Thursday, May 10, 2007

They Got Me

I have a Japanese language tape that warns about Japanese people's habit of downplaying accomplishments. On the tape someone compliments a Japanese woman's cooking and she spends about ten minutes saying she is not a good cook, she was given a recipe by a good cook and she just followed that. Blah, blah, get the picture. I listen, assured I am too astute a judge of human nature and will never fall for something like that. I underestimated the Japanese woman. On the way to her mountain home in Hakkone, Mayummi sincerely apologized for the condition of her home and forcing us to spend time there. She has been telling us that it is a small place she and her sister built (it sounded to me like they went up on weekends and pounded in the nails). She asked me did I think I would be able to sleep in one room with everyone. On the train ride up she told us that something lived under the porch of the house. We all carry these universal translators, she typed something into hers, showed it to me and the screen said "wild boar, razorback". Yikes. What I expected was the small house you see in the first picture. What I found was a beautiful home set into the side of a mountain. The house was used to film a TV drama in which someone is thrown over the deck and killed; that's Mayummi and Chizuru on the murder deck. The former Miss Nippon, who is now a big Japanese movie star, lives in the house Mayummi is pointing to. Shinzo Abe's( the prime minister) second home is behind the beige closed gate. We slept in one room because that's what Japanese women do when they have friends over. I have included a photo of a kotatsu, the table with a heater underneath that I mentioned earlier.

No comments: