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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

this green tea sucks

I want to call K-san Nerves. That's going to be her new moniker.

Nerves tells me she doesn't like the tea. She says it politely. "This tea isn't so good." She actually means it sucks. "I'm in charge of tea & this tea isn't so good."

"I like it," I tell her. She's happy with this. She has gone on with her day.

Nerves runs around a lot. She works hard. I'm afraid though, one day, she's going to run into me when I'm carrying a beaker of something dangerous & that something dangerous will get all over her & me.

Nerves is from Ehime. Do you know it? I don't really. It's on the mysterious & slow-living island of Shikoku. Where's that you may wonder? Well, it's the smallest island of Japan (there are four main ones) so grab a map & look. Ehime is supposedly famous for tangerines, which they call mikan. In fact, tangerines (what we say in the US) are a variety of mikan.

Nerves is always either happy or frustrated. When she's happy, she has the most beautiful smile in the world. This usually happens when one of her daughters visits from out of town. Last month her daughter graduated from uni & Nerves was so fucking happy. It was awesome.

She gets sort of happy also when her husband visits from Kobe. He's one of those business bachelors in Japan.

When Nerves is frustrated, it makes me contemplate my own patience. She talks & talks & talks. In English. I'm used to it now. She worries a lot about the details. I think this is very Japanese & also very important. I don't give a rat's ass about details & it shows in how I live my life. But hey, that's just me.

So Nerves only works three days a week. The other days she teaches English to children. She's the second person I've known from Ehime. The other was a very sweet English teacher from one of my Jr. High schools I taught at.

I hope to make it down to Shikoku one day. They have 88 temples to see. Some people dress up in white robes & use walking sticks & walk to all of them. But today most people just drive. They call it hachi-ju-hachi. Eighty-eight. It's famous. All the best Zen priests in Japan have walked it. Maybe one day I will, too, & visit Ehime & have a tangerine, I mean, a mikan.

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