2009年11月5日木曜日

not that small

When I was an exchange student in Osaka I was part of an International Friendship Group. Cynical me spent most of the year poised to run as soon as they brought out the white gowns/ word from the master CDs or whatever as I couldn't believe it wasn't some kind of cult but no, seems there really are friendly, kind people who give up their Saturdays to go on outings to historical sites, village Sport's Days, seasonal picnics, tea picking, konnyaku making, taiko drum learning, kimono wearing etc etc.

All this was free for foreigners and a cover-costs-only stipend for Japanese. Sounds fabulous right? Why would I be suspicious? Well, at the end of each outing, no matter where we were, we stood in a circle....

held hands and....

sang....

It's A Small World...

Still can't hear that song without cringing!

But I've had a few 'it's a small world' type experiences recently.

#1
My boss's wife's mother and aunt (following this?) came down to help clean up after the Halloween party. Found out from Aunt that an American friend in Nagano city was in hospital. Looking at rice-farming, grandmother-of-two boss's wife's Aunt I really couldn't think how she would know funky, young mother-of-one-baby American friend. Ahhhhh, I underestimated Nagano- why she lives in the same city as funky friend's husband's (quite famous it turns out) family and is family friends with a woman M who takes funky friend's belly dancing classes and that's how she knew. And how did Aunt know that I know funky friend? Why belly dancer M figured out that I was working for her friend K who married R who is my boss. Phew.......

#2
Went to the gospel concert of a friend, K. She is an amazing woman- Montessori teacher extraordinaire, gospel singer, mango salsa making maestro and just all round fun person to be around. So anyway, went to concert and sitting next to me is one of the Japanese helpers from the English Playgroup the girls and I belonged to before they started kinder. The playgroup that was 4 whole towns away from where we are now. Said hello, did the how are you thing and asked if she was a member of the church where the concert was. Nope. Looking puzzled.... "I teach English playgroup with K three times a week." Ahhhhhh! I knew K taught playgroup in tandem with a Japanese woman. I knew Japanese woman who helped out at our playgroup taught elsewhere as well. I have know them both for years now. I just never put two and two together that women I knew from places four towns apart knew each other. Freaky...

#3
There is a rumour going around that this January a couple are moving into one of the vacant houses on this street. This is big news for so many reasons- noone moves into the old houses here (well except us and that was 4 years ago), January is mid-winter and not a traditional Japanese moving season, the couple apparently have no ties to the neighbourhood and noone just randomly moves here (well except us....), they are moving from Mie- a long way away and... the wife is American. This last information I'm taking with a grain of salt- many of my neighbours equate white skin with America in a: is white? is American. Is American? Is white kind of thing. But still, another international marriage right here on my street? So today as I was driving the girls into town we pass a Japanese guy and a blonde girl pushing their bicycles up the hill. All excited I stop and say Hi.

"Hi! How are you?" (stupid question as they are both puffing and panting and pushing their bikes)
"Good."
"This is a strange question, but are you from Mie?"
"He, is. I'm from America."
"Oh wow! I'm Heather, I live in the white house with the lawn up there. I'm so excited I met you. Everyone's been telling me you were moving in in January. Have you already moved in? You'll have to come in for coffee. I'm just heading into town now but we should be back in an hour-"
"Ummm, we're not moving here. We're just going for a bike ride...."

Oops. Oh well. Quite embarrassed, I wished them a good ride and went on my way.

Guess it wasn't that small a word after all. But really, what are the chances of a different international couple with a guy from Mie happening upon my street while I was going past?

It's a world of laughter, a world of tears...

Off to listen to some heavy metal to get that sugary tune out of my head...


5 件のコメント:

achan さんのコメント...

I'm chuckling away here!!
Your life is never dull-surely you have to admit that.

Rachel さんのコメント...

I'm still confused...who is K? Is she American, or is that just R, who is white? And they all know you...

Meanwhile I got a new class this week, with a student who is my husband's cousin's daughter. I've known her since she was a baby!

Semsavblanc さんのコメント...

Well, I went to a wedding last weekend and met a Japanese girl (married to an Australian guy) who, when I asked where she was from said 'oh, you wouldn't know the place, but Fukuoka'. We have just returned, having spent quite a bit of time in that prefecture, in Yukuhashi (where my husband spent 9 months on Rotary exchange 35 years ago). She was from Kokura actually and we had visited there too because it was one of my husband's favourite haunts all those years ago! She is probably the daughter of someone he went to school with (had we delved deeper).
It's a small world after all! Sorry!

Gaijin Wife さんのコメント...

Hehe - have done that kind of thing a few times. Pity they couldn't come for coffee anyway but.

Brenda さんのコメント...

Hahaha! Akinori's family isn't really famous, I don't think. Suzaka is just so small that everyone knows everyone. (And thanks for calling me funky :) I like that description!)