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I know this is sudden, but here is a psychological test.

Momotaro wiped out ogres with his side-kicks, the Monkey, the Dog and the Pheasant. However, there was one more creature who volunteered but was declined to go with them.

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  1. What is that creature?  
  2. Why was it declined?  
  3. Momotaro didn’t have any idea, but the creature was actually ◯ ◯.

Write your answers! I remember this test from TV program many years ago. My answers as a teen were as follows:

  1. A pond snail.  
  2. Because it seemed useless.  
  3. Actually, it is clever and wise.

At that time, the snail in Kitsune to Tanishi ( A fox and a pond snail) of Manga Nippon Mukashibanashi (TV animation program for Japanese folk tales.) was in my mind. Being mocked by a fox who bragged of his fast legs, the pond snail offered to run in a race to the city. The pond snail secretly hung onto the fox’s tail, beat the fox and won the race. I thought a pond snail is clever and wise, but Momotaro wouldn’t realize it.

This psychological test examines “yourself”. 2 shows how others view you and 3 shows your true self.

As a girl at a sensitive age, I was shocked at the result. Am I a pond snail!? Other people think of me useless!? I am not sure about the credibility of the test yet, the result of question 3 didn’t mean anything to me. I cared about the others’ impression on me so much that, I was as emotionally damaged as a boxer who received a body blow and knelt down, to have chosen a frank but destructive word, and by the fact that I had chosen a pond snail out of all creatures.

The memory came back to me when I was talking to colleagues who were conducting hiring interviews. We often judge people at interviews, but we were wondering how we are seen from other’s point of views.

While people don’t see you as much as you think they would, they really are, more than you imagine. Oddly, others image on you often are different from your self-image both in positive and negative ways.

Your image could depend on the person. Some think I’m chatty, but others think I’m quiet. Some say with certainty, “You’re so blood A-type!!” but others say, “You don’t look like A-type at all!” with surprise. My relatives think of me as funny, but I was told from my ex that he had never thought of me as funny.

To be honest, if my colleagues had been my interviewers, I have no confidence to pass the interview and get hired. However, I am working with them now because I had passed that job interview. I have some experiences of being interviewed so far in my life. There were people who approved my ability and gave me chances, even if Momotaro wouldn’t. Thinking of it, a profound feeling occurs to me. The same is true in friendship. It could also be said as fate in a way.

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Seeing a strained-look young man who came to the office for an interview, I remembered when I got one in early 20’s. At the end, the interviewer asked me: 

“If you compare yourself to a thing, what do you think it would be?”

“K…kaleidoscope, I think.” I replied. I suppose I wanted to show myself as a multifaceted person.

“Well…you look like it, “ he kindly smiled and the interview was over. I didn’t pass of course.

I cannot help myself letting out a bitter smile. Kaleidoscope… I cannot think of any practical usages of it. It sounds like useless indeed.

Well, it might be useless, but if there are a few people who enjoys this blog, it’s my pleasure.

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     Everybody has a story that he or she sometimes remember and wonders “What was that all about?” I have such a story, and it’s called “ The Elephant Story”.

     “You know, that boy used to have an elephant at home,” is what my junior peer had said to me in high school while pointing at her childhood friend. The boy, who was standing a little bit far from us, was so shy that I rarely had talked to him.

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     Although our hometown is full of nature, there is no way to keep an elephant at an ordinary home, I thought. So I didn’t buy it at first, even though she insisted that it was true. One day his father took an elephant on a truck, she said. She even swore she had fed the elephant before as a neighbor.

     Kids sometimes mix up memories. So I thought she must have mistook another creature for an elephant. However, she claimed that the creature was a color of a puddle and also made a trumpeting sound like an elephant.

     That is indeed an elephant, I was convinced then.

     According to her, unfortunately the elephant died soon after being bought. I asked her why. She nodded, saying that the climate probably did not match its health. Then she made me promise not to mention the story in front of him. She explained to me that he was hurt by the incident and withdrew into his shell.

     Anyway, a question occurred to me: Was it an Asian elephant or an African one? Then I asked her, “What kind of elephant was that?”

     Looking at me incredulously, perhaps even wondering why I had asked her such an absurd question, she replied immediately.

     “It was a baby elephant.”

     Even though we regret afterwards, there are times we happen to leave some mysteries as without pursuing them any further. Maybe the boy really once had an elephant. Maybe my peer was a compulsive liar, which I didn’t recognize, and was fooled. The mystery still remains.

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     I got an opportunity to teach Japanese to kids at an international school. They usually speak in English but of course we speak in Japanese for the hour. After I introduced myself to 3rd and 4th graders, I asked their name. Alex, Takashi, Mark, Lisa, each told me their name. A little boy with cute eyes behind the glasses said to me “My name is Ando Ryu.” I thought it was polite enough. buddy-graduate-clip-art-10960

     As it was a Japanese class, I called their name with kun, or chan, like Takashi-kun, Ryu-kun, Lisa-chan. Then Ryu-kun faltered “ I’m not Ryu-kun.” He feels awkward to be called with kun since he usually speaks in English, I thought. As a native Japanese speaker, I used to wonder during my childhood how Agnes Chan would be called with “chan”. Would she still be Agnes chan, or if there was a Sebastian, would he be called Sebastian-chan? They were pretty meaningless thoughts.

     Thinking that he’ll get used to it soon, I just smiled at him and said nothing. Then I gave the students instructions to write their name on the handout. Each student started writing his or her name with a pencil. When I turned to Ryu-kun, I found him writing “Andrew” in Katakana.

     That’s right. His name is not Ando Ryu, but it was Andrew.

     Andrew! Realizing I was mistaken, l laughed to myself. But I couldn’t laugh in front of the students. To hold back laughter in this situation was as hard as trying not to laugh at a Buddhist funeral service, but I survived the hour.

   Since our hilarious encounter , I couldn’t help paying attention to him. He was such an attractive kid. His knowledge on Egyptian archeology, histories and computer programing amazed teachers. He was called Little Einstein for his intelligence.

     Unlike some unfriendly kids who are around 3rd graders or above, he was friendly and told me about the things he was interested in. Even if I asked some questions, he didn’t stop talking until he thought he was done. He seemed to be enthusiastic about everything. It was like he had a small cosmos in his head. Sometimes you see kids of great promise, and he was definitely one of them. Even with his smartness, he was not snobby at all but he was smiling all the time and full of charm. Once he showed me a magic trick. Its idea was very childish and it made me laugh. He was a childlike kid indeed.

アンドリュー画伯「Perfection」

Andrew 「Perfection」 

     Andrew was moving to the United States and we had to say good-bye to him in two week or so. On the last day, I said hello to him as usual, and then he triumphantly told me that he would draw a perfect cube , which he did, with much perfectionism. He showed it to everyone around, saying “Isn’t this perfect!?” He didn’t care even if he was teased that the lines were not straight enough. Returning to where I was, he added a circular cone and a triangular pyramid on the paper, and wrote “Coke” ina the cone. It was an art piece.

     When we say good-bye, I gave him a hug, saying “I’ll miss you.” He looked up at me, saying “You can chat with me when you access my blog.” And he left as if nothing was different from any other day. His mom told me that he felt really sad to part with his friends, but he didn’t give the slightest indication of that.

     After loosing his sight, I took a look at the memo with his blog address he gave me, and found a perfect cube on it. That’s how he is, I thought.

Andrew, good luck in America!

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