Well, I suppose you all better get to work on building those fall out shelters and look over your bucket lists, because I actually had a lovely and romantic Valentine's Day! There. That's the short version. But I promised I'd let you all know what we did if we did anything, so for those of you crazy enough to want to spend time reading about To-ki and I during what may very well be Earth's final days, here is a (somewhat long) recap of how the holiday went.
As I said before, I really didn't expect to do anything for Valentine's day because I am not an overly romantic person, my husband is not a good planner, and the cultural expectations surrounding V-day are flipped so what to do and how to do it seemed just seemed too convoluted to deal with. But there was another, more prevalent reason I wasn't expecting anything: We were having a fight.
I won't go in to the details, but I was really upset for a few days. So upset that I didn't want to sleep in the same bed with him, I didn't want to talk to him for a few days, and I spent every free moment looking for tickets to the U.S. I did everything but talk to him about the problem, which puts me in that "annoying, sterotypical woman" category and disqualifies me from offering anyone advice about communicating with their partners . The truth is, I've never been great at conflict resolution. But the good thing about To-ki is he is always always willing to interact with me even when I won't respond. He won't stop until he can solve the problem. While he isn't the most practical person in the world, and cannot intuit feelings or situations well (which drives him crazy in a society where the ability to do so is key to most personal and business interactions), when it comes to our relationship, he is truly the more emotionally mature party. I am working everyday toward becoming more like him in that respect, but it's very hard to reprogram acts that have undergone 20-odd years of conditioning. Anyway, Valentine's eve ended emotionally with mutual tears and lots of "I love you"'s, so when we woke up on Valentine's Day we both had this renewed sense of love for each other, which I believe is a good sign. Fights are bound to happen, but when they do, they should always help strengthen a relationship.
The fact that everything was resolved was enough for me.To-ki had the day off, but I had to go to work as usual. However, on Tuesdays I work my regular job and then a teaching job so we decided to go to our favorite cafe after my first job ended around 11. (By the way, cafes are super popular in Okinawa because, according to To-ki, Okinawans like the slow life). After lunch, the school I was supposed to go to called and said that both of my students were going to be absent, so they asked if I wanted to come in and help at the office or take the day off. It happened to be a gorgeous sunny day (almost 80 degrees) which is rare, because when To-ki takes off work, somehow the day always ends up being overcast and cold or rainy. I wasn't sweating missing out on a few hours worth of teaching so opted for the day off to spend time with my husband, which was the start to our whole-day date!
We walked to the pier and we looked ocean, which is interesting to me, because I didn't grow up near an ocean and all, and he knows all about them. I am scared of swimming with the fish, (which he tortures me about, so all you complaining about me making fun of him about the ferris wheel seriously don't know the whole story of our relationship!) but looking at them from the safety of the dock was really relaxing. We walked around then he admitted that he wanted to buy something for me while I was at work but now he couldn't do it because we'd be together all day. (Why he couldn't do this any other day of the month is beyond me, but there's that 'bad at planning' thing again...) So I told him I could go somewhere while he shopped, but he said he wanted to spend time with me so we should just go together. He showed me the Vivianne Westwood wallet he was going to get me, which I laughed at because it was so expensive (like 300 dollars). I'm not a brand person and he knows good and well that I can't tell the difference between a 500 dollar Prada bag and a 10 dollar knock-off. So if I had gotten it, I probably would have smiled, thanked him and tossed it into my bag where it would be ruined with uncapped makeup, melted chewing gum, and pen stains within a week. Instead, I picked out some 4 dollar earrings and let him put them in. I was happy, but he wanted to do more because he had planned on spending a bunch of money. I really think money burns a hole in his pocket because that man always seems determined to get rid of it somehow, and as soon as possible.
Our favorite thing to do on dates is go to the arcade to play "House of the Dead", which is a shoot-em up zombie game, but we recently beat that, so we decided to play a taiko drum game, a racing game, and take a purikura instead. I usually love purikura, but this one made us look like space aliens because it enlarged our eyes so much. Usually, the enlargement feature is supposed to make you look more alluring or whatever, but we both have naturally big eyes so it just looked ridiculous. However, it was a funny way to commemorate our very first Valentine's day together.
When we finished with all of that it was evening, so we walked on the beach while we looked for somewhere to eat. I have been to the beach a lot since living in Okinawa, but this was the first time we went at dusk. The sky was a mix of deep purple and pink with a mix of blue and orange. It was right out of a movie and the weather was amazing. Even though it was a perfect location for couples, it was pretty much deserted which added to the romance. It was wonderful to simply talk and connect with my husband in front of such a gorgeous backdrop.
The walk eventually led us to Tony Roma's, which is a kind of expensive restaurant famous for ribs. You would think that on a date we'd order something a little more sophisticated but us, being the casual couple we are, went straight for the rack and complimented each other on how well we could clean the meat off the bones. Yes, even I am amazed at our superior amount of class.
You can't have dinner without a movie, right? So we went to see Mission Impossible 4 (which is probably on DVD in America but Japan gets movies kind of late). It was a pretty weird choice since neither of us have seen any of the other Mission Impossible movies. But for some reason, he has been dying to see it for a while now, so I finally caved. I am really the slowest person ever when it comes to action movies or war movies which is kind of embarrassing since people claim those movies are only mindless entertainment. But I seriously had no idea what was going on.... So I had him break it down for me over coffee at Starbucks at the end of the night. How did he get me to understand? He related the whole thing to that zombie game I told you about. We are such nerds.
All in all, while I wasn't serenaded by a 4-string quartet, and despite the fact that his love for me wasn't the focus of a trailing airplane banner, I still had an absolutely wonderful day. It was such a blessing to be able to spend so much time with him, especially after the sadness of the previous days. We both had the chance to be together and express how much we loved each other through actions, words and non-intellectual (yet nerdy) pursuits, which meant more to me than any grand gesture. I felt extremely lucky to be his wife. And yesterday, he got me a box of chocolates. He picked them out by himself from a fancy chocolate shop, and said "I wanted to get only your favorite kinds of chocolate". It was a sweet gesture (even if I don't know who impersonated me and told him that I like raspberry, green tea, cherry or cream filled chocolates...) because it let me know he was thinking about me, holiday or not. And in the end, that's all any wife really wants or needs to know.