Last Thursday, Laurel invited me out on a date - but not with her. A couple of guys she works with asked her if she'd like to go see the new Batman movie with them. She had other plans, so she IMed Yolanda and me to ask if we'd like to go with them.

It is a movie I wanted to see. I loved Batman Begins (and of course I could watch Christian Bale in pretty much anything). I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of standing in line for the midnight showing, but still, I thought it would be fun, if Yolanda was okay with the idea, which she was.

Laurel's co-workers are both Japanese. Makoto has been in the States for a long time. He goes by the name "Bobby" or "Bob" at the office - I didn't ask why. He said he preferred his given name. Toshio is here for a year, on loan from his company in Kobe, Japan. They're both mid-30s and single. Toshio wears glasses and is very reserved. Makoto seems more "western," perhaps because he's been here longer. His English is certainly better, though Toshio's is okay.

That's unfair, I think. Toshio's understanding of English is excellent. He has some trouble finding and ordering words, but that's to be expected.

They took us to a hibachi restaurant, and insisted on paying for the whole evening. Makoto says that the food isn't really Japanese, but it's popular with Japanese Americans, and it seemed appropriate. It was a very good meal, and very entertaining; we had a real showman of a chef.

(Talking with Toshio, I'm not sure I would be ready for Japanese food that isn't tweaked to American tastes. Egg pancakes with octopus doesn't sound at all appealing. He did claim to be impressed with the way I managed my chopsticks.)

After that, dancing. Toshio refused at first. I sat with him while Makoto danced with Yolanda. I did manage to drag him onto the dance floor before we had to leave. He seemed pleased that I'd persuaded him, but was still relieved when it was time to go stand in line for the midnight show.

As early as we were, we only managed to sit together by asking a couple to trade seats. It was worth the wait, though. The movie was excellent. Much better than the first (and, thank God, without Katie Holmes's half-hearted acting, which was the low point of the first movie for me). It's very dark, and very well done.

After the movie, I invited everyone over for coffee and a nightcap. They took me up on the coffee, but didn't stay long. Even so, I didn't get a lot of sleep before work on Friday.

Laurel IMed me again in the morning. Toshio had asked if she thought it would be okay if he asked me out again, and she wanted to know if she should give him my number.

I told her yes, but that maybe she should talk to him about me first. I don't know him well, and I don't know how he'd react to knowing how I live. Would dating imply courtship? It wouldn't on my part, but for him, only two months away from what I believe is a more traditional and structured society than this, perhaps it might. He seems like a great guy, and I wouldn't want to disappoint him.

He hasn't called. I really don't think he will, but that's okay.

Also in the conversation I mentioned that I still missed my overweight ex-tom cat, Selky. Laurel asked why I didn't get another cat, and I explained that I couldn't keep one, with the way I travel. Although I've cut back considerably, I still have to leave town occasionally.

Laurel said that if I wanted, she'd be willing to come over to feed a cat while I was out of town. She was pretty sure that Yolanda would, too.

I'll have to think about that. I would love to have a cat in the house again, but I'd still be afraid that it would get lonely. Maybe I could get two...


(I got the date of yesterday's entry wrong. I was entering it after midnight, and I guess I picked up today's date from the notebook clock. I apologize to anyone who had a double RSS update.)

My work email address had a message from Toshio today. He said he didn't want to call because his "spoken English not good," and wanted to know if I'd like to go see another movie. He suggested "The Incredible Hulk," since it won't be around for much longer, but anything I wanted to see would be fine.

I guess Hulk wouldn't be a bad choice. I don't think opting for "Sex and the City" would be at all a good idea :). He left the date open, so I called him, which he wasn't expecting, but I know that his English is just fine, and I wanted him not to feel that I had trouble understanding him. He seemed pleased to hear from me, and we've agreed on tomorrow.

I'm taking him to a Tex-Mex place first, and I've told him I won't let him pay. He's already treated me to dinner and a movie, so this time he'll have to abide by local food and customs.