In the year 2000, whilst Sydney was enjoying the Olympic Games, I was in Japan studying Japanese at the Kansai Gaidai University. I have some wonderful memories of my stay in Kyoto: the food, the people, the history and the culture. But most of all, I remember the kindness and hospitality of my host family who took me into their home and welcomed me as a member of their own.
Yoneko was my host mother. She was a short lady and a great cook, but what she lacked in stature she made up with heart. She was such a kind lady who would do just about anything to make sure that I enjoyed my time in Japan. She was a great friend by the end and I look forward to returning to Japan one day to see her again.
Noriko was my host sister. She didn’t actually live with me and ‘our’ family. Instead she lived on-campus at her University in Nagano. She was studying English there and so between us, we had a great time interpreting each others bad conversation.
You might be wondering what any of this has do to with the pictures below. Well, as RP and I were sitting here thinking of a title for this post we couldn’t help but laugh at BJ’s very obvious red locks. It reminded us of the colours of Autumn and that, in turn, reminded me of Yoneko and Noriko. You see, like many Japanese girls Noriko wanted to be different and in a land where almost everyone has black hair she began to experiment with hair dye. I’ll never forget the day Noriko returned home from Nagano for the weekend with bright auburn hair. Her mother was speechless and very disapproving – though not that Noriko cared much.
If I remember correctly Yoneko and Noriko didn’t speak to each other for the entire weekend and when they did need to say something they both used me as their mouth piece. I remember clearly my host mother walking around the house muttering to herself “kooyou da. dooshite kooyou da” in that exasperated tone that only mother’s can seem to use. I didn’t know what it meant at the time, but I later learnt that what she was saying was “Autumn foilage – why Autumn foilage?”
Unlike my host mother – we just absolutely love our little “kooyou” boy!
P.S. Of course, no photoshoot would be complete without a little tanty.
P.P.S. Ugh!!! This just goes to show you how much I need a new computer; the colour calibration on my laptop monitor is way off. The top picture of BJ, which looked perfect for skin tone on my laptop, is looking a sickly yellow on my computer at work. Hmmm….