Last Sunday, after a hiatus of about three months, I visited the soroban class in the Int. Community House (KOKOKA) again. I did not do quite as badly as I had expected, but I do need to start practising regularly again if I don’t want to give up that 1st Dan degree altogether…

Anyway, I was also very happy to see that one of my friends was working at the information counter that day, and because it was an unusually quiet Sunday, we had the opportunity for a long chat and even an extended lunch together. She had said it before, but she repeated it again: “You always look so happy. Every time you come here, you light up my day!”

Afterwards, on my way home, I dropped in another friend’s place. She owns a lovely cafe and sells hand-made chocolates (which was what attracted me to her cafe in the first place). Usually, I don’t visit her cafe in the weekends, because it is very busy, but it appeared to be a very slow day all over Kyoto, so I went in for matcha and chocolates and a chat. Again, I received a compliment: “You know, other people who have lived here for a while usually get bogged down by the mundane and it shows. You don’t – you still sparkle!”

Thank you so much – to both of you! It always surprises me when somebody says something nice about me or to me. I guess I don’t expect this because I don’t like people much myself – not as a mass phenomenon, at least. But maybe I’m learning how to pick the right individuals, those who don’t feed on bringing others down. It’s been long overdue anyway.