Our perfect Wakuwaku navigator is back with us this week. Her sing-song voice, inviting sense of drama, and gentle guidance of our new conductor through the program are all steering the Wakuwaku concerts to be the best they can be. She patches over his forgetfulness and the occasionally rowdy audiences. Always pleasant; like water, seemingly unbreakable.
During the breaks we usually see her with her young daughter, who must be about 3 years old. Today however, she also had her son with her in the HPAC dining room. He seemed to be about 5 and exhibited all the behavior one might expect from a 5-year-old boy and older brother. Everything was a prop for mischief: the vending machines needed to have all their buttons pushed, chairs were given relief from constantly standing on four legs, little sisters were pet without permission, trays were swung around. For an hour I noticed her balance the constant attention her daughter needed and the discipline he needed in order to stay safe and not harass other customers. She was sitting at the table in front of me and as he rushed over to turn the change lever on one of the vending machines she looked at me, "Taihen!" "So difficult!" She said it with humorous exasperation. I said I had two younger brothers, so I understood. She seemed to ask if they were just like this and I said, well they were, but now they're usually better.
Everyone was watching her and her children. She still seemed to maintain her unperturbed countenance throughout; nothing he ever did was too far outside of bounds, well, except maybe trying to tip the chair his sister was on. By the end of lunch she had managed to distract him and his sister with a game. Say a word, the next person has to come up with a word that starts with its last sound. On and on. The magic had worked.
I remembered my mother pulling such tricks. Remembered her counting down to some unknown punishment, (what if she had ever gotten to 0???) or suggesting something to do to distract us. And this game, such a familiar one. I played a version with my boyfriend to pass the time on the bus to Fuji-san this summer. But the one I overheard today was with Japanese syllables and words I didn't know. Everyone has times when they could use some distraction.
Just a few more things that seem to exist everywhere.