『初めまして』（『Flashman』 Japanese edition）
A story from my mom's side of the family. My mom’s side of the family is American, and my mom’s American and my dad’s Japanese.
Dad came to America for business trip. My mom’s mother was furious about my mom dating dad at the time. Grandma told her that she wasn’t allowed to date a Japanese man. But my mom went on, and was planning on getting married. My grandma slapped mom telling her she will disown her. But mom still didn’t listen. My mom ran away from home and cut all contact for a while. Finally mom saved some money and said she was going to Japan with my dad. Grandma said she wanted to see her at the airport. Mom thought it was kind of strange for grandma to sound so calm, but they met at the airport anyway.
Grandma gave something to my mom, an old photograph and a small amulet from Japan. Mom’s never seen these before. She opened the amulet and inside there was a grain of rice and wrinkled paper. The paper had writing on it in Japanese and English “Rosa I love you”. Mom looked up at grandma and she was crying. Before grandma got married, she fell in love with a Japanese man. The photograph was the person she fell in love with, a short man with round glasses from the time, he looked like a kind person.
But it was right after the war the people around them were furious about their relation. His parents came from Japan and brought him back to his own country. Grandma cried for months and even attempted suicide. One day she got a letter and inside was that amulet. She couldn’t read Japanese, but there was an address and knowing his love for her grandma went to japan. She finally got near where he lived and asked the people around where the address was. The stranger's face turned pale, and couldn’t speak much English, but told her that he died. She couldn’t believe it and went to his house anyway. His mother was there, looked like the dead. She told her that her son committed suicide. He sent that amulet and letter. Even with his strict parents looking over his actions, and died a few days later.
Grandma’s lover died. She went back to America and for a while she went mad. The whole place talked about her madness. She attended therapy for years. She was finally able to forget about her old lover and married my grandfather. “I didn’t think you’d fall in love with a Japanese man. I tried to forget Mitsuo (grandma’s formal lovers name) I tried for years. I didn’t want to live in a world without him. After that I tried not to get in contact with anything that had to do with Japan. I was afraid of japan so I didn’t want you to marry a Japanese man, I’m sorry for what I did to you. But I was happy the first time I heard you fell in love with a Japanese man.” Grandma told my mother while crying.
In the old photo there was my young grandma and Mitsuo together happily. The strange thing is my grandma and my mother fell in love with a Japanese man at first sight. I don’t know if it’s genetics or what it is.
One last strange episode, right before Mistuo was taken back to Japan he told grandma “Even if we’re parted, I’ll come back to meet you. Even if I’m reborn as a different person I’ll come see you. Even if you get older I’ll come and see you. I’ll say to you “Pleasure to meet you” in Japanese and show you a cherry blossom with a smile. I don’t care if you forget about me, but when that time comes, please remember me”.
So when my mom first brought my father to meet grandma, my dad was so nervous. He practiced English so much, but he forgot his words at the moment and said “Pleasure to meet you” in Japanese. And he gave my grandma a type of snow glove that had cherry blossoms inside it. Grandma was so surprised when that happened. This was something my grandma kept to herself so she was really surprised. My grandma said she was happy. Thank you Mitsuo.
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