It’s that time again! I just couldn’t stay away from Excerpt Monday. I’m switching gears a little and posting the beginning of contemporary short story that I’ve been working on off and on. I had to remove all the posts for excerpts that may have been contracted or will be on submission soon, but I figured it will be a LONG time before I try to publish a contemporary or a women’s fiction piece.
This story is based on a short visit I made to Tokyo while working abroad. Enjoy!
About Excerpt Monday:
Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.
Yotsuya Station, Tokyo
I rushed up the steps of the subway station, weaving through the thick of the crowd as politely as I could. There were multiple exits up to street level and my navigational instincts told me that if I could get outside, if I could just see sky, I’d be able to figure out where I was. But my instincts sucked and they didn’t seem to improve no matter how many new cities I went to.
Out on the sidewalk, the city buzz of cars and pedestrians took over and I cracked open my copy of Lonely Planet: Tokyo a moment before realizing that I had to step aside from the oncoming rush of people. I made myself as small as possible beside the stairs and stared at the glossy map at the center of the book. When I found my location, I stabbed the dot with a finger and looked up, searched for street signs, looked down again, and turned the map sideways.
The tea ceremony at the New Otani hotel was scheduled for 2pm on Saturdays for the price of 800 yen. My cell phone read 1:54. I started walking fast even though I wasn’t sure where I was going. Being five or ten minutes late wasn’t a big deal in Los Angeles time with traffic and crowds and everyone drunk on sunshine, but here it seemed outright disrespectful.
It turned out the hotel was close. Hard to miss too, being a forty-story complex of polished steel surrounded by Japanese gardens. Somehow, I did miss it and had to double back. I stuffed the Lonely Planet into my bag as I approached the glass doors.
“Welcome to the New Otani. How can I help you?” The concierge spoke English in the overly precise tone that came from study.
Darn it, how did they always know? I wasn’t Japanese, but I was Asian and looked it. No one ever mistook me for a traveler from Hong Kong or Korea. Even before I said a word, they somehow knew I was American.
I had to brush my hair from my eyes. “I’m here for the tea ceremony?”
He nodded once and gestured with an outstretched arm, looking crisp in his black suit. I was sweating in my sneakers. Maybe it was the sneakers that gave me away.
At the end of the corridor, a sign on the tea room door reminded visitors to be respectfully quiet in observance of the ceremony. By now my phone read 2:15. I stood staring at the sign, deciding if I should knock. As I reached for the handle tentatively, a woman in a purple kimono opened the door. Her hair was done up in an elaborate knot.
“Tea ceremony?” she asked in carefully pronounced English.
Yes, unmistakably American.
I made an apologetic face. “I’m sorry I’m late.”
She beckoned me in and instructed me to remove my shoes. As I tugged at the laces, feeling more out of place with each moment, I noticed there was another person kneeling on the tatami mats at the other end. He was the first Caucasian I had seen in days. I shot him an apologetic look, but he simply waited patiently with his hands resting on his knees.
“Links to other Excerpt Monday writers
Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.
So, to kick it off, your hosts:
Alexia Reed, Urban Fantasy (R)
Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG13)
Joining us this week:
Danie Ford, Womens Fiction (PG13)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG13)
Jeannie Lin, Contemporary (PG13)
RF Long, Fantasy Sword and Sorcery (PG13)
Shawntelle Madison, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Debbie Mumford, Flash Fiction (PG13)
KB Alan, Erotic Paranormal Romance (R)
Penny Dune, Romantic Suspense (R)
Cate Hart, YA Paranormal (R)
Inez Kelley, Contemporary Romance (R)
Jeannete Murray, RomCom (R)
Christa Page, Regency Paranormal (R)
Jeanne St James, Erotic Rom M/M (R)
Danielle Yockman, Historical Romance (R)
Sara BrookesFantasy (NC17)
Emily Ryan Davis, Erotic Contemporary Romance (NC17)
Ella Drake, Erotic SciFi Romance (NC17)
Angeleque Ford, Erotic Contemporary Romance (NC17)
Jamal W Hankins, (NC17)
Bryl R Tyne, Transgender M/M (NC17)