Last Friday, the first warm and sunny day this year, there was definitely something in the air. Maybe it was love, or maybe it was just pollen.
After a bittersweet lunch date at my favorite French restaurant, I walked home still wrapped in my own thoughts when a Japanese man carrying a surfboard caught up with me.
He: (In Japanese) Excuse me, are you free now? Where are you going?
Me: (What? Is he talking to me now? Oh dear, he is. Fine, I’ll try my standard reply.) Sorry, I don’t speak Japanese.
He: (In fluent English, without any hesitation.) I speak English too. How’s that? (Followed by a cheeky grin.)
I couldn't think of anything to say, so I just gave him a sweet smile, shook my head apologetically, and kept on walking. Luckily he gave up then, unlike other more persistent ones.
But the freaking day didn’t stop there. Later that evening I was meeting a friend for another chat about our complicated love lives. When I was waiting for her at the station, a Japanese salaryman suddenly approached me and handed me a message saying in Japanese:
“My name is xxx. I just moved to Tokyo half a year ago for a new job. I would really like to have lunch or dinner with you. Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 080-xxxx-xxxx.”
There is a first time for everything, but this one is just too creepy. Chatting up girls, or “nanpa” in Japanese, is not unusual. I am sure many girls have similar experiences of getting “nanpaed.” But getting a note like that from a stranger is simply weird. Why couldn’t he just say hello and introduce himself like a normal person? Does he have an especially fragile ego or something? :p
The funny thing is, many of my male friends seem to find my nanpa stories inspiring and some of them have even vowed to be more aggressive from now on. But personally I never go out with men who try to chat me up on the street or in the pub. They are just not my type. I know some of them are actually nice people even if what they see in a girl is usually her looks instead of her other qualities.
Anyway that day was certainly bizarre enough to make me start wondering if spring indeed makes people crazy, as Japanese always say.