Tuesday, April 8

The cherry blossoms are in full bloom in the city, and for me, cherry blossoms always evoke the beginning of a new school year. This means that after the two-week break of spring vacation, we can once again enjoy the sight of schoolgirls in their uniforms. And, of course, the sight of pink cherry blossom petals clinging to a girl’s high school uniform pleasantly reminds me of another kind of petal, also pink, and just as lovely.

Pale petals on blue,
in the scent of the damp breeze,
my own secret spring.

An interesting thing happened this evening after I’d had a delightful walk to admire the blossoms. I had dropped into the local convenience store to buy something to eat when I noticed a high school girl browsing through a magazine at the magazine section. I turned my course to that area, as a matter of habit. She was in her school uniform, but I didn’t recognize what school she belonged to.

She had dyed her shoulder-length hair a chestnut brown, in a tint so rich that the navy blue color of her uniform sweater set it off stunningly. She had that particularly smug and confident look which more and more young girls have these days. With all the attention they get from the media, it’s no wonder they believe they’re at the center of the universe.

Each year, it seems, high school girls are getting taller, more long-legged and larger-breasted. When I was their age, most of my female classmates were my height, or even slightly shorter. But now, when I get on a train filled with sailor-suit uniforms, I barely reach their earlobes. It must be the changed diet now; more meat and protein in the Japanese diet. And because young people don’t sit in the formal posture on tatami mats anymore, preferring chairs instead, we have these girls with long, straight legs and nicely rounded bottoms. They aren’t so concerned with study, either, and that also contributes to their good looks.

And their faces, sometimes with the help of expensive cosmetic surgery paid for by their indulgent parents, are getting more and more beautiful. At the same time, their haughtiness grows, almost in proportion with their beauty. Maybe it’s because of their physical maturity, but their bodies just seem so adult, so much older than their minds. And in their eyes is a mocking, superior knowledge, as if they know something you don’t, something which you are just too dense to notice.

Replacing the magazine on the rack, I reached for another one, the movement inadvertently bringing my body just a little bit closer to hers.

Just then, a middle-aged man addressed the girl. “Wait a minute, Ami.”

He had bent down and was examining the skirt of her uniform. He was in his late forties, dressed in his business suit, no doubt on his way home from work. And I knew from the tone of his voice that he was addressing his daughter. They’d probably met at the station and had dropped in here before heading home.

The father had squatted down and taken the hem of his daughter’s skirt in his fingers, peering closely at something there. The girl gave the barest of glances down at him.

I tried to see what he was examining and noticed a white spot on the navy-blue pleats.

“What’s this?” he said.

The girl bent her head slightly to look down. “Oh.” She shrugged. “Someone must have done a nasty on the train again.” Her tone of voice made it obvious that it was just another little nuisance in the routine of her day.

Since her father was there, that left nothing for me to do but resume what I’d first come to do. I replaced the magazine and wandered over to the instant foods. I found something I wanted, the kind of food you can heat up in a microwave oven and eat right away, then went over to the counter and paid for it. As I headed out the door, I glanced back once more in the direction of the magazine racks. The father was down on his knees, his pocket handkerchief out, furiously wiping away at the criminal spot, while his daughter, her attention completely engrossed in the fashion magazine in her hands, showed the majestic unconcern of a princess being waited on by a maid-in-waiting.

Like all men my age, I worship these saucy little vamps, so I could understand the feelings of the culprit who’d left his signature on the girl’s skirt. In a crowded train rocking gently at curves, it’s so easy (if you master the moves, that is) to “accidentally” be swayed against a girl passenger’s backside while she herself is so engrossed in her vapid conversation with her girlfriend—or better yet, with her boyfriend—that she doesn’t even notice the faceless middle-aged commuter standing just behind her, or his tribute to her beauty surreptitiously jetting onto her skirt.

Standing in a train full of high school girls is like swimming in a sea of girl hair, their shoulder kerchiefs hanging down their straight backs, the pleated skirts of their uniforms brushing against the front of your pants. Who can blame that unknown admirer for being unable to resist such temptations? He was only doing what all men wish to do in their hearts, if only they were bold enough. To be able to besmirch the haughty pride of a beautiful young girl, especially if she is wearing her school uniform…what a dream situation.

What is it about a girl’s high school uniform which sets up this magical ambience? I’ve often wondered about this. Is it the memory of our own high school days, the period when we are most intensely aware of girls as girls, and they were all around us in the classroom? Has that memory seeped into all of our awareness of women? Or is it that the uniform symbolizes a certain innocence, a purity which we long to sully, the pure white page upon which we wish to scribble our obscene graffiti?

There is also the age difference between a girl in a school uniform and a man approaching forty. It’s the very gap between my desires and the possibility of their ever being fulfilled which whets them.

When we are in our teens, we can at least live with the hope that we will someday have a girlfriend our age. If it doesn’t happen in our teens, we postpone it to our early twenties, when we feel we are more sophisticated and experienced enough to appeal to such a girl. When the twenties pass and it still hasn’t happened, we rely on a young girl who goes for older men. It is said that 15 years is the maximum age difference in which sexual attraction can still be felt for another, so that means the upper limit for a 17-year-old girl is about thirty-two.

Now that I am approaching forty, I know it will never happen. I might still have a chance with a young woman in her twenties, possibly, if I am supremely lucky. And as for a woman in her thirties (there are so many attractive ones that it is heartening!), there is always a slim but not negligible chance that she might someday grant me her favors. But a teenaged girl is completely out of the question, and that has added a note of finality to my life. At my age, all teenaged girls look good. The very fact that they are under twenty and wear a school uniform every day makes them desirable. Sometimes it’s enough to feast my eyes on them to make me feel as if I’d enjoyed a full, hearty meal.

The best place to observe a high school girl is someplace where she feels at home. Ideally, you would want to hide in her room and listen to her chat with her girlfriends, or have a microphone concealed in her telephone. But barring these, there are still many good spots.

I like to catch them in a hamburger restaurant. After school, you will find them flocking there. Nowhere else can you catch such a wealth of young-girl fragrance without attracting unwanted attention to yourself. You should get there a little early, just before school ends, so you can be sure—as you gaze out the window and see one group, then another group of schoolgirls passing by—that before long, the tables around you will begin filling up with them, and soon the silence of the restaurant—the background music—will be drowned out by their silly chatter…the lazy, nasal tones of their voices, and the languid way they slur their vowels, the special vocabulary they use, with words which are too cute and arcane.

They speak so loudly most times that I’m tempted to think they desire to be overheard, to be made much of, even by an unknown listener, for even here they want to be the center of attention. I have been shocked by some of the things I’ve heard. It’s almost as if they were trying to outdo each other with tales of their lascivious doings. Not for them the gossip which schoolgirls of my youth indulged in, the chat about pop idols or teachers or even boyfriends. These are girls who carry contraceptives on them to school for sheer daring. “You never know when they might come in handy….”

As for their boyfriends, the girls are quite blunt. They play them off one another, compare them, rate them. Their interest in boys seems the very opposite of romantic. I’m sure most boys would be appalled to learn how they are being talked about. These girls talk about their boyfriends’ penises, their differing sizes and shapes, about how boys have a complex about having hooded penises, and about the various idiosyncrasies in their styles of lovemaking. Boys these days have become emasculated by their worship of girls. The properties of the sexes have been changed around…so much so that I’m tempted to ask: which is the dominant gender now? It makes me disgusted to see the way a boy will play up to his pampered girlfriend, even carrying her purse for her, waiting on her outside the ladies’ room, holding up the compact mirror for her on the train as she checks her makeup.

Most of their schools no longer check the girl students’ undergarments anymore, so they are free to wear such things as T-back or “thong” panties to school. Such panties reveal perfectly the shape of the girls’ buttocks underneath their uniform skirts, especially if those skirts are short and tight. I’ve heard these girls bragging about getting the men teachers excited. No naiveté for them…they know exactly what’s going on in their teachers’ minds. And they consciously play upon these teachers’ sexual desires to get passing grades. “I went to Mr. So-and-So’s desk after class to ask him some questions. He kept me there for ages because I was sitting there with my legs crossed like this. I purposely re-crossed them about ten times. By that time, I think he was afraid to get up from his desk….”

“My PE teacher always goes around with a boner in his pants, seeing us in our PE shorts and t-shirts. I know where his eyes are when I’m doing my laps. I’ve known since I was an elementary school student.”

“Men teachers always walk around the class a lot more during the spring, after we’ve changed to our summer uniforms with the white cotton blouses you can almost see through. They want to get a closer look at our boobs from every angle….”

They will talk about the number of times so-and-so has had sex with boys. And how brave—or foolish—she is for allowing her lovers to ejaculate into her without a condom…in their parlance, doing a “raw jack.”

They talk about the times they call a telephone club. “Just listening to the disgusting men over the phone makes me laugh. You know what they’re doing, some of them, barely able to breathe from their excitement, trying to act as if they’re just having a conversation with you. I like to yell out something like: ‘Don’t dirty your suit!’ before I cut the connection. What a joke.”

“And the ones that want to meet you. Offering money up front.”

“At least they’re honest about it.”

“Would you do it?”

“I don’t know. Maybe if he offered me enough.”

They’ve broken all the old rules. Nothing is sacred to them any longer. I know many of them get their information from the girls’ comics, which nowadays deal quite explicitly with sexual matters. The advice columns are filled with frank questions about sexual technique: the best ways to give fellatio, how to masturbate your boyfriend, how to make the sexual act last much longer.

It’s enough to make you think that these girls have just one thing on their minds. Sometimes, I swear, these girls become so excited and drunk on their own talk, you can all but smell their clams. Even amid the pungent odors of hamburgers and French fries, you can catch that faint elusive scent of the mollusk which is at the root of all their beings, and which is their main reason for existence.

Sitting in my booth, unnoticed, I mentally record their conversations and store them away. If I’m lucky, I can see the girl who’s talking reflected in the mirror. I want to see her face, the face behind the lascivious remarks. And she usually lives up to my expectations: mini-skirted, legs crossed up high, white baggy socks sagging at the ankles, sipping her milk shake, her bra cups clearly visible under her white blouse.

A girl in the corner with her compact out is applying lipstick, and her girlfriend next to her is pulling out her own tiny makeup bag, peering into the mirror on the wall, picking out an eyelash, examining her hair for split ends. They make themselves so much at home in these hamburger restaurants, completely unconcerned about the postures of their legs, those legs so fresh-looking and without the need for stockings. I stare boldly into the mirror until one of the girls notices, and she leans to her friend and points me out. They know they are being watched, and desired. I get up and take my tray to the trash chute. And I know that the girl who was doing most of the talking is probably looking at me. And she will see that my condition is just as she described her PE teacher’s. Are you satisfied now? Have you got what you were after? Feast your eyes on it. You called it up, from the very moment you sat down and crossed your legs.

Behind their sneers of contempt for me, they hide a pleased vanity. Don’t I know it.


“Pink Petals of Desire” is an excerpt from Joji Numata’s memoir, A Japanese Sex Pervert’s Diary.