Sakawa MONOGATARI
 

V  PERSONA (2)

 

Koban-san.

Chaos theorists brought the powerful image into the world about the butterfly in China, who causes a minimal air-movement flapping its delicate wings. This negligible movement-of-air caused others -also on high altitudes- and terminates it's impossible to prognosticate, long adventure in a hurricane-of-sorts at the other side of the globe.

An unknown man in uniform, who anyhow at first, but also at second sight, does not resemble a butterfly, had a suchlike influence upon us. Unintentionaly he fired the starting gun by which we began to realize, that we wished to live somewhere in the Japanese countryside. He might not resemble a butterfly, in retrospect he seems to have been sent by the angles. This and still another quality of his, which we discovered only later, are sufficient reason to, as Fumika felt lately, to have him consecrate our house.

In one of my favorite study books Paul Watzlawick, c.s. [in the pragmatics of communication] pointed on the concept of 'interpunction'- Where exactly a story starts? Earlier I made a small portrait of koban-san, as we started to name him.

Early 2004 we had to be in Takamatsu.
I proposed, that we would stay somewhere outside of the city, may be somewhere in the neighborhood of an onzen.
But where?
We had no idea, until suddenly I remembered, that I only kept good memories of the police during my frequent travels in Japan: always shy, giggly and willing to go far beyond their own limits. Fair is fair: often hearty and very humane.

In the cities there are koban's, 'boxes' with police inside, at a number of places. People often enter to ask to show the way or whatever.
I told Fumika: we enter the first koban we'll see. Pretty fast we found one. Coming in, every hubbub was hushed and suddenly a deadly silence occurred, though 4 police-officers were present in the small space. The translation of the silence, I know that phenomenon, "oh, dear....”All of them looked wisely at something indeterminate on their desks. Konichiwa I bow; konichiwa I bow. Explanation. This time in Japanese by Fumika. A total different story appears, if I am alone and start in English.
Mmmmmmmmmmmm and one more time mmmmmmmmm / mutual deliberation, maps taken out of drawers / deliberation / mmmmmmm /repetition of the foregoing. The senior of the unit takes the lead, charming and manful, and tells, that in Shionoe, a short drive out of the city, there is an onzen annex hotel. Sounds good.


Our uniformed guide ordains one of the officers to find the telephone number -one makes oneself answerable being a leader- and dials the number without asking us- yes indeed, there is a space. Reserve? Dinner? Yes, please, both. In the meantime an euphoric frame of mind got going inadvertently through the smoothly course of things and our uncle-officer ventures -excelling himself- some English words and harvested praise and admiration from the colleagues and us. Mood keeps on rising. When we leave the cube we are waved after by four officers as being well acquainted. On the street Fumika switches on to her mime-qualities and acts how all four fall back into their chairs with a big sigh of relieve [This time they labored through everything quite well...].

The onzen was a success and the location brought us unplanned the inspiration to, though delayed, to start searching building-sites from the end of 2004 on. The next morning in Shionoe we saw an abandoned small village kindergarten- and primary school next to a lovely stream, which set me ablaze. After a number of conversations with locals and at the town-office, it proved not to be available for selling in the end, though not being used for quite a time.

A second time -much later- we had to be in Takematsu again. We dropped by. This time the receipt was already cordial, a seamless connection on our parting after the first time. We already were promoted to welcome acquaintances. The same question. The senior-officer advised another, delightful location, also outside the city. Our contact was heart-warming. English sentences were daringly pronounced, almost going without saying, may be even somewhat reckless.

Much later, in the beginning of December 2005, it's a little fresh outside. Fumika redefines this weather-type as 'bleak and unbelievable cold', she definitely won't put up with a 'little bleak'. We almost pass the same koban, but this time we don't want to enter. As a matter of fact we don't have a question and we also feel somewhat shy. We are giggly by the former, enjoyable memories.
Prompt the aluminum sliding door opens and 'our' senior-officer stands in front of us on the street. Surprise, exclamations {ma, ma....], laughter and gladness! what a perfect setting! Uncle-officer has a small board A-4-size with some documents under his arm and is clearly on his way somewhere. He also is armed with a revolver, I observe. Starts automatically a personal and empathic 'cross-examination' on the middle of the pavement, just were we run into each other. Possibly professional deformation. At our left and right side pass pedestrians, who look up curiously, because the officer writes our answers assiduous in the empty margin of the documents, which lie on his board now. I hear people's thinking: 'What the heck those persons are up to again. It's a good thing to have police.'
...What's my age...And Fumika's...? What was your nationality again? No, wait a moment, I already know: the Netherlands! Where do we stay now...How long? Where are we going now...What is our address in Kochi...

He invites us several times to visit his second house. He is enthusiastic about my taste and admires my leather coat and bag. Want to share dinner with us. Feels soooo....happy to encounter us again!!! In short: MARVELLOUS!!

Two days after we returned home. A letter of... Yasuo-san is impatiently waiting for us: oblong, athwart from right to left calligraphied with a brush on Japanese paper. He also calligraphied with color-ink a crab on large format. 


Fumika reads:....we are such a lovely couple, that he might get jealous of us and -what I absolutely don't grasp- I am so mild.... More persons thought so the last couple of months. This identity makes me completely insecure. Yasuo wants us getting acquainted with his city, the city which he wants to be as safe as possible. He feels a strong bond with us. Besides a number of other issues, he wants to communicate about the Netherlands with us. What a moving man.

Then Fumika tells me, negligent and as by mishap, in a trivial subordinate clause, she almost forgot it, that Yasuo is a Shinto-priest. 

A             W                             H                             A                            T                           ?                            ?                           ?

I cannot make a match of the two images, which loom up, that one of an uniformed, career-officer with cap and revolver, 'license-to-kill' and an enlightened priest in a historical habit, confidently moving and praying in his temple.

The next day we compiled a parcel. I still had a large size color brochure in Japanese about my ex-country and a copy of my curriculum. Fumika wrote a letter in Japanese and we added a real, snug Dutch Christmas- / New Year-card, though it was a little early for that.

The morning after Yasuo called elated, that our parcel already arrived. When opening it, he confessed, his heart was beating.
Our officer is sincere happy. Or is it the priest?

Fumika asked the pleased and glad Yasuo during the conversation to calligraphy a lobster, next time, a Cancer being my astrological constellation, namely.

12.12. 2005


P.S.
The day after we received a similar, joyful letter. This time Yasuo calligraphied an aji, a horse mackerel in full color.


He invites us to enjoy culinary of unprecedented, delicious fish on one of the small islands in the Seto inland-sea. About the Cancer-drawing we aren’t worried at all. That one will arrive some day.


Previous page 

Next page 

Back to begin