Tuesday, June 1, 1999

Yesterday I had a wonderful time with my sensei. He talks nostalgically about the American occupation after WWII, eagerly speaks in English about any topic and still remains physically active after his several decades! We were talking about fruit, and he asked me about loquat. I had never heard of the Japanese word (biwa), nor had I heard the English name. So he immediately jumps up, drags me and a Japanese woman out of his office, over the lawn, behind the tennis courts, and proceeds to practically climb the loquat tree, looking for a ripe one to offer me. It's yellow and looks like a small apricot. Its taste is a mixture of sweetness and sourness. My sensei was a bit disappointed, however, because the crows had devoured most of the fruit from his *secret tree.

I love the crows in Japan. They are larger than the American or European versions, and they have this terrific rasping caw that usually wakes me up in the morning, especially on trash days. In the park where I often jog, there are flocks and flocks of them picking through the trash, stomping and hopping about, screeching at the Japanese. I know how they feel.

I did a little bit of stargazing last night after my friend left. It was difficult to see too many stars, though, because of the (almost) full moon. I recently *discovered Cassiopeia in the northern sky. I stare at it often now, but it has not replaced Corvus the Crow, Virgo or Andromeda as my favorite constellations yet.

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