Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Green peas and Rice

Katsu is one of my students in my adult night classes.

He has big, happy eyes, a warm chuckle, loves jazz, is good at English, likes to play his ukulele and is old enough to be my grandfather. But Katsu, is one cool cat.

One time we were talking and I asked him,
"What is your favourite food."
He tilted his head and thought long and hard as I sipped my tea.
He finally answered, "Green peas and rice."
I laughed into my tea,
"What? Green peas and rice? Really?"
"So out of all the foods, your favourite is green peas and rice?"
He could read the confusion in my raised eyebrows and polite smile.
"Why?" I asked.
With a knowing smile and a twinkle in his eyes, like a young child who "knew something you didn't know," he explained why.

During the war when Kobe was bombed and the city was burning, the houses of wood and paper didn't stand a chance. One day it was his house that was burning. There were many water holes around the neighbourhood because of the fires at that time, and luckily when his house burnt down, he and his parents jumped into one of these water holes. It saved their lives.

Many people were homeless and hungry. They had nothing but ashes to remind them of their lives before. His mother, a very smart women indeed, remembered that she had kept their rice in a pot underground as a precaution. They dug up the pot and thankfully the rice was still okay to eat. They used a burnt out kettle to cook the rice. "Everywhere was on fire so it was easy to cook." At that time, his aunt came looking for them to see if they were alive. She brought with her, green peas. His mother cooked these with the rice. They used their hands to eat the green peas and rice. "It was very delicious. I will never forget."

There were many other people in the neighbourhood without food and were hungry. So they found a big barrel and cooked the rest of the rice and gave it to the other survivors.
"Since then, every year on this date I must eat green peas and rice."


At 10:28 pm, Blogger Melissa said...

Don't you love elderly people who have so much richness in their life to share? It's pretty amazing!

Japan sounds like it's treating you wonderful! Your pics are great!

Cheers, Melissa

PS Hope you don't mind, but I linked you up on my blogpage!

At 2:01 pm, Anonymous andy said...

call me whatever you like, but almost had a tear in my eye when i read that.. :`)

At 11:51 pm, Blogger Christine said...

Hey Melissa!
Great to hear from you. Hope Melbourne is treating you well too! Yes I totally agree with you, it really is such a blessing to meet these amazing people.

Hey Andy!
So did I when I heard it. I'll post a Kit Kat flavour update for you.



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