In 1992, after graduation from university, I went to teach English in Tokyo, Japan. My girlfriend, whom I had met at university in London (UCL) came with me and I stayed at her parents' house in NakaJujo. I had lived there for about 3 weeks when she and I decided to go to Roppongi for a drink. We were walking down the street talking. I was talking about my friends from university, some of whom she knew. One of them was called Simon. As we approached and entered the Gas Panic bar I was talking about Simon and when I opened the door Simon was sat there at the bar. Unbeknownst to me, he had also decided to live in Tokyo and go for a drink at that bar, on that same night. Some facts: Roppongi is the most popular place in Tokyo, and therefore Japan, for foreigners or 'gaijin' to hang out. If you were going to meet someone by co-incidence it would be in Roppongi. Gas Panic is / was one of 3 or 4 very popular bars for foreign tourists in Roppongi. Simon was not a very close friend at university (although we became much closer whilst living in Tokyo). I absolutely didn't tell him that I was planning to live in Tokyo whilst we were in UCL together as I only decided to go once I had left UCL. He was therefore as surprised as me at the coincidence. What strikes me as being hugely co-incidental is the fact that I was talking about him at the very moment that I was walking through the door at Gas Panic - despite the fact that he was not one of my 4 best friends but one of perhaps 8 people in a group of acquaintances with whom I used to go socialising. It wasn't at all uncommon for British graduates to decide to teach English in Tokyo in the early nineties. The Japanese economy was booming and the wages offered to English teachers were attractive. At my language school, of the roughly 12 teachers, 3 were from the UK. After I had got over the shock of seeing him, I told him that I had literally just been talking about him seconds earlier and he told me that he too, had been thinking about me just minutes earlier, although I cannot verify this - it may just have been a reciprocal pleasantry. We later realised that we were both working for the same chain of language schools (Nova), although Nova was, at the time, the largest chain of language schools in Tokyo. He was living in Higashi Jujo, one tube stop, and 10 minutes walk, from where I was living in Nakajujo.
Date submitted:Mon, 09 Jul 2012 20:50:36 +0000Coincidence ID:6441