It was almost 2am and I had just finished my shift at the language school where I was teaching English. I had come here just over 3 months ago through a teaching agency that found me a good school to teach in. The students are great – mostly they are adults who are learning English for their work and i get along very well with them.
Well anyway, I was walking home at 2am – tonight I had vowed to politely refuse the karaoke bar offer from colleagues – I really needed sleep. The language school is in the Sumida district downtown and I live in Minato. The bus was late for some reason so i started walking keeping an eye out for a taxi on the road to hail.
I had barely taken 15 steps when I heard a barely audible voice say “Kane!”, while I felt something sharp pricking up against my back. I tried to turn around by now a hand grabbed my shoulder and shook me while poking harder with the sharp object, urgently saying: “Kane! Kane!”
It was obvious the man wanted my money. I knew that much in Japanese even though I’d only been here a few months. I was extremely nervous, but I slowly reached into my jacket while saying “ok” and turned around.
It was a kid just a bit younger than me with a Justin Bieber style hairdo. He looked really uncomfortable with his stanley knife in hand and gave me a shy grin. I looked at him and asked him: “You want a drink?”
He nodded. I walked with him to a bar across the street, got him a cocktail, ordered a beer and then we started to talk.