Mar 12

From the 2009 Winter Issue of JQ, the JETAA NY quarterly magazine:

By Rick Ambrosio (Ibaraki-ken, 2006-08)

It was one of our last big nights in Tokyo. A well dressed crew hailing from Ibaraki descended on Roppongi for our last big hurrah. In a couple months we would all go back to our homes, be them England, Australia, America, etc. and this weekend was an all out affair. Expensive dinners, nice hotel, Jacuzzi Karaoke, Tokyo Bay cruise…it was one for the books.

Saturday night of this luxurious weekend found us at club Alife, rumored to be a hot spot for famous Japanese actresses and models. To be honest, I don’t think I’d know them if I saw them, but it was still cool to be partying where they party, and with a ¥3,000 entrance fee, it had better be fun. There were about 15 of us in total running around, having drinks, dancing, enjoying ourselves. Little did we know it would end up being one of our most talked about nights in JET.

Around 3:00 a.m. I ascended from the “techno” section of the club located in the basement and headed towards the lounge and bar area. I had just gotten the number of a very attractive young Russian dancer (a story for another article) and wanted to gloat to my friends. When I got there I found a large group of them huddled around one table. As I entered the circle it appeared there was an argument going on.

“It’s her, man!” exclaimed Navin.

“No way, what would she be doing here?” argued Dan.

“I don’t know, but I’m sure girls like her have to go out somewhere,” said Ty.

I asked to be briefed on the current situation. As it would turn out, about 30 feet from our “base” sitting in a VIP section was a woman named Maria Ozawa.

For those who don’t know about her, well, don’t Google her while you’re at work. Allow me to help you out, though; she is one of Japan’s premiere AV idols; half-Japanese, half-Canadian and very easy on the eyes. Though I wasn’t exactly familiar with her, she did look vaguely familiar.

The group battled back and forth. Dan and Max were skeptical. Ty and Navin were convinced. Bryan, who was known for not being able to hold his liquor well, was semi-conscious as his head laid down on the table. But in the end, who would be bold enough to find out?

“I’m going to do it,” said Eric, rising up. Eric hailed from Canada, and with light eyes, a tall, muscular composure and vast Japanese ability, he was the greatest warrior from the Ibaraki tribe. “I can’t just stand here and not hit on my favorite porn star. No matter what happens, it’s worth it.” We all nodded in agreement. The trouble was that she was at a table with her friends, engrossed in conversation in the VIP section.

A plan was quickly formulated. If she got up, we did our best not to stare, and Eric would go in and do the best he could. A great plan, of course, but it was more like a stakeout; she didn’t budge. After about 15 minutes the excitement had waned a bit, and some of the group, namely Bryan and Max, decided to be amused elsewhere.

Suddenly Maria stood up and left her seat. Like a pack of Hyenas on the savanna, all our heads darted in the same direction at once. With a playful stride Maria walked over to the bar and began ordering drinks. We all looked at Eric. He took a deep breath, smiled, and said, “Here goes nothing.” As he walked away, you could feel the muffled excitement of our group. I wanted to cheer his name as he strode off into glorious battle. Heck, I wish I could have joined him but alas, it was a solo mission, and I was relegated to watch from a slight distance.

I saw his entrance; he saddled up next to her and ordered some drinks. I could see them fine, but it was too noisy and they were too far away to hear the conversation. With a casual touch of her forearm he leaned in and said something. We all held our breath. She laughed and teasingly slapped his shoulder. (To this day Eric has not shared with us whatever this magnificent opener was.) She turned toward him and they started talking. Just like that, our friend-our friend-was talking to The Maria Ozawa!

Their drinks were delivered but they lingered. Eric wore his confident smile and Maria seemed to really enjoy talking to him. It was perfect. I was already fast forwarding what was to come in my head; Maria invites all of us to hang out at her mansion, Maria calls all her AV friends, we all party with hot AV girls until the sun comes up and goes down in the halls of JET legend!

I was still drinking on the sweet libation that was this fantasy as it happened. From the corner of my eye I saw Bryan fumbling drunkenly towards Eric and Maria. It was too late to stop him. I then watched Bryan stand between Eric and the mortal sex goddess. He mumbled something towards Eric. Eric’s mouth stood agape, and no words came out. There was no talking between the three for a few seconds. Bryan seemed drunkenly confused and then headed off upstairs.

My attention darted back towards Eric. He smiled at Maria, they exchanged a few words, and then she headed back to her place behind the gates of the VIP lounge. Eric then began walking towards us with his head down. Before he was at the table, though, it bobbed back up with an amused smirk painted from ear to ear.

“Now that was too funny to be true,” he said good-naturedly.

We all crowded around him then, like kids around a fire listening to a camp counselor telling a ghost story. (All we needed were s’mores.) Eric then regaled us with the story:

“She was surprisingly sweet and down-to-earth,” he said. “We made small talk. I pretended that I didn’t know her, and asked for her name. “Stephanie,” she replied. She said that she was from Canada. I asked her if she had a boyfriend. “I wish,” she said, crestfallen. “I don’t know why I can’t find one.”

“We kept talking. Then I get a tap on the shoulder. Worst timing ever. It was Bryan, teetering in a drunken stupor. The three of us stood in tight, triangular formation; Maria and I leaning against the bar, Bryan directly behind us. The smut queen and I turned toward him. He spoke. ‘Hey, did you talk to that porn star yet?'”

“I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know how to react. I think I was in shock. So I just stared, blankly. After a few seconds Bryan, bless his soul, shrugged his shoulders, made a funny noise and carried on walking. I don’t even think he realized that the girl I was talking to was the same one that I pointed out to him a few minutes earlier. It was a line right out of a movie.

“After he walked off, I kept talking to Maria as if nothing had happened. I didn’t acknowledge Bryan’s comment, and neither did she. But I think my game was ruined. She took hold of the drinks that she had bought for herself and her ‘girlfriend,’ said ‘until next time,’ and walked back to her table. I was happy enough; I got a chance to talk to Maria Ozawa, and Bryan made the story even better.”

The first reaction of the group was to find Bryan and make him pay, but we figured he was too drunk to realize what he did and would therefore be too drunk to remember us beating him up. Eric could only smile, though; he had done what few men had the courage to do. The rest of the night was filled with more drinks and laughs, and we spilled out into the streets of Roppongi during the wee hours of the morning. Perhaps we were not victorious that night, but together with my fellow JET friends we touched on something more than victory, that night we all became part of an epic tale.


It is said that in the deep cold winter nights of Ibaraki, JETs still huddle together under the kotatsu, feast on oden, and tell the Tale of Eric and Ozawa. Passed on from JET to JET, it is a story of pride and bravery that young, fledgling JETs aspire to and learn from. Some say that the story isn’t true, that the girl was just a model, not the real Maria Ozawa. Some say Eric was never a real person, but a man made up out of myth and other JETs’ exaggerated stories. But I was there, dear reader. I was there on the night a man became a legend, and the angel on the screen became real. I just hope that when the day comes, and Fate approaches you…my friend, like Eric, you buy her a drink, too.

Read Rick’s Tadaima! column on JetWit at

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