Amanda looked one more time at Natsumi who was chatting up a girl at the entrance of the sushi restaurant before staring back at Mint who was standing quietly by her side.
“I can’t believe that from all girls, the only one your stepmother trusts is Natsumi.”
Mint rolled her eyes and let a smile play on her lips. Hands in the pocket of her jeans, she leaned against the wall and looked in the Natsumis direction. She was sure that within a minute the player would come back with a new phone number in her directory.
“What can I say? Natsumi. Sweet Asian girl. An angel, obviously.”
Amanda laughed frankly and shook her head in disbelief. As a matter of fact, she was still surprised that she had got the right to go out tonight. A traditional Japanese dinner, Natsumi had exclaimed. Amanda had expected a specialized restaurant but here they were in a shabby area of Tokyo in what looked like a random sushi parlor.
“Well, ladies. Aren’t you hungry? I’m starving! Let’s go inside. Nyotaimori, here we go!”
With her usual exuberance, Natsumi pushed the door open and entered the restaurant followed by Amanda and Mint. The lobby, like the rest of the place from what they could see, was plunged in a semi-darkness rocked by traditional music. While Natsumi was giving her name to the hostess, Mint turned towards Amanda.
“What is this Nyo-thing, exactly? I only know California rolls.”
Amanda shrugged her shoulders. As much as she loved the Japanese cuisine, she couldn’t remember having seen any Nyotaimori on a menu before.
“She told me we would get a very special sushi. Perhaps a local fish?”
Natsumi turned around to them and gestured them to follow the hostess, who led them to their table. As she looked around, Amanda recognized that it was indeed a strange restaurant. Besides the lack of light that made it hard to see the slightest thing, heavy curtains seemed to separate every table in a way that prevented her from seeing customers and dishes.
As the hostess stopped at a curtained table, Amanda grew uncomfortable. Natsumi’s big grin implied that Amanda would probably be unable to tell anyone about this evening. When the Japanese girl lifted a curtain and motioned the group to step in, Amanda realized she had been right.
Taking her eyes off the inimitable sight, she glanced at Natsumi who overlooked the scene with pride and a delightful grin and then to Mint whose mouth had literally dropped to the floor. Lying on the table was a naked Asian girl, pretty and young, covered by sushi on some strategic places.
“What on earth?” Mint stared at the girl and grinned. Amanda blinked twice. Then she looked back at Natsumi.
“O shokuji o o tanoshimi,” Natsumi said and gestured them to sit down at the table. Amanda hesitated.
“There’s a naked girl on the table. With sushi on her body.”
As if Amanda’s remark couldn’t have been dumber, Natsumi rolled her eyes and shrugged.
“Why, of course! We’re having Nyotaimori! It’s body sushi, served on a naked, virgin girl. A body serve, if you like. Come on, go and eat!”
Natsumi pushed Amanda towards the girl laid on the table. The Australian almost tripped over and grabbed the table at the last minute, losing herself in a mumbling of apologies to the Asian girl for brushing her wrist. Observing her friend’s awkwardness Natsumi sighed.
“Oh, Elise won’t hold it against you! You won a Grand Slam. It calls for a celebration!”
Swallowing hard, Amanda stared at the sushi placed on the girl’s belly button. She tried not to look left or right.
Mint on the other hand had overcome her initial surprise and dug in.
“Great idea,” she said across the living table to Natsumi. “Now, where is the wasabi? You can’t have enough hotness, right?”