I was sick yesterday and had to cancel my Japanese lesson. That means two weeks in a row without Fukunari-sensei's warm welcome and inspiring guidance of the Japanese language. Maybe it's for this reason, maybe it's because it's been too long since I was elsewhere, maybe it's due to the time of year that I've been feeling a little disenchanted with Japan recently. It comes in waves as I would imagine it does for any foreigner living anywhere in the world. Life isn't perfect and there's a convenient scapegoat in dislocation, whether or not it is the real reason.
I was happily going about my morning, immersed in my subtly disenchanted feelings, looking onto to others as others and myself as incorrigibly right, when my thoughts were disrupted by a woman waiting at the same bus stop. "Where do you come from?" she asked me in perfectly understandable, slowly paced yet respectful Japanese. It was effortless to answer her. And she continued to speak with me, in the same manner that Fukunari-sensei speaks to me, using words and grammar I can understand, in a tone that is friendly and inviting. She guessed that I was one of the musicians that lives in the nearby apartments and plays in Nishinomiyakitaguchi. She asked how many of us lived there. She told me her daughter had played bassoon. And she told me with pride that she was 65 years-old, and that she sometimes likes to read a little bit of English literature and poetry.
The bus was a little late, and our conversation lingered. I chose to sit close but not too close to her, to count our blessings in the conversation had, and allow it to rest. She got off a few stops later and wished me farewell, leaving a trace of unnecessary kindness in a world of quid pro quo. Maybe it sustains her, and what harm is there is in that, for it sustains me, too.