Something Nascent, Maplopo

A Maplopo Original:

by Doc & Reiko Kane

Something Nascent

a peek into a budding romance over the course of a dozen or so emails

© All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of Maplopo.

Subject: English Day Event (Nagaoka University Secondary School)

From: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>
Date: Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 10:25 AM
To: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>

Dear Mr. Patrick O’Callahan,

Hello. This is Konoha Makita of Nagaoka University Secondary School. Nice to meet you.

I was referred to you by my senior, Mr. Sakamoto, about our annual spring event, English Day. I’m in charge of the afternoon discussion session entitled, “What’s in Your Bag? —Things to Keep in Mind When Navigating the World and Finding Happiness” —thank you for your willingness to participate in the discussion as a guest instructor. I believe Mr. Sakamoto may have told you about the crux of the session and about the meeting we’d like to hold prior to the event.

Are you able to visit the school at 2pm on March 15th? The meeting should last no more than an hour. We’ll brief you about the day’s schedule and the specifics of your role as an instructor that day.

Looking forward to hearing from you…

Warm regards,

Konoha Makita
Nagaoka University Secondary School

From: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>
Date: Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 8:20 AM
To: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>

Morning, Konoha!

I’d be more than happy to meet with you and to talk about things that are important in life. It’s wonderful you’ve decided to cover this sort of topic, and I’m more than pleased to assist.

… 2pm, March 15th sounds wonderful…

Shall we consider it set, then?

Cheers,
Patrick

From: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>
Date: Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 9:51 AM
To: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>

Dear Patrick,

Thank you for your message and confirmation. I’m glad you find the topic interesting and hope the students discover its significance through discussion as well.

Yes, I’ll see you on Monday. You can come straight to the staff room on the second floor of the main building.

In typical Japanese fashion, it’s the big building with “Main Building” written on it.

When you walk into the building, the staircase to get to the second floor will be in the far corner to your left. Take the stairs up a floor. When you exit, turn right and the staff room will be the second room on the right just after the area reserved as a little kitchen.

Alternately, if you might be feeling a little tired or lazy that day, you can take the elevator located on the opposite side of the main entrance. But, you’ll have to wait a long time for the elevator to arrive as it’s probably the slowest elevator in Kobe. 😉

Have a great weekend.
Konoha

P.S. I’m sorry, by the way, for turning myself into a talking GPS here. No intention whatsoever!

From: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>
Date: Fri, Mar 12, 2010 at 1:24 PM
To: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>

Ha! Funny, Konoha… 😉 Ah, yes, I’m familiar with those all-too-slow elevators (and escalators!) here in Japan. Have you ridden that super-slow escalator at Kosoku-Kobe station? I feel like the local obaasans could walk more quickly down the actual stairs, than take that particular escalator… 😉

Okay, cool. So, I’ll see you at 2pm, then, in the staff room. Perhaps I’ll swing by and grab a cup of tea first on my way past the kitchen. Would you like a cup?

Until then, have a beautiful weekend as well…

Patrick

From: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>
Date: Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 9:17 PM
To: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>

Morning, Konoha!

Thanks again for taking the time to show me the ropes today, and for walking me through your plans for the event. I think everything’ll go off without a hitch.

I must say, it was also quite nice to meet you in person, and to learn more about your goals for the school and the kids. It’s nice to see such spirit when it comes to helping others reach their dreams… and (jeez!) so sorry to have kept you beyond our appointed time chatting about all that sort of stuff! 😉

As promised, I put together a little resource list for you that you can hand out to folks if you’d like. Feel free to edit this in any way you see fit, or discard it altogether. All are good resources for learning about living a rich life. There are tons more things one could recommend, but this is a good start. These books often reference other reading as well. 😉

P.S. I received your invite to attend today(!)… of course, I’m pleased to say yes. Looking forward to seeing you again as well. 😉

Peace.
P

From: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>
Date: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 11:31 AM
To: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>

Hi Patrick,

Good morning.

It was very nice meeting you too. Please don’t feel bad about having overrun our meeting time; I was totally oblivious of the time as well. I literally did a double-take to see if the time I was witnessing was really the actual time! 😉 Oh! Actually, let me apologize one more time for smacking straight into you when turning around so quickly! I’m relieved that you somehow escaped from being blown away by my crazy force. Thank God!

Thank you so much for the list. Wonderful! Since this is far too great a list, I won’t butcher what you put together for us. I’ll check out some of the materials in pursuit of a richer life for myself as well.

Um, what would you say if I suggested everybody get together after the event to celebrate? I’d love to have a friendly chat with everyone in a relaxing environment somewhere—maybe at a coffee shop a couple blocks away from the school?

See you on March 31st.

Konoha

From: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>
Date: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:03 PM
To: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>

Howdy, Konoha!

Ha… you’re funny… 😉 That little bump was fine with me… no worries. Being prone to dropping things, I was a bit surprised I didn’t drop my coffee cup right on your toes at the moment of impact—we survived! Feel free to bump into me any time you’d like… I promise to keep my eye on the coffee.

Speaking of which, yes, I’d love to get together after the event at some point (immediately afterward and later that evening I’m tied up, but…) – definitely count me in!

And, on the list… even if you find the littlest thing impactful, it’ll make me happy. Viktor Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning can be particularly life-altering. 😉

Cheers for now,
P

From: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>
Date: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 5:33 PM
To: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>

Hi Patrick,

Thank you for sharing the book. I looked it up and it’s translated into Japanese and called, “霧と夜.” And coincidentally, this book is actually a favorite of my beloved author, Tatsuyo Hasegawa. I remember having wanted to read it ever since she had mentioned it in an interview some years ago. I think I am going to grab the book on the way home this evening. Thank you!

Yes, anytime you’re free, let’s all get together and have a nice cup of tea (or coffee if you’re a coffee head 😉 ) and, maybe scones?

By the way, scones… I’m sorry, I have to mention this… do you know about this one place near the JR Rokkomichi station? Their Irish style scones are just out of this world. Easily the best in Kobe. They have all these beautiful scones: raspberry, blueberry, vanilla, chocolate chip… with a crust so perfectly crunchy and a center so heavenly dense and moist. I thought of mentioning this to you, because, well…you’re Irish. Thinking about those amazing scones makes me warm and happy inside. Now that I mention it, I’m going to pick up a few of those after work too.

Sorry for going off on a tangent… now you know I have a sweet tooth.

I’ll ask Sakamoto-san his schedule too so we can put something together for everyone.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, have a good night!

Konoha

From: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>
Date: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 10:10 PM
To: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>

Konoha!

Ah, you’re aware of St. Pat’s! Cool…

Yes, I will celebrate heartily with my namesake in mind tomorrow. 😉

Thanks for the suggestion on the scones joint… my first time hearing about it. In mentioning classic Irish scones, though, my attention is now decidedly yours. So, absolutely, I’m in. Tea and scones. Just let me know what Sakamoto-san says schedule-wise and we’ll put something together. Thanks so much for taking the time to line things up… I really appreciate it!

I looked up Tatsuyo Hasegawa… she lives in Ako! Right here in Hyogo. Wow, small world, no? 😉

I downloaded a few samples of her books to my Kindle… my turn to check out a few recommendations from you! Do you have a favorite?

See you later!

Cheers,
P

From: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>
Date: Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 1:16 PM
To: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>

Hi Patrick!

Now, Sakamoto-san is dazzled by my enthusiasm for Irish scones, so he’s in as well. He has suggested we get together on Friday, April 2nd—two days after the event. How does that sound to you?

Thank you for your interest in my recommendations of books by Tatsuyo Hasegawa. I did some homework, but unfortunately, there isn’t a translated version of my favorite yet. The best book I ever read and am totally awestruck by, is called, “琴瑟相和しまして” https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4000xxxxxx/ It’s a beautiful book, and her writing style makes it feel like each scene is painted by her words, and you really feel like you’re watching a movie. This signature style of hers is abundantly apparent in this book.

I also like “巧言令色、少なし仁” https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/4100xxxxxx/ but the book is only translated into Spanish and French…

Actually, I have a book club, and we meet a couple times a month and we’re currently reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. When we picked this book, I had a general idea about it as well as the author and a vague anticipation of what this book was going to allow me to experience. Now, we’re almost half into the book, and no kidding… Ellison is offering so much insight about the nature of self-awareness and showing us painful truths about the human experience. It’s mind blowing… The last book we read was Flannery O’Connor’s The Habit of Being. I’m thinking I’ll suggest we read Frankel’s Man’s Search for Meaning for the next book.

I hope we continue to share good books.

Have a wonderful afternoon.

Konoha

From: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 18, 2010 at 10:44 AM
To: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>

… you have a book club, Konoha?!

Whoa. Super-cool. You’re definitely a reader! And… I must say, becoming more and more intriguing with each passing day… 😉

Thanks tons for the reading tips – and, for your email. These days, sharing a volley of “letters” with someone is a rare gift, and I’ve enjoyed our little missives.

As for Ms. Hasegawa… hmmm…

Since I appear to be without the crutch of an English version of Tatsuyo’s work (thanks for searching for me!) – I decided to dive right in with the Japanese version. Yeehaw!

I’m up in Nagoya this weekend, and can’t think of a better way to unwind amidst all the food and sightseeing.

Of course, my eyes’ll be deep set on my jisho until I really get rolling, but… that’s how we learn, right?

It’s cool you read Flannery O’Connor… she was a big influence on my favorite singer, Bruce Springsteen. Funny how that works, no? My recommended book was a favorite of your favorite author and a book you’ve already read is a favorite of my favorite singer. Nuts! Heee…

You’re definitely reading some deep stuff. Very, very cool.

Okay! So… I’m off to read a story about a Noh-performing husband and his art critic (?) wife existing in a somewhat musical harmony… sounds good! 😉

Take care – I’m so much looking forward to seeing you again. The 2nd is perfect.

P

From: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>
Date: Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 11:31 AM
To: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>

Hi Patrick,

Thank you for your message. I hope you had a good time in Nagoya over this past weekend.

Patrick! You actually bought Hasegawa’s book? In Japanese?! Wow… thank you… I’m so glad to hear that. Even if everything still ends up being difficult for you to get through and understand, I’m positive that when you do, you’ll be left with all sorts of wonderful emotions and an overall good feeling. I can’t put my finger on anything specific, but this story moves me so much each time I go through it.

If you have trouble reading it, I’d be happy to be your “crutch” and explain things as best as I can. I’m impressed you bought the book and are trying to learn.

By the way, on the subject of English Day… I have to apologize for my incompetence when we met previously.

I forgot to get your signature on two sheets of paper—a set used to cover your traveling fee. I’ve attached copies so you can see what they look like.

If you don’t mind, perhaps I could sign for you and hand it to accounting… or, if you’d prefer, I can mail them to you with a return envelope and ask you to mail them back. Which way would you prefer?

I’m so sorry… Please let me know if you have any questions.

Have a happy Monday.

Konoha

From: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>
Date: Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 11:55 AM
To: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>

Hey, you… hello. 😉

Sure, of course – feel free to sign my name to the invoices. You were perfectly busy, so don’t sweat it.

Thanks for the compliments and your offer to help – I’m quite sure I’ll need the assistance as I get through the book!

Peace.
Patrick

From: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>
Date: Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 9:29 AM
To: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>

Hi Patrick,

Good morning.

Thank you for letting me sign for you. I’m sorry again. This won’t happen next time!

I’m looking forward to meeting you again and talking about the book. And also, if you are interested in my book club, let me know. It’s just five of us—one person is American and another is Russian. We talk mostly in English, although when I get so excited about what I am saying I tend to slip into Japanese.😉

You seem to be an avid reader yourself, and quite a writer too! I’m sure everybody else will be glad to meet you.

Have a good day.

Peace!

Konoha

From: Patrick O’Callahan <patrick.ocallahan@xxxxx.com>
Date: Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 11:20 AM
To: Konoha Makita <makita.k@net.nagaokaxxxxx.jp>

Hey, Konoha!

Oh, wow… the book club is in English? That’s fantastic – I’d love to join, then! Sure!

Just let me know the “when and where,” and hopefully it’s at a time when I’m not swimming in language students.

Would you like me to start coming with the arrival of your next book so I don’t interrupt the flow of what you’re working on now? Or, should I show up midway through this one – Invisible Man, right? You tell me. 😉

Looking forward to seeing you soon, and to witnessing your enthusiastic bursts of Japanese in your book club.

Cheers!
P

THE END

Something Nascent, Maplopo, Translation

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