First on the list – Japanese calligraphy. Well, it’s Japanese writing with a brush. And my Japanese writing looks like a Japanese four-year-old’s, but somehow when one writes with a brush it looks much more elegant. It still has potential to be my hidden talent.
Next, pottery class. I built some awesome-looking crooked cups and persuaded some clay into a few bowls on the wheel, but I’m not quite at expert yet. I also made a rocking cool piggy bank, complete with curly-q tail. Masterpiece. Hidden talent that has yet to be developed, perhaps.
Japanese cooking. My first attempt at sushi was an amateur venture with Lindsay, and for a couple of Americans messing around in a Japanese kitchen, it wasn’t so bad. However, by beautiful, perfectly round, fantastically tasty professional sushi standards, there’s still a bit of skill to be developed there. So I went to the Japanese cooking class to learn about mixed rice and kabocha, or Japanese pumpkin. I did little cooking, a bit of watching, and lots of eating. But I think I got it – kabocha is quite tasty, but unless you microwave it first it’s like slicing a rock. It’s one tough gourd. Hidden talent? Well, latent Japanese talent, let’s say.
Finally, Kimono dressing. I have wanted to buy a kimono and wear it like a native, but wearing a kimono is a very intricate procedure. So I let a lovely Japanese teacher, Chikako, teach me all about it. It was tons of fun, but let me just say that after the class I still could not dress myself in one. Tying the obi looks like it is as complex as a surgery, and besides that I couldn’t watch her do it because she tied it on my back. Still, I will attempt it at a later date with Wendy, another friend who also loves kimonos and promised to help. Another yet-to-be-developed talent.
I realized a few weeks ago that my time in Japan was flying by! Every time I move somewhere, I have these goals for what I want to do there. Some come to pass (I am learning Japanese) and others do not (I did not join a band) but now that I see I most likely have less than a year left, I feel like I have to pack everything in. There’s so much I wanted to learn while I was here, and so little time left. I think it will make leaving this beautiful country just a tiny bit easier if I can bring back some of it with me when I leave. When change is inevitable, that’s all we nomads can hope for, a way to make the goodbyes a bit less heartbreaking than they tend to be.