Sakura Café in Ikebukuro is my favorite place recently. The café, open 24 hours is located across the Sakura Hotel which is popular among foreign tourists. Each week they have a different lunch menu, and you can enjoy dishes all around the world.

This time, I chose The Ivory Coast’s dish, Kedjenou. According to the café’s website, kedjenou is an African stew made of stewed chicken with tomatoes and onions, meaning “to shake”. The chicken and paprika were juicy, and it was delicious with the right amount of seasoning. 

As a child, I used to collect mail stamps from across the world, and had a stamp from the Ivory Coast too. But that is all I know of the country, and all recall was that the Ivory Coast was Japan’s first opponent in the World Cup.

I felt excited to think about the upcoming World Cup starting. Ever since I suddenly came up with it, I have been trying to reflect on my life every for years, like the World Cup is held every four years. I want something in my life to be changed in a good way. Usually I’m not into football, but because of this, every time the World Cup starts I become a fair weather fan. 


The Ivory Coast



As I was sipping a glass of Iced coffee after finishing the dish, thinking like Ivory Coast’s flag looks similar to Ireland’s, Spice Girl’s “Wannabe” started to play on the radio. It brings back memories. Spice Girls were a huge thing when I lived in Ireland. Each of the five members had a nick nickname:Geri as Ginger, Mel.B as Scary, Mel.C as Sporty, Emma as Baby, and Victoria as Posh. One of American friend used to call me Sporty from my taste in clothing and I used to call her Posh. This is a bit embarrassing to write, but Spice Girls reminds me of my youth, and even now I get excited to hear their songs. 


I read an article around that time, which predicted the future of Spice Girls’ members. The worst prediction was about Posh, Victoria. It concluded: she had better marry the famous football player, and become a housewife because she seems to have the least chance to being successful out of the group. I remember that because I thought the article was really harsh.

But the outcome of reality defied much of the prediction. Now Victoria Beckham is know as a global celebrity, and is a big gossip icon. I am a big fan of Spice Girls itself, not particularly of a member, but every time Victoria becomes a topic in the media, I feel like calling out “Way to go, Posh!” recalling the harsh article. It feels exhilaration to go against someone’s prediction. It is bland to go by the script, written by someone else.

I didn’t expect myself to be enjoying lunch in one corner of Tokyo like this, back when I was being called Sporty. Certainly things have changed compared to four years ago. There are things I lost, and there are things I gained. I wonder what I would be like 4 years from now. You never know what is coming next, and because so, life is fun. But I at least need to decide where to take a step. First of all, I shall enjoy watching World Cup games with a pint. 


 Go Japan!


Sakura Cafe Ikebukurohttp://www.sakura-cafe.asia/ikebukuro/index.php

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One of the greatest scenes of From the North Country, an old but still popular TV drama, is when its main character, Jun, leaves for Tokyo. There, two muddy 10000 bills appear.

The truck driver who gives Jun a ride nods at the envelope placed on the windshield. Inside the envelope is the money that Jun’s father Goro gave to the driver. The driver tells Jun that he couldn’t possibly take the money, and that Jun should keep it for the rest of his life. Jun opens the envelop and takes out two 10000 bills which have muddy fingerprints on. The mud is presumably from Goro’s fingers. Seeing how hard his fathebillsr must have worked for the money, Jun cries.

I have 10000 bills that I can’tuse too.

When we had held a family party to celebrate my father’s retirement at the age of sixty, he gave an envelope to each of my brothers and I. On the envelope was our names, and inside were two 10000 yen bills. He gave each of us a share from his last salary.

He is over 70 now, so that was more than 10 years go. I still keep the bills because I can’t bear to use it. Even when I was broke before payday or I was mad at my father, I got through without using the money. The tape which had sealed the envelope has now fallen off, and the sealed part is now brown.

I had thought that my brothers were the same too. But while I was chatting with them at my parents’ house a couple years ago, I asked, “You know, the money dad gave us, I can’t still use it. Don’t you feel the same?” They were amazed to hear so. Both of my brothers use the money soon after they got it. Oh you men, men!

The bills from my dad are not muddy and are they special, for example repeating the same number for the disits. If they mix other bills, it would be impossible to recognize them. They are just ordinary bills. But I can’t dare to use them. 

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When I visited my parents’ a while ago, I was told that my grandfather had collapsed and was put in an ICU. He is 87 years old. Ever since he had suffered from a disease a few years ago, anything could have happened, even though he was getting better.

His doctor had told my family that we needed to decide whether to choose life support for my grandfather, in case of an emergency.

My mother’s brother and sisters gathered to make the decision. I was waiting for the discussion to end with my cousin in the living room.

My mother, who had been the one taking my grandfather to the hospital, had often told me though she has been doing what she can for the most part, she was preparing for the worst too. Every time she told me so, her eyes were red in tears.

My mother came from a small farming family in the Tohoku area. They were far from well off. My mother often told me that my grandfather had worked away from home to send my mother, her brother and sisters to school. My grandfather was a hardworking man of few words. He used to get up with the sun, work hard in the field, have lunch around 10 o’clock and go to bed early in the evening. That had been his lifestyle before he had become sick.

My grandfather has cared for us, his grandchildren, since we were little. I remember from my childhood that we used to go to the barn house where he had worked and fed the cows there, go catch stag beetles with him, and play around in the rice fields while he was working during the planting and harvesting season. After growing up, me saying “Please stay well until I get married,” and his “When on earth are you going to get married?” was almost like a greeting.

I was shocked to hear that he was hospitalized but stayed calm while I was waiting for the discussion to be over. I somehow felt that he wouldn’t die. I don’t know why, but my instincts were pretty sure.

The discussion came to end without conclusion. Everybody was crying. My mother’s younger sisters were crying saying that they were not ready to say good-bye to their father yet. I wouldn’t be able to stand to loose my parents now, but It would be still hard to loose them at the age of fifty or sixty, even with a husband and children. My chest ached as I watched my aunts. On the other hand, I believed that he wouldn’t die yet.

Because I wanted to conduct a direct healing for my grandfather, I went to see him with my mother. When I got in the ICU after going through all the procedures, I could see him lying on the bed, connected to a few tubes. I believed he was alright, but felt like crying to see him who looked like a child, as he was thinner, smaller than I had expected.

“Grandpa, I’m here,” I said, and he nodded. As we were told to leave after 10 minutes, I put my hands on his chest and head to send Tamara Energy. I felt relieved to intuit that he still had life force.
“Can you feel the energy I’m sending?” I asked. Surprisingly, he nodded.

He tried to tell us something a few times but we were not able to catch his words because he had removed his false teeth and was wearing an oxygen mask. When we asked him if he would like to have water, he nodded, so we asked nurse to have him drink water with a dropper. I felt pain in my chest again to see that. So I said the phrase: “Grandpa, I’m not married yet. You got to get better.”

When he tried to say with a mask, “When on earth are you…”, the medical machine that was connected to him started beeping. “Nurse! Nurse!” I sought for urgent help. The nurse seemed to be used to this kind of situation. He told us that when he tries to speak all at once, the machine reacts. Then he implied to us that we shouldn’t have him speak. I felt relieved.

I could conduct a healing for 25 minutes. Then my mother and I left the hospital, bowing our head again and again to ask the nurse to give him water before he gets thirsty.

Driving back home, I told my mother that I didn’t think he would die yet, because I felt his life force, and continued: “Otome san…is that right? Well, I feel like she is protecting him.”

Otome san is my grandfather’s mother, who died when he was young. I heard that he had had a very hard life as the oldest son after her death. Of course, neither my mother nor I ever met her. We’ve only seen her black and white picture on the wall of my grandfather’s house. But she suddenly popped into my mind.

The next day, we got a phone call that my grandfather was moved to a general ward. Everybody was amazed, saying that the energy healing had worked well.

A couple of days later, my mother and I went to see my grandfather again with my brother, who had returned home too with his sons. My grandfather was pleased to see us, saying “thank you” again and again. It still seemed hard for him to drink water but he was obviously getting better. I told him that I would give him an energy healing. While I was conducting a healing, he was silently staring into the air. When I asked him if he felt the energy, he shook his head quietly. “You said you felt it last time,” I said. “Last time, I did,” he replied. That was ok. It had meant that he was regaining vitality, from an empty state.

母と子と2“I want to go home.”, he said. He looked like a little kid. I was amazed to feel his will to live. As far as I know, his life has never been easy one. Even so, he showed me human strength of having the will, and to want to live. I was assured that not only the energy, but also his will to live had helped him recover. 

“Get well soon, and let’s go home,” I said. “Otome san is protecting you. So you’ll be fine,” my mother said, too. Then he said quietly:

“My mother sent me back saying it’s too early for me to come to the other world.”

We were astonished and stared at each other.

My grandfather, no matter how old, will always be Otome san’s son, though he even has great-grandchildren. And even though she is on the other side, she will always be his mother and would keep caring for him, no matter how old he gets. I never ever expected to see the strength of the bond between a mother and a child through Otome san and my grandfather.

Relieved to see his getting better, we decided to have dinner on the way back home. As my nephews requested, we stopped by a hamburger patty restaurant. After I ordered a dish so heavy as to beat what my nephews had ordered, the nearly forty I wined to my mother with a pint in hand, “Mom, I want to loose weight, but I can’t stop eating.”

“Well, you can’t have it all,” she said tenderly, like Blue ogre in Naita Akaoni ( Red Ogre Who Cried).

Mothers are so big and understanding.

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