Sergio was another young man, sent over by his father, “to learn the business in Japan.” Sergio was a very refined and well educated young man. He was good with his numbers and he spoke Portuguese, French, Italian and Arabic with equal fluency. He had attended boarding school in England, and his English was nearly perfect. It was thought that Sergio would make a good match for the Choueke’s younger daughter, Simone, who, at the time was studying at university in America. So, no expense was spared in making sure that he was comfortable. Everyone, including the housekeepers had instructions that Sergio’s needs should be met and that his visit to us should be a pleasant one. The boys were reminded that if they knew what was good for them, they would be on their best behavior and abandon the usual tricks that they played on our young visitors. Sergio adapted well to the schedule. It was, a day in the Osaka office or in the factories, lunch outside and dinner at home. Dinner conversations were always lively and Sergio was quite a wit, he had many stories to tell and the boys were particularly interested in learning about the schooling that he received in England. He was very sophisticated. After dinner, Sergio would go out and investigate the nightlife of Kobe. This was quite the rule and aroused no suspicion at all. As it turns out, we learned most of what we had to know from our loyal and capable housekeepers. One day, Mase-San came in to say that Sergio would be leaving us soon.
“How do you know this?” Mr. Choueke asked.
“It’s just that he wanted all his laundry done, his shirts pressed and his suits back from the cleaners before Wednesday.”
Mr. Choueke went over to Sergio’s room and knocked discretely on the door. Sergio invited him to enter: “Sergio, I understand that you may be getting ready to leave us?”
“Yes, it’s true.”
“Why so soon, you have barely been in Kobe for two weeks.”
“You and your family have been most kind but I can assure you, Mr. Choueke, it has been quite long enough for me.”
“What’s the matter? Is something wrong?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, something is terribly wrong.”
“Would you like to talk about it or is this a private matter.”
“It’s a private matter but I don’t mind your knowing about it. You see during my evenings out on the town I met a very lovely lady and I must confess that I fell, head over heels, in love with her.”
“What would be the problem in that?” Mr. Choueke asked.
“Nothing, really, except that I found out the girl of my dreams, Miyuki, is not a woman at all; but a man!”
Ever diplomatic, Mr. Choueke said: “That does present difficulties. Why don’t you just find someone else?” This was the standard solution offered by Mr. Choueke in cases like this.
“You don’t understand Mr. Choueke, Miyuki was perfect. She is beautiful and charming, equal or better to any woman I have met in any country, but…”
“She is a man.”
“I cannot argue that point with you and perhaps it is not such a bad idea for you to move on. The driver will be happy to drop you off at the airport when you’re ready.”
Shortly thereafter, Sergio departed for Brazil. In those days, that was a long trip, even by airplane. First you had to fly from Itami to Haneda. From there the plane stopped in Wake Island, Honolulu, San Francisco, Miami, Panama City and then on to Sao Paulo. Sergio never returned to Kobe. Also Miyuki never came by the house to look for him. It was a long time ago. You might ask if Kobe is still an interesting place. The answer would be yes. Of course, it has changed but if you scratch the surface slightly, all kinds of interesting stories come out. Sergio and Simone never did marry but they remain as friends even today. Needless to say, the affair with Miyuki is never brought up.