White Dew: Wild geese come

March 10th, 2012
by Jo Law

The sun passes through the 345º point on the ecliptic as we head towards mid-autumn. Our star is climbing towards the peak of its 11-year cycle of intense actitivities. Its recent solar flare created a huge coronal mass ejection that travelled towards Earth at around 600,000 km/h, hitting the planet’s thermosphere on Thursday. This geomagnetic storm triggered displays of Aurora Borealis but produced no noticeable affect on electricity or navigational systems. All through these extraterrestial events rain presisted on the east coast of Australia. Then, most unexceptedly, in the midst of these wet days came a gloriously sunny Friday. All the dampened feelings associated with the overabundant preciptation suddenly evaporated. That evening, Hiroki, the English-language student who had been staying with us for the past month, left with his fellow classmates to return to a Tokyo that is on the brink of Spring.

One month seems like a long time to have a stranger staying, but that period is long enough for that stranger to become a new friend. Hiroki-kun seems to be someone who makes friends easily; within a day or two of meeting his fellow English class students, he was invited out to parties,  gatherings, dinners, and trips organised by his new friends’ host families. In between getting up early to catch the 07.33 train to university and coming back late in the evenings from his social activities, I saw him so rarely that I almost forgot he was there. Then, over a course of the month, his presence slowly permeated into our everyday life. I awoke the morning after his send-off with a vague feeling that something was missing.

Our conversations with Hiroki-kun always turned to the topic of learning languages. Hiroki-kun is eagar to improve his English while we are keen on becoming procient in Japanese. One month is perhpas too short to attain fluency in a learned language, but perhaps long enough to achieve a marked improvement. I would like to think that in our case all parties have improved just a little over the past four weeks of interaction.

I looked at the calendar and saw that the next pentad begins on March 11th. On a perfect Autumn morning in Austinmer, I spot the first camellia flower in the frontyard. Hiroki-kun will be waking up in his native Tokyo for the first time in a month. The chilly morning will turn into a mostly cloudy day with 30% chance of precipation. This will be the day when Japan marks the first anniverary of the events that brought profound changes to its land and people.

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