Japanese Language,  Madrehood,  Multiculturalism,  Writing

Random and Mundane #2: Hanako-chan

“Would you like to see the cherry blossoms?”

I took off my headphones. A little Japanese girl had approached me. No one had ever come up to me since I started living in Tokyo. Most people just stared at me. Especially on the trains.

I was shocked.

She spoke again.

「桜の咲いている場所が見たいですか」

What else could I do but nod?

I followed her to a bridge surrounded by cherry blossoms.

She told me that her name was Hanako. She was 7 years old and her favorite thing to do in school was draw pictures.

The entire time I kept wondering why Hanako had gone out of her way to talk to me.

Hanako didn’t ask me why I was here in Japan or how long I had been studying Japanese. She just talked to me.

I walked Hanako home and went back to my host family’s house. I had taken Hanako’s picture but deleted it.

*She only talked to you because she thought you were weird.

I regret feeling that way. I regret deleting her photo. She talked to me simply because she had wanted to.

Sometimes my son Chris smiles at me and I think about that little girl.

Hanako is 11 now. I was around that age when I first started studying Japanese.

I wonder if she’ll learn another language too.

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