Friday, October 24, 2008

Fortunate to Have Good Friends

My friend Nobu, who's sons I went to high school with, works here in Tokyo at Adidas. This past year on his trips home to visit his family in Syracuse, we would meet up and talk about my future dreams of heading back to Japan. He shared lots of advice with me as well as contacts in his industry. His wife, originally from Mexico, can whip up the meanest Japanese Hispanic fusion dish this side of the border/Pacific. His two sons are also the only people I know who can assimilate in Japan, Mexico, and the USA. Ken, Kiyo, we are wickedly jealous.

So this afternoon, I met Nobu at his office at Adidas and we went out to dinner at a classy Sobu restaurant. During the meal he said to me, "We're going to get you a cell phone." We proceeded to drive to a 4 story camera/electronics store in Ikebukuro that had as many cell phones as the music stores had guitars (see earlier post). In appropriate Japanese fashion, the place is called "Big Camera." With me by his side trying as hard as I could to pay attention, Nobu bartered with clerks about which cell phone plans were best. When he finally picked a phone, we went through another hour of running through the contract specifics and setting up the service. My Japanese has been coming back to me gradually, but I have to say, I was almost completely lost throughout the whole process.

"Without a phone in Japan," he said to me, "You are nothing."

Nothing indeed. The lack of a cell phone has certainly been my Achilles heel since I've arrived here. Now that I am fully connected to the Japanese business/interpersonal network, I am completely ecstatic. To thank Nobu, I wrote the following letter:

"Dear Nobu,
In order express my true gratitude for you help, it would be hard to address you as the professional adult that you are. I need to address you as one of my own kind. So here it goes...

DUDE! SWEET! Holy Shit! I like don't even know what to say! Way to hook a brother up! I owe you big time! I mean BIG time! Like big time mafia yakuza style where I have to mutilate your arch nemesis and offer you my severed pinky finger... You are the Man! Like Humphrey Bogart and Steve McQueen! This is like the end of Top Gun, "You can be my wingman any day!"

Unstoppable forces have now been set in motion! Thank you soooooo much!"

I can think of one appropriate song for the occasion. "Call Me Up" by Chromeo:

Nobu, this one's for you.

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