Sunday, November 17, 2013

Filling the Time

Today most surely dovetailed with America's today which was Japan's yesterday.  I called my mother at 6:30am Japan time to wish her happy birthday.  I was hoping to Skype to see a good friend get married at 7am but the internet cannot replace being there and is most certainly less reliable.  Another feeling of being in the afterlife, unable to touch something I know is real, the sun following me in the early morning and waking the world around me.

I used the time to write my essay for Kaneko-san.  I told him about the good week I'd had.  My enjoyment of the Wakuwaku concerts,  my purchase of my ticket to America for December, new developments in chamber music at HPAC, and the fact that it was still currently my mother's birthday and that my friend was in the process of having her wedding party (even as we were conjugating verbs).  The crazy worlds of yesterday and tomorrow meeting in the now.

But before my lesson with Kaneko-san, as I sat on the first floor of the lesson building in a little alcove with tables by the grocery store revving up my Japanese brain, a middle aged woman sat down at the table next to me asking if I was a student and we chatted a bit in broken English and Japanese.  She then went on to tell me to be careful in this area.  It didn't used to be bad, she said, but recently there were these groups of women wearing all brown (even their shoes) with really made-up faces.  They were in groups of 4 or 5.  Don't get coffee with them.  Be careful.  She kept repeating these things with a very stern look on her face, once mentioning that they came from the mountains.  I wondered if she was talking about the Takarazuka Review, the all female music theater group only two blocks away.  But I don't think so.  I had a lot of curiosities about what she was saying, but chose not to pursue them which would prolong what I had determined to be an irrational conversation.  I kept saying that I understood, and then kept saying it as I packed up my things and bowed out.  I hope she can forgive me for my dishonesty.

11 am and it was time for Kaneko-san.  The start of our lessons are always a little difficult until we abandon formality and just talk, learning from one another as the need arises.  Officially, I know a lot more Japanese than he thinks I do.  (Also officially, I know a lot less Japanese than I'd like to think I do.) The redundant verb review was trying my patience a bit until he pointed out the volitional form for the word to die.  "Haha, comedy!"  he laughed, as he pointed to the word meaning "let's die."  I laughed, too.  And then we were back on track, learning and laughing our way through the hour.  We finished the three pages he had copied from my book, which constitutes about thirty percent of the lesson and said, "We're finished with chapter 4."  Alright, I thought.  Fine by me.  It's a self-study sort of book, so I find a lot more value in simply talking with him.

And then there was a flower arranging exhibit in the room next to my lesson.  Quite incredible.

In the afternoon there was a concert presented by the first year members of HPAC to the residents of Akuradanchi (which I happen to be) and so I enjoyed seeing my colleagues play and also being in the company of a happy group of our Japanese neighbors.

And on to practice followed by the denouement of the day.  Filling the time, waiting for America to catch up to today.  And now to start it all over again.

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