August 14, 2004 – Adventures at the lost and found

Today I didn’t have to teach any kids, I got a double voice class, and an empty lesson at the end of the day. This way by all measures a good day at work.

During the shift I was chatting with Maria. I tried to help her a lot when she first became a teacher, and we got along very well at work. In the four months since she started she had become very comfortable in the classroom, and had an active social life outside of work.

While chatting, she told me that she had left her bag on a train. Japan Rail told her she could pick up her bag at the lost and found in Noborito station. I told her that Noborito was my home station, and offered to take her there and help her get her bag back.

Maria is a very outgoing and friendly person who is not shy at all. Half way to Noborito she pulled out her phone and told me to check out some of the pictures she had taken with her phone’s camera. I looked at the phone and was very surprised to find myself looking at pictures Maria had taken of herself in the shower. Naked.

While my brain was trying to process what was happening, Maria told me that she was very proud of how she looked, considering she was in her mid 40’s. I think I squeaked out a sound of agreement. She was also proud of her skills as a photographer, happy that she was able to take such good pictures of herself with the tiny camera in the cell phone. I probably squeaked out some other sound of agreement. She then took her phone back, and changed the subject like nothing ever happened.

When we got to Noborito station, Maria tried to use her very limited Japanese to claim her bag back at lost and found. The middle aged JR staffer we talked to spoke no English at all, but Maria kept trying her best and smiling. The JR employee gave her a claim receipt and I helped her fill it out. She returned to the counter with the completed form, and tried to ask if the form was okay.

Her first attempt involved pointing at the form and asking “genki?” which means healthy. The employee looked confused. She then pointed at the form and asked “watashi suki?” which roughly means “do you like me?”. He seemed more confused. Her third attempt involved pointing at the form and saying “sugoi?” which means “great?”. Same reaction. Finally she remembered the word “daijoubu” which means “ok”. He nodded and retrieved Maria’s bag. When he handed it over, she gave him a perfect “domo arigato gozaimasu” (thank you very much). He and I both burst out laughing.

Being friends with Maria was always interesting!

(2014 Update) I omitted the nude selfies in the original post, both because I worked with “Maria” and because I had a girlfriend who read my blog. I assure you that this actually truly happened! A few days later I saw her showing off the pictures in the teachers room to a very surprised male coworker. I don’t think she was trying to hit on anybody, I think she was just legitimately proud of how she looked. If I look that good (in a manly way) in my mid 40’s, I will be proud too!

(2014 Update 2) I apologize to anyone who was searching for nude selfies and found this story instead. I hope you enjoyed it, and suggest you will have better luck finding pictures on Tumblr. Or Google. Or one million other websites.

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