So, I’ve mentioned Eimi in the blog before. Eimi is the trauma survivor JET who’s out looking for new and spectacular ways to get herself killed every weekend, preferably ones that will take as many of us out at one time as possible. Basically, her job is to get us into trouble; suffice it to say, she’s quite the model worker.

In fact, it is due to Eimi’s diligent craziness that we’re now friends with Yuusuke, our friendly neighborhood yakuza. This is the story of how we all met.

In Dragonfield, there`s several bars, but only one any of us go to — Rira`s Bullshooter. It`s a hangout that’s been passed down from JET to JET (a JET actually named the place), and it`s right by the train station, making it a very convenient place to meet up. It`s a small dive bar with three dart machines and an unbelievable cast of characters. Among the more interesting are:

  • Yoshi, one of the bartenders. Late 20s, fairly innocuous with occasional hints of deep-seated perversion. We think he may be anorexic, because he always refuses to eat food. In fact, I`m beginning to think that the skinny Japanese thing isn’t genetic, in many cases. But that`s a rant for another time. Yoshi will make random drinks for you on the spot, most of which are very good. His signature drink is a sweet green-colored concoction he made on the spot earlier this year, which we dubbed `Yoshi`s Island.`
  • Tama-chan, the local “special” guy. He’s REALLY short (under 5 foot, I think), smokes like a chimney, and has completely charmed everyone at the bar. My introduction to him involved me asking him what his job was, to which his friend answered, `Darts no tensai,` or `Darts genius.` Dude ain’t kidding, Tama’s bloody lethal with darts. He’s an total sweetheart.
  • Tet-chan and the sumo gang. Amy actually ran into these guys at the bar the day before we went to see them practice at their dojo. Sumo dojos work like boarding schools, with everyone sleeping in a dorm, and strict curfews enforced. These guys were sneaking out, and we caught them the day before we officially `met them` — hence, they were sweating bullets when we came to see them at their dojo. When they’re in town, we usually go drinking with them. They’re complete goofballs.

And at last we come to Yuusuke. Yuusuke was one of the guys we were afraid to approach at first, as he always looked kinda surly, and he definitely had a bit of a dangerous air about him. Enter Eimi. Our favorite death wish teacher approached him for three reasons: he’s got tattoos everywhere, he’s built like a brick shithouse (he actually wears XL shirts, because he’s so muscular), and he’s gorgeous. Like, dude could be a movie star. He’s that hot.

One of Eimi’s first conversations with Yuu-chan went something like this:

Eimi: “Are you yakuza?” (Japanese)

Yuusuke: (pause) “No.” (English)

Eimi: “Then why do you have all those tattoos?” (Japanese)

Yuusuke: (looooong pause) “I am… fashion master!” (English)

Since then, we’ve taken to calling all yakuza “fashion masters,” as they will understand you’re talking about them if you say “yakuza.”

So, about Yuusuke. He dropped out of middle school, has kanji tattoos on his fingers that read “There is no one under heaven but me,” bears various pro-Japan tattoos on his chest (“yamato” is written down the center), and, despite having fumbling, awkward English, is fairly smart and definitely a quick learner. Consider one of his earlier run-ins with Eimi:

Yuusuke: (straining face for a minute) “How much for Yuusuke?” (English)

Yuusuke’s friend: “Idiot! You’re supposed to say ‘How are you’!” (Japanese)

Yuusuke: “Oh! Oh! What did I say?” (Japanese)

Yuusuke’s friend: “How much am I?” (Japanese)

Yuusuke: “Oh! Uh! I mean, how are you?”

Now consider that, less than a month later, Yuusuke sits four of us (Dariru, Eimi, Shoon, and me) down and gives us a kanji lesson, explaining that his chest tattoo is the name of Oda Nobunaga’s flag bearer, and he does it half in English. Not too shabby. He knows a ton of really difficult kanji, and is a Japanese history buff, too.

Now, you may be asking, how do we know he’s yakuza? Well, the dude eats yakitori like every day, wears $150 shirts, has a reserved seat at the bar (that nobody, even Tama-chan, can sit in), and drinks somewhere between 4-8 Wild Turkeys a night. When pressed for his job info, he said he lays gas pipe — which could not possibly pay for all that. Plus, practically nobody in Japan — and certainly nobody as far out in the country as we are — has tattoos, especially ones on your hands that you can’t cover up.

However, there was one crowning moment that cemented his status as Fashion Master. It was a crowded night, and Yuusuke’s buddy came into the bar late. There weren’t any seats at the bar, so Yuusuke gave up his seat for his friend. Without missing a beat, Yoshi dropped what he was doing mid-sentence, dashed outside, and brought in another seat for Yuusuke. Now, the new seat was a little lower than the others, so Yuusuke’s friend immediately got up and lowered the seats of everyone at the bar — including people he didn’t know — so that Yuusuke was sitting higher than everyone else.

So, yeah.

All that said, Yuusuke is actually incredibly friendly and nice once you start talking to him. Once he’s had a couple drinks (unlike every other Japanese person I’ve met, he can generally handle his liquor, so it takes him awhile), he gets really touchy-feely, patting every butt in striking distance, regardless of gender. Probably my favorite outing with Yuusuke involved us explaining my “The Monkey Represents Sharing” t-shirt, which bears a picture of a monkey milking a cow. We explained the concept of “sharing,” which we translated as “if you have a precious thing, anyone can use it.” He responded, “So anyone can touch your breasts?” and began to tweak my nipples.

We couldn’t stop laughing.

At this point, Eimi has the boy wrapped around her finger. It helps that she has massive breasts, which Japanese guys (really, all guys, regardless of nationality) are suckers for. If he ever gets out of line, she gets the sumo wrestlers to come over and flex their muscles, and vice versa if the sumo guys ever get out of line. And honestly, everyone gets along and is really quite friendly and lively; not nearly as surly and mean as they’re made out to be. Despite all I’ve written, I seriously consider these guys mostly harmless. I really only see them at the bar, and only when I go, which is maybe twice a month. So, parents, cease your worrying. Besides, Eimi definitely has things under control down here in Dragonfield.

Now, things in Kabuki-cho, not so much. …but that’s a story for another time. 😉