Friday, September 27, 2013

Before I knew it, 20 years had passed

   We recently went to Kagami in Kochi City to Michael Kahn’s house. Michael is originally from Arizona in America, and lives with his wife and three children.
Michael looking back on 20 years in Kochi

What was the reason you decided to come to Japan?
   My father was a university lecturer of Japanese history. We came over for his work when I was 8 years old, and lived in Tokyo for one year. I went to a Japanese elementary school and learned to speak a reasonable amount of Japanese, but gradually forgot it after I returned to America. However, I really wanted to be able to speak a language other than English fluently, so I applied for the JET programme* when I heard about it at university.

The Air in Kochi is Beautiful

   We recently visited Akiko Matsuyama’s house in a rising residential area of Kochi City. Akiko is an immigrant originally from Shandong Province, China who lives with her husband and three children.

What was the reason you came to Kochi?
   My older sister married in Kochi. At a celebration banquet after she gave birth to her child, my husband to be was there. My sister introduced us but 20 years ago it was difficult for me to go to Japan, so he made his way to Shanghai to see me.
   After we decided to wed, it took over a year and a half to get the proper residence qualifications for Japan.

The Move That Changed My Life

The Ogishima Family whose romance
 began at the Yosakoi festival
   We talked with Takahiro Ogishima, who is from Yamato City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and is now a Tourism Ambassador for Kochi Prefecture. Mr. Ogishima opened his home in Kochi City to us, where he lives with his wife, their one year old daughter, and his parents-in-law.
How did you first come to Kochi?
   A friend of mine from Kochi used to tell me all about the charm of Kochi and the Yosakoi Festival back in my days at vocational school. I was able to make my own schedule when I got an independent job as a designer, so when my friend invited me to participate in Yosakoi, I agreed, and that’s how it all started. At that time, I had zero prior knowledge about Yosakoi, and I thought it was something like the Obon Festival dance.

My Life Studying Abroad

Zheng Min
   Hometown: Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province, China
   Kochi University Graduate School Exchange Student

   Two years ago I was blessed with good fortune and was able to spend one year abroad as a foreign exchange student at Kochi University. I would take Japanese classes, go to parties with other exchange students, spend my summer and winter breaks traveling, going on camps / retreats, and I even did a home stay. Those were stress-free, fun-filled days. After a year back in my home country, I decided to enter Kochi University Graduate School with the expectation that I would be able to repeat the fun days I had in the past.

Kinkon Tosanikki ⑪

A series of four-panel comics called Kinkon Tosanikki appears the evening edition of the local Kochi Shimbun newspaper.

Grandpa : You know, November 15th is the anniversary of Ryoma’s birth as well as his death.
Takumi : Wow.

Takumi : When was grandma’s birthday again?
Grandpa : What!?

Grandpa : Ummm…. it’s…
Takumi : You remember Ryoma’s but you forget your wife’s?
Grandma : Hahaha…. That’s quite….

Grandma : TROUBLING!!
Grandpa : Oh no… today will be the anniversary of my death.
● Tosaben Tidbit ~ metta ~
   When the grandmother says “metta” this is the past tense of the Tosaben verb “meru”. This tosaben corresponds to ① “meiru (to feel depressed)” or to ② “mairu (to be annoyed)” in standard Japanese. In the case of ② it is being used as “komatta (to be troubled)”. Also, in front of “metta” there is “kora”. This is the tosaben form of the standard Japanese “kore wa”. So the grandmother is actually saying “this is troubling” when she glares at grandfather.