Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Good Earth

Nara, Japan
(Links to pictures)
San = Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Mr. & Mrs.

I read the above book on the plane ride to Hong Kong. Not my favorite, but a good/sad story. Today, on our morning walk with Q (her golden retriever), we stopped by a farmer produce stand in her neighborhood and bought some vegs. The farmer's wife was so sweet, she invited us to pick their strawberries and also eat all we can for free. Normally, H-E-B strawberries turn me off, so I wasn't super excited, but when we got in and saw all the bright red dearies waiting to be chomped.. Ooh, they were the most beautiful, sweetest and juiciest strawberries I've ever tasted! Of course, I am always one to wash fruit before eating, but the farmers use no pesticide, and each one was free of blemishes and insects. After eating our fill, we picked a boxful for home. Then the farmer (Naganishi san) came and showed us his tomato, cucumber, and cabbage patch, and taught us how to choose ripe ones. And we took some of those home too. Mm. This reminds that cultivating food and gardening is a good way to enjoy the earth.

And, all the Japanese people I have met have here been extremely kind and generous.* I just wish I could communicate with them. Of course, me being shy and not being able to speak Japanese is doubly terrible- I'm afraid my silence and awkwardness is received as rudeness. Fortunately, my aunt is having a second year college student come over once a week to teach me some beginner Japanese, and I will also have a chance to converse with my uncle's nephew for him to learn English (and me Japanese). It's difficult, especially the grammar. The language borrows from Chinese characters, so sometimes I can decipher half a meaning. It's amazing, language, I mean. Same meaning, hundreds (thousands?) of ways to express it.

* Another case. We were taking the subway to go meet my aunt's friend (Matsumura san) to help her plan her trip to Hong Kong. Five minutes after I was introduced, this 50-ish year old, small, bubbly lady insisted on inviting me to stay overnight at her home. She has a 23- year old daughter in med school (who knows English). Perhaps we can be friends.

I also get to soak in a traditional Japanese hot bath every night (ofuro) for good health, 'cause you sweat a lot. Will download some language podcasts and listen to them during that time. The water here is very good to use, it's spring water from the mountains. Tap is OK to drink. Will update on China at a later time. Sayonara!

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