A bamboo princess from the moon
Last weekend, there was a matsuri here in Okagaki. It was a lamp festival, and also had something to do with Kaguya-hime, a Japanese fairytale princess from the moon who was found inside a glowing bamboo plant - wow! The streets were lined with lamps made by children. It was rather gorgeous and a little spooky.
H-san invited me to come along, as several people from work would be there, appearing in traditional dress – though the traditional dress of other cultures, oddly. When the others got called up on stage they got me to come up too. Though not in costume, I was the only actual foreigner in a line of ersatz ones.
I’m starting to see why everyone works late and socialises after hours. I used to think they had no life. I didn’t get it – here, work is life. Work is family. After H-san and K-kakarichou bought me a pole to hang laundry on, drove me to and from work multiple times, practised meeting the mayor with me before I actually had to do it, swept my balcony, and helped me to go shopping at the supermarket, I felt so indebted and grateful that even though I hardly know them, they are almost like family. And Y-san and N-san have both driven me home too... When Y-san drove me home Ididn’t even recognise my house, even though I’d been there multiple times before! I’ve stoppe getting lost quite so badly now, but I still get confused. That’s nothing new though.
I felt a rush of indescribable emotion when I heard my supervisor call me “uchi no Jira”.
“Our Zilla.” I’ve never been “uchi no” anybody’s before. Suddenly, I belong to a group... I’m a part of something.