J and I have a lot in common.
We're both not Japanese.
We both married Japanese guys.
We both have kids in grade 1 this year.
They both have older siblings.
I have known J since her son started kinder the year after Meg did.
We would hang out in the playground and roll our eyes and talk in English.
I know that sounds a little rude but you do what you have to do to survive and here that isn't just living in your second language or a foreign culture but the particular isolation and xenophobia of a small rural community.
Many of the women hanging out in the playground after kinder went to school together.
And their husbands did too.
And their families are all so intertangled it's like a big bowl of knotted spaghetti.
People who come from the city 30 minutes away are considered outsiders here.
So those of us really from the outside?
Well, we stick together, hey?
Two years ago when we started readying the rice paddy co-farmer W rented J and I found something else in common.
She works with her ILs on their grape and apple farm.
One of their fields is right next door to our paddy.
And so, on days when we're both working out there, at the officially sanctioned 10, 12, 3 break times we'll pop up or down and say hi and roll our eyes and talk English together.
Just like old times!
Well, anyway, all that was a preamble to say that tonight J came over with her kids to drop off some grapes.
They are so delicious.
And the purple ones are HUGE.
Meg immediately asked me 'are these Kyoho?' having far more faith in my knowledge of grape varieties than she should.
Amy called them purple giants.
And I reckon that's as good a name as any!
The green grape is the size of a regular grape:
So thank you to J for the fabulous grapes.
And the friendship.
And especially the English chats and eye rolling!