On Saturday, I met a guy who wanted to practice Japanese with me. Unfortunately it’s much more complicated than that.
I was out meeting with an associate of mine at a bookstore to talk goals, ambitions, manga, and the like. She and I had never met like this before, but some common interests that connected our initial meeting in early 2013 to our present piqued our interest in one another to finally do so. We chatted, exchanged ideas, and picked each other’s brains for about two hours. Though it was a bit nerve-wracking to meet someone who had only met me as Nina once prior, she was never phased and was pleasantly candid throughout.
I had left to go to the restroom with every intention to part ways with her when I returned, but somehow I got caught up in the exchange she was having with an older man. He was studying for his Master’s and they had begun talking about their aspirations and such. I chimed in, told him about my business goals, and learned a bit more about his major. He was nice enough, and interesting because he definitely was not born in America. So it didn’t hurt.
I gave him a contact card on the off chance he would be curious about my work, which led to him revealing he knew some Japanese. I awkwardly replied back in Japanese, but he was just as non-fluent as I am. It was interesting to run into someone with a sense of humor & knowledge of the language, but I was the one who pulled the woman I was with away to check out some manga together. I had overstayed my welcome & just needed an excuse to properly part ways with her.
Eventually, I left without bringing up the man in conversation at all and that was that…until he emailed me hours later that evening. He said perhaps we could “meet some time and practice nihongo”.
I didn’t reply back until the following day. The prospect of having a speaking partner was a positive one to keep me sharp. I let him know that I was interested in meeting up and that we should decide on a later weekend when our schedules were open to practice. My tweets sum up what happened soon after:
I almost didn’t reply back, but I thought, “You know, maybe he just doesn’t realize he’s setting off my warning lights. As long as he doesn’t insist in any way on his house…” So, I kindly suggested that we could meet in the same place in a less noisy area of the bookstore and that my texting was limited to emergencies. His reply unfortunately did not leave anything to be desired as he suggested we now meet before Saturday or if not he could email me his address to decide if I’m stopping by for “tea and practice nihongo.”
I am not making this up.
Ladies, let’s be honest here, shall we?
If you were in my situation, I’m certain you would be getting the same creeper vibes that I am. If I’m overanalyzing, please put me in my place. I literally met this man this past weekend, spoke for maybe ten minutes, and he’s inviting me…TO. HIS. HOUSE. No clue of his marital status. I even suggested he invite one of his Japanese friends to the session, to which he wrote off on the pretense that they would not be interested. Obviously, not even making an attempt to make the situation (and himself) look any less dubious. Especially with his word choices, which could just be a foreigner thing, but doesn’t change his strange unwillingness to meet in a public place.
I’m deliberately leaving out pieces of his emails, but his last email is certainly pushing for me to take action. Fortunately, I value my safety more than being my usual emotionally passive & considerate self or unintentionally giving any impression of romantic interest. It’ll be really sad if he’s just trying to be hospitable, but I refuse to take that chance by myself.
Welp, so much for practicing nihongo huh?