last Sunday I took my usual walk around Kijoka. It's one of my favorite things to do and inevitably something happens that makes me smile--whether it's meeting my current or former students, being followed by a cute little dog, seeing new flowers bloom or watching seniors play "put put." This Sunday, I wasn't even going on a long walk--just to the local store for some onions, but on the way i spotted a dark mess of crushed fruits on the ground. I recognized them as mulberries (тутовник) and looked up in hopes of getting some off the tree. But the branches are up way too high and so i just stood there, wanting the sweet fruit and not having any means of getting at it. Past goes a little white truck and an old man sticks his head out and tells me what the fruit is called in Okinawan language and that they're delicious.
Yes, i know they're delicious, I tell him, smile, and continue on my walk. He drives slowly around the corner, stops, runs over a piece of wood that was just cut down inside his yard, and beckons me to join him on the porch of his house. He's got the cutest little garden and two of his friends were cutting down trees near the entrance so it was hard to hear him over the din but we chatted for a bit. His daughter brought green tea and spicy chips and he asked me questions and I think i mostly understood everything he said. I don't know how old he is, but he did tell me that he has 6 grown children, only three live in Okinawa. His wife passed away 10 years ago and he mostly lives by himself but his daughter stops by sometimes. He told me he drinks in the morning and likes to play the sanshin with his friends. He asked if i was by myself and when i told him, yes, he said that we should hang out, 'cause it's much better to be with company than alone and i agreed. I promised to stop by, and I actually think I will, bid him farewell, and walked to the store smiling. The onions were old and so I walked away buying nothing, but am really glad i went for that walk and met this cool grandpa.
I have been wearing a wrist wrap thingie since Saturday, 'cause apparently i sleep funny and no one's laughing, least of all my sprained wrist. Whenever my wrist has hurt like this in the past, i always attributed it to karate, but it was always the left wrist for some reason. After two weeks of no karate and a week of traveling on mainland, my wrist flared up again after the first night back home; and because i'm all for seeing less of doctors and doing more of nothing, i decided to stick in the middle and buy the wrist thingie at the drug store to at least remind me not to bend my wrist for a while to make sure it heals. Interesting side note--at school only one teacher (my JTE) and one student have so far asked me what's wrong with my wrist.
Kind of strange. I guess people don't like to pry. Don't know.
Although i did tell all my 1st graders that i got into a fight with Sofya, punched her and sprained my wrist.
I started reading the new book for book club called "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon. It's the first book that I nominated to be picked this year in book club and I'm glad it's this one. I'm loving the read and would recommend it.
Here's the premise. It's a murder investigation taking place in Alaska, but here's the catch, the novel is set in alternate history and in this history, the Jews were resettled in Alaska after WWII instead of Israel. If that just put a smile on your face, then I suggest you pick up the book and read it.
I know. this post should have been about my and Sofya's trip to mainland, primarily Hokkaido. that post is coming. end of the week, perhaps? If you're on Facebook, i've put up a few photos. Otherwise, stayed tuned.