I wasn't sure how to respond to the invitation. Usually, a day outdoors in the Autumn is a great way to relax here in Japan. And yet, having to spend the day with Her would likely defeat the purpose. "Her," is just another euphemism for the woman my inner circle commonly refers to as The Witch, The Homestay Monster, or She Who Must Not Be Named: my former homestay mother.
I won't go into details, but suffice to say she is evil. Oh yeah, I am not supposed to harbor resentments. I will work on that later.
She Who Must Not Be Named invited me out yesterday for roughly the same reasons she invited me to live with her family five years ago: to give her daughter, A, free English lessons. I would have had every reason never to speak to my homestay mother again after she subsequently kicked me out of her house, that is, if A (who was 4 then and is 9 now) hadn't happened to be the most delightful and brilliant child ever.
A's essential nature can be best described by by this statue of a child-like Buddha.
She exemplifies all of the things I love most about little people. And so, as I do from time to time, I braved my former homestay monster in order to spend the day with my awesome little sister.
Among other things, we caught up with the carp swimming in a nearby pond.
A and I have been acquainted with the large gray fish for quite some time. We first came across him when A had just turned five.
"Why is the biggest fish swimming slowly?" she had asked then.
"Maybe he's sad." I said.
"But why is he sad?" She looked concerned.
"Because he doesn't have any friends," I improvised.
"I'll be his friend!" she proclaimed happily.
And from that day on we have called him "George."
The orange carp is George's new girlfriend, naturally.
And below is the index finger belonging to A, dipped precariously into a fountain that bares a curious resemblance to my former homestay mother, when she insists that I wash my hands and feet with soap before entering her house...