After the Valentine Lunch & Bible last Saturday Mary said of my friend Kimiko, "She hugged me SO TIGHT!" and I was reminded of the conversation I had with another missionary at a Bible Study a few months ago when my friendship with Kimiko was just beginning. I had mentioned that Kimiko had hugged me ...which led on to a full-blown cultural discussion and the conclusion that I live in a "different world" than my other Gaijin Friends.
In "my world," I actually get hugged fairly often. And when I think about it, I almost think I'm hugged more often by Japanese women than by Westerners.
Ms. Matsuo - my supermarket friend
Of course, I did shop a lot! Once I realized that the ladies behind the cash registers couldn't run away from me I developed a policy of never buying more than the one or two items at a time! This policy allowed me to multiply many times over my opportunities to practice my faltering Japanese.