Saturday, July 30, 2016

Letters From Matt #11: Haramachi, Japan: Bubbly Things

Postcard from Matt, July 1991. Japan.

Letters From Matt are letters from my brother, Matt, from various of his domestic and international travels. The letters span decades, and I share them on Living Rootless at intervals, in no particular order. 

September 1991
Haramachi, Japan

Dear Mzuri,
Yesterday I bought a plastic aquarium and some inexpensive fish (by Japanese standards, they were cheap, anyway). I was really excited about the purchase and am right now listening happily to the bubbles vibrating the plastic container and making a noise that anyone else would consider annoying 

I set up the project on my big windowsill in my classroom. Hopefully, it will generate a few words of English from my students like maybe "Would you turn that noisy thing off," and maybe some words of admiration from some. 

Not wanting to buy a bag of rocks to cover the bottom, I rode my bike to the beach for my own selection. Surprisingly, I bumped into the new English teacher from the next town. She's a pretty blonde (I told her all your blonde jokes. Ain't I the suave one.) from Connecticut. 

She helped me collect rocks. We oohed and aahed at each one as if we were buying art objects.

As we were hunting for rocks, I spied one of those hand-blown green glass bubbles that were used to keep fish nets afloat. I lunged for it greedily, yelling "Look! It still has the net wrapped around it." I wonder how long it had been floating in the ocean. A typhoon passed through just one day earlier so I guess it brought the bubble along with it. Maybe it had sunk to the bottom of the ocean with a big rotten fish in it and finally after all these years came loose and washed ashore. It's a small glass bubble just bigger than my fist.

Matt's Japanese fishing bubble, years later. Credit: Matt

This morning at 6:30 a friend picked me up at my apartment and we went canoeing in his 13 ft Coleman canoe. The river was high and fast and the canoe not very stable. Water lapped into the boat as we cut through bumpy water. Today is a holiday because of the Autumn equinox, even more special because a full moon has come at the same time and that's good luck. We have a holiday at every solstice and equinox. 

Thanks a lot for the book. I just started it and it's very interesting reading for me now. 

Take care, 

Brother Matt

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