A trip to remember
By Kazuya Muto
"I want to meet your girlfriend, Kazu!" Jack said on the phone. He and Xuan had never met a Japanese girl and they were curious. They told me once that they preferred Japanese girls to Chinese girls. "They're kind, modest, gentle, and they've got cute smiles. Right, Kazu?" It's mystifying where Chinese men get this idea.
So we did lunch. Jack and Xuan took Kaori, Tomomi and me out to a fabulous Chinese restaurant. It was dim sum, or yamucha as it's called in Japan. It was a great idea because back where I come from we don't have much of a chance to eat dim sum, and Kaori and Tomomi said they only knew yamucha from Mister Donut.
We met in Chatswood, which is a northern Sydney suburb where there are a lot of Asians. "There's a great Chinese restaurant here," Chief (our name for Jack) said. "I've worked in the kitchens there, so I know what I'm talking about."
Chief led the way, cheered on by the smiles of the two Japanese girls behind him, and we soon arrived at the restaurant. Waitresses pushed carts carrying plates of food. Customers called out to them from the tables, telling them what they wanted. Chief ordered in Chinese, and the food was gorgeous. "What do you think?" Chief asked. "Good!" "Great!" "Wonderful!" "I'm in heaven!" came the ecstatic cries from the Japanese half of the table.
The day before Kaori and Tomomi went back to Japan, we all went to one of the most famous beaches in Sydney — Manly Beach, which is about 45 minutes northeast of the city center by ferry.
Beaches in Australia are so much bigger and more beautiful than in Japan. It was out of season, and there weren't that many people there, but that was great because we could appreciate the beauty of the beach even more. The water was freezing cold, although there were still some brave locals swimming and surfing — even some small kids. I can't help wondering why they don't feel the cold.
So we dipped a toe or two in the water, splashed around and spent the afternoon lying around on the sand. Come evening, we were joined by Robert, my friend from Germany, who'd just got back from New Zealand the day before. Kaori and Tomomi were a little intimidated at first because he was the first Caucasian guy they had talked to in Australia, but we ended up having fun.
We had dinner and after saying good-bye to Robert, we headed back on the ferry around 10. I'd hoped this night-time ferry trip would be one of the highlights of the trip. We stood outside, on deck, enjoying the stars in the sky and the sound of the water in the darkness. Soon we approached the city, and the breathtaking panorama of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the mighty skyscrapers came into view. Unforgettable.
Shukan ST: Oct. 27, 2006
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