Tuesday, November 23, 2004

gav and yoko, owen and jo
You know when you see two people together and are just struck by how right it seems for them? This weekend my Australian friend Gav popped over from London with his Japanese wife Yoko. This was the first time I'd met Yoko, and I was quite touched to see them looking so happy, and to see how well life is working out for my friend.

I first met Gav in Tokyo in 1998. He was one of a gang of five or so of us who always used to go to this little foreigner friendly bar called Makkas in Urawa. We used to spend those early days together drinking Asahi or Kirin beeru, playing cards and generally exhausting our culture shock grievances.

I haven't always had good things to say about Japanese women, which is a massive generalisation I know but understandable considering some of my experiences. Lets just say that a western man in Japan tends to attract some rather materialistically motivated people. That's why it was so good to meet Yoko and be reminded of what I find great in the Japanese character.

The Japanese mode of expression can be so delicate and subtle, so dispossessed of a verbal form, that it is often lost on more boisterous Westerners used to throwing ideas and concepts around freely, debating and challenging each other. Yoko reminded me of this way of communicating, but showed me it in a style and with a humour that was clearly her own. In my limited experience, that's not something I saw achieved very often in Japan. Gavin was totally right to describe himself as a lucky man.

Just as I was feeling warmed to see one happy couple, my mate Owen emailed me today to say that he had just been on holiday to Thailand where he asked his eerily well suited long term girlfriend Jo to marry him. I've known Owen since I was 6 and words cannot begin to describe my gladness that I have this rock solid gentle funny man as a friend. If anyone deserves happiness it's Owen. Congrats Owen and Jo :)

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