Friday, May 18, 2012

A Man and a Reunion Photo

The Tsurumi Middle School reunion about 50 years ago.

I met Tanaka Kazushi san a week ago.  We were sitting side by side in the café next to a bookstore.  I was editing my haiku and tanka and about to leave when he said, "You must be studious person."  He introduced himself that he used to be an English teacher at the Tsurumi Middle School.  

Then he pulled out a clear plastic case from his bag and showed me the above photo, but he couldn't remember the name of the actress on the right-hand side of the first row.  We debated her name for a while.  I told him that beautiful actresses seemed similar to me, but finally, I came up with the name, Koyama Akiko.  

I remember her because she is a graduate of the same high school as I graduated although the name was different when she had attended.  It used to be girl-only high school before WWII.  I promised Tanaka san that I would blog about this in a week.  I hope he will be looking at this soon.  

On the photo, Tanaka san stood in the back row and right.  The man in the middle at the front row was Tanaka san's colleague, and the rest of the people were their students.

We had a good chat before my kana shodo class.  The time was up.  I stood up and said goodbye.  He said, “Have a nice day,” in English.  I turned around and said, “The same to you,” with a smile.  He pursed his lips looking at me. 


kristieinbc said...

I hope you don't mind me asking this question, but I know absolutely nothing about the Japanese language. When you use the word san after a name is that the English equivalent of saying Mr.? I have always wondered.

keiko amano said...


You're right. Adding san is like Mr. or Miss, but they are not as formal as English Mr. and Mrs. Our parents would call us our first name, but we never call others with their only first name. So, I feel better adding san to Japanese names. Do you understand Kristie san?

kristieinbc said...

Thanks for the explanation Keiko san. :-) One more question if you don't mind. Would you use san even for close friends?

keiko amano said...


Right. We call each other with san, but I hear some people call each other nickname without san. That's okay, and there are many variation. But I feel hurt if my friends call me Amano or Keiko instead of Amano san or Keiko san. Some people do that for fun, but I dislike that. It sounds like men. By the way, male classmates used to call me Amano instead of Amano san. That was okay.
It's complicated but men and women speak differently. But as I said, there are many variation, and the usage changes as the time changes. I noticed that today, more men speak like women.

ashok said...

Keiko, What a lovely picture of distinguished and beautiful people

keiko amano said...


Oh, yes, I hope Tanaka san will be looking at your comment.

It's nice of you to come over and add your comment. Thank you.

ZACL said...

You must have left Tanaka san bemused and at the same time, fascinated. There may have also been more than a just a little pleasure in hearing an ex-student respond easily and fluently in a subject you may have taught her.

A lovely evocative post Keiko san.

keiko amano said...


I also think so about Tanaka san, but I was also bemused, too. I was about to leave, but when he said he used to an English teacher, I sat down again. I don't think I ever learned English from the English teacher who could speak the language during my school days. I had one teacher who could, but that was after I graduated from my high school.

Tanaka san wasn't my teacher though.