Thursday 01 August 2002

A taxing woman

Video cover: Itami Juzo's Marusa no OnnaOn our fourth date, I took Ayako to the movies again, to see Itami Juzo’s Marusa no onna (A Taxing Woman). We’d seen Tokyo-ga, the Wim Wenders tribute movie to Ozu. We’d eaten an expensive sushi dinner. And we’d “gone to bushwalking,” as Ayako phrased it—in an exact transliteration of the Japanese. I thought another movie was called for and a Japanese comedy seemed the perfect choice.

We met just before the six o’clock session at the Valhalla in Glebe, an ancient fleapit not far from Sydney University. Ayako had come straight from the merchant bank where she worked as an analyst. In her elegant gray suit and high heels, she looked immaculate and utterly out of place amongst the scruffy university crowd. Trying to balance formality with comfort, I’d chosen jeans with a jacket and a tie.

Though I’d come of age in the seventies, when sex on the first date was almost a matter of course, by the mid-eighties AIDS had arrived and by the end of the decade we were all more cautious, delaying the first kiss until the second date before tumbling into bed on the third.

But Ayako and I had yet to hold hands and we certainly hadn’t kissed. I couldn’t make up my mind: was she was prudish about sex? or was the decision to sleep together a cross-cultural mystery? Since she was the first Japanese woman I’d dated and I hadn’t yet discovered Pictures from the Water Trade, I’d resolved to take it slowly.

In the opening sequence of A Taxing Woman, a nurse unbuttons her uniform, exposes an enormous breast, and suckles her eighty-year-old patient. Twenty minutes or so into the film, the tax-evading gangster masturbates his mistress to climax while speaking on the telephone to an associate.

I began to think that I was re-enacting the scene in Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, in which the Robert De Niro character, Travis Bickle, takes straitlaced Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) to a porno movie on their first date. I was convinced life was about to imitate art, that Ayako would suddenly stand up and walk out, leaving me in the theater. But Ayako sat quite still, intent on watching the movie.

When the gangster’s mistress gets out of bed after sex and walks across the room, there’s something white clenched between the cheeks of her ass.

Marusa no onna (A Taxing Woman)

My God, I thought, it’s a fucking tissue!

Unable to restrain myself I looked to my right, to gauge Ayako’s response. She’d raised her hand to cover her mouth as she always did when she laughed, though her face showed just a trace of a smile. She didn’t turn to meet my gaze.

We didn’t sleep together that night. But the reserve between us evaporated and, coming out of the theater, Ayako took my arm for the first time as we crossed the street to the car.

Permalink | Technorati

Comments

Jonathon

In Australia we spell it "arse" :)

Damian

Posted by Damian on 3 August 2002 (Comment Permalink)

heh, we watched that movie in japanese class, i laughed in my head at that but no one else did, we lack humor i guess b/c we dont want to be seen to each other as a bunch of little perverts. lol

Posted by Stephani on 8 October 2003 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour