of a Japanese housewife
woke up late in the morning and did not feel like getting out of bed.
So I just lay there and recalled my dream from last night. I
had turned into a bird and could actually fly. Wherever I went, I
could just sit and people would come to me. People thought I was a
pretty bird and wished they could take me home. Even women would
come to me and stroke my
feathers. I was not afraid to be with so
many people around me, nor did I get tired. When I got bored, I
would simply flap my wings and fly away to another square. Sometimes
I would just go to the next town. Cameras
flashed, children shouted, men waved their hands, and I looked down but
did not stop.
dream was very disturbing - more so because I had been feeling somewhat
agitated for a while. The more I tried to recall, the more I got
convinced that I was not human any more.
I was a bird. And
I was going to live like a bird. I will be what I actually am.
I had faked long enough. No more - I told myself.
I married Yoshi, I married him out of love.
He gave me what no man had ever given to me in America.
Yoshi always let me be me and once we decided to settle down in
Japan, I wanted to be as close a Japanese as I could.
He never forced me to, but I tried anyway.
I wanted to be a good wife for him and I thought that by being more
Japanese I could do that. He
now works in a nightclub as a bartender, and when he is home, he is always
catching up on his sleep. We have an 8-year old daughter Sachi who
keeps me terribly busy. So we do not spend a great deal of time
together as a family. It is
Sachi and I. Occasionally,
Yoshi joins us.
live in an old-fashioned house in Kyoto that I picked when we were
searching. At that time I used to
work at a language school but
since Sachi was born, I spend all my time at home like most other
housewives. I am now taking music lessons and occasionally hang out
with my gaijin friends from the school plus other Japanese
housewives that I have befriended over the years as my language has
opened my eyes
and saw that both Yoshi and Sachi were still sleeping. I was not
sure what time he came back since I was so
drunk from all the wine (Which
wine should I buy?) that I
drank while watching TV. Do I just feel strange because of the dream
or is something happening to me? I got out of bed quietly and walked
to the bathroom. I need coffee. I have to check how I am going
to live my day today. As the coffee brew, I turned on the TV.
The morning programs rarely catch my fancy but this one did.
They were discussing the ongoing Renoir Retrospective at the Nagoya
City Art Museum. I have never
been a big admirer of Tokyo or
Osaka – too large for a girl from the
Midwest. I liked Nagoya.
Somehow it was just the right size.
It had everything that Kyoto did not have but it was not
overwhelming. Plus, I liked Renoir and going to a museum in Nagoya was far
more manageable than in Tokyo or Osaka where lines for such an exhibition
can stretch outside the hall.
is not a bad idea! A trip to Nagoya, as the program hostess
suggested. Should I go with
Yoshi? He has been such a bore recently. All he has to talk
about are stupid jokes that he hears from these equally bored salarymen.
May be I can leave Sachi with my
mother-in-law and just go alone! I
think I need some excitement in my life. I can just walk around,
shop if I see something nice, get some
rest, and stay for a couple of days
just being myself. Plus Mari has been asking me to visit her for a
long time. There are so many other friends I have there. I
could meet them all and not be
I will call Mari and just tell her that
I am coming. Birds do not need to plan any more than this. If
she says no I will be just fine by myself. Plus all the other
friends I have.
woke up and wondered what I was up to. He is a nice
guy, just a bit
boring after 10 years of marriage and one child, I thought. I know
he works hard and without him I would not be the same. I love him
dearly and there is no way I can think of leaving him. As I prepared
the tub to soak myself, I said, "I am going to Nagoya for a couple of
days. Can you take care of Sachi? May be just drop her at your
Mom's house. I will call you from Nagoya tonight." Yoshi
showed no reaction. Apparently, it doesn't matter to him. Then
he walked down towards me as I sat on the edge of the tub. He stood
behind me and touched my
shoulders and started massaging me. His
hands on my shoulders and the feel of yukata rubbing my skin felt
good. I closed my eyes for a while as I dreamt of the sky and the
lush green fields below. I kept
flying for a while and thought I was
flying faster than other birds. May be even faster than the shinkansen
below. I felt his hands stopping and then I opened my eyes. He
wanted to kiss me, it seems. Oh, yes, me too. I need to be
loved. I reached towards his face and I heard Sachi's voice.
Damn! I thought.
had already left with Sachi when I got out of the shower. I felt
relieved to see both of them gone. I was not sure if I was going to
miss them. I need to fly - over everyone else so that no one can
touch me. Only if I want to, I will sit on a tree and let people
look at me.
packing. I can wear anything that I want to because now I am a bird.
But how do birds dress? Oh well, probably an elegant look will be
more appropriate. These folks in Nagoya are still so old-fashioned.
They have not been able to get over the
60s style. A sultry look would
not work there. I will just draw too much attention to myself.
Mari is a jealous
woman. She thinks that she has a better body than
mine because she decided not to have kids. OK Mari, watch me this
was excited to hear about my visit and suggested that she is going to tell
everyone about my visit before I arrive. They have been talking
about me for a while now. I stood in front of the mirror and looked
at myself - dressed in a beautiful
summer dress I was attracted to
myself. Don't I look dashing? I did not like my hips as I
turned my back. They don't fit so well with my body. My loose
skirt was able to hide my hips somewhat. I think I am getting a bit
chubby but that is nice in a way. My bust looks better than before.
Mari will hate me if she saw me like this. Well, who cares, I am a
bird after all.
train was not so crowded and I could get a seat by myself, next to the
window. I think I looked far better than I thought since I saw
several men looking at me. These two women even made faces at me as
I put my bags. Hey, I am a bird and I don't care if I am also good
looking. Well, all I am trying to do is to tease Mari and why are
these people going crazy? I am on my vacation and I will do what I
looked pleased to see me. I did not see any signs of jealousy unless
she had become good at hiding her feelings. As usual, she looked
just fabulous in her long summer dress with flowers. And if she
feels proud of her body, she should be. Though she is slightly older
than me, she looks as young as she did five years
ago. Or is it that
I am so conscious about me this time? Mari commented that I looked
great and I believed it. As we walked towards the parking lot, I had
to stop staring at her. She is what I always wanted to be.
Look at even her style of
walking. She seems so confident and
sensuous, I guess. I told her that I would stay only for a few days
and wanted to have a good time. Mari informed that Tomo, her
husband, would be gone for several days so we will have plenty of time to
was home when we arrived. What a lucky man, I thought. Mari
must be making him happy every night. We have talked about our private
lives in the past but have not shared the minor details. May be
this time! I want to know how their private life is. For a moment,
I felt a sense of desire for Tomo, as I saw him bent over the table and
looked at his hips. Nice ass! No, I should not be having this
thought, I told myself.
did not talk much during dinner as we ate in a crowded restaurant near
their house. He is the quiet type though I kept him engaged by
asking him several questions. That made him look at me when he
answered. I had a black and pink Polo shirt on and I had left
all the buttons open making my black bra clearly visible. Is that
what he was looking at, I wondered? Mari was too busy eating her
noodles and did not care to see what was going on.
is one thing that I have always liked about Mari's house - her own ofuro,
and it is huge. I looked forward to a warm
bath. Is Tomo going
to join us? What a stupid thought?
showed me to my room. It was a small room next to the
bedroom. As I undressed, I looked at my body and tried to compare
myself to Mari, whom I had not seen naked for a long time. When was
the last time that we went to the onsen together? I could not
recall. Was it when we were neighbors? I slid out of my
clothes completely and was looking for my yukata
when Mari knocked. I quickly covered myself with my arms and
opened the door. Mari smiled at me said that I did not have to do
this since she has seen me naked several times in the past. Then, as
an afterthought she said, "You look much better now." I felt the
same sense of desire for Mari as I had felt a while ago for Tomo.
She said that I was welcome to use the ofuro or take a shower in
the bathroom next to my room. I was starting to get uncomfortable
with my own body. I opted for the shower. I will be
uncomfortable with Mari after such thoughts had entered my mind. I
made an excuse and told Mari that I am just too tired and will take a
quick shower and go to bed.
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at home for two Japanese women)
could hear Mari and Tomo in their bedroom. Oh, these Japanese
houses! There is no privacy. I slowly drifted off to sleep as
Mari and Tomo made love before Tomo left on this trip. I was a bird
on the way to my nest and could see the whole town sleeping. I knew
tomorrow will be a nice day.
was woken up by Mari, who brought me coffee in the morning. She
touched me on my shoulder and gently called my name. It has been a
long time since someone woke me up like that. Sachi would do that
when she was young. My head
was clear and I felt fresh. Oh, I want coffee so bad. I sat
there like a kid drinking my coffee and saw Mari leave to bring her own
coffee. In her tight fitting silk
night gown, her hips moved seductively. From what I could guess, she was
not wearing any
underwear. Mari returned soon and told me that Tomo had already left
for a few days. She was ready to spend all the time with me now.
She said, "Listen, there are things that I have not done for months
since I have not had the time. Now that you are here, let us have a
good time". I did know what she meant by ‘good time’ but
all sorts of wild ideas entered my mind.
Oh no, Mari is my old friend and I have no desire to seduce my best
friend. In fact I have never done that in my life. I smiled
for a while. But let me keep my options open and see how it goes.
came back when I was done with my coffee. I called Sachi and Yoshi
and they were both doing fine. Yoshi told me to have a good time
since he wanted me to have some time for myself. What a nice guy!
May be I should be nice to him too. I have started taking him for
granted. He really seems to like me and cares for me.
suggested that we get out of the house around 10 AM and drive around and
see how Nagoya has changed. She wanted me to see some of the new
shops that have been opened. She suggested that I might help her buy
some dresses. Mari said, "I like the way you
I would like to look
younger like you". Is she pulling my leg or
does she really think that I look better? I will find out soon, I
thought. Am I a bird that she wants to admire? Or is she just
jealous of me? Anyway, I am just a bird and I am not here forever.
took a long shower and did not know how my day was going to be. As I
looked out the window, I saw a blue car that looked exactly like Hiroshi's
car from 12 years ago. Oh! I can't believe that I did not think of
him until now. How could I? My dream boy in Nagoya. I
wondered if that was him. Where is he? What is he doing these
days? I have not had any news about him for 3 years now. I
have to ask Mari if she knows what is going on with Hiroshi. For a
moment, I wondered if Mari too still had a
crush on him.
I asked Mari about Hiroshi, she replied that she ran into him about 2
weeks ago in a restaurant. He looked as dashing as he used to be.
Will he ever stop being a teenager? She gave me a meaningful smile
and we both laughed. She pinched my arm playfully. Did I feel
a slight shock there?
day was going better than I expected. It was nice to just walk
around from shop to shop, looking at clothes, bags,
accessories. Mari wanted to buy a lot of things but I was beginning
to get a bit tired. Our hands were already full with bags. I
knew it was time for me to take a break. Mari announced that we had
reservations in a Korean restaurant. I did not mind since I was
hungry and tired. As we were escorted to our table upstairs, I was
shocked to see a group of women that looked familiar. Weren't they
my students from the language school? I was pleased to see them all.
Mari seemed to have arranged all this for me. This was fabulous.
I actually got to meet all my friends. We looked at each other,
complimented each other on how we all looked, and just kept saying the
same things (Oh, this Japanese culture sometimes drives me nuts!).
the time we were done, I was feeling much better. I laughed a lot,
drank some beer, and was a little bit excited by all the attention that I
was getting. Not that I looked especially beautiful but being a
gaijin has its advantages. I thought of Hiroshi for a moment
and wondered if I would see him too like this. Is Mari going to
arrange dinner with him for us? I could not
ask her even for his
phone number. That will be a bit embarrassing. Or may be I can
just tell her that I feel like finding out how he was doing and would like
to call him. After all,
Hiroshi has been a secret of ours for so many years. Neither Tomo nor Yoshi even know that Hirsohi exists.
walked around for another few hours, shopped some more, and were just too
tired to stay out any longer. I closed my eyes as I sat in the car
while we drove home. Am I able to realize my dream to be a bird
here? Probably it is not that bad so far! I was the center of
attention all day today and Mari made me feel so special all this time.
She is such a Sweetie, I thought.
we got home, I grabbed another beer. I was tired and hot. I
took my blouse off and lay down on the tatami floor with my face
buried in a pillow. The roughness of the tatami floor felt
good on the bare skin even though it hurt a bit.
It felt good to be so free after a long time. When Sachi is
around, I feel so old. I was such a wild girl all my life but since
Sachi came I seem to have aged a lot. I am not that old after all.
I just need to be around other people my age more often. Mari was
starting to open her bags and admiring her shopping.
wanted to try her dresses and get my opinion. She tried one dress
after another and you know how it is when women try their clothes on.
Their whole bodies move as if they are trying to make sure that every
curve in the body fits perfectly. Of course, the effect of alcohol,
the wild idea that germinated in my mind this morning, and Mari’s walking
style as she modeled all the clothing – I must admit I felt
desires that were not there before. When she came to me and asked if
I could help tie the strings of a top that she had bought, I knew it would
be hard to control my feelings.
know if Mari realized but my hands were shaking. She turned around,
stood up, and asked, "Do I look young and
replied, "Of course, you do. Actually, you look so desirable.
I actually want to touch you". Mari did not protest at all and simply walked
towards me and pushed herself with her hands behind her back. I
was surprised by her boldness and with no signs of protest, so I touched
her, giggling as if we were two schoolgirls. After all we
were friends for many years and I had always been indebted to Mari for
helping me understand the intricacies of Japan as I struggled during my
first few months in Japan.
not sleep very well because when my eyes opened, I felt dizzy. Mari
was sleeping next to me on the futon, totally unaware that I was up and
could see her bare back. I dragged myself out of the bed, put my yutaka
on, and tried to make some coffee. I tried to recollect the events
from last night and for a moment I realized what had happened. It
seemed like a dream but it gave me pleasure to think about it. As
the coffee was brewing, I contemplated my actions, or should I say, our
actions. Mari was an
accomplice too and when I realized that we had both done it freely, I was
relieved. Does it mean that from now on I can be myself in
front of Mari? Does it also mean that I can tell Mari about the
brought a cup of coffee to Mari and woke her up the way she did yesterday.
She opened her eyes and gave me a big hug. "Hey, you are so
sweet. Thanks!" she said looking deep into my eyes. I
stroked her back and said that she was nice to me too.
decided to spend the day at the Museum.
I did not want to eat any breakfast and got a glass of milk for me
instead. As we both dressed,
the doorbell rang. When Mari
opened the door, I almost fainted. It was Hiroshi and standing
behind him was Tomo. What was going on, I asked myself.
"Hiroshi works with me on some projects that our companies are
currently implementing jointly. We had to rush back to attend an
emergency meeting; so, we decided to join the ladies for lunch," Tomo
explained. I was still trying to recover from the shock of seeing
Hiroshi after so many years. Suddenly, our lives from several years
ago rolled past me and I could recall each and every moment as if I were
watching a movie. As usual, he looked dashing in his starched,
shirt and blue tie, and the designer suits that he always preferred
despite being teased in the office by other salarymen.
acted very polite and did not look as surprised. He said few nice
things about how I looked and how glad he was to see me again. Tomo
and Mari chatted among themselves about things that I did not care to
hear. Hiroshi started asking me lots of questions, even about Sachi
and Yoshi. He said that whenever he is in Kyoto he has thought about
me but was hesitant about calling me since he was not sure if I even
thought about him. I told him that I did miss him some times but
assumed that he was also a happily married man and I should leave him
alone. He joked that he was a happily married man but without a
wife. He was alone in Japan at that time since his wife decided to leave
for France for two years to study baking.
to suspect that this was pre-arranged by Mari but then how come Tomo was
there too. It seemed even more suspicious since Mari and Tomo had
already moved to their bedroom with wine glasses in their hands.
Regardless, I was pleased to see Hiroshi but I was beginning to feel weak
being with him alone in a room. It seemed as if time had stopped and
nothing had changed for us. Hiroshi,
the charming next door
neighbor, who gave me what Yoshi never did.
I always knew that Yoshi would be a great husband and Hiroshi would
be a terrible one. So I just
made the right choice. Yoshi
the caretaker and Hiroshi the passionate devil who would drive me crazy
even if he would simply give me a kiss in the elevator.
got me a drink and we sat on the sofa. I had a strong desire to hold
him against my body but that would be ridiculous, I thought. Why am
I having such thoughts about Hiroshi? Why did he come here when
these men were supposedly here for an emergency business meeting?
May be he wants me too, I thought. May be this was just some kind of
a plot by Mari! I asked him
about the cut he had on his hand and that gave me an opportunity to touch
him. He did not resist and actually held my hand. By this
time, I was blushing and breathing heavily. I could visualize
exactly how we made love the first time among books and CDs in my
apartment. I clearly recall that one of the first things that we did
together when we met in private was to make love. Then only I would
offer him a drink or even ask him how we was doing. In those days, Yoshi was a wonderful lover too but there was
no comparison with Hiroshi. While
Yoshi dutifully did what he was expected to do in
bed, for Hiroshi,
lovemaking was a game. We
played hard and very soon we mastered the techniques of ‘short and
sweet’ as he liked to call it.
gently kissed my hand. I struggled for a while to decide about my
response. I thought of Yoshi probably helping Sachi with her
homework. But I also thought
about the bird. I want to be
free. I wanted to kiss
Hiroshi, badly. The decision was easy.
I held his face in my hands, opened my mouth, and started to kiss
him as if this was the only kiss I would get before Mari or Tomo came out.
Hiroshi was willing, as always. Hiroshi
was already touching my back and my yutaka was already half way up.
And then I heard the sliding door of the master bedroom and the footsteps.
We both stopped immediately. As I tried to arrange my yutaka
and fixed my hair, Mari was calling our names. She was asking us to
join her in the master bedroom.
grabbed my hands and we slowly followed Mari to see what was going on.
Tomo, whom I had always imagined as the shy one, sat leaning
against the wall with a drink in his hands.
He beckoned us to come in as Mari jumped into his lap.
I think that was hint enough for Hiroshi to lift me in his arms as
he put me on his lap too. As
the soft Japanese music played in the background, Mari and I relived some
of our past memories with Hiroshi. And
what a zealous student Tomo was! He knew instantly the special
relationship the two ladies had with Hiroshi and simply joined us as we
pleased each other.
and Tomo went back to attend their business meeting, which I learned was
scheduled over dinner. I was exhausted and almost passed out as soon
as I lay down in my bed. When my eyes opened in the morning, there
was no sign of Mari but I could smell the coffee. I grabbed some
coffee and read a note for me saying that Mari will be gone for a while
and I should just take it easy in the meantime. I called Sachi and
Yoshi and found that they wanted me to come back. I guess they were
starting to miss me. Sachi had not been separated for so long from
me since she had grown up. I told them that I was ready to leave and
will be back in a day or two.
went back to bed to read and just fooled around with the TV till I could
not stay there any more. What is wrong with me, I thought. Why
am I so agitated? I kept thinking of Hiroshi and was surprised to
realize that he has not changed in all these years. He was the same
gentle and soft-spoken person that he always was, so full of passion and
creativity. Why did I not commit myself to him? The artist in
him did not impress me at that time, plus I had met Yoshi first.
Plus I saw a better life with Yoshi the banker than with Hiroshi the
artist. Of course, Yoshi
never remained the banker that he was as his bank collapsed. And
Hiroshi did not have to make a living as an artist – he ended up
becoming an executive.
thought about how close Mari and I had become in just a few days. It
was probably not just physical
intimacy. I think we just saw so much
similarity in each other. The only difference is that I have a kid
and she does not. Other than that, she and I are so similar.
So called "happily married but desperate
housewives!"' How happy are we really? I
have to ask Mari that when she gets back.
woke up from my daydreaming when I heard the door opening.
Apparently, Mari was back. It appeared that she had been shopping
for groceries. I helped her with the bags. She suggested that
we stay at home most of the day so that we could get some rest after
several hectic days. I could not agree more. I was not only
physically tired but also emotionally tired – first Mari, then Hiroshi,
and finally being together with Mari and Tomo in the master bedroom.
These three days had been very hectic for me in terms of meeting so many
people and becoming so close to them.
was my new friend. We talked about almost everything under the sun.
I realized that I was telling her things that I never intended to and did
not even know if I needed to talk to anyone about it or for that matter if
anyone would even care. Once I started talking, it appeared as if
the floodgates opened. Mari told me almost everything that was going
on in her life. All through the day we went around the house doing
little things but essentially talking. Of course, we did not cook
lunch. Essentially munched
junk all day. As we talked more, we
realized that there was lot more still to be talked.
was feeling as if a big burden was gone from me. I felt so fresh and
recharged. Just by talking, I was wondering. It was probably
more than that. It was communication with someone who understood.
Mari felt my pain because hers was no different. The pain that is so
difficult to even feel because it is not meant to be felt. It is
just life and you are expected to live it. The society does not
accept its existence and therefore no one talks about it. I had
found a friend who was probably
more than a friend. Just two birds,
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