How are you today? It has been gale-force winds and heavy rain here. It's
pretty cold too. How about in Japan?
I had some very sad news at the beginning of the week. I heard that one of
my ex-students had passed away. Let me tell you a little about him. For
privacy reasons, I'll call him Mr. K.
I met Mr. K for the first time in Oyabe, Toyama in 2005. I taught English
to him, along with some other people, at Tsuzawa Community Plaza twice a
month. Not only did we do that, we also sometimes went out for dinner or
day trips as a group. We were a little family for a couple of years but
then I had to move away from Toyama in 2007. Our friendship stayed strong
though and we all kept in touch, and I went back to Oyabe every year
without fail to see everyone.
Over the years, Mr. K contracted pneumonia and it was very sad to see him
become weak and spend his days in pain. Despite this, he continued to keep
in touch for 12 years and made time for me whenever I went to Oyabe.
Indeed, his last email to me was only two months before he passed away.
It is hard to imagine Oyabe without Mr. K. He was full of life. He loved
driving fast, taking trips, telling jokes in English, and he always guided
me by writing me motivating emails. He was almost at professional level
when it came to making soba noodles. I mean, he even made the dough and
cut the soba himself! One of the special memories that remains in my heart
is when he invited our group to his house and he made many kinds of soba
from scratch for us. After eating, his wife performed Japanese dance for
us. What a wonderful night it was!
When I told Mr. K that I was returning to Britain, he and his wife decided
to give me one of their yukata as a present. It is beautiful, traditional
colours and design, and it is one of my treasures. I wore it last year at
some Japanese events in Liverpool. I have attached a picture of me wearing
it at the bottom of this article.
I often joked and referred to our group as the "Oyabe Gang"! (In this
case, "gang" means "group".) It doesn't feel right that Mr. K isn't part
of the Oyabe Gang anymore and tears well up when I think I won't see him
again, however, he will certainly live brightly in my memories. Thank you
Mr. K for what you taught me, and the energy, smiles, time, and fun
memories you gave me. You walked into my life and left your footprints on
my heart. I am glad I could be part of your life, and I pray that you rest
At the top of this article you can see a picture of part of the Oyabe Gang,
including Mr. K, on one of our days out almost 10 years ago!
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you are all happy and healthy.
Best wishes, from Corrina. ☺️