The Tuna Eye

It was Wednesday the following week, Gianni was finished for the day and Thursday morning was a free morning. It was the night Gianni could go to The Designer Club and stay late. Sushi Koh was it’s usual excellence and they were still able to make things the Gianni had never tried. After a few wonderful new treats Sadayuki, the sushi chef, proudly presented Gianni with a truly new delicacy, tuna eye! Gianni understood that he was going to be served tuna eye and he was preparing himself for a small dish with one or two small tuna eyes hopefully well covered in some exotic sauce. When the bowl arrived with a ten-centimeter eye socket and tennis ball sized eye; Gianni was taken by surprise. He managed the tuna eye, in fact it wasn’t too bad, although he was sure he would never order it! That was the first time this unusual sushi experience was anything other than wonderful, now for something less exotic. Just as Gianni was thinking of a green tea ice cream desert, Sadayuki then presented Gianni with a spoon and showed him how the scoop out the translucent red egg white consistency fluid that was under the eyeball. Gianni was looking forward to The Designer Club, Kumiko, the other girls and the cold sake with a new sense of anticipation.

The Envelope

As he entered the passage was the door opened as it always did and Kengi, the doorman said,

“Konbanwa Grosso san”

Gianni said konbanwa and passed on to Miho san, as he was opening his wallet to get the credit card Miho san stopped him and told him he wouldn’t need it today. Gianni thought little about that, she had so many credit card imprints by this time that he was sure it was automatically and indelibly in the computer. He sat down with Kumiko and her friends Ryoko and Shuko. He told the tuna eye story, they laughed and Shuko told of a similar experience. This made Gianni feel better; he was afraid he had just failed some kind of Japanesation test!

Finally, Gianni was sitting alone at a table with Kumiko for the first time in what seemed to him a very long time. As they were sitting down Kumiko pointed to the floor by Gianni’s chair and told him he had dropped something. Gianni reached down and picked up an envelope with Maestro Giovanni Grosso beautifully written on the front.

“I didn’t drop this, I’ve never seen it.”

Gianni started to open the envelope and Kumiko quickly put her hand on his stopping him.

“Please don’t open it here, its probably business, please wait, you can do your business at the hotel”

Gianni put the envelope away but he was very curious; another one of those illogical happenings that seemed to be a part of being with Kumiko.

They sat and talked several hours that night, it was clear they enjoyed each other’s company and it seemed clear that when they were together everyone in The Designer Club respected their friendship and tried to see that they had as much privacy as possible, they both appreciated this. Gianni enjoyed being in The Designer Club as much as any place he had ever been but he was now longing for some genuine time alone with Kumiko.

As close as they were becoming Gianni was still very aware that there was still some major pieces missing in the puzzle and if it was going to evolve into a deeper friendship some of those things had to be addressed; first and foremost being Kumiko’s life as a music student. Every time Gianni tried to ask about her musical studies her response was vague, cryptic and full of riddles. Why, he wondered? Would he ever find out? And what about her family, did she have a mother, a father, siblings? And did she have a love life, was there, is there, a boy friend? And what was the connection with Kamei san. This line of thinking was disturbing to Gianni, it made him feel insecure and it always led to that nagging reality of the age difference. He was happy, they were happy together; just that insuppressible reality of age difference wouldn’t go away.

There conversation that night was pleasant but subdued, finally the conversation turned to the party. Gianni said,

“That’s the hardest I have ever laughed in my whole life”

“My sides were hurting from laughing but it’s always like that when Kamei san comes here but this time was very special.”

Gianni quickly took that opening to ask a few questions.

“He seems to have a connection with The Designer Club that goes a little deeper than the other powerful executives who come here, why is that?”

I’m not sure if he wants you to know, but I’ll tell you anyway. He is the owner of The Designer Club.”

“The owner! Now I can understand a little better that level of excitement when he arrived the other night, he certainly seems well liked by everyone and no one seemed afraid of him”

“Everybody who works at The Designer Club loves him, he is like a father to many of us, he is very kind and thoughtful with everybody who works here and cares for them deeply… and somehow he is always very funny”

“It seems you have a very special connection with him”

“Oh, many people say that, he has always been kind and generous with me since I’ve known him”

“How long have you known him?

Laughing, “It seems like a very long time. Kamei san created The Designer Club many years ago, long before I started work here. It’s a hobby for him; Kamei Designs became successful so fast that he decided to create a place where people like him could come, relax and never have to worry about the stresses of their businesses or the chronic dramas of the street like crime, violence, politics and all the things these men usually try to avoid.”

“Don’t they ever discuss business in The Designer Club?”

“There are three other rooms in The Designer Club that are used for private parties and sometimes meetings, usually meetings having to do with the business aspect of The Designer Club. Usually Kamei san tries to avoid using The Designer Club as a business center; it was created for fun and pleasure and that’s what he wants it to be used for.”

Gianni and Kumiko talked about many things that night including the fact that they both would like to see each other occasionally someplace other than The Designer Club and they agreed they would create circumstances to make that happen as soon as possible.

Kumiko accompanied Gianni to the door as he was leaving and as they passed Miho san Gianni asked if he could sign now.

“Gianni san, you have become a permanent guest at The Designer Club, you never have to sign here again.”

Gianni was dumbfounded and Kumiko simply smiled and her eyes looked down like a parent understanding whom Santa Claus was when the child was delighted by some gift.

Continue to Section 7: The Message, The Shinkansen

Copyright 2005. Design by Rose Schweikhart