Excerpt from "Escarpment"

The events described in these pages could not possibly have happened as recorded here, although they did happen exactly as I have written them.
(I realize this doesn’t get us off to a very good start.)
My story began to unfold in the months following the Lehman Shock in September of 2008. It is a tale about an American businessman and friend of mine, Matt King, and about me, your narrator, and the strange things that happened to us.
Some background first.
I have lived in Kobe for many, many years. I came here from the UK, right out of university, way back in the Seventies. I was very young, and my plans and timetable were vague, as had been my university education, which, having been spent mostly in a fog of drugs and alcohol, had prepared me for no career of consequence. But I managed to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and that was enough to secure me a job in Kobe teaching English conversation.
Japan was to be the start of my grand Asian adventure of two or three years before I returned to England, found some kind of an occupation and settled down to the challenges that life would bring my way.
Unfortunately, after only a few months, I fell madly in love with a pair of beautiful legs – those were the days of mini-skirts – and eventually married the girl the legs were attached to. Her name is Keiko.
The adventure ended. I never saw any more of Asia; and the rest of my life began sooner than I had expected.
We have been married approaching or a little more than thirty years. The exact number remains a mystery to my memory. We have two grown up children: Dan (for whom I use the verb grown up only in its loosest sense); and Erika, our daughter.
Gradually, over the years, I have become one of that seedy breed of ex-pats – euphemistically called long-term foreign Kobe residents– that you can see in the dark recesses of certain city pubs: loud and growling; sneering and condescending; or simply passed out at the bar, with their heads cradled in their arms.
We are, most of us, borderline alcoholics with weight problems and bossy Japanese wives. We distain the young men and women who come to Japan for a year or two in order to experience this country’s culture, although we were once such ourselves at the dawn of our histories. We look down on the English teaching industry, in spite of the fact that it still provides our livelihoods, in one form or another.
We remember vividly the excitement of life here in the Seventies and the Eighties, never tiring of recounting our escapades to anyone who will lend an ear. The Nineties, however, remain a blur, and each year of the 21st century is just another one to be got through.
We are old, cynical and grumpy. At least, I am.
But to get on with my story.