When Norika and I were Younger By Emi Tsuruta – part – 4

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part – 1 , part – 2 , part – 3

Hi, it’s me, Emi, again. Sorry that it’s taken me so long to write. It’s been a busy spring. At the beginning of April, I had all these essays due and then my final exams, and as soon as that was all over, I went home to Japan for a couple of months. I’m back now though, so I finally have the time to sit down, and bring you up to date on what’s been happening. When I left for Japan at the beginning of April, my boyfriend Ryosuke stayed here in California, and we didn’t really do anything exciting before I left, so there’s not much to tell about that.

I missed him, of course, and thought about him a lot. The night before I left, he gave me this necklace and locket with a picture of the two of us in it, and whenever I got lonely, I would take it out, and look at it. I guess what I really want to tell you about though are some of the things that I remembered from my childhood when I went back home. Ever since Ryosuke and I started getting into… well, you know, the outdoors, I guess, I’d been trying to figure out how I got into this stuff in the first place. As soon as I went back to Japan, I started remembering all these things that happened to me when I was younger, stuff that probably helps explain how I ended up reacting to Ryosuke the way I did. It was good to go home, and see all my family and friends again. My parents were especially happy to see me because this was my first time home in two years. The day after I arrived, we phoned up my sister Norika, and I guess it was something she said that got me thinking about the stuff we used to do when we were younger. In some ways, I guess, the two of us are not all that close, not as close as some sisters anyway. She doesn’t really talk to me about her boyfriends much, for instance. She’s two years older than me, and so she was always the first one to do things. Still when I was younger, I wished that I could be more like her. She always seemed so self-confident as if she knows exactly what she wants to do, and goes out, and does it. I always used to be the shy one, more worried about what people would think. She didn’t seem to care so much about what people thought of her. I guess that’s selfish in a way, but she does seem happier for it. Anyway, I got talking to her on the phone, and there was something she said that brought back all these memories of the crazy things she used to do. I wouldn’t have thought of it if it weren’t for the stuff I’ve been doing with Ryosuke. If I hadn’t already been exposed to that kind of stuff, mostly through Norika, I think I would have put up more of a fuss that first time Ryosuke and I did it in a park. I can’t remember exactly what it was she said, but I think it was something about “Wild Blue Yokohama” closing, and how sad she was ’cause of all the good times she had had there. “Wild Blue Yokohama” was, like, this indoor amusement park in the middle of the city with a beach and water sliders and palm trees and everything. Now that I think about it, there was probably nothing strange about what she said, but for some reason, I got this picture of her parading around Wild Blue in a string bikini, playing in the waves with her boyfriend, and accidentally letting her top come undone or whatever. Of course, she didn’t say anything like that, but hearing her talk about the beach set off all these memories. We used to go to the beach together a lot, and sometimes she did some pretty crazy things. Norika has never been so shy about her body. When the two of us were younger, my mom always used to take us to the beach. According to mom, up until Norika turned 10 or so, she and I always used to change into our swimsuits right there on the beach instead of going to a change room or whatever. In Japan, it’s pretty common for little kids to do that, and no one seems to pay much attention. I can still vaguely remember standing there in the nude while my mom fussed with my suit. I was usually a good girl, but sometimes, Norika would break away, and go running off down the beach naked. I guess we stopped after we moved to Hawaii. I was 8 or so, and my dad got transferred to Honolulu at work. Before he got married to mom, dad spent a few years going to university in the States, but my mom and us had lived our whole lives in Japan, so we didn’t know what to expect at first. One day, soon after we got there, my mom took Norika and me to the beach for the first time. As usual, we picked a spot to lay out our towels, and mom started helping us get changed. This American woman came up, and started saying something about a “birthday suit,” and at first none of us could figure out what she was talking about. The woman seemed pretty upset, so eventually, mom took us back to the car, and we got changed there. After we got home, we told dad what had happened, and he explained that ‘birthday suit’ meant ‘naked,’ and that the woman was trying to tell us it wasn’t OK to change out in the open like that even if we were kids. Norika just laughed, but my mom got all serious all of a sudden, and told us that we’d have to keep covered up, so people wouldn’t get the wrong idea. Mom started making us wear long skirts and long-sleeved blouses even when it was really hot out. Neither Norika nor I liked this, but we did as we were told. I guess it was around this time that Norika and I began to think that this whole business about having to wear clothes was pretty silly. I guess there were other things that happened to us when we were kids that affected us. During our stay in the States, one time, the four of us went to sleep over at my father’s friend’s house. The man’s name was Jack, and he and my dad had gone to college together. Jack was a protestant minister, but he was easy-going and funny, a bit different from the picture I have of what a minister should be like. His house was pretty big, but there weren’t enough bedrooms for all of us, so for some reason, I got put out in this tent with Jack’s son who was around the same age as me. I can still remember sitting out in this huge tent with a boy I had just met for the first time. I felt so nervous and shy, but he just started talking and saying all these silly things till I couldn’t help but laugh. He went off to get changed into his p.j.’s, and I quickly changed into mine before he got back. We started talking, and then suddenly he asked me to pull down my pj bottoms and show him my yoohoo. I was pretty shocked. I told him no, but then he came over, and grabbed me, and tried to pull my p.j.’s down. I pushed him back, but he was laughing so hard that he fell over. At first, I had been a little afraid, but when I saw him laughing like that, I got angry, and tried to grab his p.j.’s, and pull them down. I almost had him too, but then he grabbed mine again, so I grabbed my own waistband, and backed away. We chased each other around the tent like that till we were both all tired out, so we called a truce, and went to bed. I never saw him again after that, although I think my dad might still keep in touch with Jack. Soon after that, we moved back to Japan, and then back to the States again. This time, we went to visit another one of my dad’s friends in this small town on an island off the east coast. The father was a doctor, and had 3 sons and a daughter. The daughter was younger than me, but older than her brothers. We were all out playing in the shed when suddenly she took off all her clothes. She was just little, so she didn’t have any breasts or pubic hair, but I remember feeling strange looking at her standing there naked like that. She seemed pretty happy about the whole thing. Eventually, her mom came, but she didn’t seem upset about it; she just laughed. Apparently, the same sort of thing had happened before. My dad’s second term in the U.S. finished, and we moved back to Japan again, just in time for Norika to enter high school. I didn’t like moving back and forth all the time. I kept missing my old friends, and it took me a while to get used to my new classmates. Norika was apparently having a hard time too, not so much because she is shy – she is not – but more so because she was having trouble following all the strict rules that her school had. You’re not supposed to drink or chew gum, and everyone has to wear this same school uniform with a pleated navy blue mini-skirt, a white blouse, a “sailor” collar, and a red neckerchief. It wasn’t that it looked bad or anything, but there was something about having to dress that way that seemed to get her all upset. In the States, we could wear whatever we wanted. One day, I saw her in her school uniform with some of her classmates, and I realized that Norika’s skirt was much shorter than theirs were. She must have re-sewed it or something. Anyway, both Norika and I used to come home from school, and complain about all the things that had happened to us during the day. My dad must have felt sorry for us, because maybe about a year after we’d come back, he offered to take us all to this hot spring resort in the mountains. It turned out to be a really quiet place, just a little inn in this secluded valley, but the scenery was nice, and at least we forgot about our troubles for a while. The first day of the trip, we came back from sightseeing pretty early in the afternoon because my dad was tired, and wanted to take a nap. My mom stayed with him, and Norika and I changed into these light cotton bathrobes, and went off to explore the hot springs. We found the ladies’ indoor bath, and took a shower to rinse off. The bath was nothing special, perhaps a bit bigger than our bath room at home, but otherwise pretty normal. The real attraction was supposed to be the big outdoor bath. I’d never been to one of these before, so we went to take a look. We walked down this long corridor, and came outside near the road we’d drove in on. On the left, there was a solid bamboo fence blocking the view from the road, but off to the right, there was a beautiful little river valley with trees overhanging the deck. There was this kind of mist rising off the top of the water, so it looked like something out of a postcard. It was still quite bright out, and through the mist, we could see there were three or four men in their twenties sitting in the bath. As soon as we got there, they went completely quiet, and were looking this way to see if Norika and I would take off our robes, and come in. There were no change rooms, just some baskets lying on the stone deck near the entrance. While these men gazed over hungrily at us, there was this weird tension in the air. I guess not a lot of young women come down to the bath, while it is still light out. Norika and I looked at each other, but being stared at by a group of strange men was a bit much, so we retreated back to our room. We hung around there, but then it was getting near suppertime. Mom and dad were still resting, so we went down to the dining hall to have a look. All the other guests seemed to be there. Norika suggested that now might be a good chance to try the outdoor bath, and I eventually agreed. We hurried off to the bath, and sure enough it was empty. Off to the left over the fence, we could see the men from before walking away down the road. They must live nearby, and had stopped by for a quick dip. I wanted to wait for them to get out of sight, but Norika started to take off her robe immediately. I looked nervously at the men, but they just kept on walking as Norika undid her bra. She seemed to be watching them too, as she took off the bra, and laid it on top of her robe in the basket. She slid her fingers inside the waistband of her panties. She nervously looked back at the entranceway, but there was no one there. She looked back at me. “Well, aren’t you going to change?” I was still worried about the men on the road. It looked like they weren’t going to turn around, and come back, but from the way they had looked at us before, you could tell they wanted to see us naked. I slowly undid my belt, and let the robe fall open. I was only a teenager at the time, and so I was pretty embarrassed about how small my breasts were. I was wearing a bra, but probably I didn’t really need one yet. Norika, on the other hand, already had quite large breasts, especially for her age. Since then, I have caught up to her, but at the time, I was very sensitive about the whole thing. The men finally moved out of sight round a bend in the road, so Norika pulled down her panties, and put them with the rest of her clothes. She stood there for a moment, smoothing out her pubic hair, and shivering a little. It was almost as if she wanted to show someone how far her body had developed. Her breasts seemed even larger than I remembered. She put her hand between her legs for a moment, and then raised it over her flat tummy to just tickle the top of her thick black pubic hair. I felt strange too like the time I had seen the girl in the shed. My face was getting hot, and I felt flustered. To try to stay calm, I took off my robe, but the cool air on my skin just made it worse. Norika picked up her towel, and then slid into the nearest bath. I clumsily took off my bra and panties, and turning my back to her, self-consciously looked down at my own thin body. I quickly picked up my towel, and slid into the bath. We just sat there for a while, not saying anything, and eventually I began to calm down, and enjoy the warmth of the bath and the rustling of the leaves in the trees. It was so peaceful and quiet, so different from the busy life I was leading. Norika looked happy too. Suddenly, we heard voices coming from the entrance. Before we could get up, this couple, maybe university age, came in. The woman had long tousled black hair, and the guy had this sheepish grin on his face. As soon as they noticed us, they straightened up, and then walked way down to the other end of the bath. They did not look this way, but instead calmly stripped, and got into the far bath. Norika and I looked at each other not sure what to do. We both sank neck deep into the bath, so they would not be able to see our bodies. I picked up my towel from the edge of the bath, and wrapped it around me in the water. Norika just floated there, not bothering to cover up. The two of them sat quietly, looking around at the trees and valley, but did not look back at us. Probably they had hoped that no one would be here, since most everyone was still in the dining room. Norika and I stayed for some time, partly because we were too bashful to get out with them there. While I was trying to get up the courage to leave, a funny thing happened. The girl got up out of the bath, and stood up straight on the deck. She didn’t have her towel or anything. She was just standing there totally naked. Of course, there was the mist from the springs, but both Norika and I could see her quite well. We just sat there amazed, not quite believing how brave she was being. She walked over to the edge of the deck, and stood there looking down at the river below. I remember being impressed because she had an even better figure than Norika. There was something so sexy about the way the water dripped from her thick pubic hair. Her whole body had this sheen. Her boyfriend was staring at her with obvious delight. For a moment, I found myself feeling jealous of her and the attention she was getting. I wished I had a boyfriend who would look at me like that. Suddenly, she turned toward us, a little nervously, almost as if she was checking our reaction. I looked away, but Norika kept staring with her mouth wide open. Eventually, the woman got back into the bath, and then they stood up to leave. We watched, as the two of them got dressed. The woman pulled her robe on over her naked skin. She hadn’t brought any underwear with her. Then they left. Norika and I just sat there in silence not knowing quite what to say. Norika seemed somewhat in awe of the woman’s daring. I had more mixed feelings. I couldn’t help feeling that what that woman had done was so completely wrong. I didn’t understand it well at the time, but I sensed that she was probably using Norika and I to get her boyfriend more excited. She was a ‘bad girl,’ I decided. That night, I vaguely remember waking up in the middle of the night. I looked over, and Norika was not in her futon. I figured she must have gone to the washroom, and just went back to sleep. The next morning, we saw the couple from the day before in the dining hall. The woman was wearing glasses, and had her hair up. She looked very shy, like a librarian or something, not at all like the bad girl we’d seen the day before. I didn’t know quite what to make of the change. I decided that this librarian self was just an act she put on, and that the bad girl was the real her. Norika seemed to be thinking of something for most of the next day. I’m sure she was wondering about that woman. The next few nights, our family came back from our sightseeing a bit later, so it was already dark when we went to the baths. There was a bit of light coming from the inn and the stars, but anyway, I felt a lot safer than that first day. Every once in a while, we’d meet people, but they’d usually sit quite far away. In any case, I’d become more used to the situation, and now had the courage to get out of the bath while they watched as long as I had my towel wrapped around me. The second night, I woke up again. Norika was sitting over by the window in this little alcove. It was pretty dark, but I could just make out her outline against the light from the stars outside. It may have been a trick of the light, but I thought I saw her breasts sticking out from between the sides of her open robe. The next day, she seemed back to normal, lecturing me on this and that, talking her usual nonsense. I guess it was the morning that we were supposed to leave when I woke up to find Norika’s futon empty again. I figured that she must have woken up early to go to the baths, so I gathered up my stuff, and hurried after her. I had a quick shower in the indoor bath, and then scooted down the hallway towards the big bath. When I got there, at first I couldn’t see her anywhere. There was a towel and robe in one of the baskets, but no sign of anyone. I was about to go back, when I heard this cracking noise from down below. I walked to the edge of the deck, and there was Norika playing in the river. She was totally naked. I had a complete bird. Here it was maybe 7:30 in the morning, and she was standing stark naked in full view of the rooms at the back of the inn. If anyone looked out their window, they would notice her for sure. I called out to her, and she almost jumped out of her skin. I guess she hadn’t realized what time it was. Quickly, she climbed back up, and I passed her robe to her just in time. An older couple came in for their bath. We hurried out of there towards the dining hall for breakfast. Norika was singing and dancing around, when suddenly I figured out why. She wasn’t wearing any underwear underneath the thin cotton robe. I became terrified that someone would notice, or that someone had already seen her running around naked behind the inn, but fortunately, no one seemed to pay much attention to us. Norika made me promise not to tell anyone, and it became our secret. This is the first time I’ve ever told anyone about it. After the vacation, we went back to school, and it looked like Norika had settled down again, but that summer, my dad took us all to this seaside village called Dogashima, quite a ways from our house. The village turned out to be just a few fishing huts and a small old-style hotel on a beach on a small inlet. It was beautiful in a way though. Just behind the hotel, there were these tree-covered mountains surrounding the bay on three sides. The beach was nice too, although there weren’t many people there. I brought my school swimsuit, a largish navy blue one-piece tank suit. I thought Norika was going to wear the same thing, but actually she had bought a light blue polka dot bikini with these really thin side ties like string. I asked her if she wasn’t worried that they’d come undone, but she said they were quite strong. Neither dad nor mom said anything about it, although it was much more daring than the suit she had worn up until then. Dad brought this big inflatable lifesaver ring for us to play with, but it took forever to fill it up with air. We finally got it working, and then swam out to this floating platform in the bay. Norika kept looking back at the beach, but not too many people even came in swimming. At maybe four o’clock, a lot of the other people there started packing up to go home. We swam a bit more, but then took the ring back to the shore. Mom wanted to go back inside, so dad said he’d get the front desk to ring her once we were all packed up. Dad and I started getting things ready, but Norika went off somewhere to get changed. When she came back, she was wearing this white t-shirt. Her legs were bare, and she was walking really slowly. Instead of coming right back to where dad and I were, she just kind of stayed in the shadow of the hotel looking up and down the beach. Most people had already gone in, but there were a few people walking around here and there. Dad and I pulled the cap off the spout on the inflatable ring to let the air out, but the hole was so small it took a long time for the air to seep out. Dad kneeled down on it, and motioned for me to do the same. Norika finally came out of the shade, and slowly walked towards us. I noticed that she had her fingers spread out across the hem of the t-shirt at the front, and was pushing it down. Dad said to her, “Here Norika, can you help your sister do this? I’ll start taking the chairs and stuff to the car.” Norika nodded, but didn’t move. Dad folded up our lawn chairs, and started walking towards the car. Only when he had rounded the corner of the hotel did Norika step forward. I looked up at her. She kept looking around nervously. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Nothing,” she said trying to look calm. “Here, can you just hold down that part?” I said pointing to the other side of the ring I was squishing down on. She put one hand between her legs to pull the t-shirt down, moved the other hand around to the back, and carefully squatted down. I suddenly realized why she was acting so strange. She must not have anything on under her t-shirt. She brought out her hand from behind her back, used it to steady herself on the ring, and then kneeled down onto it. She began gently bouncing up and down on the tube. She put one hand on the tube to steady herself, and buried the other deep between her legs pulling the t-shirt down with it. With each bounce, her t-shirt billowed up higher at the back. She lifted her hand off the ring, but then apparently decided to leave the t-shirt alone. In fact, she raised her shoulders, and straightened her back till even I could see the t-shirt rising up showing the crack of her bottom. She nervously peered over her shoulder to see if anyone was watching. Her cheeks had turned bright red, and she had this wild frightened look in her eyes. We finally got all of the air out of the ring. I stood up, and brushed myself off, while Norika just kneeled there for a moment huffing and puffing. I took a quick step to the side, and sure enough her bare backside was peeking out from under the t-shirt. She quickly pulled down the hem to cover it. I looked up at the hotel behind us wondering if anyone had been watching, and seen her. At first, it looked safe, but then I spotted someone in one of the second floor rooms. He backed away from the window when our eyes met, but I was sure he had been watching. It even looked like he had a camera in his hand. Norika had trouble standing up while holding on to her t-shirt like that, so she let go, letting the hem hang free. She brushed her hands together to get off the sand. The t-shirt swayed in the breeze, coming dangerously close to revealing her pudgy little behind again. Norika looked over at me, perhaps realizing that I had noticed her secret. To tell you the truth, I felt confused, perhaps a bit angry even. I couldn’t believe my own sister would do such a silly thing as walk around outside with no underwear on. It served her right if that guy had got some pictures of her bare bottom. I decided to ignore her, and picked up one of the towels we had been sitting on to shake it off. Norika just sort of stood there looking around to see if there was anyone nearby. There wasn’t, so she raised her hands above her head to stretch. Her t-shirt rose, revealing her thick black pubic hair to the sunlight. I shielded my eyes from the bright sun, but I could just make out the outline of the man returning to the window. Feeling a pang of guilt for not mentioning that she was being watched, I said, “Here, we’d better go. Dad is waiting.” Unfortunately, this led her to bend over to pick up the ring and her bag and towel. Her t-shirt rippled up in the breeze exposing her backside to the sun and her admirer. I was sure I heard the click of the camera going off repeatedly. As she straightened up, she giggled, and shyly pulled the t-shirt back down over her behind. We finished packing up all our stuff, and started heading back towards the car. I walked along quietly next to her when suddenly I noticed that her face had gone white. I followed her gaze up to the second floor of the hotel. There he was, the man in the hotel, standing framed in the window staring right down at us. Sure enough, he was holding a camera with a long zoom lens. Norika looked down pretending not to have seen him. She kept on walking, but her cheeks were turning redder and redder. She kept trodding forward, staring blankly down at the sand. Her lips started quivering a bit. She looked so sad and fragile, not like Norika at all. I wondered if she was going to cry. Once we had got round the edge of the hotel and into the parking lot, her mood lightened again. I guess she had decided to accept what had happened. It was her fault, after all. While dad was putting the stuff in the trunk, Norika walked around to the side, took some jean cut-offs out of her bag, and pulled them on. I was glad she didn’t go to supper like that. I can just imagine the looks she would have got in the restaurant if she walked in wearing just a t-shirt. The next day, we left early to go sightseeing. We never saw that guy again. I wonder what he must have thought. There are still a couple more things I want to tell you about Norika, but I guess I’d better stop here for now. Now that you know a little about my family, maybe it’s easier to understand how I ended up this way.

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