Words worth more than gold

After a discussion over the phone with a college student calling to ask for my monetary donation to the study abroad scholarships at her school, – which I exchanged for encouragement to the girl and for sharing with her various specialties related to where she would be studying abroad this coming spring semester (for which she continuously thanked me delightedly, and which she declared was a million times better for her life than a monetary donation to the fund would have been, anyway) – I wrote a sort of poem.

You see, she recommended I write it, because what I was sharing with her, she said, sounded like poetry.

So, find in the following photo the first draft of the poem we discussed today, which I said I would write for my weblog tonight, and which I tapped out on a typewriter(!!!) this afternoon.

Post-a-day 2018

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Backsplaining

Sometimes I feel as though I can’t talk about anything without explaining a million other things first…. which then continues the cycle of having to explain more and more, all because I’d wanted to share one little something.

(Perhaps that’s a benefit of having only the same select few people in one’s life forever – never having to do the back explaining…)

Post-a-day 2018

Late-night shared delights

I remember the time I showed someone I love how to shift the gears in a manual car.  Actually, I remember all of the times I have done this.  However, one in particular came to mind tonight, and I smiled at the memory.

We had gotten secret donuts together on the way to drive her home.  She managed to do a good job shifting, as I drove and told her exactly what to do each time.  Afterward, the gear shifter was sticky.  I panicked at first, and then remembered the donuts.  Who’d have thunk that a sticky gear shifter could make me smile, as opposed to recoil in tears?  I cleaned it all off with little concern… something so rare for me.  It meant that I really loved her, as well as the experience.  I still treasure them both. 🙂

Post-a-day 2017

A slice of bread

Sometimes it really is the little things that count the most.  Today, I did some wonderfully awesome things.  I attended art class and mused over some amazing charcoal and pencil still-lifes coming to life; I taught traditionally silent and impassive kids to play charades, and to enjoy it; I played a bit of charades with some of those kids; I had lunch with a happy group of girls, while sitting barefoot in the wonderful and warm sunlight outdoors; I attended a master class on operatic vocal performance; I was given a private lesson in my first round of drawing with charcoal, and I did a decent job drawing; I had another personal lesson on how properly to put on a yukata and a kimono, and then did the yukata all by myself; I had tea and dinner with friends and acquaintances, and was given free amazing stuff to take home with me.

And yet, with all of that, the part f the day that stands out most to me, possibly as most fulfilling, even, was when I found myself spontaneously sitting on the floor with the two girls who had been teaching me to draw with charcoal, literally breaking bread together.  We were sitting and chatting and munching on a shared loaf of bread that we occasionally dipped in a bit of Bonne Mamman, enjoying ourselves completely.  We were silly and exhausted, and entirely content in one another’s company.  We knew we only had a short time for this little pause in the ever-forward movement of the day and its activities, and it was beautiful and blissful.  (And, funnily enough, it all happened, because the one girl had shown me her moldy bread earlier that she was using as a sort of eraser on her charcoal drawing, and I realized that I happened to have a fresh loaf of bread in my bag later on.)
Post-a-day 2017

Pork Buns and Handkerchiefs

Today, at the train station, my brother and I were looking for a place to sit down and eat our lunch.  We found a single spot on this rounded bench, and went for it.  I originally attempted sitting on my bag, but was uncertain as to its ability to withstand the weight, so ended up sitting on the bench (at my brother’s insistence), with my brother squatting in front of me.  We were chitchatting about the food as he opened up the bags (it was some dumplings and pork buns from this famous local bun shop, 551), and the old lady next to me readjusted her belongings a bit, and scooted to her left enough of army brother to sit down next to me.

He thanked her in a fabulous Japanese fashion (so proud!), and took the seat.  As he had the box of buns in his hands, when he opened it up, he offered one of them to the lady.  After some coercing, she finally accepted a half, and even one of the shrimp dumplings, as well (she seemed to perk up a bit when she saw the dumplings, and had no hesitation in the offer of one of those).

She and my brother continued a bit of chitchat about the fact that the buns were from the famous shop, as well as why each of them was there (This was all in Japanese, of course, so I understood the bulk, but couldn’t quite jump into the conversation due to the Japanese and the fact that we were on a rounded bench, so I couldn’t quite see the lady, unless I leaned way forward.).  Eventually, after she learned that I was his younger sister, I heard the same comment I always seem to get here in Japan: that I am “cute”.  While it is not exactly something we love to be called back in the US, it is actually a quite nice compliment here in Japan.

Then, as my brother explained about my living in Japan, she asked me how I liked it.  I gave a half smile and wobbled my head a bit, but couldn’t bring myself to spit out any words – I truly had no idea how to answer, and I could feel something uncomfortable rising inside me already.  Fortunately, my brother, perhaps sensing my hesitation-slash-unwillingness-to-answer, took over answering the question for me.

His answer, however, surprised me – he was quite open and honest with the woman.  I, just in thinking about it all was already starting to tear up, but I felt a small sense of relaxation and relief as I listened to my brother share with the lady how I was not having too easy or good a time (and that that was part of why I had come down to visit him for the weekend).  I had finished eating what I was going to eat, so I excused myself, saying it would be good to jump in the line for the bathroom before I had to go get on my train.

Once I reached the bathroom line, I couldn’t help it, the feeling was so overpowering: tears started pouring down my burning eyes, as I gasped quietly for air.  I couldn’t quite understand what was happening with me.  I had noticed that I was a bit borderline already earlier in the day (borderline tears, that is), but I hadn’t known why, nor had I expected something like this to send me into such a state as I was now.

I used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and went back out to my brother, who was standing ready by my bag.  I broke right back into tears when he asked if I was alright, and he just held me in a big brother hug for a bit, soothing me, before gently telling me that I had about 8 minutes before my train, so we’d do well to head toward the gate now.

He was holding a marigold handkerchief in a little clear plastic bag, and he proffered it to me, explaining that it was dyed with actual marigold, and the old lady and her sister (the one whose son is a pianist, and whose concert the old lady was coming to see) had wanted me to have it.  They said that they wanted me to enjoy my time in Japan, and that they hoped things improved for me.  They had wanted to talk to me, too, but had had to leave, so they left the well-wishes and the handkerchief with my brother to pass on to me.

Naturally, there were even more tears at this point, but with a slightly different edge to them.  : )

As we hurried off toward my train, I expressed how my visit to my brother and his girlfriend was so wonderful, that, now that it was at an end, it was difficult for me to think about going back to my life, my town.  I had gotten a taste of so much of what I had been missing these past seven-ish months, and I didn’t want to go back.  Not that I had any intention of not going back – there was just a taste of dislike for what awaited me.  I had finally started to be accustomed with my circumstances, it was hard being reminded of what had been wanting from my life.  I know that I’ll be okay, and that I likely will very much enjoy these next few months – it’s just never so easy to go back to plain white bread when you’ve had all your favorites available to you.  (That sort of idea, anyway)

Yeah… that’s all I have to say about that.  : )

 

Post-a-day 2017