Sunday, 4 October 2009

Shihoko, My Friend.

Last night I decided to look through the box I keep under my bed of tokens from my childhood......I hadn't thought about her for years and suddenly there she was, in the picture like it was only yesterday....Shihoko, My friend.

When I was ten a family from Japan moved into my street, their arrival sparked an interest in the local children mainly because of Shihoko, their daughter. She was little and shy, sweet natured and kind, interesting and different. Shihoko's father was working at the local University and Shihoko was put into my class at the local school. My teacher thought I should be the one to help her with her English and it was arranged with our parents that I would help her after school. Despite the language barrier and with the enthusiasm of ten year olds we found a common love of my little ponies, barbie and my grandmother's pet dogs and we quickly became inseparable. I remember how she would make me origami swans and frogs that could leap in the air as a token of friendship and how we would giggle for hours playing with them.

I vividly recall how clever she was
and how impressed I was at the speed she acquired a completely new language. Only now as an adult, do I see how difficult this must have been for her and how alienated she must have felt. I remember how fascinated I was by her family, who were so different from my own. I remember how dignified and respectful we were. I smile as I remember my surprise at the way they would sit on the floor to eat.

Then six months after she arrived
she left, her father had completed his work and they returned to Japan. I missed her at first, she would write to me, but I didn't write back...I regret that now. As I look at the cards she sent me all those years ago, I am fascinated by how beautiful they are. They feel like silk, the art work is so detailed and the effort that must have gone into her writing them intrigues me. How they were wasted on a ten year old.

I wonder how her life turned out? I bet she learnt English fluently and in a way the would put my Japanese to shame.
I will probably never see her again, but I hope she is happy, maybe I should write to her after all?


  1. your story is so touched...I dont know why,but you've made me missing her too. :)


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