A potted picture-frame hydrangea sits outside the front door. America was the land where germs couldn't survive, I thought. I envied the boys who tore through the streets, managing dazzling stops to the accompaniment of a piercing screeeeeech just inches before crashing into a car. My aunt has also tried planting some of the potted plants in the ground.
The bicycle is especially useful in covering the territory when he needs to tack up posters announcing fire drills, funerals, children's summer outings.
Agewise he is more my mother's generation—they began to need reading glasses about the same time—but she has never used other than deferential language with him. Both times, she. A nondescript bush or two near the entrance becomes a sign of decency, or perhaps of pretentious excess.
He has not yet begun high school. One cup of tea and a sweet was all he would ever have.
I looked at my watch. After we had each consumed two four different kinds , she said with deep satisfaction as she swept up the empty containers, Now these are in time for the Noncombustible Trash Pickup tomorrow.
My aunt said some of them tossed trash out the window that landed on our property. Until now, I've never thought to ask myself if I haven't been smug about coming from a family that wouldn't think of building in order to rent. I was embarrassed.
Then I poured water down the street because there was a disgusting puddle at the corner. Busy rebuilding and building factories, houses, bridges, amusement parks, high-speed trains; busy going to school and cram school; busy playing computer games to relax before more study; busy drinking after hours as part of the work day; busy commuting; busy crawling out of the "loan hell" into which the lucky ones tumble for the privilege of having a home of one's own to commute from; busy fighting crowds during holiday travel.
To a degree.
Idly I think, what about the twelve hours lost over the International Date Line? I have always found the tall chimneys of public baths eerie, not so different from those of crematoria rising here and there against the city skyline. And they will not live within wood that insulates yet breathes, and eventually rots. As a photojournalist and witness, I, too, want to grapple with the problems of the day, pronounce indictments, and speak out to light a fire.
Surely it wasn't for sale? The shelter itself had begun to fill with water, and my friends and I were strictly forbidden its exploration. But of course I peeked, and therefore I remember those days as days of combat between my grandmother and the flying cotton.
The Japanese People, Nihon minzoku , were convoked in a world organized by imperialism. But the gas station, owned by the public bath, had started a fire. But more fundamentally, I suspect that we, including my aunt next door who had married and built a house in the backyard, were upset by the ungainly structure looming over their homes, inhabited by people we didn't know.
She didn't like too much air coming at her, whether from a train or bus window in the days before such vehicles were uniformly air conditioned or from a fan.