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I can’t forget a man I met during my study abroad

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my 40s who works as a company receptionist. I can’t forget a male British diplomat whom I met and had a brief conversation with in London last year.

At that time, I was on a short-term study trip. I expected to meet a member of the opposite sex in Britain. Sure enough, I met the diplomat when I asked for directions on a street. I learned that he liked Japan, and we soon hit it off. We went to a coffee shop to talk more.

He listened intently to my poor English. He asked with interest about my work and the school I was attending at the time. I began feeling very attracted to him and became nervous — my hand holding the cup even began to shake. Because I was so self-conscious, I said to him, “I have to go now,” and left the shop.

Once I calmed down, I noticed I hadn’t told him that I liked him. I also realized that I had missed a good opportunity. I tried to trace him using his name and profession as a diplomat, but I couldn’t find any information about him.

I went to London for short-term study again this year and frequented the coffee shop. But I didn’t see him again.

I very much regret that I wasn’t honest with my feelings at the time. If I were younger, I could have taken this incident as a precious lesson and learned from it for next time.

S, Saitama Prefecture

Dear Ms. S:

London, a diplomat, a conversation at a coffee shop. Your letter containing these elements seems to depict a scene in a film. I feel you must have been a girl with many hopes and dreams.

Many men in the West are kind to women they have just met. If these men like Japan and meet a Japanese woman who needs help, they probably offer a helping hand like gentlemen. So I wonder: What on earth do you want? Do you feel such kindness was exceptional and extended to you alone?

I apologize if I sound rude, but you indulge yourself in pursuing your dream, don’t you? Of course, some people could fall in love at first sight. However, such incidents occur as people steadily move through life, and not when they just pine for love.

Do you think women who just wait around for a chance to fall in love look charming to men? You should explore how to live life in your own way, rather than just looking for a chance to meet a man.

If you devote yourself entirely to sincere living, it will make you look attractive and offer you a chance to meet your fate regardless of your age.

Junko Umihara, psychiatrist

(from Dec. 24, 2015, issue)Speech

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