Connla had just expressed his jealousy to someone who never had an inkling of his feelings about her. As a fellow man and in line with his own feelings on this matter, as he had said before, I have to help him cover this up.
...God help me, think of something Herbert, QUICK!
Thuc suddenly saves the day for Connla.
"What I think Connla here means,” Thuc says in the same way one tries to reason with a superior officer, which instantly drew Annan’s attention towards him “is that he is very concerned, as a friend, about this Ebisu of yours, seeing as he doesn't know anything about this man, and this person is on such...shockingly close terms with you."
"What Thuc said." I agree with a serious expression, for lack of anything better to add.
We are right now drawing Annan's attention from Connla towards us.
"What is Ebisu to you, your holiness?" Yung Ho and Javin both ask Annan at the same time, in the kind of tone that a person who is successfully hiding the fact that he is panicking makes.
Then the two immediately notice what they had just done and slightly wince.
‘Damn it you two idiots’
I thought to myself as I slightly shake my head.
Just agree with whoever had managed to think of something if you can’t do so. And to ask something so obviously meant for an acquaintance in love? And at the same freaking time?
…does it take being a grandparent to understand these kinds of things? Honestly?
The kid looked at each and every one of us, starting from Yung Ho and Javin, and ending with a stare at Connla, who is still pale, silent, and is just looking at the scene that went FUBAR the same way one wonders what they did to deserve something unfortunate in their view.
And then she shifts her eyes away from him like a shy girl, and ends up staring at the floor like a scientist, or a philosopher deep in thought over a problem.
…wait a minute. Like a shy girl?
I look at Connla, who is still out of it, and then I look at Thuc, who noticed the same thing I did.
We look at each other for a moment, and then unexpectedly, he points his left index finger at Annan and the right at Connla…and then brings them next to each other out of sight of the two.
And then another time.
…Is he asking me if we should act as Cupid for Connla and Annan?
While the idea of us grandfathers being the matchmakers this time around is tickling me pink with laughter and giddiness at the same time deep in my mind…I had mentioned before that Annan isn’t exactly what I would want to see in a daughter or granddaughter in law.
‘Later’ I mouth off to Thuc, and then I turn towards Annan to tell her to call Ebisu now, only to be interrupted by the kid trying to say something first.
“I…well…” After two words, she stopped speaking.
“…go on.” Connla urges her, his presence of mind returned instantly by the kid’s voice.
“…Ebisu is indeed a recent close friend and a fellow otaku, make no mistake about that Connla. But he isn’t…he isn’t as close to me as the girls and…and you.”
“…You never gave me a nickname. Yet he has one.” Connla points…grumbles out.
The kid shook her head, chuckling.
“He started it, I’m telling you. I just went along with him, since he is just so friendly. Besides, him,a s my husband? I…I don’t see it. I just don’t see the possibility.”
This, I feel, gives Connla much renewed hope…I think, seeing as this is just my feeling.
“And another reason why him as a husband is impossible is because he is already married.”
And Connla, without noticing it himself, lets out a sigh of relief and slightly smiles.
“Ebisu is married? Since when?” Idiot number 1…I mean Yung Ho, asks.
“He married the goddess who saved him.”
“…Is it an Ainu?” Yung Ho asks with…glee?
Why is he grinning widely?
The kid looks at him strangely.
“Well technically, she is Emishi, not Ainu, seeing as Ebisu floated not all the way to Hokkaido but somewhere in Chiba prefecture thanks to the Kuroshio current, but yes. Why are you so happy to hear that?”
Yung Ho…softly cackles.
…Imagine Stallone or Norris cackling.
That’s how awkward the sight is.
And as Yung Ho is cackling he is saying something.
“Ha-ha ha. Married an Ainu…the first bitch and first asshole’s first son married someone not Japanese…bwahahaha! I would have paid a lot to see the faces of these Japs when they learn that!”
And then Yung Ho continues laughing.
…I’ll admit that a long time ago, deep, deep down inside my mind, I used to have some…discomfort with blacks, something I learned through the example of my parents and elders. But that had been beaten to death by the fact that some of my fellow squad members are blacks, and they had saved my life on more than one occasion during the Vietnam War.
The Vietnamese also contributed to the removal that little racist part of me. You couldn’t think of them as little, irritating, less impressive people than you. You respect them as the dangerous and capable and just as equal as you are opponents that they are.
Yung Ho’s cackling and comments here instantly brings to my mind…segregation, Jim Crow, Martin Luther and the Civil Rights movement, and everything related to that topic in the 60’s that I hear over the radio and see in the newspapers.
It’s…It’s something I really don’t want to remember, you know?
Annan didn’t look impressed.
“Do you have a problem with Waka-ush or the Ainu? And while Ebisu is estranged from his parents, they are still his parents, you know?”
Yung Ho quickly gets his laughter under control.
“No your holiness,” he said while waving his hand in negation. “I don’t have a problem with Waka-ush. In fact, I am happy to hear about this. And as for Izanagi and Izanami, fuck them.”
Annan looks at him for a few more moments, nodded while looking uncertain about the truth, and looks away from him towards Connla, who was also looking at Yung Ho with raised eyebrows until the kid looked toward him.
They both shrug at each other, and then Annan starts scrutinizing Connla, deep in thought over something. And Connla starts fidgeting under her attention.
…well at least something good came from this, although we also lost something else: that friendly looking priest back there is looking hatefully at Yung Ho…something that reminded me of the 60’s, again.
After a few moments, Annan looked away from Connla, and then shakes her head and mutters something, the only word of which I heard clearly is ‘later’.
“Well, I’m going to call Ebisu now.” she declares.
First, she closed her eyes, raised her hands to around her chest, and claps her hands twice. In that moment, I felt the air change. It was…sort of like the feeling one gets when there is a storm about to come about. Then next, she singsonged the next words.
“Ebisu, Ebisu, where are you? Annan has come calling for you, and wants to pay her debt. Ebisu, Ebisu, come on out and greet me. If you do not come out, I will come back another day.”
As she said the final words, she clapped her hands twice, again, and then opens her eyes and look around the temple grounds.
…wait a minute.
“You will come and pay your debt another day? I thought today is the due date? That’s why we rushed here, no?” I ask her.
Annan looked at me and says “Well it’s his fault for not being here at the agreed date. Honestly, the only important thing is that your payment must be as important to the creditor as the favor you had asked for is to you.”
I raise my eyebrows.
“That system of payment sounds complicated.” Thuc suddenly says, taking the words right out of my mouth.
“Actually, it’s not.” Yung Ho answers.
“I agree.” Connla adds.
I notice that Javin had not been saying anything for a while now since Connla’s slip up, and upon looking I saw him looking around us with a watchful eye.
…oh yeah, I couldn’t expect him to mentally be with us all the time since he is searching for his wife.
Back to the others, Yung Ho is saying that in the supernatural world the value of certain actions and things are easily known through following your instincts and experience.
“Really? How come this is the first time I ever heard of measuring the value of favors since I died?” Thuc asks him.
“You’ve been dead how long Thuc?”
“Three years” Thuc said, and then he suddenly looks puzzled. A moment later he looked at Yung Ho and says “You aren’t telling me this has something to do with-“
“Seniority in ancestor worship? Not really Thuc, I just asked to see how much you know about the afterlife. You see, it has more to do with the human spirits in general.”
“…explain.” Thuc demanded.
“Since when do ancestors trade favors? All they do is just look out for their descendants from wherever they are, as long as the descendants worship and respect them properly. The only time they would have to trade favors, to my knowledge that is, is when they have to deal with gods and non-human spirits or when they are turned INTO gods.”
“…I think you are forgetting former priests and shamans.” Thuc comments.
Connla, Annan and Yung Ho laugh.
Their laughter surprises the rest of the group and the priest, who keeps giving side glances at us while finishing up the ceremony, ignoring the curious glances of the people over whose blessing ceremony he is presiding over.
“Really? Come on, really Mr. Thuc?” Annan manages to say through her laughter.
“What is funny about what Mr. Thuc said, your holiness?” Javin asks.
“If a dead shaman or priest get’s called on to help the gods or their successors with something, sure they will do it. But they will not initiate favors by themselves. After all, they are retired and loving it, like me.” Yung Ho answers with a grin.
…retired and loving it.
Retired and loving it?! What the…
…God, heaven must be such a funny place…on the other hand, maybe it really is a funny place.
“What’s a retirement?” Javin suddenly asks while I was thinking about the implications of heaven being a funny place.
Everyone, including me and surprisingly Connla, looks at Javin, who shrugged and repeats his question.
“It’s when you are too old to work. You just stay at home or a retirement home and laze the days away doing whatever you want.” I answer, remembering that this guy, out of everyone present, is the only one with completely no idea of the way things work nowadays, seeing as Connla does have internet access.
Javin looked at everyone present. And then he says “Oh. Old age” And then he nods his head in the way one does after learning something new, complete with the his right hand stroking his beard in that…way…I know I’ve seen that on TV sometime, I just don’t remember which show or movie.
He then shakes his head and asks the kid if Ebisu had responded to her call.
“Well…just give it more time” she says.
“How long is your ‘more time’ going to take kid?” I ask while sitting Indian style on the temple grounds.
It is cold, it is ALREADY night, no worshippers are left in the temple which had already closed for the night and…oh dear Lord.
It’s starting to drizzle.
I quickly rummage around in my backpack for the poncho, and then suddenly something comes to me.
“Kid, you’re a goddess. Make that rain go away!” I…’request’ impatiently.
“Sorry old man. No can do. It’s considered very impolite to perform major magic in the territory of another being, especially one as major as stopping the rain.” Annan says in an irritated and worried voice.
“The word you used is major. How about making the light rain stay a light rain Annan? That counts as minor, right?” Connla asks, while he pulls out a…a 10 cm tall dunce cap made out of metal, with metal flaps for his ears and neck, and whose opening is wide enough that the hat’s edges are at the same level as his eyebrows. And on the top is a bristle of…dark colored hair.
…is that supposed to be a helmet? Really?
He puts the dunce cap helmet…I can’t believe I just said that.
Let me redo the previous words.
He puts on the dunce cap SHAPED helmet and tugs his cloak closer to his body, at the same time putting his backpack between his legs.
Annan looks at him, and then at the dark night sky lit up by the lights of the city like she is searching for something or someone up there, and then nodded a few moments later.
Afew moments later she looks at us and said one word. “Done.”
“Done?” I ask.
And then I feel the sensation of...the kind of sensation wherein you are walking on the sidewalk while a strong wind is blowing against you. And this sensation is coming from the sky.
“What did you do your holiness?” Yung Ho asks, obviously feeling the same sensation.
“Umm…something like adjusting the valve of a water main. I asked for permission from the assistants of the rain kami and they said it is fine as long as I don’t completely stop…wait a minute. Where the hell is Kuraokami?” She looks upwards again, this time looking worried.
“Kuraokami?” Javin asked, not minding the rain starting to wet his white clothes.
“Japanese rain god. One of the most…well…he doesn’t like anyone telling him how to do his job or anyone else doing his job. Me tweaking his rain without his permission should have had him going here and yelling at me for that.” She paused for a while and then continues. “First, Ebisu, Daikokuten and Masakado are not here, and now Kuraokami, that proud workaholic, is not in his workplace. Something is wrong here.”
I feel cold at that moment, when she said those last three words.
Suddenly we hear the sound of a footstep.
I and everyone else whirl towards the origin of the sound.
I have my hands raised up and clenched in the classic boxing stance, ready for anything, only to find out that it was just the same Shinshoku as before, who is raising his hands in surrender with an expression saying ‘I’m not here to start a fight’.
“Oh. Sorry sir.” I apologize as I lower my arms, feeling embarrassed at almost raising my arms against a priest.
I also hear all the others say their apologies and lowered their own hands, including Yung Ho, who said his with reluctance.
The Shinshoku, understanding our gesture, raises his hands, shakes his head and says something that felt to me like ‘no problem’.
The kid replies in the same language with something, and then she paused and looks back at us, realizing something.
Except for Yung Ho and the kid, we don’t know Japanese.
Annan sighs, raises her two hands and says the first incantation that I heard clearly since the start of this whole FUBAR, in a tone that says she is embarrassed about the fact that she forgot.
“I, Annan of the island of trees, will that these people can understand Japanese and can be understood by the Japanese, wherever they are.”
And then she claps her hands once, and then lowers them.
For a second, I felt something strange, other than that strong wind sensation that I talked about a while earlier.
And then that sensation instantly went away.
“Do you understand me now?” Annan says to us in the same language the Shinshoku used earlier.
To describe the effects of the spell, it was…like your seatmate is translating the foreign movie, word for word and sentence for sentence, in your ear while in the background the movie is droning on in its original language. The only difference is that it is happening in your mind, and there are no discrepancies in the translation.
All of us reply with several kinds of affirmation at around the same time.
A moment later I turn towards the Shinshoku.
“I also apologize for earlier.” I say to him.
“No problem” the Shinshoku says to us in English.
The Shinshoku smile at our dumbfounded expressions, which includes Annan.
“I never knew you know English Takayama.” the kid tells him.
“I liked singing English songs at the karaoke bar in my youth.” Takayama says in a playful tone. He then turned towards us and bows a little, saying the following.
“Good evening gentlemen. My name is Takayama Kojiro, the Guji of Kanda Myojin. I welcome you to our temple, so please follow me.”
Upon coming out of his bow, I notice he is smiling, but suddenly and for just a moment, it dims as his sight comes across Yung Ho, and then returns to normal as he looks at the others.
…that reminds me, he heard Yung Ho badmouth two Japanese gods earlier. In a VERY provocative way.
God help us. I don’t want to get involved in a fight over religion…well…actually, I am willing to defend and debate the tenets of my faith, as I understand them, when someone badmouths it, but I will not START a fight about religion, more so now that I learned that God does exist, and he is some sort of superpower over all the other…deities of the other religions.
Takayama turned around, and beckons to us to follow him. This prompts all of us to pack up the rainwear as fast as we can and follow him.
We came to the priest’s quarters. It is in a 12 story apartment building, located on the right side of the temple gate (that is, if you are going to enter Kanda shrine), which Takayama told us is called the Zuishin-mon. The apartment building is distinctive because it is the closest multistory building to the Kanda shrine, easily seen from the middle of the temple grounds, and because of the two blue billboards attached to the side of the building that is advertising a company called Fujita (which I understood only because the name of the company is painted in the English alphabet).
We followed Takayama through the entrance of the building, up the stairs (there were people in the elevator, enough that if our party entered that elevator it would overload, and confuse the other people in it since they couldn’t see any reason for it to do so. Speaking of which, Annan still had that ‘don’t notice me’ spell up and working), and to the door of his room on the 3rd floor. On the way, Annan was apologized to Takayama for the inconvenience.
In response he said that he needed the exercise, since he is getting old nowadays.
I agree. I lightly exercise for the same reason. That, and since if I die, I want to be able to face God and say that I didn’t waste the body that he gave to me at birth.
Speaking of Takayama, he is a short (Thuc or Yung Ho are around the same height as my nose. Takeyama is shorter, reaching only to my shoulder), old man around my age, wearing a red shirt under a grey suit and cream colored pants.
As of this moment, we were already at the front of his door and are just waiting for Takayama to open the door and enter.
Takeyama knocked on the door and shouts.
“Juri! It’s me! Open up the door!”
’His wife?’ I thought to myself.
The door opens. The one who opened it is a bespectacled teenage girl with black and shoulder length ponytail who is taller than Takeyama but shorter than Thuc. She is wearing a loose, yellow shirt and white pajamas, and is wearing white flip-flops.
“What took you so long grandfather?” Juri asks. And then she suddenly stops talking.
Her eyes are shifting, looking around her grandfather. Then she leaned over him, trying to look at the space behind him, which is where we were standing. Yet it appears she can’t see us, but she knows there is something there.
Takayama smiled and nods to himself.
“Good. Good. I see you are keeping up with your training. Now, we have guests from the supernatural world Juri, so dress up in something better than your sleepwear.”
Juri blushed, quickly nods, and closes the door.
Takeyama chuckled a little, and then he turns towards us.
“I’m sorry for the accidental peepshow. My granddaughter likes to change into her sleepwear immediately whenever she is at home, and she just won’t listen to me or her parents.” he says this with an apologetic and embarrassed smile.
“Ha! If you think that’s embarrassing, you should have seen that one time, when Thien left my daughter with my little sister, who is 14 at the time, along with my little sister’s friend. You know what my daughter did? She grabbed my little sister’s left tit and bit it, thinking she would get milk from there, right in front of the boy.” Thuc replies, in a curiously proud way.
“How did you know of the story? You said that as if you were not there” Takayama asks.
“That boy became my brother in law later on. Come to think of it, he said he felt jealous when that happened.”
“The hell Thuc?!” I ask, not believing the gall of the brother in law.
Thuc chuckled and says “Of course he said that AFTER he married her. Otherwise, I would have punched him.”
He delivers the last sentence in a serious voice.
I shake my head in amuse…wait a minute...has this turned a competition between grandfathers?
Dang it, I’m joining in! I am a grandfather too! I got LOTS of embarrassing stories here.
“That’s all Thuc? Well, I got an embarrassing story about my offspring, told by my son Arnold to me. When his daughter, Regina was around 8 years old, they once visited the house of his brother in law. So, the adults are talking while the kids are running around playing. Now, Regina is quite a curious kid even back then, so she was looking around the house when she stumbled upon some magazines. Apparently, after an hour of looking at the pictures, she took the magazines and went to her parents and uncle asking what the people are doing there, with a particular page opened to the whole world, and why she isn’t fat in her chest.”
“Are you telling me what I think you are telling me?” Thuc asks me with an open mouth.
I nod with a grin.
“Yeah. It’s a Playboy magazine, full of naked women and porn pictures.”
“That must have been awkward.” Thuc comments.
“Very awkward. That was the day Regina learned about the birds and the bees.” I shake my head while saying that, remembering when it was mine and Mary’s turn to talk about THAT topic with our kids.
Well…just as it should be, I say. The parents must not leave teaching about sex to some government employee, no matter how noble the job of teaching is. They should contribute too.
“Well, Juri here did almost same thing when she was 10. The only difference is she got hold of her elder brother’s pornographic tape. What’s worse, it was an uncensored one. I almost got a heart attack when the girl asked us if having sex really feels good, while in the background the woman is being fucked from behind by some man and moaning very shamelessly, and in such a way that you can see everything. E-VERY-THING.”
“Us?” I ask him, trying to imagine the scene in my head, and cringing at the result.
“Me, my son and daughter in law, and then my grandson. We went to buy a cake for Juri since it was her birthday.”
“I have one that would top that.” Thuc says.
“Oh really?” Yung Ho suddenly enters our conversation.
I notice Takayama frown very briefly from the side of my left eye, while Thuc and me are looking at Yung Ho, who looks very interested in our conversation.
“Yes. I have one. Has any of your children or grandchildren ever peeked in on you and your wife while having sex?”
…Mother of God.
Both me and Takayama are looking at him, open mouthed and in amazement, at the fact that Thuc can say such a thing while looking so…so nonchalant. Yung Ho, on the other hand, is biting his lip and red faced in laughter.
“I don’t believe you man. No one can say that with a straight face.” I tell him.
“I agree.” Takayama answered.
“I’m amazed that I’m agreeing with a Japanese, but I have the same sentiment Thuc.” Yung Ho says.
Immediately after he said this sentence, Takayama looks at Yung Ho with the same look one would have when they are wondering if this person is deliberately picking a fight or not.
Me and Thuc are also starting to look at Yung Ho disagreeably, because of the barely disguised…eagerness. Yung Ho has a professional face on, but the words he spouts when referring to the Japanese, are…well…full of baits for a fight.
Looking back at Takayama, he doesn’t look like he has any apprehension about fighting, instead, it looks like he is also very eager to swallow the bait hook line and sinker.
And he looks like he knows how to fight.
I quickly look back at Thuc, only to see him about to scold Yung Ho. I decide my job for now is to try and calm Takayama down.
“How is your children seeing you have sex impossible? That happens all the time back home.” Javin suddenly butts in.
We all look at him, surprised at his sudden interruption and amazed at his statement. And a moment later I see that Javin said that on purpose, because he is looking at the all of us with an imploring look that says please don’t fight.
Connla also joins in the conversation with a statement that completely brought everyone’s thoughts to a halt, finishing Javin’s attempt to stop a fight.
“I also happened to see my mother having sex once.”
…I have no words to use at this moment.
…why, oh why did I think it is a good idea to throw in THAT story about Regina and Arnold? I feel like doing a facepalm, right about now.
“I think I must have heard that wrong. Care to repeat that Con?” Annan asks him from where she is standing silently (Takeyama, Thuc and me are in front, Javin and Yung Ho are behind and to the left of me, and Connla and Annan behind and to right of me) in a tone I couldn’t describe.
“Con?” Connla turns to Annan with a questioning look.
“You want a nickname, you got it. Now answer me Con.” she asks in that feminine tone of voice that tells you the woman (or girl) will get her answer or things will get nasty.
“I said I once saw my mother having sex once, around 3 or 4 months before I went to Ireland.” Connla says in a straight voice, just like a Private reporting to the Sergeant.
…good times. Good times.
A few moments passed in silence after Connla’s last sentence. And then Annan presses on.
“Well, that’s all?”
“I promised mother that I will not tell anything more about that accident other than I found her having sex with a man.” Connla
The kid opens her mouth, about to say something, when Connla beats her to it with just one word.
“Annan.” he says…in the same tone of voice that a wife uses to say no to the husband when…well…when us men are feeling a little…frisky.
…Oh never mind THOSE blueball memories, but this is hilarious.
This is a role reversal! Usually it is the missus who says that, not the HUSBAND. Now the only question is…will it work?
The kid and Connla stare at each other for a few more moments, and then Annan sighs.
“Would you tell me about it one of these days?” she asks, in the same way a child pleads their parent for just this one toy, and they will be a good boy for the whole year.
“ No” Connla says in a tone that says the conversation is finished.
The kid sighed, momentarily looks down, and then looks up and says “Fine. You win.”
He did it. He…he…
All the men there slowly clap at the historic moment we just witnessed.
One small step for a boy, a historical moment for all loving and non wife-beating husbands.
“What are you elders clapping for?” Connla asks us in a tone of equal parts confused, curious and embarrassed.
“Don’t mind them Con.” the kid told him. Then she glares at us and says “And stop clapping! I know what you old men are thinking and we aren’t like that.”
Connla looks at her when she said the words ‘we aren’t like that’ and has a…wondering and worried look on his face a moment later.
The kid looks back to him, and add two more words.
…I smile and wished Connla luck.
“Juri, what’s taking you so long?” Takayama says in loud voice.
“Putting on the work clothes! It’s a kami grandfather! You expect me to wear casual clothing in front of a kami?!” came the muffled shout of Juri from the other side of the door.
“With this gaijin kami? Yes! Just put on a bra, a panty, a shirt and pants and you are fine Juri. Now MOVE! We’re waiting and hungry!” Takayama is starting to yell.
Thankfully, no one else is in the hallway at the time.
I slightly shake my head. And then I notice Thuc and Yung Ho talking to each other very softly a little distance away, out of Takayama’s line of sight. Thuc looks furious while Yung Ho is gritting his teeth.
Well…I think that’s a general dressing down his subordinate…except I have never seen any lower ranked personnel show their emotions so openly to the superior officer.
…Not good for military discipline but a good deal better than fragging.
I look down, trying to give them privacy. It was only then I notice that the floor tiles are shiny enough to reflect images. Looking down therefore only let me their reflections.
…well I AM curious, and I did try to look away once…
It’s God who placed those floor tiles there, so that means he wants me to see, no?
A few moments later I finally gave in to my curiosity.
Yung Ho has just said something to Thuc that slowly wipes of the fury on his face and has Thuc looking at Yung Ho in shock. He quickly looks away, ruffles his hair quickly thinking of something, and he looks back at him, suddenly clutching both of Yung Ho’s shoulders.
He moves his face closer to Thuc, looking him in the eyes, and starts saying something, more softly than ever before. The gritted jaw slowly went away from Yung Ho’s features and his face finally becomes relaxed.
A few moments later he then nods.
Upon seeing him nod, Thuc smiled and pats Yung Ho’s left shoulder, saying something at the same time.
I wish I knew what they just talked about.
The door suddenly opens, along with Takayama saying “Finally!” in an exasperated tone.
Juri is now wearing a red and white outfit composed of a white shirt with long and extremely loose sleeves, tucked in a pleated, ankle length, red skirt. She also isn’t wearing eyeglasses anymore.
Maybe she is wearing contact lenses now.
“That is fast.” Takayama mutters.
“What are you complaining about now Grandpa? You want ‘fast’, I did ‘fast’.” Juri replies back in an exasperated tone, her hands resting on her waist.
“Alright, alright. Let me and the guests enter.”
“But I still can’t see them” Juri complained, looking in our general direction.
Takayama looked at Annan and asks.
“With your permission, Annan?”
The kid nods.
Takayama smiles, and suddenly brings his hands up in prayer and says the following.
“In Ebisu’s name, DISPEL!”
…I feel nothing-
Juri suddenly leans back with a surprised expression. And then she quickly manages to calm down and bow to us.
“My name is Takayama Juri, honored guests. I welcome you to the temporary home of the Takayama family.”
Oh. Now I remember. It’s the same deal as with Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean names.
Juri steps aside from the door, letting us enter.
But before I am able to do so (I was the one in the front), Kojiro extends his right arm, blocking the doorway and says the following.
“Wait, I forgot to mention something. Here in Japan, when you enter someone’s home, you take off your shoes, and if needed, the socks.”
I look down at my boots.
Well, they ARE dirty. I then look at Kojiro’s floor tiles.
They are white, square ceramic tiles with slightly irregular surface for better contact.
The slightest amount of dirt would be very noticeable on this floor. Never mind mud.
Understanding the need for taking off my footwear, I bend down and start to untie the laces on my boots, only to see the legs of Annan, Connla, Javin and Thuc quickly slip off their sandals and step into the living room.
The only ones left at the entrance of the door are me and Yung Ho, who had already taken off one of his boots and is untying the laces on the other one.
Stupid sandals. Stupid laces. Stupid, stupid…there!
I have slipped off one of my boots, only to see Yung Ho entering already.
Once I had finished taking off my boots and socks (which I put in the boots) and putting them near where the others put theirs, I stepped into the apartment while Takayama closed the door and followed.
I see that the room is a cozy family apartment.
In the middle of the shoebox shaped room is a low wooden table, at the side of the room to my left is a TV, showing a local baseball game, showing a stadium filled with people.
I remember that the Japanese are also a baseball loving people.
Above the TV is a picture frame showing a picture of a happy family. I recognize Kojiro, a woman who appears to be his wife, a younger looking Juri dressed in a uniform that would not be out of place of those Catholic run schools, and a man and woman dressed in business suits who I assume must be Juri’s parents.
To my front, opposite the doorway, is a tabletop complete with a faucet and sink built into it, and beside is another counter with an electric stove (occupied by a pot and kettle) and a rice cooker on it. Beside that is the refrigerator, while above the tabletop is a cabinet with plates and glasses.
And to my left is a door to a sizable room of some sort. And finally, to the northeast of where I am standing is a hallway leading to a balcony with a sliding glass door, and a clothes rack where clothes are being dried off in the wind. And slightly out of sight is another door.
All in all, it’s a room that I approve of.
I wonder how much they are paying for this room?
I walk up to beside Yung Ho and stand beside the low table. Except for Juri, who is tending to the soup, everyone is standing around the low table.
“Sit, sit honored guests. You must be thirsty by now, no? Let me get some water.” Kojiro tells us with a smile and gesturing with his right hand toward the floor. Then he immediately goes to the refrigerator and takes out a green plastic pitcher of water.
He immediately frowned, shaking the pitcher slightly. Then he looks inside and ‘tsk’ed.
“Juri, do we still have more drinking water for our guests?”
Juri looks at Takayama, and then says.
“I’m sorry grandfather, we just ran out when I drank some. That’s why I am boiling some water.”
“Don’t worry Kojiro. We have water of our own.” I answer as I, along with the others, sit Indian style on the floor.
…we could use a carpet or a pillow here. The floor is warm enough, but it’s hard on the rear.
Kojiro looks at me strangely for a moment. And then his expression changes to one that says he realized something.
“What?” I ask.
“Calling people by their first names without any honorifics are only done when you are a very close friend of the person in question or married to them.” the kid says.
“Is that it? Well, thanks kid.” I say.
“Would you stop calling me kid? I am starting to get pissed off with that name.” Annan suddenly snaps at me.
I look at her, and then pretend to think about it, complete with usual motions of someone doing so.
Actually, I had something I want her to start learning since this afternoon.
“Well,” I look up at her and put my hand down. Then I continue speaking. “You could ask politely.”
Annan glares at me, and she looks like she wants to hit me with the wooden stick she has. Then she looks down at her left arm, where Connla’s right hand is lightly holding her. Upon looking at his face, she sees Connla shaking his head.
Annan looks at him in the eyes, with a facial expression that says ‘I want to hit him, and hit him hard’.
Connla’s eyes narrow, conveying the expression of disapproval.
“But-” Annan softly mutters.
“You can ask politely Annan” Connla interrupts with a mutter.
Annan closes her eyes, sighs, and then looks at me with a neutral expression.
“Can you please stop calling me kid and call me by my name?”
“Well, alright little lady. From now on you are either Annan or little lady.”
Annan glares at me again.
“Little lady is better than kid, isn’t it Annan?” Connla asks Annan.
Last edited by kilopi505 on 2013-03-31 05:25am, edited 1 time in total.