|Not a polite nibble, but a thorough job of ruination.|
- Summer of 1998 we hosted an exchange student from Japan at our house in the city.
- She brought gifts of silk and food - the former because it is a symbol of great respect and appreciation; the latter because she wanted us to know the simple pleasures of her life in her home country.
- She gave me this silk checkbook cover and insisted I use it and think about her, rather than store it away as a keepsake.
- She loves potatoes, something she had never eaten in Japan. Big Daddy made it his mission to introduce her to as many ways of preparing potatoes as possible, although we seldom eat them ourselves. We made a list of every potato dish we could think of, and she checked them off one-by-one as we worked our way down the list. (Okay, that was a digression that has nothing to do with the checkbook cover, I know, but I just had to tell you what simple pleasure excited her most about America - that and steak.)
- We spent a wonderful summer together and shared many experiences, including motorcycle rides along the Great River Road, para-sailing behind a huge jet boat on the Illinois River, chats with my dad about some of the places we lived in Japan when I was a child, and on and on.
- Over the years we've kept in touch less frequently all the time, but we reserved very special places in each other's hearts. I knew I could always track her down through her parent's home in Fukushima, Japan.
- And then just over a year ago a horrific tsunami hit the city of Fukushima, in her home prefecture, unleashing a dreadful nuclear disaster. And I've been unable to find her or her parents since.
- But each time I pulled that checkbook cover out of my purse, I said a silent prayer for her safety as well as that of her sister and parents.
- And now, dammit, a mouse ate that checkbook cover and the silk-like lining in my purse (along with a snack baggie of mixed nuts, which I carry should I ever be stranded without food). And the fact that Big Daddy came to my rescue (as always) and caught the little interloper in a peanut-butter baited trap doesn't make this loss any easier on me.
So, Mutsumi Kanno, should you ever do a Google search on yourself and run across this blog, please contact us and let us know that you and your family are recovering from your terrible losses as you pass that one-year anniversary of life-changing devastation.