I met this guy on the language learning app, HelloTalk where you put in your nationality and native language and the language you want to learn and it will allow you to connect to thousands of people who fluently speak your desired language and want to learn your native language.
Most of the people I talked to were girls my age and it's a great way to make friends and connections in other countries and you're learning about their culture as well as their language. I was and still am wanting to learn Japanese and I still have one or two people I met on the app as friends.
One day in September 2015, a boy about a year younger than me requested my friendship and usually I avoided the boys because most of them were just looking for relationships and I wasn't. But regardless, I accepted his request and we quickly became good friends. I don't want to use his real name so I'll just call him Hiro. There are millions of Hiros in Japan.
Most of my language skills came from him and at the same time, I was teaching him English. We Skyped a hell of a lot and this should have been my first sign of obsession. I'm talking about three times a day, every day. We didn't share a lot of common interests now that I look back. He was really into movies and fitness but I'm more into art and creativity and the movies I did like, he didn't. But for some reason, we were still very close friends.
About a month or two into our friendship, he started giving me compliments on my appearance which I thought were sweet and I returned those compliments. I thought it was just an act of friendship at first until they started to become more frequent and compliments you would give to your your long term girlfriend. I asked a few friends what this could mean and they all said that he likes me and I had this suspicion too. So I asked. He said that he likes me "as a woman" and I didn't understand that at the time because of the possible language barrier that may have been preventing him from telling me how he felt. But until New Years, I pretty much accepted that was his answer until he could find a better way to express it. A way I could understand a bit better.
On New Years eve, he asked me out over Skype. Not in a video chat, just over the messages and this shocked me because I had no idea what to say back. Keeping in mind, I had next to no romantic feelings for him and I couldn't think of a way to tell him that gently while getting around the language barrier. I couldn't say a flat "No" or "I don't like you" so my best option at the time was an "I don't know". We hadn't met at this point so I found it quite foolish do develop feelings for someone you only knew for three months and never met.
I eventually did accept some time after New Year simply because I thought it would be easier but, I don't know how, we broke up after no longer than a week because of long distance reasons but we still remained good friends.
Some time between then and summer, I started talking to him about my friends and their personalities. Two of them happened to be bisexual and this is when I detected the first red flag. He wasn't homophobic but for some reason, in his head, he thought that because they were bi and I hung out with them, I will turn bi too and I'd never want to date him. Keeping in mind we agreed that long distance would never work for us anyway. His opinion on LGBT is that he's fine with girls being in a gay relationship and open about it but he was fine with two guys being in a gay relationship as along as they didn't show PDA.
Eventually, because we were good friends, we decided that maybe we should make arrangements to meet up. He would have to visit the UK because there was no way in hell I could afford to go to Japan at the time. So I started to look for affordable hotels for him near my house. The cheapest I could find was pretty far and I'd have to take a bus there and back every day and I wan't really happy with that.
So I asked my mum what she thought we could do. To my surprize, she asked why we couldn't stay with us in our house. If I had a drink, I'd have spit it out. I hadn't had a sleepover in our house since I was seven because she simply never let me. Now, out of the blue, she's letting me bring a teenage boy home for the first time just because I asked for ideas on where to put him. (I was about 17 at the time). After asking if she was completely sure, I asked Hiro what he thought. He was very happy with it it and bought a plane ticked for the following August as fast as he could.
The first day was a little complicated because I told him to fly to Manchester Airport because he can easily get a train from there to Lancaster where we can pick him up. Nope. He flew to Heathrow Airport which is at the other end of the country. 280 miles to be exact, so there was no way we could get him. No way that was affordable, anyway.
You're probably wondering why a 16 year old boy was travelling this far on his own in the first place. I promise you, his mum was perfectly fine with it. In Japan, you can start travelling across the country at the age of nine as long as you know what you're doing and parents will feel fine about it. I guess Japan is just that safe. England, especially London, not so much.
When he arrived in the country, he was stopped at passport control because he was an underage boy flying half way across the world on his own. He had money but barely any change. Because all the restaurants were closed at 2AM, he had to get what he could from vending machines. A bottle of coke and a Dairy Milk chocolate bar.
After the airport got in touch with us and we explained what was going on, they gave him somewhere to stay and put him on a coach from Heathrow to Birmingham and then to Manchester. From there, he got a direct train to Lancaster and that's where Mum and I picked him up.
It was an awkward meeting. Mum waited in the car while I went to find him and because the Japanese aren't happy with PDA, even a hug would make them feel uncomfortable. Also we were like 20 minutes late because of traffic. This was the first time we saw each other in person and neither of us knew what to do. We couldn't hug so we stood, like, three feet from each other and exchanged "hi"s for a couple of minutes. The first conversation we had in person was him telling me my shoelace was undone and that he had OCD over things like that.
We got in the car and he was out like a light within ten minutes. He just fell asleep. I mean, I don't blame him for being tired. He had been flying for 21 hours and hadn't eaten or drank anything other than a chocolate bar and a bottle of coke over the course of two days. But I was kinda impressed at how suddenly he just fell unconscious.
When we got home, Mum went out and got a McDonald's and I think Hiro could have married her on the spot. My dog, surprisingly, loved him. My boarder collie, Bobby doesn't like to receive affection unless it's in the form of playing or giving food. He hates contact and has been like that since the day we got him. God forbid you give in a pat on the head. But Bobby absolutely loved Hiro like they were from the same litter. He's the only person I ever knew who is allowed to give any physical contact to Bobby.
After a few days of staying with us, my sister and I took him to Pizza Hut with a few of my friends. Hannah got along well with him because they watched a lot of the same anime. She was also one of the bisexual friends I told him about. My other friend, Charisse was the other. What I noticed as the day continued was that Hiro would try to stand between my bisexual friends and I as if they were getting too close in proximity to me for his liking.
We all went into TESCO afterwards because he said he needed a few things. It turns out that he didn't take into account that British summers can be very cold and only packed shirts and shorts with him to wear. The warmest thing he brought was a pair of hiking boots. So we had to get him a jacket and I should note that Hiro is much shorter than average. 5"3 when the average in the UK is 5"10 for males. Not only that, with clothes on, he looked so very scrawny like the wind could knock him down if it blew too hard. Not the case. Under his shirt is an eight pack and arms the size of my calf. I did say he was very into fitness.
But even the small men's sizes could fit three of him inside. We had to resort to a boy's medium. We also got him a pair of swimming trunks and a tooth brush. I remember, about twice a day, we went to a corner shop near my house because he liked the ham and cheese meal-deal sandwiches. On the first day, he got the last one and we had to keep checking back to see if they restocked. Eventually, they did and he couldn't be happier.
I remember he liked to compare me to other Japanese people he knew. Japanese people are naturally very tanned or naturally pale but never as pale as I was and they never had freckles. Maybe one or two at most. So he meets me and looks at my skin and exclaims "You're so white!" and I'm like "...yeah. You only just noticed?" Also because different parts of my body have different coloured hair, I was like a rainbow to him. Japanese people all have black hair all over their body. Black hair on their head, black eye brows, black leg hair, etc. I have naturally red hair, dark brown eyebrows, brown leg hair and blonde arm air so he was very surprised by that. He also ate a hell of a lot of eggs and milk and would compare his skin to our brown eggs because in Japan, they only have white eggs. The nickname he gave me was Marsh-mellow-chan because I'm "White and sweet". My nickname for him was Tamago-chan (Egg-chan) because he loved eggs and talked about how they matched his skin.
One day, we took him to my granddad's house who lives about a 40 minute drive away. The same thing happened on the way back from Lancaster. He was out like a light within the first 10 minutes of driving. I think he enjoyed it there but his romantic feelings started showing about then. As well as his possessive tendencies.
The day we visited was the same day my uncle had come back to the UK to live from Switzerland and I hadn't seen him in about three years. According to Hiro, I wasn't allowed to have a catch up session. I understand there was a language barrier with everyone else since no one spoke Japanese and he could only speak minimal English and I kind of took myself off with my uncle. But still.
Because of the lack of free rooms, my youngest sister, Hiro and I had to share the last one. In our house, Hiro took my bed while I took my youngest sister's bed and she stayed with my mum in her bed. Hiro and I hadn't shared a room till now and looking back on how he acted since arriving, I knew it wasn't just going to be a normal sleepover.
During the night, he got out of the camp bed my granddad made for him and got into the double bed with my sister and I and started spooning me. I was very surprised by this since this is the furthest I had ever gotten with any guy. To try to make it less awkward for my sister, I told her that he was just cold.
One thing lead to another and we ended up kissing because I panicked and I had no idea what to do to tell him to not hurt his feelings. I thought kissing him would be easier. That evolved into a french kiss and I'm no expert but I'm pretty sure you're supposed to move your tongue for that. He didn't. It was in my mouth but it just sat there.
The next day, we went to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and the only ride he agreed to go on was the Alice in Wonderland ride because any other ride, he said, would give him motion sickness. That explains why he falls asleep in the car. The whole time we were there, he tried to hold my hand and I just felt so awkward because I didn't like Hiro like he liked me and I just felt so guilty from that. I didn't want to lead him on but I had no idea how not to in a way that he'd get the message. My Japanese is terrible and the whole time he was with us, I just felt the need to take the easy way. It was easy for him, but not for me.
At the end of the day, I tried to explain that I like him a lot but I don't want a relationship. He said he understood but I really don't think he did. He still continued to spoon me and trying to hold my hand. One night, he snuck into my sisters' room where I was sleeping and spooned me. I woke up with an arm around my waist and he was sound asleep behind me. Mum thought we had sex and she won't let me forget it.
We went to the Trafford Centre in Manchester one day and he bought me an adorable Baymax TsumTsum toy you could use as a pillow. I still have it. I think that was the last fun, not awkward day we had in those two weeks. We were staying at my Dad's house that weekends and he has a girlfriend with a daughter who I'm pretty good friends with. According to Hiro, I was picking her over him because I can have more of a conversation with her than him which was true. We both speak English so starting and maintaining a conversation with her is a lot easier than with Hiro.
All in all, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy having Hiro around. I was very sad to see him leave on the train. Thankfully, this was a direct train to Heathrow so there were no complications getting him home. One thing I forgot to mention was that he left half of his clothes here because he wanted to make room for the mega marsh-mellows and jellybeans he was bringing back with him. I'm pretty sure we still have his Harry Potter shirt and another white shirt that my sister had claimed ownership of.
It was after he went home that his possessiveness became a big issue. Before long, I had to tell him my weekly plans, what time I was going, where, who with, their relation to me, their sexuality and what time I'd be back. Anyone who liked girls was a threat to him. I don't like girls, personally, but he thought that being around girls who do will turn me gay and he didn't want that. Whenever I didn't have plans was our Skype time, no exceptions.
Lord forbid I don't keep to my plans because he would throw a fit of rage about me not being loyal and that he had to wait for me. I sure as hell wasn't putting up with that every week so I told him to sort his attitude out or I'll never contact him again. I gave him five chances. He kept his promise to behave and treat me as an individual for a few weeks and then went straight back to keeping me on a leash. He couldn't understand that I can't get WiFi all the time when I'm outside.
I gave him five chances and he didn't stick to it no matter how many times I said I wasn't his possession and that I simply didn't like him like that. So after he broke his promise for the fifth time, I stopped talking to him completely. It was the classic "I promise I can change" but surprise surprise, he didn't. Not for very long, anyway.
So here we are, January 2018 and I haven't sent him anything. He started pestering my mum for a while on Skype. Mum liked Hiro like he was her son and she was pretty annoyed at me for cutting all ties with him but she quickly grew to understand why I did because he started to become very annoying to her. Not in the same way he was with me, just constant messaging all the time until she shooed him off.
There has been no contact since.