|Words of encouragement at a fancy fruit boutique|
I did not think melons could make me cry.
The kids and I have moved back to the States, while the Professor remains in Tokyo a little while longer to wrap up our belongings and our affairs. We miss him, we miss Japan. And we miss a people who express their indomitable spirit through fruit. The message, "Ganbarou Nihon," means "Do your best, Japan." A clumsy translation, but it's what we cheer at the Olympics, and it's been posted on signs all over Tokyo since the March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster.
And they didn't just write it on the melon with a puffy paint marker--the veins on the surface of the fruit have been grown to spell out the characters, then painted over all sparkly. These are the jillion-dollar melons of Japanese food lore, lovingly raised to be symmetrical, platonic ideals of fruit, wrapped in tissue and given as luxury gifts--and when I saw them in the window of a swank fruit parlor in Roppongi shortly before we left Tokyo, I teared up. Son of Z could read the writing, but he doesn't really understand what's going on, which, for now, is a good thing. Nor does he get how this tiny act of ingenuity, patience, and perfectionism gives me hope.