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ばったり会う (running into people you know)


So you’d think that in Kobe, with a population of 1.5 million, you wouldn’t run into people you know so frequently. This is, however, not the case. My high school class had roughly 120 girls, and out of those I knew only maybe 25 by name and the rest by face (plus a couple of neighboring classes).

And yet, I have run into people I know 4 different times in the first 3 days here. Here’s a rundown:

Nozomi – Day 1, 10pm
Who she is: Friend from high school, fellow Orchestra Club member
Where I saw her: On the way back from the μ concert, I was walking with Yuka’s mom. Suddenly, Nozomi and I saw each other. We stopped. Screaming ensued.

Take-chan – Day 2, 10am
Who she is: Friend from high school, hung out several times and we still keep in touch)
Where I saw her: In the center shopping street in Sannomiya, with her boyfriend who’s visiting from Nagoya (she’s visiting from Canada where she’s going to college).

Ryo – Day 2, 1:30pm
Who he is: Studied abroad at my high school in America for a year, met once when I lived here, was just in America for Christmas last week.
Where I saw him: In the center shopping street in Sannomiya, like 30 feet away from where I saw Take-chan.

Furo-chan & Aika – Day 3, 7pm
Who they are: Ate lunch with Furo-chan for the first 3 months or so of my life as an exchange student. Had art class with Aika.
Where I saw them: In the purikura place in Sannomiya on the Hankyu station side. We don’t keep in touch at all, so they had no way of knowing that I was actually in Japan. So they seemed to be close to death-via-shock. We even took a picture to remember it by, before going on to take purikura in our respective groups:
Mo, Furo, and Mayo

I guess this proves that I don’t actually have to contact anyone to tell them I’m coming; I can just walk around key areas in Kobe and FIND THEM MYSELF. Good to know.




μ(ミュー), my friends’ singing group, alumni of chorus club from Nanjo, started singing together as their own ensemble after graduation (almost a year ago). They auditioned and made it into ハモネプ (HamoNepu), an a cappella competition on national TV in Japan, in May and November I believe. The 8 of them are college students in the Kobe area, but still perform live as well.

I sat in on one of their rehearsals at my friend Yuka’s house before their concert on December 28th. This was when the infamous boob-grabbing incident I wrote about last time happened XD

μ rehearsing:
Mayu, Kana, Nori, Yuka, Ayaka, Aki





And the best part of the afternoon (well, maybe second to boob-grabbing)… Mayu-chan deciding to redo her hair:




The concert was at a really small venue, Maiden Voyage, where Yuka works on weekends. The first band was a traditional guitar-bass-drums-vocals group. The vocalist/guitarist (who is also Yuka’s bf) kept saying a bunch of really funny and adorable things like “most other bands have lyrics that are supposed to mean… uhh… something. Ours uuuhhhhh… don’t. That last song was called ‘Osaka Loop Line’ and this next one is ‘Whale’… uhh… thanks for coming.”

Then μ came on and did their thang. Sadly I didn’t get any good pics of the concert (my camera kinda sucks at darkness.) But there are some on the μ blog and they also have a website in case you just happen to be stopping by like me.

Here they were performing at HamoNepu in November:




I hereby promise not to make a habit of telling stories about my body on my blog. But this one just needs to be told.

One of the reasons I came to Japan in such a rush was to make it to the concert of the group μ(ミュー)or I guess “myu” in English. They’re a singing group made up of 8 girls from the chorus club from my high school, including Noriko (my host sister) and Yuka (the friend who I’m staying with). More about μ and their concert later.

The 6 μ members who would be in the concert that night came over to Yuka’s house in the afternoon to practice. First three of the girls (Noriko, Mayu, and perhaps Kana) showed up. We were sitting at Yuka’s kitchen table, and squealing hisashiburi (long time no see) over and over.

Things quieted down for a bit, and then Mayu-chan, who was sitting next to me, blurted out, “Your boobs got so big!!” and before I could respond, she reached over and started touching my left breast.

“Umm, I guess so…” I responded, not really acknowledging the groping that was going on.

But Mayu-chan suddenly noticed what she was doing, and suddenly started apologizing, “Oh, sorry, I shouldn’t touch them!! That’s rude!!” as if someone had once long ago told her you shouldn’t touch other people’s boobs without their consent, and she had just now remembered that rule.

I told her it was cool and things ended there. Or so it would seem.

The rest of the band showed up (Akino and Ayaka) and rehearsal began. After they rehearsed, everyone was chilling out on the couch, taking pictures, touching up their makeup, snacking, etc. At this point, Akino was sitting arm’s reach away in front of me on the other couch. She took a look at me, and suddenly shouted “Your boobs are huge!!” sounding way too happy about this. Then she reached out and touched them with both hands.

But unlike Mayu-chan, Aki did not stop.

“Whoa, they’re so soft (ふわふわ)!! Feel these, you guys! This is crazy!” (Squeeze squeeze) “No, seriously, have you felt them?!”

To which of course, everyone was like, “Mayu-chan already did.”

“WHAAAAAT!? Really?!”

“It was before you got here, Aki.”

The touching & squeezing lasted a good 30 seconds. Unlike Mayu-chan, Aki never appeared the least bit ashamed or awkward about feeling me up.

So Japan, what’s up with the girl-on-girl boob grabbing?? This must be within some realm of normal here (since something similar happened to another girl on our school trip to Okinawa in 2006), but does anyone else find it surprising that in a culture where there’s so little affectionate touching (hugging, kissing, etc.) that boob grabbing is pretty chill?

Also, to all you other gaijin ladies out there, do you have similar boob-grabbing stories? Please share.