Noilly Prattle: A river runs through it

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A river runs through it

V+1-Day and we went back to the eye clinic for the first of a series of follow up checks on road buddy's previously reported eye surgery.

bag lady? she was picking up
berries off the ground
We parked the car and I headed for a nearby park that borders a street called Nishigawa, named after a stream whose name means West River that runs (don't ask me why) on a more or less north south axis through our city, while she went to the clinic. Over night, there hadn't seemed to be any negative reactions from the vitrectomy and she felt I could get in some "walking" exercise instead of holding her hand unnecessarily in a crowded clinic waiting room. I agreed and we decided to meet at the clinic in about an hour, so I grabbed my camera and went looking for stuff to shoot--still whiling away the time. 

Having lived in this city for so long I tend to forget that I'm still a stranger in a strange land (ask any expat who lives in Japan). I thought I would open my eyes and look at Nishigawa as if I were a tourist fresh off the airplane toting a camera. Looked at that way there is something Japonesque about our town that reminds me that I am always a wayfarer, that reminds me to always keep my eyes open and not let things get to a too oh!-been-there-done-that place in my head where I forget to wake up and smell the flowers because it has become routine and stale and I no longer notice the endless variety of life that is as inevitable as getting up and finding yourself still alive. (When you don't, inevitability will no longer have any meaning whatsoever.) So, Nishigawa, a river quietly runs through it but the city busily flows all around it. 

water and stone are popular in
traditional Japanese gardens
herons are ubiquitous around here
hoochie kootchie joints are ubiquitous, too
home on wheels
what the well-dressed homeless are wearing this year 
schlock art--lots of that
cleanliness next to godliness around here
you could eat off the streets, almost!
After banging around and snapping away, I went to the clinic as arranged. Happily, the follow up was positive and road buddy was able to go home without the bandage over her eye. While we were waiting to pay the bill a woman, looking very professional in a white coat, came into the waiting room, called my name and asked me in English to come with her. I was surprised and said: "You mean me?" She said: "Yes, you." I wondered to myself what she could possibly want with me. After all, I wasn't a patient and there was nothing wrong with my eyes. I though, darkly, that maybe she has something negative to tell me that they didn't want to tell road buddy directly. 

Turns out that she recognized me from when her daughter had been a student in my class and wanted to thank me, in the polite Japanese fashion. So, I picked up the tempo and asked her daughter's name. She told me and I said that of course I remembered the name, etc., etc. It wasn't until after we concluded the conversation and I returned to the waiting room that I put two and two together. The woman was the wife of the husband and wife team that runs the eye clinic and that my former student's father had performed the surgery. It truly is a small world. Well, I know where to go should I ever need eye surgery. Maybe I can get a discount, you think?

glass case display of menu items in wax,
very convenient for foreigners
who can't read Japanese

old fashioned hearth-table
in soba shop
We decided to celebrate with lunch at one of our favorite restaurants just down the hill from our house. It's a charming old Japanese style place that serves soba (buckwheat noodles). I had my favorite called Tenzarusoba--tempura and cold buckwheat noodles. Yum!



Anonymous said...

Love the good news about Akiko.

Love seeing what your town looks like. Always wanted to know.

Love the long hair growing back.

What's with the homeless??


Noilly Prattle said...

He and his bicycle were there! And there, but for fortune....

Anonymous said...

are there many homeless in Japan?