September 09, 2005

Kaisou for Breakfast

Yesterday I embarked on what is called "shutchou" in Japanese, i.e. a "business trip." I got off at Shirahama Station to be greeted by the amicable Misumi-sensei, the most friendly, dedicated, and competent Japanese teacher of English that I have come across in Japan. We worked together at Shimizu Bunko (Branch) High School during the Fall/Winter of my first year. I will always remember his classes because he would just let me speak about anything for the first five minutes of class. Those classes were probably my favorite classes, during which I often was found gazing out the isolated school building's third floor window down at the cedar forests, the limpid Arida river, the few houses and one road in this inexpressibly quaint, wonderful town. Some mornings I thought I could live in a place like Shimizu until my greying, wizened years of convalescence.

Anyways, I got side-tracked. After the "top secret" work was finished by about 1:00, I met up with Mr. Katz, and we headed to Shirahama Beach. What a perfect day to be at the beach--the sun very warm, not hot, a slight breeze, the beach not packed with people like the weekend crowds; of course, even with the small turnout on a Thursday afternoon, there were too many beautiful girls to count or think about or even talk about here. The water was not cold at all, in fact, it was perfect. In the water, I didn't think about much, enjoyed the current's pull on my body, swam a little against the current, floated along in the afternoon.

Then, at night, after many beers and Chu-his, I passed out in my bedroom at about 10:00, the air conditioning on a very low temperature, my light and stereo still on, my clothes still on. After getting up to brush my teeth, disrobe, and make the appropriate adjustments on all electrical appliances, I had some vivid dreams. The image with which I woke up with was driving down the road that leads into Shimizu, a very windy, narrow road lined on both sides by symmetrically planted cedar forests. The driver was my Kocho sensei (principal), the car was an old MGB convertible, like the one my dad used to drive, which still sits on my front lawn, unable to move. Kocho sensei said to me, "You should eat kaisou for breakfast." This morning I looked up かいそう, or kaisou, in my dictionary:

会葬: to mourn or attend a funeral
回送: to send on; to forward; off-duty
回想: reminiscence, retrospect, memory
快走: a race
改装: to renovate, remodel, or convert
海草: seaweed, kelp
階層: rank, class
壊走: flight, rout; to take flight

Now granted that dreams may be full of random associations, and granted that most of the entries in this list of possible things I can have for breakfast are not edible (plus I vehemently dislike kelp), I cannot make much sense of the last line of the dream. But it has been a while since I have dreamed in Japanese, and especially in such a vigorously lucid sequence of images. Maybe it was the sun. Maybe it was the chu-hi. Maybe it was from studying Kanji more ardently in the past few weeks. Maybe it is some deep, impenetrable mystery that I am always working on as I live my life.

In any case, I am going to the Hanshin Tigers game this weekend. They are playing the Hiroshima Carp. I promise an update and some pictures, along with the promised photos of my calligraphy club's exhibition (there might even be a guest work of yours truly included in this magnificent sight).

To be continued...


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