seen. The woman tossed the yellow biohazard bag into a large blue plastic bin just outside the tent, and then called out into the crowd of people rushing around in a chaos of motion. There were so many people going different directions that Mari had no idea who she might be calling to.
The area between the tent and the emergency entrance was a chaos of police, nurses, doctors, and the people they were tending to, all running back and forth, everyone having three places they needed to go, and already late. There were soldiers as well, but they all stood as sentries, scanning the crowd for anything that might indicate a problem, their guns a presence viscerally felt. A short, thin woman in her mid fifties, dressed in a standard nurse uniform, a loose fitting top and straight slacks in a whitish pink colour, with mask and gloves, emerged from the chaos and tapped Mari on the arm for her attention, startling Mari. The woman who had showered Mari handed Mari off and then went back inside the tent. The nurse began walking back to the hospital entrance, moving quickly so that Mari had to pick up her pace to keep up. The nurse talked as she made marks on a paper on the clipboard she carried.
吐き気を感じますか？風邪のような症状がありますか？頭痛は？視覚がぼやけることはありますか？"Do you feel nauseated? Any cold like symptoms? Headache? Is your vision blurred?" The nurse asked questions in rapid fire, and to each one Mari responded in the negative, and the nurse would check off a box. She led Mari into the hospital, through two sets of large sliding glass doors, locked in an open position.
The area of the front lobby was spacious, though immediately in front of the entrance were partitions blocking the way forward, covered in papers with information about the hospital layout and public service announcements about vaccinations and common injuries that affect the elderly. Just behind the partitions were rows of chairs, all occupied, with many more people standing nearby or sitting on the floor. There were doctors and nurses moving between them, finding people to examine. Most people were quietly waiting for someone to tend to them, and the presence of the soldiers with their rifles helped maintain a sense of order. There were babies crying, more than a few adults wailing in anguish, each pained voice with a different story of horror behind it. Mari and the nurse passed to the left of the partitions.
…天罰を与えたもうた、我々を虐殺するために怨霊を送ったのだ"...as divine punishment, vengeful spirits have been sent to slaughter us all..." A thin, middle aged man in a grey sweater jacket with large brown buttons was speaking loudly, standing just on the other side of the partitions as Mari passed. He had full wavy brownish hair and a charismatic nature, and spoke clearly, like someone practised at giving sermons. His look and manner was similar to how Mari's father used to address groups, except this man didn't have the calm confidence her father had. There was clearly a panic under this man's voice, as if he felt the situation could somehow get worse if no one listened. In Mari's quick scan it looked to her as if most everyone was too wrapped up in their problems to even notice him, but the few that did regarded him with a range between wariness and annoyance.
妊娠したことがありますか？現在飲んでいる薬はありますか？持病はありますか？"Have you ever been pregnant? Are you currently taking any medication? Any long term medical conditions?" The nurse's barrage of questions brought Mari's attention back to her.
There was a set of waist high posts with a thick fabric ribbon between them marking off a path for Mari to head down a small hallway and into another area just around the corner from the main waiting area. As Mari and the nurse followed the path laid out, the barrier was in danger of being knocked over by two police who were pulling a man away from the crowd as that man shouted back into the crowd. The man was tall, slightly overweight, and had jet black hair and gold rimmed tinted glasses. He had a black jacket with a colourful embroidered dragon on the back, and looked like he might drive a black truck on national holidays.
北朝鮮のテロ攻撃だぜ！お前たちのせいだ！お前ら…！"It's a North Korean terrorist attack! It's because of you people! You...!" The man was pointing specifically at two young men, around college age, wearing similar button up shirts and jeans, who glared back at the man with a cautious defensiveness. They were tall and fit, and looked like they might be ready for a fight in other circumstances, but now was not the time for posturing.
感染者と始めて出逢ったところはどこでしたか？"Where did you first encounter one of the infected?" the nurse asked as she pulled Mari's attention back to the direction they were headed.
渋谷駅です"Shibuya station," Mari said, as they entered an area cordoned off from the rest of the room, with two rows of chairs in front of a desk area where nurses and doctors were frantically rushing in and out of, coming in to check computers, grab papers, and then run out again. There were a handful of people, like Mari, in nothing but patient gowns sitting in some of the chairs. It was a little less chaotic than the area Mari had just passed through, the people either lying or sitting, and getting examined by a handful of doctors and nurses. The nurse with Mari pulled Mari along and sat her in one of the empty seats.
何時ごろか覚えていますか？"Do you remember around what time?"
7時ごろだと思います"I think around seven." For the first time, the nurse looked up from her clipboard.
駅のどこ？"Where exactly in the station?"
電車のなかです。山手線。"Inside the train. The Yamanote Line."
The nurse's eyes held still for a moment.
電車の中で出逢ったの？駅に降りる前？間違えない？"Inside the train? Before you got off at the station? Are you sure?"
はい…"Yes..." Mari answered with hesitancy. Mari felt that she was being pulled into being more involved with everything going on, when she wanted the exact opposite.
盛岡先生！"Morioka Sensei!" The nurse called out and abruptly walked away from Mari. Mari turned to watch her as she walked over to a man in dark green fatigues, with salt and pepper coloured hair, trimmed evenly to less then a centimetre long. He had small round glasses, his face and hands covered with a medical mask and gloves like everyone else. He was examining a woman who looked to be about fifty, but fit in a wiry way, like a marathon runner, when the nurse who had been questioning Mari interrupted him. They talked for a few moments, looking over at Mari now and again, each glance making Mari wish that she wasn't so interesting.
Morioka Sensei walked over, the nurse following behind. Without even looking back, he held out his hand and the nurse handed him the clipboard. He scanned the papers on the clipboard for details as he spoke to Mari.
では…山手線を降りる前、感染者のかたを見たことがありましたか？"Let's see... before you got off the Yamanote Line, you saw an infected person?"
いえ…ものすごく込んでいたから、ちゃんと見てはいません、でも同じ車両で、急に人が人を攻撃して…"No... it was really crowded, so I couldn't see clearly, but on the same car as me, people were suddenly attacking each other..."
それが駅に着く前だというのは、間違いないね？"You're confident people were attacking each other before the train entered the station."
Mari thought back to the moment she was pressed up against the doors, the first time she thought she might die. She looked down, nodding, lost in a moment of memory. She looked up again, realizing that she hadn't answered verbally, but seeing the look in the doctors eyes, she knew he understood. He looked right at her, nodding slightly as he took in the implications of her silence. Even the nurse looked sympathetic. Mari wasn't just talking about some order of events, where maybe it was one way or another. How she perceived what happened was burned into her memory so that she would never forget it.
その事態が起こる前、何か気になったことはありませんでしたか？"Just before that, did you notice anything unusual?"
Mari blinked, shifting mental gears. Before people were attacking? It felt like another world now. Did anything happen? Nothing that hadn't happened to Mari before, but she felt she should answer with at least something.
痴漢がいたんですけど…あたしをちょっと触ってから、電車の違うところに移動しました。"Well, there was a man... he touched me a little, so I moved to a different part of the train."
痴漢だった。"A man molested you." The doctor said the words very flatly, without any indication of whether or not it was the kind of information he was looking for.
はい…？"Yeah...?" Mari felt like the doctor would be disappointed with her answer, no matter what it was, so her tone was completely unsure.
その痴漢は…激しく君の体を触ったかい？"This man who touched you... was he especially aggressive...?"
いいえ、あまり…"No, not really."
The doctor looked at Mari with his head tilted, as if changing his angle might give him a better insight. Mari shrunk a little, feeling like the information she gave had turned out to be useless and a waste of everyone's time. His expression wasn't angry, Mari even thought that he had a gentleness behind his eyes. He probably had a wife and kids and was really good to them. Unlike the soldier who seemed to be angry at her just for being in front of him, Mari felt she was letting Morioka Sensei down in some way.
Morioka looked at the charts the nurse had filled out. He looked up at Mari, then back down. She felt his years of experience evaluating her, not just her physical condition, but her demeanour and her personality, and she shifted uncomfortably. Behind his gentle eyes was clearly a perceptiveness that could tell there was something unsaid in between the check boxes.
大きい病気にかかったことがありませんか？"You've never had any significant illness?"
いいえ…ないです…"No... nothing really...
家族は？"What about in your family?"
Mari looked down, knowing she had to answer, and not wanting to. She considered lying, but even without her belief that the truth always comes out eventually, she knew she was a terrible liar. Especially with people she was sure were wise enough to see through her, like Morioka Sensei. What her parents had was totally different, though. They just wasted away. No one who touched them got infected. There was no chaos or murder. It was just long, drawn out, and sad. And it was so long ago, and she had been completely fine since. Everything she knew about the situation told her it was unconnected, she was just someone caught up like everyone else in this horrible night. But she knew that if she started protesting about how what happened to her parents and what was happening on this night were different, her defensiveness would only bring more inquiry. She spoke slowly, to try and find the right words to make this not an issue.
十八歳の時に、両親がなくなりました。病気で。"My parents, they both passed away when I was eighteen." She really didn't want to say the next part. "From an illness."
Morioka lowered the clipboard to his side, his eyes looking at Mari intently, but not giving away anything about his thoughts. The nurse, though, looked back and forth between Mari and Morioka, as if waiting for one or both of them to burst.
病気。病名は？"An illness," Morioka said flatly. He was clearly practised at keeping calm, knowing that creating a panic might make his patient less likely to speak clearly. "What kind of illness?" He asked as if it were just a casual question, when everyone knew it was anything but.
Mari felt a dryness in her mouth, a physical resistance to answering. If she could just say something concrete, to give it a name, then the conversation would dissipate into certainties. Just like the doctors at the time, though, Mari didn't know. All she knew was that if she told this man that her parents died of an unidentified disease, then she would get pulled deeper into a world she didn't want to be a part of.
A soldier appeared from out of the chaos of people in constant motion all around them, and said something to Morioka Sensei, leaning in and speaking directly into his ear so as to be heard over the chaos of the room around them. Mari didn't know anything about the military and its ranks, but it seemed that Morioka Sensei was in charge from the way the soldier was deferring to him. Mari couldn't hear what the soldier said.
まったく。何人だ？彼女の血液を採取してください。"Damn it. How many people?" Morioka said. The soldier leaned in and again spoke so that Mari couldn't hear. Morioka shook his head, his shoulders slumping just slightly, whatever he heard was one of countless frustrations on a very difficult night. "Take a blood sample," Morioka Sensei said to the nurse behind him as he handed her the clipboard. He then abruptly left with the soldier. The way he left, Mari wondered if she was over thinking his interest in her parents. Maybe it was obvious they were unconnected. The nurse also suddenly disappeared into the constantly shuffling wall of people just beyond the small area of chairs where Mari was.
Mari looked around her at the other people on the same rows of chairs as her. Another person from the truck had arrived as well, a girl roughly Mari's age with light brown hair, but she was lying down, eyes closed. The other people sitting on the chairs looked relatively healthy, other than being in patient smocks and being looked at by nurses and doctors. Mari wondered if they had all been in central Shibuya as she had. Maybe everyone here had some story, something the doctors might look for to try and find an end to all that was happening.
There was no clock that Mari could see from where she was sitting, but it felt to her like maybe fifteen minutes passed before the nurse returned. She held her clipboard horizontally so that she could rest a small metal tray on top of it. Inside the tray were various vials, some of them already filled with blood, and a powder blue piece of tubing that she wrapped around Mari's arm and fastened it with a small metal clip. The nurse moved swiftly and efficiently, so that at each stage by the time Mari realized what was happening the nurse was moving onto the next step. The nurse didn't hesitate to pierce Mari's arm and start taking blood, no warning, no words, and the pain made Mari wince. She kept quiet, though, knowing the nurse was moving quickly out of necessity, and wouldn't care anyway. The needle connected directly to a small semi transparent tube that in turn attached to a little plastic clip that could be used to attach and detach different glass vials, each just a little bigger than a double A battery. The nurse took three samples, scribbling something on the white label on each of them as she did.
With the last of them done and after removing the needle, the nurse pressed a small piece of white gauze to cover the tiny hole where the needle had been. When she did, she shuddered slightly, as if she had suddenly become drowsy. Her head bobbed forward, like a student falling asleep at their desk, but her eyes, instead of closing, rolled up slightly, exposing the whites of her eyes for a moment. She quickly righted herself and breathed in sharply. Mari felt a moment of sympathy. The situation would be exhausting in it's own right, but this nurse might have even worked all day and then been forced to stay on for all this.
The nurse placed a small strip of transparent tape over the gauze and then guided Mari to hold her opposite hand on top to maintain pressure. The way she did it was mechanical, and Mari simply allowed her hand to be grabbed, recognizing the nurse was partly on auto pilot. When the nurse was finished, she stood up and disappeared into the crowd, too rushed to say anything to Mari before she left.
Mari had, for the first moment since the nightmare began, a sense of some kind of break, a pause where maybe it was the first step in things getting better. Perhaps they would run tests, find out she was fine. The military and police, fighting in other parts of the city, would eventually get control of whatever kind of outbreak this was. She would have to wait long frustrating hours for everything to process, but maybe by morning she could return to her apartment in Yokohama, get on her laptop, and reconnect with friends and see who was okay and start to get back to normal.
Then Mari felt a vibration coming up through the floor. She looked up and around, noticing other people around her feeling the same thing. Everyone who lives in Japan knows what those first few vibrations mean, the only question is how big it's going to be.
Who his daughter dates
Based on a real and random conversation with a guy about his daughter and age and dating and stuff.
The Charisma Man Reality
A little comic strip companion to the previous posting. The reality of guys who come to Japan expecting to capitalize on the gaijin fetish.
The Charisma Man Myth
The reality, racism, and human failings that are built into the notion that Japanese women go for gaijin guys.
Transmission to an ex
Stuff I'd say to an ex girlfriend if I were going to say them. You'd probably only want to read this if you like reading random things out of other people's diaries. Which I do, but it's not for everyone.