Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine’s Weekend Part the Sixth: The Forcible Modernization of my Russian Sister

On my way home from Sapporo JR (Japan Railroad) was running late, causing me to miss my second ferry in one weekend. Fortunately my sister Mary lives in Hakodate, so I stayed with her until the next ferry the following morning (yes, that means I missed Monday morning at work, but my employers are quite lenient about that sort of thing as long as they are informed).

I was sad to see that Mary’s black rotary phone has finally been decommissioned. Apparently my mother visited recently and hooked her up with Yahoo BB which offers amazing long distance and internet service but doesn’t accommodate antique telephones. Come to think of it, though, the pink relic my mother brought as a replacement probably belongs in a museum as well.

Mary in Her Kitchen (Notice Her “Granny” Cloths)

Unfortunately my head is blocking Mary’s map of the Russian Federation that occupies the most prominent space on her walls. It is perhaps fitting that Mary is majoring in Russian since Russian sailors disembarked in Hakodate invariably assume she is Russian and address her in that tongue. Even in Russia (where Mary goes from time to time) it would seem that it takes a great deal to convince people that she is a foreigner and not a slow witted Russian damsel. Perhaps Mary is on to something. Like me, she will always be a foreigner wherever she goes or stays in this world, but she has found a foreign country with citizens who are predisposed to assume that she is one of them.