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My friend and his Pokémon save file

I haven’t seen a Japanese friend of mine in well over a decade. Family is a complicated business, time has moved on, and circumstances have changed. I find I think about him regularly.

He’s a man now, priorities and pressures and all. I wonder what he looks like. Perhaps a cigarette hanging slack from lips curled into a cheeky grin, that signature long hair now layered into a fashionable trim. Baggy T-shirt resting on a big boned frame. Those cropped chino trousers which rest just above the ankle, creased white trainers below. Gentle eyes, they won’t have changed, though, I’m sure of it.

Our homes were close back then, so I’d pop over to his house regularly and we’d mainly play Super Smash Bros: Melee together. Gasps, laughs, wild gestures, the clack of buttons. Broken English, equally choppy Japanese. We couldn’t really speak to each other, which sounds a little primitive in some ways, but I’m convinced the simplicity of our interactions actually led to complexities of expression, of eschewing vocality for a janky, often wordless communication. Not a single conversation between us, yet a strong behavioural understanding deepened by time in one another’s company.

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