I first met Judy when I attended summer school two years ago. The minute I saw her face I was in love with her. Judy had the most striking eyes; they would penetrate mine and make me feel vulnerable. I liked that. I asked her out on a first date and she agreed. The date went fantastically. We had a candlelight dinner, watched a movie, and took a stroll in the park. The date was like a fairy tale come true. I walked her to her door, and we bid each other goodbye. She asked me if I wanted to kiss. I responded by pulling her lips onto mine. The kiss was beautiful. I never felt anything like it. At that moment, a thought occurred to me. I thought that maybe Judy wanted to have sex. So, I asked her. She looked me in the eye. Tears were starting to fall from her beautiful eyes. “I knew it! You guys all look for the same thing. I never should have gone out with you,” she cried. I was terrified. I knew that our relationship could possibly end right then and there. I tried to comfort her, but it was no use. She opened her front door and slammed it in my face. That was the end of our date.

The next day I saw Judy at school. I said “hi” to her but she ignored me. Our teacher had decided to split the class up into groups that day, and I was assigned to be Judy’s partner. What luck, I thought. I slowly walked over to sit next to her. She didn’t say a word. I started doing all the work myself, because Judy was just sitting there. Our teacher noticed that and asked her why she wasn’t participating. There was a terrible silence. Suddenly, Judy burst into tears and ran out of the classroom. The teacher looked at me and asked me if I knew what was wrong. I dared not tell her. I asked to go to the bathroom and maybe see if I could talk to Judy. Judy was sitting in the hall, her arms cradling her head. She was crying. I sat down next to her. I begged her not to cry. She finally spoke to me. “I trusted you. But you defied that trust. How could you? I really liked you.” I didn’t know what to say. So stupidly, I asked her why she didn’t have sex with me if she liked me. This time I had really done it. She screamed in her loudest voice and slapped me in the face. Then she walked away.

I returned to the classroom, silent. Judy later came back, too. She pretended like nothing had happened. The only difference now was that she didn’t speak to me. I knew that I had lost her forever. We finished our group work silently. That was the last thing that we ever did together. When I look back on what happened today, this question crosses my mind: how could I have been so stupid to assume that a little kiss could give me the right to ask for sex? I am mature enough now to ask myself that question. And I am also mature enough now to know that I lost something that can never be replaced. Judy.

Junior Prom Pressure

“Would it be worth it if you got some pussy?”

“I don’t know man, I’m not sure about this. What if I get a disease? What if I get her pregnant?”

“Use a condom, then.”

“Yeah, what if the condom breaks?”

“Dude, what’s wrong with you? Everyone likes to have sex. Seems like you’re the only one that doesn’t.”

“Naw, I like sex, it’s just that all the things that could come after it scare me.”

“That’s your problem, you’re too scared. I think you’re just chicken.”

“No! I’m not chicken. Watch, you’ll see. I’ll be the only one getting pussy on prom night while you’ll be at home jacking off.”

I left Dave with a statement that made me sound sure of myself, even though I wasn’t. It was the week before Junior Prom, and everyone was talking about how Dave was going to sleep with Heather and how Ben was going to get it on with Danielle. For me, it was Rose. Rose had the perfect body. Everyone said that I was the luckiest guy on Earth when she asked me to the Prom. I asked them why but all they did was wink and nudge their sharp elbows at me. I didn’t know why it was so important for me to have sex with Rose even though I didn’t want to. My friends and I even had a hotel room reserved for that night.

When the night finally came, the pressure on me was tremendous. It was as if I was on a stage and all eyes were fixed on me. Ben, Dave, and I had dinner with our dates first. After dinner, we checked into the room that would become a pressure cooker later. The room was beautiful: two king-sized beds placed side by side in the middle, a television placed so that it could be watched while in bed(though later the t.v. wouldn’t be necessary), and a glass window that treated the occupants of the room with a pleasant view of the city below. We placed what luggage we had on the dresser and left the room.

After we had unpacked and marveled at our room, we went down to the convention hall. The hall had a small, wooden dance floor in the middle. The rest of the room was filled with chairs and tables so those not dancing could sit and socialize. The hall could easily have carried a thousand people.

The hall began to fill up with those one thousand people. The voices of these enthusiastic prom-goers echoed through the walls of the hall. One voice, however, was quiet. For some reason, Rose never talked. When I asked her if she wanted a drink, she just nodded her head. She never talked. Maybe she was just as nervous as I was.

As the night passed, Rose and I danced. Dancing with Rose was a new experience, as I held her in my arms and pulled her close to me. The night went smoothly except when every two or three songs, someone I didn’t know would walk up to me and wink at me or give me one of those smiles that says “I know something you don’t know.” Overall, I had an uplifting time at the Prom. I wished it would never end, but like everything in this world, as soon as I wished it, the Prom was over. It was time to return to our room; it was time to do what I didn’t want to do.

The click of the room door lock announced our entrance into our room. Ben had brought his cassette player, and he put on some sensuous music. He claimed that that kind of music would put me in the “mood.” As the girls came out of the bathroom, a look of hunger descended upon both of my friends’ faces. They divided the room into two parts: a blanket hung down the ceiling separated the room into two sections, each section having one bed. Ben and Dave took the beds, while I was assigned the bathroom.

Rose and I were in the bathroom now, alone. What would I do? I was so scared. Then, for the first time that night, Rose spoke. “Well, what are you waiting for? Are you gonna fuck me or not?” she demanded. I was truly surprised. Below the coat of nervousness and quietness was a sex-hungry, no care for anything else freak. I knew my reputation was on the line, so I told her that I would do what she wanted, but only if proper protection was used. She brought out a condom and placed it on the counter. I took the condom, turned on the shower, and went in. She came in after me. Then, we did it.

After that night, I tried to uncover a reason for why I did what I did. I couldn’t find one. Clearly, I did something that I was against doing, and it was too late to regret. Rose never did talk to me again, but that’s just as well, because I didn’t want to talk to her. Because of my carelessness, I lost something that I know now was very important to me: my virginity.

Why You at the Toy Store, Old Man?

Author’s Note: The objective of this writing assignment was to write my autobiography or a biography of someone else. I decided to do the latter, and thus went on a search for an interview subject. While looking around in a toy store, I happened to find Walter Kasahara, a Japanese senior citizen, for my interview. The following is a recount of what happened, and what I learned.

The place is FAO Schwartz, the biggest toy store in Downtown San Francisco. I’m looking around for a person who looks like he may have an interesting story to tell. The toy store is so spacious that three flights of escalators must be taken in order to reach the top floor. In fact, it took me half an hour to find the place where I was going: the video game department. Since I was in a toy store, I thought I might take a look at what new high-tech games were on sale. The toy store was very crowded, hundreds of people looking at thousands of toys stacked on shelves and on the floor. I had to stand in a line of twenty people just to try out one of the three video games on display. The person behind me was the perfect subject for my interview.

Brown-skinned and white-haired was the man behind me. His hair was not an ordinary white, though. When I looked at it, I was reminded of snow in the Sierras, of vanilla ice cream, of writing paper. His skin was a light dark, that is, neither too dark nor too light. His forehead was small; he is one of very few older men who have not lost their hair yet. His eyes were dark brown, like dark chocolate. His nose was pointed at the end and was large, walnut-sized. His lips were thick and full; when he smiled, he resembled Santa Claus giving out presents to all the greedy little children.

That was exactly what he was doing: playing Santa Claus. He told me that he was looking for a toy for his grandson. He had wanted a video game for Christmas but Grandpa couldn’t afford it until now. I asked him if he was in financial trouble, and he said sadly, “I am currently unemployed, and my life savings ran out years ago. My family takes care of me, but for once, I actually wanted to buy something for the kid(the grandson) with my own money. So, I got a part-time job as a dish washer and also started recycling cans and bottles. I finally have enough money after four months.” “Why are you looking for a game here, then?” I asked him. “Don’t you know that this store is probably the most expensive in San Francisco?” “I didn’t know that, all I knew was that my grandson wanted a video game and this place had it. Do you know where else video games are sold?” I told him that I would inform him of the cheap video game store locations if he promised to let me interview him. “Alright,” he said, “sounds fair. Fire away.” And that is how my interview began.

First, I had to ask him if it was alright if I took notes on what he said. He told me it was alright, and I asked him how old he was. “I’m seventy years old, but I feel like I’m fifty.” “The retirement age here is sixty-five, isn’t it?” I asked him. “Yes, I believe it is,” he replied, “and I know what your next question will be so I’ll just tell you. When I retired, I received a sum of money from my boss, and had about a hundred thousand dollars in my bank account. It still is vague to me, I didn’t even know what was going on. My nephew was a stock broker. He told me that if I put my retirement money into stocks, it would double or even triple. So, without knowing what the hell I was doing, I gave him a check for a hundred thousand dollars. I actually thought that I could get rich. Instead, my nephew disappeared and so did my money. Ever since that incident, I have never trusted anyone on anything.” “Wow, that is a really interesting yet sad story,” I said. “But what about me? Are you going to trust me when I tell you the place of the cheap video game store?” I joked. “Yes, I trust you, you look very innocent, like a little baby,” he chuckled, and we just stood there for a while and laughed, as if to hide his pain from losing so much money.

After that relieving laugh session, I began to wonder why he was lining up to sample the games if he was buying them for his grandson. So, I asked him: “Why are you lined up to try a game? I thought you said you’re buying it for your grandson; shouldn’t he be here to test it out himself?” “Well, he already knows what title he wants. I just want to try it out to see where my hard earned money is going to. Besides, I haven’t had time to release myself in a long while. I hear that video games are very relaxing.” I myself am an avid video game player, and the more I talked to this man, the more I liked him. Then I realized that I had not even introduced myself yet. My face began to turn red, and I felt a rushing of blood into my head. “Oops, I’m sorry, but I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Jonathan, Jonathan Young.” “It’s alright, I forgot to tell you my name, too. I’m Walter Kasahara. Nice to meet you, Jonathan.” He offered me his hand, and I took it. His grip was tight, I felt like I was shaking hands with a person that had gone through many hardships. Somehow I felt that this was true, that he had had to suffer a lot before. “Are you Japanese, Walter?” I asked him. “Yes, how did you know?” he asked jokingly. “What’s so funny?” I wondered out loud. “Nothing, just that I thought you would know I am Japanese from my name.” “Well, can you tell what I am from my name?” I challenged him. “No, I can’t, but I would assume you were mixed from looking at you.” “How did you know?” He smiled as if he had solved the greatest mystery of all time. “That I’m not?” I said slyly. “Oh, you tricked me! What are you then?” I informed him that I was Chinese.

On a more serious note, I thought I might ask him where he was in World War II. Knowing that he is Japanese and is old enough to have lived during the war, I said: “Where were you during World War II?” He then told me a story that I will never forget. Walter was a Nisei, meaning that he was born here by Japanese parents, who were known as Issei, those Japanese who emigrated here. On the day when the Japanese airforce bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and started the war, Walter knew that he would not be able to live normally as he did before. At the time, he lived in Hawaii, close to the site of the bombing. When President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, Walter and his family were forced to live in internment camps. They were shipped from Hawaii and sent to an internment camp in Fresno, California. They had nothing, except their clothes. In the camps, they were given absolutely no human rights at all. Walter revealed that he would have rather died than live on. Soldiers beat Walter, raped his mother and sister, and herded his family like animals. Walter’s mother could not endure the pain and suffering and killed herself. As Walter told me about this, a tear fell from his eye. “You know, if this is too hard for you, you don’t have to tell me anymore,” I suggested. But Walter went on to tell me that in the winters, temperatures would drop to at least ten to twenty degrees below zero. In the summer, the temperatures would rise to the hundreds range. All in all, this period in time caused Walter a lot of hardship, and I could tell that he still felt the pain.

A little more composed, Walter revealed that when the war ended, a friend in Hawaii informed Walter that his family’s property had been severely damaged. He thanked his friend for caring for his land, and gave it to him, although he knew that his friend was probably involved in damaging it. Penniless, he decided to move to San Francisco where an uncle of his lived. His uncle was lucky and had been able to sell his belongings before the executive order was enforced. “I remember that he was so nice to me and let me live with him,” Walter recalled. Since then, Walter has married and has had three children and nine grandchildren. “I just love those grandkids; that’s why I worked so hard just to buy him a game.”

Just as he said those words, the person trying the game in front of us finished. “Here, now you can find out where all your hard-earned money is going to.” He picked up the controller and began playing. “I don’t think my money will be put to good use if I buy this. This game is not relaxing!” Walter chuckled. I knew, however, that he liked the game a lot. He just didn’t want to show it to me. “You know, even though I don’t like this game that much, I know my grandson wants it really bad, so I’ll buy it. You promised me that you would tell me where to get this game cheap, now tell me,” he insisted. “Alright, I’ll tell you. It will be on sale here tomorrow in the special one-hour sale at 3:00 pm.” I was lying to him because I had a surprise for him. “You mean I have to come back to this damn place? Alright, anything to save a dollar. Hey, it was nice talking to you Jonathan, but now I must leave now that I’ve tested the game. My son will probably be worried about me. Well, if fate brings us together again, I’ll see you. Bye!” “Bye, ” I said. I was thinking that fate must be really predictable, because I knew I was going to meet him again the next day. The game that he wanted, Street Fighter Alpha, just happened to be a game I was selling. But instead of selling it to him, I decided to give it to him. Here is what happened: I went back to the store the next day at 3:00 pm. I saw Walter standing around looking lost. I walked up to him and saw that he had his grandson with him. Grandson was dragging Grandpa to the checkout to get the game. Secretly, I slipped the game into Walter’s hand. He turned around and I gave him a big smile. He tried to refuse it, but I waved him off and left him with his eager and now screaming grandson.

That was just about how my encounter with Walter occurred. Never have I met such a man with such a background, a background full of pain and hardships. His own nephew swindled him, his country mistreated him, and his mother passed away on him. If any of these things happened to me, I know that I’d be too devastated to live. But Walter did not quit on himself and kept going, fought through all of those hardships. I have learned so much from these hardships. Before Walter, I never knew that the American Government mistreated Japanese Americans and wrongly accused them of sabotage during World War II. I never knew that someone as close to you as your nephew could swindle you. And I never knew what it would be like if my mother was not there for me. From these three events, I’ve learned that wrongly accusing someone can cause much harm, that relatives cannot always be trusted, and that my mother will not always be there for me. My interview with Walter really made me look closer at the things I normally take for granted! For my closing remark, I would like to make this statement:

“Thank you, Walter, for helping me see that life is not just fun and pleasure. Thank you for teaching me to be cautious of the people around me. I hope that you and your family prosper in the future and that you live the rest of your life in happiness.”

Plight of the Jew

In World War II if you were a Jew,
Then country Germany would be looking for you,
To be gassed in the gas chamber,
Transverse to that never ending slumber,
Known as death, a thing that everyone fears,
And it was fear, that caused all the hate,
The kind that delivered the Jews their fate.

Shipped onto trains, unaware,
Of the pains and the torture they were to fare,
They could’ve been deported but instead,
They were sorted like cattle by their heads.
Women, children, and also men,
Being transported to the gen-
Ocide, cloaked with a coat of relief,
Who knew that the Germans would deceive?

Come with us, they said,
We’ll give you shelter and keep you well fed,
But what they didn’t say was that we’ll make you dead.
So come on over and give me your head,
And then I’ll strip off your clothes and shoot you dead.

Oh no, killing with the bullet is just too slow,
We need to find a quicker way for them to go,
I know, how about with gas?,
It kills ’em really fast,
And we can kill a thousand of them in one blast.

Finally, the war was ended,
But Germany, they were never amended,
The man behind the terror was insanely demented,
And so he died, and many people cried,
But not for him, for the people he killed,
For those innocent Jewish six mil.

The lesson to be learned on this day,
Is that killing and fighting just don’t pay,
War is bad; war is not the way,
Open up your ears and hear me say:
Six million people died in vain,
Don’t ever let it happen, ever again.

The Cloud of Thoughts

A cloud is drifting over my head,
As I lie on my green grass bed,
As it drifts, so do I,
To a far away land I will fly.

I open my eyes and what do I see,
I see things that fill me with glee,
These gleeful things, what could they be
But thoughts that only I could see.

These spirits of my mind float about,
Waiting for me to find a route,
That would make these thoughts come true,
Here I come spirits, I’m coming through!

When I wake up I have this urge,
A sort of energy surge,
That makes me want to jump right up,
And fill my mind that’s like a cup.

So if you ever lie on grass,
Think of me and try to grasp,
That cloud of dreams, that cloud of thoughts,
And fulfill the dream that you have sought.