This is part 5 of a series of posts titled I think I've been invited to join a cult. Keep in mind names, places, dates are all factual to the best of my recollection.
After being officially invited to one of the more-serious group events I had a week to sit and let the idea stew in my mind. Everything about it seemed suspicious and every bit of wit in my mind was telling me not to go, but I was too intrigued to see what was going on to just let this pass.
Friday May 18, 2018
It's a day before the meeting and I'm still unsure of where it's taking place, and exactly from and to when the event is happening, not to mention the actual contents of the event. Ayaka sends me a message saying we should meet one more time before the actual event. She thinks it's a good idea to properly introduce the event to me before I attend.
I see this as a nice tap of information, so I agree to meet up at Shinbashi around 8pm. I arrive a little early and she arrives a little late, we meet up and I explained that I already ate at a work event. We end up walking all the way to Hibiya, which isn't that far, but easier for me to get to than Shinbashi-- why didn't we just meet there in the first place?
We wander around Hibiya and I start wondering if we're going to grab a bite to eat or something. I ask and she says it's still a little early to meet. To meet who? I didn't ask too many other questions and thanks to a couple of beers I had at the end of the workday, was overly talkative and didn't let Ayaka have much of a chance to speak.
After 30 minutes of checking her phone for the time and maybe messages, she says it's okay to go now and we make our way down to a cafe in the basement of Hibiya Midtown. My attention is stolen by a man sitting in the corner typing away on his MacBook. It's the guy who organized the cooking party a while back. Turns out he's one of the organizers of the larger events this group participates in.
During this meeting, I learn there are about 10,000 members worldwide, they meet every weekend. On Saturdays it's usually 9am-12pm, and on Sundays it's a full day from about 9am-5pm. Once a year all members congregate at some mega-conference, and this year it's supposed to happen in June. New members must attend every meeting for the first 3 months. He mentions how busy he is and after 30 minutes our meeting is over.
We leave the cafe and walk to Hibiya station. Ayaka reminds me "bright and early!" and we ride the Yamanote line in opposite directions. I end up stopping by Hub in Shibuya on my way home to have a beer and process the meeting that just happened. I still haven't decided whether or not to fully commit and go to the meeting the next morning.
Saturday May 19, 2018
I ended up staying out all night after meeting 3 Canadians at hub. My icebreaker when they approached me was just what this series is about; that I was invited to what I believe may be a cult. I message Ayaka in the morning and tell her the cold I've been battling has gotten worse (not entirely false, thanks to staying out all night). She tells me that I should definitely come on Sunday and after some time confirms the address and time.
Ayaka erased this message
The information about the event on Sunday had been erased, maybe they were starting to have second thoughts about me.
Friday May 25, 2018
Over the past week I haven't been chatting much with Ayaka. I was invited to events this Saturday and Sunday, but without having to think of an excuse, I was actually busy and had to turn down the invitation.
It looks like I've reached reached the end of Ayaka or the group's patience. She tells me that if I don't come on June 10th or June 16th that she won't invite me anymore and emphasizes the value of attending these events.
Maybe I'm not making myself clear, this is really like a platinum ticket.
I met Shizuka-san at the same time I met Ayaka at Hub a few weeks ago. I acted as a hub for everyone's contact information so I had her contact sitting in LINE and wondered what type of relationship she has with Ayaka. Is she involved with this group as well? I didn't see her at the cooking party, but then again, I haven't been to too many events myself either.
I decided to send her a message to test the waters. She says she remembers me and agreed to go for a drink sometime. We're both pretty busy so there haven't been any developments here, and I don't think she's spoken to Ayaka about it either since I'm sure Ayaka would mention it to me and everyone else in the group. Will update on this front if there is any progress.