It’s Saturday morning again. I don’t know if it’s just me, but these weeks seem to fly, especially as the summer comes to an end. Or maybe I’m just getting old.
To round out my week of looking back at my stay in Hong Kong 20 years ago, I remember how I spent my Saturday mornings back then. I taught English and developed a close friendship with another expat family.
A friend of one of my roommates had a teaching gig in Taikoo Shing, conversing in English with a Japanese housewife and her two school age children. This friend couldn’t continue, so asked me if I wanted to take over. I’d never taught English, but Dora assured me that wasn’t a problem. I was a native English speaker, after all.
So I took a train and two subway lines to Taikoo every Saturday, starting out around 8 am and arriving a little before my 10 am start time. An hour with the kids followed by an hour speaking with Mrs. Yoshizawa. Then she cooked us a huge Japanese lunch. We discussed the health merits of Japanese food over steaming bowls of domburi or udon. Each lunch was always accompanied by small dishes of seaweed salad, grilled octopus, or tiny salted fish.
When I traveled to Japan for a few weeks over winter break that year, the Yoshizawas did, too. Mrs. Yoshizawa met me in Tokyo and showed me Ueno Park. She treated me to a late lunch and then we met again in Hong Kong a week later to resume class.
In this photo, taken on my last class with the family, they blindfolded me and spun me around a few times. Then they let me loose with a play samurai sword and a small watermelon. The kids giggled as the big gaijin stumbled to find the watermelon to no avail. I think Norimasa eventually struck it on his third or fourth attempt.