Hot date in Fukui-shi

Posted by in Mike's blog

I love my wife.

I hope that everyone who spends time with us can see that we very much love each other. We will have been married for 5 years next month, and we still enjoy dating each other as much as we did when we met at bible college. There are some new challenges that we face in this season of our lives when we want to get out and go on a date, but they are nothing we can’t adapt to.

Last night we decided to get dressed up and go out “on the town”. We hadn’t gone on an official date since before we left Canada, we were past due. We decided to try something that we had never done: to visit 3 different restaurants for appetizers, main course and dessert! One of the best parts of living in Japan is the tasty food. Normally we would make going to a movie theatre part of our date experience, but we had a challenge:

The bunny.

Resourceful as we like to think we are, child care is not something we have figured out yet. Nevertheless, we brought the bunny with us on our date. That picture above? Mary has a hand on the stroller.

We set out to eat our first course at a yakitori (meat on a stick) place called “Akiyoshi”. Yakitori makes good appetizer food because we can get away with ordering a little bit. Our table came with a food warming grill that the servers placed our sticks of meat upon. We made sure to order some cucumber on a stick for the bunny. Going to Akiyoshi was a great idea in theory, but it did not turn out like we had envisioned. We only ordered 12 small sticks, but for some reason every table on the 2nd floor (where we were) got served before us, even the tables that came and ordered after we did. This was not a restaurant with a clear divide between smokers and healthy people. The bunny got impatient and squirmy, and she started to try to take things from the businessmen at the table beside us. Our “quick appetizer” took around 30 minutes to arrive at our table for some reason. We struggled to salvage the mood with some meaningful conversation, but it was hard.

For the main course, we went to an Italian place up the street from our yaki-crappy experience. Why eat Italian food in Japan? Is it even Italian? Well, this place (called “Saizeriya”) has something that tastes kind of like pizza, we know the service is fast, and it’s cheap. We ordered a few dishes (portions are small, and did I mention it’s cheap?), and we continued our conversation. We find that date conversations are great opportunities to reflect on our relationship, how we can be better spouses for each other and where we are going (more years of marriage! woo!). Though the food arrived quickly, the bunny decided she was done with sitting at restaurants before it arrived. Cutlery was thrown, screams of anguish were heard, and once again, the mood was killed a few times before it hit the ground.

We left the Italian place satisfied with our meal; however, not all was well. The bunny was cranky, Mary’s exhaustion from a full day’s work was setting in (she was borderline sick, too), and we were realizing we did not know where to go for dessert other than “Mister Donut” because we still have more to learn about our new city. We walked through the shiny lights in front of Fukui station, and Mary suggested that we just grab some M&M’s from the konbini (dépanneur) and hop on the next train toward home – so that’s what we did. On the way back we stopped at a pharmacy to pick up a squeegee and some garbage bags, because that is what married people do on dates.

Last night may have been one of the worst dates we have been on (ever), but that is not how we remember it. The thing about being married and in love is that when things go wrong on a date, we are able to shake it off and look forward to another few decades’ worth of dating each other. Memories of how cranky the bunny was just get piled on our other memories of cranky bunny alongside the napless days, no squeaky shoes in the house and the 10th hour of airplane rides. What we really remember is how much fun we had when we were having fun, and other [insert mushy stuff here].

I maintain that last night was still a hot date in Fukui-shi because the person I was dating was hot, even though the date itself was somewhere between lukewarm and Ice Storm 1998.