Monday, 11 May 2009

PostHeaderIcon An evening with a local farmer

Last Thursday night I was sitting in my apartment and recovering from over indulgences in Korea and the gruelling effects of my first day back at work. I left my house at about 6pm to go for a walk and my plan was to shower, drink tea and go to bed as soon as possible.

I passed Noah's window on my way out and he mentioned some old guy had approached him in the supermarket and demanded we drink with him. As I was thinking of my possible excuses for cutting Noah loose I heard some dirty Tosa-ben (local dialect) grunt at me from behind and I was soon ushered up the stairs. Accepting my fate for the evening... I walked into Noah's apartment and the three of us set about 12 cans of beer and a bottle of Sho-Chu (Japanese vodka).

The conversation did not start off us uncomfortable as I had imagined. We initially talked in Japanese about the food his wife had made and which he had brought. I tried to make fun of Noah for only owning one pair of chopsticks but the old man did not join in with my mocking and I was saddened. I soon let go of my poor conversational skills and let Noah and the man dominate the rest of the evening. I followed the majority of what was said but sometimes it was impossible given his old man rural grumbles.

As the evening progressed he challenged Noah and I to some arm wrestling. I went first and was naively thinking I would let him win after an intense struggle to the death. Instead... the old man almost smashed my arm through the table in about 5 seconds. He's 67 years old. I didn't feel too ashamed later on when he told us he used to fight his way around Japan when he was a trucker. At one point he told us he got in a fight with a few policeman and broke two of their arms and a leg. He then gave a little "Oh.. but I injured myself too so it was alright".

The rest of the conversation I can only remember from Noah's translations which consisted of some strange stories about religion and stuff. He mentioned that his daughter was killed and some man was responsible for it. It was a strange moment because it was hard to reply to that in any language and it was peculiar to have this old man opening up to the only two foreigners he had ever talked too. It was an unusual evening of forced boozing and robbed sleep but I had quite a good time. After nearly two years of living here, he is only one of a rare few to approach Noah and I. He had never been abroad, never talked to a foreigner, didn't care about learning English but brought loads of booze around and hung out with us... so fair play to him I say.


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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.