“Wait- forget Battlestar Galactica- I just bought Guitar Hero. Anyone here man enough that they five-starred Through the Fire and Flames on Expert? No?”
The guy reading the Warhammer magazine fumbles a page and drops it. You grab a chair and sit, plopping your lunch box down. Mr. Anime stares.
“You- that’s Ichigo on your o-bento.”
“It’s a cartoon character on my lunchbox, yes, it’s my little brother’s. He used it when we lived in Kóbe.”
“Kóbe?” the skinny guy asked. Any anger these guys had on you was gone. Geeks can’t really hold grudges for long periods of time, anyway, and you know that. You are one.
“City. Southern Japan. Lived there for three years.” Mr. Anime can’t help but gape, as if his mouth turned into that of a koi’s.
“So, did you get a chance to go to Akihabara?” You could tell that the other geeks at the table were interested, but also that none of them knew what Mr. Anime was referring to.
“Akihabara is a section of Tokyo. That’s like, at least a twelve-hour drive north of where I lived. Lived in Rokko, near a park, about five minutes from an express line train station, across the street from a video game and used bookstore. And a Bikkuri Donkey.”
“It means Surprise Donkey. It’s a burger joint my friends and I frequented- and Japanese are famous for botched English, really. Next to an arcade in a small shopping mall with the used bookstore in it. There was a foreign student dorm a little further down the street, full of American students studying at the women’s university at the base of the mountain. Why do you think I said Japan was a place? It’s not some anime haven paradise. Bleach there is like SpongeBob here- a kid’s show that some adults happen to like, too. I mean, there’s nothing inherently wrong with hot guys brandishing large swords at other hot guys, but you know, Japan is not particularly fond of outsiders like you and me. Especially people who disrupt the social norms. I wore shorts under that heinous skirt we had to wear for class, and the like. It was disgusting being objectified like a 1950’s to-be-housewife.”
Mr. Anime’s jaw finally shut, and, speechless, dropped the pen he was doodling with in his right hand, offering an apology, although I had been the one beating down on them moments before.