10.16.2002 (Wednesday), 10:13 PM

Trapped In An Elevator With Hamasaki Ayumi

No, really...my left arm you nut!

(Day #5 from my October 12-20th trip to Tokyo with my friend Les ...)

Wednesday started like yesterday and Monday...we went nonstop shopping again. At some point Les and I got separated and I ended up in an elevator on the way down from the seventh floor of the Animate Manga shop in Ikebukuro.

On the sixth floor, a familiar face entered the car and as the doors closed behind her, I was momentarily rendered breathless. A second later, the lights in the elevator browned-out then came back on. A second after that the car lurched to a halt.

OK...let's see. "Daijobu desu ka?" (are you ok?) says I. She turned around and damn, it was J-Pop superstar Hamasaki Ayumi! "Daijobu desu" (I'm okay) was the response.

Now I'm in a quandry...here is quite possibly one of the most famous music stars in all of Japan and she is 150% beautiful. I mean B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. Her face graces advertisements all over Japan, a major cell phone company (KDDI's TU-KA...say 'sue-kah') features her prominently, she's on at least one talk show a day and now I'm trapped in an elevator with her.

So...it's like the Star Trek Universal Translator™ kicks in and we're talking fluently about her songs and how she likes tako-yaki and why her face is plastered all over Tokyo. Shit, don't ask me what language...we were talking ok?

She's really nice and not a bit apprehensive that she's in a stuck elevator with big (and now slightly flop-sweaty) American guy who really knows nearly every one of her songs and would give his left arm to sing one karaoke version of "M" with her right here and now!

Then she stops mid-sentence and looks me straight in the eye. "I've never done this before", she says, coming closer. Now, I can feel the heat from her face and her hair is brushing my wrists as they hang helplessly not wanting to touch her for fear or breaking her. As she gets closer, she says "would you let me"? "Um...sure..." I stammer, wondering if she can tell that I had oniony oyako-don for lunch. "I'd like to...", I manage to blurt out...

Before I know it, she's got the end of my nose in between her first and second fingers and is making a great honking sound and grinning like a maniac. She continues this for a second or two then collapses in a heap of laughter in the corner of the elevator. "I love clowns", she gasps breathlessly. "They make me very happy."

With that, the elevator drops about 2 inches and then starts again on it's merry way. We reach the fifth floor, the doors open and she tosses me a grin and says "arigatou" (thanks) and is gone. Opening on the first floor, Les is in the middle of yet another buying frenzy but I don't have the energy to explain what happened. He just wouldn't understand.

Posted by wjc