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Oshimo Kazumi

I can think of no better way to introduce you to Japan, than to introduce you to my friend, Oshimo-san.

Is she a 'typical' Japanese?
She says yes, but I don't think there is a typical Japanese, any more than there is a typical American.

Which means, I guess, that she is a typical Japanese, in that she's not typical.

New Years' Shrine Visit

We met Oshimo-san in Osaka, when we moved there for work. She's funny, smart, and friendly. She's open and willing to talk about any subject. She speaks good English and was very patient with my terrible Japanese. She was a great help with any problems or questions we had in Japan (which makes her, in one way, a very typical Japanese). She's also modest, so she'll be terribly embarrassed by what I'm writing here.

She loves to travel, and lived in Australia for one year. She scuba dives, and skis (though she hates the cold), sings karaoke, talks loud (an Osaka habit), and laughs a lot.

Oshimo-san, like many 'new' Japanese women, has lived a fairly independent life. She postponed marriage and children - well past the traditional 'marry by the early twenties' mentality of the past - and spent that time with her friends and her interests.
She's done free-lance work, contract work, and worked for companies.

True to her Japanese roots, though, she's also been a key member of her family. She's given up her own goals, to help when other family members had problems. "No big deal," she'd say. "That's the way things are done in Japan."

Oshimo-san and I share a passion for food. Especially Hard Rock Cafe burgers, Subway sandwiches, and anything at Garlic Jo's.

She shoots a mean pistol in the video arcade, and one of our favorite things is to blow away the bad guys in a tandem game of VirtuaCop.

We also share an ability to attract strange people.
She attracts psycho men, and I attract yakuza. Together, we attract people like the woman who came to us in Osaka station, with wild eyes, crying, "Watch out for the Ticks. The Ticks. Watch Out." I tried to talk to this crazed little person, but Oshimo-san dragged me away to safety.

We always laughed, because whenever we went outside of Osaka, I had to lead her around. Otherwise she got lost.

Well, she may be a terrible guide, but she's a great friend.

We're Cooking Now!
Japanese Barbecue

Oshimo-san, The Bride

And that's the blessing/curse of the Wanderers' life.

We meet people we could never have met, but then we have to leave people we never want to leave.
The toughest part of our traveling life is saying goodbye - sometimes forever.

When you're lucky, the friendship lasts, as ours has. Whenever Angie and I go to Japan, we try to meet up with Oshimo-san and other friends, to catch up on the news.

So after Oshimo-san got married in early 1998, we were happy we had a chance to see her in Japan.
We met her at our hotel, went to the video arcade and shot some bad guys, then went to Garlic Jo's and ate some pizza, while she shared the photos from her wedding in Tahiti.
As expected, she made a beautiful bride, and her husband made a handsome groom.

While many things change, some - like friendship, thankfully - stay the same.