I had my first outside of work encounter this past weekend. Out at a club in Azabu I happened to glance across the room and found my eyes locking with those of a Professional. In fact, it was the young one who was so nice to me at dinner during the Kaisha's onsen trip. We did the embarrassed head nodding and wave thing and I returned to my dates for the evening, the beau and his friend. I whispered to the beau that a fellow Kaishaite was across the room, and should I go say hi? Don't ask me why I am asking my boyfriend about social mores but I really didn't know what to do. If I was Overseas I would no doubt go over to say hello, but despite having sat together through a long dinner, plying each other with alcohol, in the Kaisha twilight zone I have as much of a relationship with him as say, Ken Watanabe. Although if it was Ken-chan, I would be over there in a second. In my defence, said Professional was also surrounded by a group of friends.
By the time I decided I should go say hello I turned around and he was gone. Luckily I found him standing alone later that night and went over for a chat. My mind looked on in horror as my whole manner changed and I felt like a rigid doll standing up straight and nodding politely, laughing appropriately. Speaking like the lady I don't wish to become. In situations like that I sometimes wish I could use my gaijiness as an excuse to act how I would around any guy I run into in public, but I always err on the side of caution and turn into a polite Japanese-speaking white doll. Although what happened this particular night could have more to do with the fact that I was wearing (for all intents and purposes) a see-through shirt and was trying to distract him from my tanima (valley in Japanese) with my decorum. I must have thought in my inebriation that if I acted like I was at the Kaisha he would think I was wearing professional attire and pearls instead of a flimsy excuse of a shirt.
I am tired of all these social graces, I really am. In fact, I didn't even introduce him to the beau and friend because I didn't want to subject them to acting humble and thank-you-so-much-for-nothing-more-than-working-at-the-same-Kaisha-as-Geisha. Not normal is it? Well at least the Secretaries will have something new to talk about over their bento boxes: the Kaisha Geisha spotted in public drinking, smoking and carrying on (tanima fully visible), and with a man on each arm.