last week i was at a conference at melbourne university. it was a linguistics conference. it went from sunday to wednesday, and i was getting a little over it by tuesday afternoon when something incredible happened.
i was sitting in the back row of one of the seminar rooms to hear a presentation on 'social networks and language learning: a case study of learners of japanese in australia', i noticed the couple again, in front of me and a little to the right. i had seen these two at a few sessions, but now they took my interest. it was an older man, with crumpled suit, grey brushed back hair, big ears and dirty spectacles sitting next to a gorgeous japanese girl, who was immaculately dressed, perfectly coiffed, petite and feminine.
nothing that odd about it, i hear you say. just a supervisor with his pretty student, his pet du jour perhaps. yes that's what i thought. i was imagining every year he leaves his dried-up old wife to her roses and takes his favourite masters or phd student to conferences. perhaps he has independent means, and they stay in wonderful hotels, they wine and dine, he buys her jewellery in the royal arcade when in melbourne, pearls in perth, you know how it is. she is flattered, and demure, and too scared to stop him when he drunkenly propositions her on the second night.
but then, as i sat there, she wrote something on her note pad and showed it to him.
i could see the words; they were no pan.
michiko smiled at him, and he shifted in his seat.
i could not believe it. i lived in japan for a few years and heard about the no pan bars - places where hostesses would wear short skirts and no underwear so their clients could be aroused by the thought and sight of a flash of quim.
was she really wearing no undies?
was this possible, that this staid looking yet dirty old man was romancing her to the point that she was being provocative like this? actively engaging in the situation?
[2012 note - this is funny. I can't remember if this is real or fiction. I suspect it's fiction, though I was at a conference at that time. Probably it was so boring I started to think about other things.]