Like many of the participants in the KKC fellowship
program, I was filled with both excitement and apprehension
over the home-stay part of the fellowship. I was grateful
to have already have met Mrs. Fujimoto, my host, at
the opening reception so I knew a little about her life
and her family. She had a genuine warm that resonated
from her and I was instantly put me at ease. We took
the subway to her home from the KKC and met her husband
at the subway station. He had borrowed a minivan for
my visit. The drive to there home was an experience
I will not soon forget. Mr. Fujimoto maneuvered that
minivan with the determination of a race-car driver
on a road I thought should be one-way traffic only.
I later found out from Mrs. Fujimoto that he has an
alter ego when he is behind the wheel.
The afternoon was spent sharing our lives through pictures
and ceremonial tea. Mrs. Fujimoto collects traditional
Japanese pottery, weaves baskets, and sews. She also
teaches and studies English at night. While Mrs. Fujimoto
prepared food for a dinner party she had organized in
my honor, I took a much need rest.
I was delighted with the guests Mrs. Fujimoto had invited
to meet me. Four were children ranging from ten to fourteen
years of age. Masayuki, ten years old, was a born entertainer
and demonstrated his martial arts ability while I videotaped
him. His sister, Mikako, is twelve years old and will
be leaving at the end of July for a home stay in Ohio.
She, like myself, is filled with excitement and apprehension.
These are the children of Mrs. Fujimoto's coworker who
also attended the dinner party. The other two children
were Rydo, fourteen, and his sister, Saya, who is ten
years old. These are Mrs. Fujimoto's niece and nephew.
Rydo came with a bouquet of flowers and a box of homemade
cakes from his mother for me. He also brought me a bag
full of Yu-gi-Oh cards. His sister gave me my first
Hello Kitty. They taught me how to make origami objects.
During the visit I met Mrs. Fujimoto's children, her
daughter, Yukari, 24, and So, her son who is 23. So
has been attending a university in Knoxville, Tennessee
so he was the official interpreter for the evening.
After dinner I put on a kimono that Yukari made in high
school. We had a camera shoot. I was touched when Mrs.
Fujimoto gave me her daughter's kimono she had worn
as a child. On this night I went to bed and had the
best night sleep since arriving in Japan. (continued
to July 11)