The Frames

Realizations about the self, translated…

When I lived in Kobe, Japan, I’d made a good friend, Mrs. Fukuoka. She’s not at all like a traditional Japanese wife, and, very unlike my other neighbors, Mrs. Toma who’s courteous, but somewhat aloof, along with my other neighbor, Mrs. Hanada. Mrs. Fukuoka always showed her most genuine nature in the way she’d smiled toward the neighbors, and in her actions.

One day, Mrs. Fukuoka invited me over with glee, said she’d just, learned to make a Mandarin dish, “Let’s cook it together!” I’d, entered into her kitchen, and naturally, took up the role of her assistant. The ingredients were all very easily gotten, onion, green pepper, mushroom, and eggs, seeing how Mrs. Fukuoka started, dicing up the vegetables (uh, aren’t the mushrooms, the green peppers, usually, julienned?), she’d, broken the egg at the rim of the bowl (hey, isn’t that supposed to be done, by the sink?), I’d slowly, spaced out………

住在日本神戶時,我結交了一位摯友福岡太太。她一點都不像典型的日本妻子,更和多禮客...from the papers…

I do believe, that I follow the rules, down to the “t”; I’d driven around, following the routes on the maps, even if I were, driving from north to south, I’d needed to, turn the map upside down in order to drive; I’d needed to, comb my hair toward the left, never the middle. Must start with my right leg in first as I’d undressed or put on my clothes, then, I’ll be able to, successfully, manage; ironing the shirts, the collars, the sleeves, the body, in that specific order. I’d needed some sour cabbage onto my beef noodle soups, and, I can only have stewed egg with a bowl of plain noodles; I couldn’t drink any teas without the watermelon seeds, and I must have my eight almonds with my breakfasts too.

The assortments of frames I’d set for myself, for a long time, there was only one fitting set of rules, for one specific thing, and no exchanges, and, I couldn’t, allow things, to fall out of bounds. And yet, on that day, as I’d watched Mrs. Fukuoka chopped up the food, it’d, dawned on me. So, those rigid rules I’d followed over the years, may not be so helpful at all, instead, they may have, restricted my life.

In the past, whenever I had a disagreement of how things are done, the elders consoled with me, “Don’t have so many principles, you need more flexibility”, isn’t it?

As I arrived home, my husband already got off work, he’d asked me if the Chinese cuisines I’d made with Mrs. Fukuoka was good? I was, distracted in my own thought processes, and, I’d used a motto from a certain author, and mumbled to myself, “Allow those rigid frames to fall down!”, as I went to bed at night, I’d, thought about the happening of the day, and, a thought came to me, could cubing all the produces, and cracking the eggs by the rims of the bowls, be Mrs. Fukuoka’s rule of cooking too? It’s late now, let’s call it a day, I’d, closed my eyes, but, I’d already, made up my mind, that in the morning, I shall, share my findings with Mrs. Fukuoka.

without those rigid rules, this, is how you’ll end up!  Not my sketch…

So, this, is how this woman realized, that there are, MORE than one way of doing things, it’s just, that she’d become, so rigid in how she’d approached things in her life, she’d left NO room for any other way, and yet, after this experience of watching her neighbor cook, she’d realized, that there are, MORE than one way to approach things, and hopefully, this, will make her more flexible in life.


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