Friday, March 02, 2007

Catching up

Today I organised to meet up with an English teacher who works part-time at Maiko. Her English is really good and we became good friends while I was in Japan. When I returned to Perth I found out that her husband recently died in a road accident. It was so shocking and I really wanted to see her during my trip.

She took me to a new cafe in the new, green building 'Mint Kobe'. We had tea and dessert while we talked and teared together. She is such a kind-hearted, thoughtful and strong woman. I also found out that a few months before her husband's death, her mum passed away after a long fight with cancer. She also has three teenage boys to raise up. I had met her family once when she invited me over to her house for lunch.

I find the topic of death quite hard to talk about and upsetting but she was very calm and at peace with everything. She told me how she felt, the stages of emotions, what she experienced and how she looked forward to a good future with her sons, knowing that her husband was 'looking down on her'. I really admired her strength.

They looked exactly like the plastic displays ones

In the evening I met up with Noel in Umeda. He moved to Osaka and is working for a private English company. It was good to catch up with him and find what he's been up to after JET and still living in Japan. We went to an izakaya place called Unoya.

Strawberry creme brulee

Strawberry daifuku shaped like a rabbit

Sorry Noel, forgot to take a photo of you. Thanks for taking the time to catch up with me. So glad you're still enjoying life in Japan and it's always a pleasure hanging out with you.


At 2:02 pm, Blogger Dan said...

That daifuku is gorgeous. I love the icing writing, cute!

At 3:27 pm, Blogger Ron said...

Hey Christine. Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading your blog on Maiko koko. It brought back a lot of memories for my wife and I as I was the JET AET for Maiko from 1995-97. I was the second AET to live in the kasumigaoka apartment and I recognized many of the things in the apartment. I can still hear the neighbor lady behind the apato yelling the cat's name ("Cabin" - like the cigarettes) and the lady up the street banging her prayer drums for hours on end.

I can tell you that we made great friends in Kobe and it we felt incredibly homesick upon returning back to the US. I did recognize a couple of the teachers from your photos but I'm sure 90% of them had moved on due to the rotation. Was Suwa-sensei still there? I know he was heavily involved in the disaster relief program at Maiko.

Eventually, Japan felt like a foreign country again and the US felt like home but it took a LONG time. Maiko, Kobe & Japan will always hold a special place in our heart.

There should be about 5 or 6 of us former Maiko AETs out there and I've always wanted to start up a scholarship fund for a Maiko student every year. If you are interested let me know and I might take the next step. Honto ni arigatou gozaimashita!

Ron Webster
Portland, Oregon, USA

At 9:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


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