Seiji’s greatest fear: Having his girlfriend’s mom ask “What do you do for a living?” when the answer is “I work for SoraNews24.”

As true romantics will remember, last spring we brought the Find Seiji a Girlfriend Project to a close, and with a happy ending, as our previously lovelorn reporter Seiji Nakazawa entered a relationship with the lovely Mimi. Since then, things have been going well for the couple. So well, in fact, that they’ve moved into a new apartment together.

But last week, something shook Seiji’s newfound feeling of constant bliss. Since they’ve now been living together for several months, Mimi thought it was time for Seiji to meet her mom.

This filled Seiji’s heart with dread for a number of reasons. Seiji has never, not even once, been introduced to the parents of a girl he’s dating and had them like him. He wasn’t confident about breaking that unhappy streak this time either.

First off, the way Seiji makes a living is…unorthodox. One of his jobs is as a largely unknown musician, which doesn’t provide lucrative or regular paychecks. His other job, of course, is as a reporter for SoraNews24, but while that’s steadier work than his sporadic music gigs, he wasn’t sure about how Mimi’s mom would react to the fact that her daughter’s beau sometimes, in a professional capacity, cooks a meal on the hood of a car, or goes to McDonald’s to have a Christmas party with a Mrs. Claus mini-dress-wearing torso mannequin as the only other guest.

But maybe Seiji could win Mimi’s mom over with his disarming boyish good looks? Again, though, he figured this would be a high hurdle to clear. Seiji is currently in the middle of a multi-stage hair transplant treatment, which has left him with surgery marks dotting his forehead. So he was going to be faced with the choice of either disclosing the status of his naturally receding hairline or keeping quiet about it and having Mimi’s mom perhaps thinking the guy her daughter was living with is part of some underground headbutt-only fight club.

Still, he couldn’t put off meeting his girlfriend’s mom forever. Armed with some insider information from Mimi that her mom likes unagi (freshwater eel), Seiji picked a nice restaurant in Tokyo’s Asakusa neighborhood that specializes in the dish and made a lunchtime reservation.

▼ Asakusa unagi specialist Tetsu

As he and Mimi rode the subway towards Asakusa, Seiji could feel his heart pounding. Should he have worn a suit, he wondered second-guessing his choice of outfit for this important occasion: a Guns N’ Roses T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

▼ Still a safer choice than some of the outfits he’s worn in the past, though.

After the train stopped at Asakusa Station, Seiji and Mimi began making their way up the stairs to the ticket gate, where her mom would be waiting. With each step, Seiji could feel himself becoming more and more nervous. Then he realized that since he was nervous, the muscles of his face were tightening up, probably making him look more like an intimidating weirdo who’d kidnapped Mimi and forced him to live with him, instead of the loving boyfriend he actually is.

Sighing deeply to steady his nerves, Seiji kept his expectations low and reminded himself that his goal for the day wasn’t so much to have Mimi’s mom like him. If he could just avoid making such a bad impression that she hated him, he was sure that in time she’d at least become accustomed enough to him that she could tolerate him dating her daughter.

Finally, they reached the gate, and Mimi’s pace quickened as she approached a woman who was standing by herself and waving to them.

For the first time since Mimi had said she wanted Seiji to meet her mom, he felt a twinge of relief. Like Seiji, she was dressed in casual attire, so if nothing else, he figured he hadn’t lost any points by not dressing more formally.

After a quick introduction, the trio exited the station and walked to the restaurant, where the server led them to their table on the second floor. The atmosphere was sophisticated but relaxed, and after they gave the waiter their orders, Seiji was happy to learn that Mimi’s mom is a friendly, easygoing person. Before long, he found himself openly talking about both his job and hair treatment, with Mimi’s mom listening with interest to both topics.

▼ Mimi’s Mom

Then their food came, and the level of cheerful energy was kicked up another notch as all three of them gushed over how delicious the unagi was. Everything was going great, but at that moment their happy chatter was interrupted.

“HEY! What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

The restaurant’s customers and staff fell silent as an angry man’s voice floated up from the street below. From the restaurant’s balcony, Seiji could see a small crowd gathered on the sidewalk, with a 30-ish man and a police officer in the middle, grappling with one another.

From the snippets of conversation Seiji could hear, it seems the officer had been chasing after an elderly shoplifter, but during his pursuit had somehow gotten into a shouting/shoving match with the 30-something man, who happened to be passing by. Of course, the shoplifter wasn’t going to wait around, so as Seiji was watching the cop disengaged himself from the other man and ran off in the direction the thief had fled.

“What the heck was that?” Mimi and mom asked in harmony. The good-natured mother and daughter weren’t about to let the unexpected commotion spoil their good time, though, and they went right back to eating and chatting. By this point, even Seiji found himself totally relaxed and thoroughly enjoying both the food and the company, and before he knew it, it was time for everyone to head home.

A few days later, as Seiji and Mimi were relaxing at home, he once again told her “It was really nice meeting your mom!” Pleased that he had accomplished his primary goal, he added “It’s good to know she doesn’t think I’m weird.”

But as soon as the words came out of his mouth, Mimi looked at him, blinked twice, and said:

“What? Oh, no, she definitely thinks you’re weird.”

But the silver lining is that even if Mimi’s mom thinks Seiji is weird, it looks like she still thinks he’s a good guy, and a good match for her daughter.

Photos, illustrations ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where, despite their similar hairstyles, he was not the man fighting with the police officer.

[ Read in Japanese ]