buckets for rinsing; sulfer water pours from a flat wooden pipe
Hc߂̓ɖΖ؁[ Akita: Tsurunoyu: Motegi-san buckets for rinsing; sulfur water pours from a flat wooden pipe

January 2002

Motegi-san is one of the ladies who works at ߂̓ Tsurunoyu, an aged onsen in the mountains of Hc Akita. I met her when I stayed at the jisui there; she was my neighbor. index.html She would open the door to see if I was there. Then she would come in and pick up things I had laying about to inspect them. It was refreshing and fun, after worrying so much about cultural barriers to have someone genuinely curious excited to check me out.

And she had much to share - Japanese, songs, foods.

When I was staying in the jisui at Tsurunoyu, she and I had a few regular chats in my room, where she would come to the door and we would end up talking for an hour and a half or so. It was conversation, largely in Japanese, with some English, some singing, some electronics demonstration. She asked me to teach her certain phrases in English - "Where are you from?" "Welcome!" "Good Evening." In the course of conversation she would write out Kanji or Hiragana for what she was saying and I would look it up or figure it out. She was my teacher.

She's from Akita; she has a daughter who is a nurse in Akita-city. She used to be a nurse; she had repetative stress injury from the work and hurt her wrist. She's been working at Tsurunoyu for four years; it helps the swelling.

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Motegi-san, Kanazawa-san, and Ito-san

She likes to show me off to the other guests and folks who work here. "Are you okay Justin?" She'll call out from down the hall, "Are you eating enough?" And I'll come out and she'll be standing in front of six people waiting to get up to their hotel room and I'll explain whatever food I'm cooking or article I'm writing. And she'll nod and turn around and re-explain what I've said and that I'm a foreigner living in the self-cooking units, as the Japanese assume surprised expressions and remark on the asonishingness of it all.

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