Letters IV

Dear Jossef,

As per requested: a letter themed “lion wax”. I’m writing to you during a very bumpy car ride to my host’s morning yoga class. Valentine’s Day was yesterday and a few friends and I got together to whip up a gorgeous batch of chocolate truffles and treats. I gave mine to a neighbor, a little boy, and a grandpa. What fun!

The days blur by, and I think it is because I am having too much fun. Not earning dough for my labor grates on my nerves sometimes – but I just started listening to an audio-book that is a series of insightful lectures about what money is, and how it was originally a means of exchange that has somehow (-oh god, my handwriting is terrible) twisted into an ideal, a commodity, something to be hoarded away. And that’s the way, unfortunately, I’ve been raised to regard money. But I’m discovering it would be all too easy to settle down to exchange a life of instability & adventure – volunteering and creating a loving community – for a 9-5, $$ loaded career path. That being said, I’m attached to both prospects – we’ll see where the road takes me.

Hmmmm…. on a different note  —> this is something that I think you’ll find interesting about Japanese social interactions – because Japanese don’t express themselves in a loud manner (by which I mean they do not often make sudden gestures or expressive facial motions) the meaning of the eyes is very significant. Like, for example, if during dinner I’m blanking out and resting my eyes on a bowl, my hosts/friends/anybody seems especially attuned to that and will proffer said bowl. Nuance is really significant here, especially in the spoken language. Sometimes I’m grateful for my ignorance of the spoken language’s many varied meanings.

Later: Ah… yoga just finished. It is winter but still sunny & relatively warm(ish). I’m afraid that I may have made a fool of myself yesterday at a dinner party with fellow foreigners but you know, all will pass.

What is on your mind these days? You mentioned you are wrangling photos from your winter in Africa (Cape Town, was it not?) How is that going?

I’m curious- what are your thoughts on memories & reflection? What does a photograph mean to you? Its crazy to me that a photograph can represent a moment captured, and that in turn sums up an entire experience. What if I rewrote a history with an inaccurate snapshot? Visual mediums mean so much to me, are my strongest suit. I am intrigued to hear your take on moments immortalized in photographs. Let’s see … for example, which precise & singular photograph sums up your entire feeling about your education? (That can be K-12, preschool, Reed, whatever.)

Hmmm… time to clamber into the car again for a brief respite in town.

This letter is nearing its end. Write me back telling me about an incredible thing you’ve heard, or a scrumptious meal you’ve consumed. I miss our infrequent study sessions & neighborly hikes around town. I wonder how the ducks in the Rhodie garden are faring.

Looking forward to being penpals,

xoxo, your friend,

Kaori

 

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3

Hey there champ,

Writing to you half-reclined on a little wooden pagoda overlooking the beach. I can hear the waves – so soothing- and the dry palm leaves on the roof gently clacking in the wind. After running 4 times around the precariously set chicken hut chasing two bird-brain chickens & spending a dreary 2 hours digging a gutter, this is a welcome relief. The rewards are high for this kind of work though — only an hour ago a couple new Japanese friends took me to lunch (squid salad & chocolate pancakes *yummmmmm*) & whale watching in the sweet sweet wind & sunny sun. It’s really important to get out here in the world, rather than gloom indoors but that, my good sir, is all too easy.

At any rate, I went a little gaga over drawing all over this letter so I guess I’ll send you a more wordy one ASAP. gahhh so sleepy. You are chilling in good ‘ol Washington state. What is home like?

I’m at that point where I’m reminiscing about home (PDX WA) and wondering will I will go next – my only requirements are that I need to make experiences & make an impact. Life is so fucking big, man & thats only putting it lightly. Hey! I nearly caught an octopus the other day! It sought refuge in a crevice even after I tried to bludgeon it to death. I guess I need to bite between the eyes next time – as the Hawaiians do. Your vaca in Maui sounds like it was exquisite & what is more, you shared the experience with treasured best friends! Ogasawara & Hawaii are quite similar, so if you ever miss that tropical heat, well, you know where to find me. 😉 XD

Keep me updated on your Euro-moto adventures & don’t be afraid to get lost!

Kao

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4

Dear dear dear Mada,

It is usually when I am most homesick & missing familiar friends & loved ones that I begin to pen these letters. I’m so grateful for our connection and excited to hear about your latest escapades — you’re in Bratislavia, home of the Brats, yes? I joke, I joke. Regardless, you’ll return to Italy soon & resume teaching, I presume? That is one hell of a hard business & I commend your efforts. I’ve given up on it nearly entirely. Its been ages since we’ve skyped & I keep missing our virtual dates. You know me – flaky & bitchy, just the way you like it. ;P

Yahhh! Mada, you would love the fried fish here – battered & crisped to perfection, golden like a fat cherub, a savory explosion inside the mouth. There are literally a ton of fish in the sea, but in the more metaphoric sense there is a sore lack of attractive male landlubbers.

OMG holy shit there is a huge ship steaming directly toward me (the beach) @ full speed. WTF? its sprayin up a storm. Ahhh… it passed.

This island is crazy – makes me want to visit all the tiny islands. Next stop – Guam! Maybe. Actually, during WWII many islanders evacuated to the mainland and to Guam. In the old days, island kids would trek over there for boarding school, returning to Chichjima or Hahajima every now and again for Golden Week or Christmas.

So, question: out of the numerous countries & cities you’ve visited, which one would you pick to live on (forever)? Take these things into consideration: shoes, treats, wall thickness, and atmospheric pressure. I’m not so sure myself, since the efforts of growing a community are gargantuan, although often a fun & engaging challenge.

Sometimes I wish I could teleport just to spend a day (or a week, as we did in Vienna, Montana, Florence- a disaster, I’m sorry, I know, and Romania together). Out of everyone I know, I’ve traveled the most with you, buddy (well, except for my intestinal bacteria- and I’m not being a smart aleck- those things are fucking alive). Oh hey – you remember ever telling me about frying up freshly caught fish in halved coca cola cans on the Grecian (or was it Romanian) beach? Cuz I’m sure gonna try that. Fish is my new dietary forte – screw beef, pork, chicken. Who needs all that when you can live an ascetic life full of flippers and fins?

Much love, write me back or else,

Kaori

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