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Showing posts from October, 2007

The Preface

Empty Suitcase No.7 : The Invasion

The Cold Conversation War broke out a couple of weeks ago between my roommate and me, but recently we concluded with a peace treaty to prevent –the Mice Invasion. The invasion is one of the school housing problems; perhaps, houses in South Bend or any place have this kind of trouble. The mice just want to chew cereals through a cardboard box, or they just poked around to prosper their descendants— avoiding tragic death by traps or cats.

On a perfect, peaceful morning, I was drinking a glass of tomato juice, and then I saw two mice on the traps. I screamed like a machine-gun. The tomato juice spilled like blood. My roommate came to the kitchen screaming like grenades. Our kitchen turned into a battlefield. The screaming was absolutely not helpful to the invasion and the dead mice still stayed on the traps. I hoped that she would pick up the victims but she thought the same thing as me. So, we evacuated to the SAC—in order to decide how to remove the tra…

The Preface

Empty Suitcase:
Dear Roommates
by Naoko Fujimoto

“Congratulation for three months,” said a card I received. It added, “Try not to dispose your roommate any more.” Even though my roommate and I exchanged a one-way conversation (she asked me where her chicken was and I said yes) last week, we still live together—which means I have not disposed my current roommate yet.

I have had four roommates over the last three years, but all of them moved a couple doors away in school housing after spending a certain amount of time with me. They said, “Naoko, it is not you. It is me”—like a cheesy breaking up situation. Maybe they saw me at the midnight, sharpening a knife; perhaps, a scythe on a whetstone for chopping off a chicken head.

The first roommate, a world-famous Russian pianist, had a passion for studying Philosophy. When she cooked Estonian chicken soup with chicken bones, she told me of Philosophy from the entire world. While I ate her delicious chicken soup, she never stopped talking about …

The IUSB Vision

A Country, which Has Many Names
Naoko Fujimoto

On September 24, Buddhists monks lead a demonstration march by an estimated 100,000 people through Burma’s former capital. They protested the high price of oil—in last two years, their government kept raising it to more than 9 times and the government has recently increased prices by 500%.

The monks and citizens in Myanmar have been perplexed by the gasoline prices, they decided to march against their government—the junta has administrated the country for 19 years. According to CNN News, more than 200 people have died and the deaths will increase; however, each media reports a different number of deaths. Numerous people are arrested by the government.

In addition, many international journalists and activists have difficulties reporting about this political situation. A Japanese journalist, Kenji Nagai (50), was shot when he reported the march. His documents, including some notes and memory cards of his digital cameras, were completely erased …

The Preface

Empty Suitcase:
A Direction with a Hand for Chopsticks
By Naoko Fujimoto

I sometimes have a difficult time communicating with people. I feel an invisible wall—perhaps a whole galaxy— between them and me. The invisible wall is impossible to go through, even with any kind of wireless signals. Even though my brain signal works perfectly fine, it is suddenly destructed by the invisible wall and my brain becomes just a half of the signal bars—or out of service.

It is not because my mother tongue is Japanese—I catch English conversations most of the time like I catch a dragonfly in harvested fields; in addition, I am clinging to the edge of the English Department as a graduate student. Maybe my strong Asian accent—I switch around ‘R’ and ‘L’ and with other mouthful, painful pronunciation situations. There are a couple of possible reasons for creating those invisible walls between people and me. However, most people understand my ‘Japanglish’ when they talk to me a couple minutes.

Then I remonst…

The Preface

Empty Suitcase:
Something Between Toothpaste and Heartbroken
By Naoko Fujimoto

How much can I trust the toothpaste?

In any case, I felt similar hesitation when I had a couple dates with a man from a science class for non-majors. He said that he liked me, so I queried myself “another fun night or prepare for another heartbreak.” It is always fun to meet new people, no matter whether it is a date or not, but what matters is how much I can trust his words—I like you— as same as how much I can trust the toothpaste.

For a young love, casual dates will more than likely bring another broken heart situation even though it they were called ‘casual’ dates—no serious commitment but just for fun—can cause serious heart pain. So, I need to decide an answer based on my heart barometer—measuring the truth between the man and his words; perhaps, the toothpaste and its quality.

In other words, decision-making is like the stock market with a financial advisor. How much I can adapt the advisor’s ideas—perhap…

The IUSB Vision

By Naoko Fujimoto

After taking shower on an ordinary morning, you may wear an Indian cotton shirt, and then your Korean cellular phone rings, which is phone call from your friends in Mexico on their vacation. While you wait for boiling water in a Chinese pot, you eat Chilean grapes. After you drink Italian cappuccino, you drive in a Japanese car to IUSB. In your Taiwanese backpack, international business textbooks and Thai notebooks and perhaps, an American pencil, are inside.

Globalization is everywhere—South Bend— the Meijer on Grape Road has become one of the icons of globalization. You may be surprised how much of the merchandise in supermarkets is from foreign countries. Especially, their foreign food section is growing every season, and now they have a whole section for Asian, European, and Mexican food. They have nice collections of sweets, seasonings, staples, and some instant food from Germany, Japan, Thailand and many other countries. Moreover, some local p…