Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Will Miss #413 - Akiho

The experience of living anywhere is both small and big, personal and impersonal, and subjective with objective elements. People sometimes ask me why I write this blog and there are many reasons. One is to remember this time in my life with attention to my experiences and thoughts and feelings about them. That means that there are things which are unique to where I live that no one else will likely ever experience, and one of those is a neighbor of mine named "Akiho".

Akiho is a young man who stands outside of his old apartment building lifting a large and growing collection of weights. He always smiles and speaks English to me. Sometimes while lifting his weights, he reads aloud from a book of English with advanced content. Often, it's either insanely cold or insanely hot, but he's inappropriately attired for the climate and says he's not uncomfortable. He once dyed his hair blond and dyed it back to black. The energy that surrounds him is incredibly affable, almost jolly, even though his actions might be considered odd, particularly by Japanese standards.

Akiho is a bundle of a lot of the things that Japan and the Japanese people are both realistically and stereotypically. He's a little weird, but not threatening. He's trying to be helpful (speaking English), but not intrusive. He's sunny, but not annoyingly peppy. I'll miss seeing Akiho lifting his weights outside of his building, greeting me, and smiling.