Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Last Lesson with Fukunari-sensei

It was a little more inconvenient to get to my lesson this morning because of the rain.  And I felt slightly sick and not fully prepared or invested in learning Japanese.  Or maybe my reticence was knowing that it would be the last lesson.  I thought several times about emailing Fukunari-sensei to cancel it, but I realized that none of these reasons, even in the composite, was enough to warrant a cancellation.  So I wrote a short essay yesterday and reviewed the lesson, and made my way to her apartment this morning.

I had come with a small gift that I bought for her from the trip to Kyoto last weekend.  It was less a goodbye present and more of a response to the box of cookies that she gave me for giving her a ticket to the Morning Chamber Music Concert.  I had thought about a final gift but couldn't get what I wanted to give her, a photography book of places in America.  I gave her the sour plum tea with gold flakes and before we began the lesson she asked if this would likely be our last.  I said yes, it probably would.  So she left the room and came back with a desk supply holder upon which she had painted flowers.  It was already wrapped in plastic.  I thanked her as I envisioned the closet filled with ready-to-go gifts, beautiful hand-made things that she had made in preparation for a material show of kindness and appreciation.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

We spent a lot of time talking in Japanese, and then she read over my essay.  It was short and just about how much I've enjoyed my time in Japan and how I would like to share some of the admirable qualities of Japanese culture when I return to the states.  There were some difficult expressions to communicate in it, especially with this last sentiment.  I could see her trying to come up with a good way to phrase it.  I still have so much to learn about politeness courtesy.  It suddenly felt audacious to even suggest that I would be capable of sharing any of the qualities that I had hoped to learn in Japan.  Young grasshopper, indeed.

We finished the lesson unceremoniously.  There seems to be a good chance that I will see her next year as her friend is suggesting that they travel to America.  Of course I invited her to be in touch should she be in the same place.  And she encouraged me to also be in touch with her, which I will surely try to do if I'm not too afraid of Japanese in two months.  Even if I am.  It has been wonderful to have her as a teacher.

1 comment:

  1. I dislike good-byes but ironically it makes the heart grow fonder.