Sunday, September 26, 2004

Journey to北の国 Chapter Four: Cheers to Mrs. Watanabe

While teasing the ducks in Green Park, I received a phone call on my cell-phone and a conversation ensued thus:
Me: “moshi moshi, Eriotto desu
Woman: “moshi moshi, is this Luke?”
Me: “Yeeees, who is this?”
Woman: “This is Anna.”
Me: Thoughtful pause. I have a sister named Anna, but . . . . Maybe this is a Japanese girl I knew by an English name in North America. I had better make sure.
Me again: “Ruth Anna Elliot??”
Woman: “Well, Ruth Anna Elliot Watanabe
Me: “Uhhh, yes, that’s what I meant . . . .”
My younger sister Anna and I were quite close back in the day, but unfortunately our very different post-high school careers have kept us separated for up to five years at a time, and now I am guilty of mistaking her for an English speaking Japanese person on the phone. She gets that a lot. “Ohhhhhhhh!!! You’re practically JAPANESE!!!!” Spoken by a Japanese person to a gaijin this basically means: “You’re messing with my world view as it relates to the exclusivity of the quality of being Japanese, and therefore I am desperate to objectify you as a circus anomaly.” Anna, after a getaway year in France, went to Japanese university and then married Jun, a Japanese policeman. She wears Japanese cloths and Japanese makeup, and most people think that she is a half-blooded Japanese person. I have it on good authority, though, that genetically she is 50% Scottish, 25% English, 12.5% German, 12.5% Czech/Bohemian, and that she carries a Canadian passport—same as me. The Watanabe’s (i.e. Anna and Jun) go to the same church as Yuko near Sapporo now, and Yuko and I were able to spend the evening at their place. Unfortunately Jun was suddenly called in to fill a shift guarding the American consulate in Sapporo against all its invisible enemies, but the rest of us had a nice evening. We took the opportunity to do a recreation of a twenty-five-year-old photo.

Then . . .

. . . and Now.

Anna, Yuko, and Jun at my future brother-in-law's wedding.