Ikuro did not in any way feel right going through a woman’s purse, but at his friends encouragement, he found her license. Hirozaki watched with genuine curiosity when his friend put her address in the navigation system. After only a few minutes they found themselves at an apartment complex. Hirozaki climbed out of the car as soon as it stopped and went to Ruth’s door. He knocked a few times and waited patiently. When Ruth answered the door, she was surprised to see Hirozaki holding her purse. “I believe this belongs to you.” He says matter of factly and hands her purse to her. “Thank you, Samuke.” Ruth said bowing her head. He couldn’t help but chuckle. Ruth raised an eyebrow. “I wasn’t expecting an American woman to be so formal.” Ruth tilted her head. “Some of us can be, especially if we are old fashioned.” “Old fashioned, in what way would an American woman be old fashioned?” He was genuinely curious. Hirozaki bowed his head then. “My apologies, Ruth.” “No apology necessary.” She answered way too quickly. Would it be appropriate to ask him inside? She honestly felt bad for running out on them. “Is your friend with you?” She asked. Hirozaki nodded. “Would you like to come in for a cup of tea?” She offered. “If as nothing more than an apology from being so disrespectful earlier.” She added almost hastily. She was trying way too hard. Hirozaki thought to himself. He waved Ikuro over to join him before daring to enter Ruth’s home. “Have a seat, please.” She tells them. They sat down on her couch. Hirozaki looked around curiously. While she was definitely born and raised a westerner, he found objects in her home that were definitely Japanese. A set of fans above where they sat on the couch. He could smell incense as well. He also was a screen that separated the dining area from the living room. He chuckled when he saw a picture of a popular anime character above a cabinet full of manga and anime. Ikuro looked at him. “She’s a fan girl.” He whispered in Japanese. His friend actually glared at him. “What?” When Ruth returned she had three mugs of hot green tea. She handed one to each of her guests before setting the tray down and picking up her own. “My boys call me a weeaboo.” Ikuro was shocked that she would admit that so freely. Before he could say anything, she continued. “But to be fair, I’ve been a fan of Japan and its culture since I was a child.” Hirozaki smiled and took a sip of his tea. Ruth bowed her head, “I’m sorry for running out on you so unexpectedly, Samuke.” He found that for a moment, he wanted to touch the top of her head. Just to comfort her. He could tell she was tense. “Please, Ruth, just be yourself.” He tells her suddenly. She looked at him then. “You are trying too hard to put on an act. I realize I may look formal, and even act it. But that is simply due to my nature. You needn’t adjust your behavior as a way to impress me.” Ikuro looked at his friend for a moment. What just happened? He thought to himself. Ruth smiled then. “Thank you, though i’m sure i’ll probably scare you off doing that.” She looked down at her feet. He found himself putting his fingers under her chin and lifting her eyes to meet his. Ruth blushed and he let go. “I’m as curious about you and your culture as you are mine.” He answered then. He had felt her trembling when he held her. His own bodies reaction was interesting as well. Ikuro only watched, his mouth agape at his friends behavior. “Mr. Formal no matter what.” And yet he had softened in his demeanor since meeting this woman. Hirozaki thought for a moment. He was a real stickler for tradition, and this woman had put a lot of effort into addressing him in a way she believed was appropriate. Well he had learned one new thing today. Not all American women are as obnoxious as he had thought. He had certainly seen the westernized women when Ikuro took him to meet the professor. They had no shame. Flaunting themselves in front of not only their peers but their professor and a guest. Ruth had returned her gaze to the floor. This woman though. She was quiet, respectful, well spoken, and dressed in such a way that he could actually look at her and not blush in embarrassment. She may be a weeaboo as her sons suggested, but she had a genuine love for his culture and she had earned his admiration in return. She needed to see that their culture had its side of frivolity. “Ikuro,” He tells his friend, “We owe Ms. Ruth dinner.” “Please, Samuke, that’s not necessary.” Ruth started. Hirozaki put up a hand to silence her attempt at a refusal. Ikuro nodded in agreement. Whatever his friend was doing, it was a welcome change. They walked out to the front porch and waited as Ruth locked her door. Hirozaki opened the front passenger door and motioned for Ruth to take the front seat. She couldn’t help but smile as he struggled to get comfortable in the back seat. “Ikuro,” He says. “I believe there was a ramen shop somewhere.” His friend nodded. They arrived and were able to find a good parking spot. Ruth was about to open her door, when Ikuro nodded politely that she should wait. She stopped. Hirozaki opened the door for her and took her hand to help her out of the car. Ruth couldn’t help thinking to herself that now he was the one trying too hard. The three found a table and sat down. After they were served their meal. The three sat and talked. Soon Ruth’s shyness seemed to ease some. To make her feel comfortable, Hirozaki had brought up her fascination with anime. Then it was almost as though a flood gate opened. Ikuro watched his best friend start to relax as well. After a moment though, Ruth became somewhat quiet. “I’m sorry.” She says out of nowhere. Hirozaki looked at her and with a smile he said, “Dear, you’re excitement is wonderful. While I’ve never watched anime myself, you certainly seem to enjoy it.” Ruth smiled still unsure. “Samuke,” She says quietly. “Please tell me about your village. And what things you enjoy. I feel like such a child talking about myself.” Ikuro looked at his friend then. This woman had no idea that his friend loved talking about himself just as much. Not because he was vain, just that he was proud of what he had accomplished in his life.