August 11, 2006

Thank You, Jinanbou!! ありがとうじなん坊!

My days are winding down here, with little over a week left. My apartment is still cluttered with all sorts of domestic detritus that I have never used, never even dusted, in the time I have spent here. Instead of attending to the more practical matters of life, I find myself caught in reflection for a couple of hours, staring at the hills of Kishigawa and trying to imagine myself not as hot as I actually am. When I come out of this redolent stupor, more often than not I find myself engaged in reunions of all kinds--visiting the people who I have become close to here, who have helped me on the way, even if it just to "chew grass on the wayside"--dear friends who have insisted with all sincerity that I come back to Japan again as soon as possible.

Yesterday I visited Jinanbou san. Mr. Ohara (aka Jinanbou) runs a yaki tori restaurant by the name of Jinanbou (meaning "second eldest son"--which he is) just down the street from where I lived in Kibi Town. During my first year in Japan, I went to his eatery about two to three times a week for cheap, delicious yaki tori and free Japanese conversation practice. It was rough at first, and I still have times when I draw a complete blank in the course of conversations in the local dialect (Arida ben), but this experience and acquaintance motivated me to push through the initial difficulty and frustration of trying to speak a new language as natively as possible. Ohara san and his wife Mutsuko are the parents of four charming, bright and lively girls, ranging from ages five to twelve. Yesterday we spent the afternoon playing video games (the Taiko game almost everyone is familiar with, as well as a more educational English trivia game for Nintendo DS), eating snacks, and just being innocent and rowdy like little kids are supposed to be in their indellible honesty. Afterwards, Ohara took me for a ride on his Harley along the coast of the Kii Peninsula. We stopped at a famous park called "Shirasaki" or "White Cliff Coast." The rocks there are a shade of grayish white that reflects the sunset beautifully. I will miss Japan, in particular friends like Jinanbou san and his family, who made my time here something special, who welcomed me in as a member of their family. ありがとうさん!

1)My apartment building from the train. I lived in the second room from the right, if that interests anyone besides me...
2) Me on the Harley that I rode (on back of course)
3-4) Shirasaki Coast
5)Ohara Musume
6)Mr. Ohara, sporting the towel wrap, the musisians in Kibi I used to play with, and me having a bit to eat and drink at Jinanbou...


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