After an afternoon of kanji in the 5th floor lounge of HPAC, I felt ready for my lesson. Or at least more so than I would have felt if our conductor of the week had not surprisingly given us the afternoon free. And on the way to my lesson on my bike, as I waited for the train crossing, and several red lights, and some awkward pedestrian encounters, I was looking forward to at least being able to use the grammar from two lessons ago to gracefully apologize for being late. However, late those I was, three minutes was hardly worthy of forced Japanese.
But when I arrived, I found a very different Fukunari-sensei. It took several minutes for her to answer the door. The light was not yet on in her lesson room and she took several minutes to prepare the tea and treats that usually seem to be waiting for me in the kitchen, only in need of her two hands to carry them to my seat. She was the one who apologized to me, saying that she had only just arrived, that she had had to take her husband to the hospital in Osaka by car. I tried to indicate that another time would be fine, we didn't have to do the lesson now, and tried to ask her if everything was ok. She said it wasn't serious, and didn't seem worried apart of from the frenzy of the start of the lesson. I played the part that I've become accustomed to in Japan, that of a child for whom the world cannot be explained. I focused on my kanji and the content of the lesson, and when she was called away to answer the phone, I enjoyed my tea and the way its sediment swirled in its cup. She has no obligation to explain to me. As a grown child I can sit in my non-understanding and trust that she can take what life is calling upon her to carry. As an outsider, I have little other choice. I hope that the burden really is as light as she makes it seem.