Remark: Some are real, some are fake, and that’s called a story.
It was the first week in 2016. The first day of school that new international students turned up at my school. I met Joni Murakami at the lounge, where she sat alone, reading . If you ask me to pick up one memory and keep it forever, I would choose this, though my time with her was just no more than 1 week.
The first day of the school in the beginning of the year was not about some academic lesson, but the teachers introduced some traditional Japanese cultures of New Year days, played tons of new year game with the students, and brought us to the shrine, Shofukuj, near the school.
I met Joni, while waiting for the group games to begin, with my Korean classmate, and my Singaporean friend. Joni was sitting opposite me at a round table, quietly reading. She seemed no interest in chatting with her western schoolmates, but I had a gut feeling that if I chatted with her, she didn’t mind.
Joni had an Asian face, or I could say she had got Japanese or Korean or Chinese girl’s face, but I knew she was not born in Asia, due to her way of dressing different from Japanese /Korean/Taiwanese/Hong Kong girls. Later she told me she was a hafu. In fact She was like one of the Nogizaka 46 members, Rina Ikoma .
” Hi, where are you from? ” I asked her in Japanese.
” I am from the UK. How about you? How long have you studied in this school ? ” she replied me in fluent Japanese, with a lovely smile. She seemed to expect me to chat with her somehow.
I was surprised with her fluent Japanese, and sooner got to know her father was Japanese, and her mum was British. Her father never taught her a word of Japanese , but he kept speaking English to her since she was born in England. As she had listened to her relatives and her father speaking Japanese to each other always and came back to Japan to visit her relatives occasionally, she had no problem at all about listening, and basic conversation. Her listening skill was better than many students who had studied Japanese for a couple of years. Sometimes, it is a kind of unfair that if you start something at the right timing, you can gain the most compared with some people who start something at the wrong timing. She studied in the language school in the hope of learning back some grammars in a systemically way, before she started her university life in England in September. Yes, she was just 19. And I was 29.
(FYI, my Japanese language school accepted students with a large range of age. From 14 year old kid, to 65 yea old guy, they are all welcome.)
“It is my first time to chat with a Hong Kong guy. I studied Asian history in high school. Our countries had some special relationships before 1997. Are you having the double nationalities like me? Joni asked me. Joni might think Hong Kong was a country, though I really wanted HK which became an independent country. In reality, it was hard to make it happen, due to some external factors. But I was still happy people calling Hong Kong as a “country”.
“Hong Kong people can hold more than one passport, because of one country, two systems, unlike the Chinese folks who are forced to hold one.” I replied her.
” Then you must be not sure about your identities like me. I am thinking about which nationality I shall go for, British or Japanese, before 22 years old.”
“yeah, you have to choose one before 22. Do you think it is good to talk about some serious stuff like this at the first time we chatted.” I asked.
“It makes our first time conversation more special, and unforgettable. let’s change to other topics, though. It seems the game is going to start.” She said.
The group game started, and we stopped chatting. We were divided into different groups and no talking anymore before the end of the games.
The end of part 1
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