Friday, February 16, 2007

An Awesome Grandma of Saga

I read a very impressive non-fiction book written by a Japanese comedian, Yoshichi Shimada. The book is "Saga no Gabai Bachan," or "An Awesome Grandma of Saga."

The author's father passed away from hibaku, or receiving nuclear radiation during World War 2 in Hiroshima when Shimada was very young. This is why his mother had to work until late night, so he was transferred to a rural town in Saga, western Japan, when he was eight years old from an educational perspective. When he had lived with his mother, though his life was hard and lonely, he led a relatively happy life except for his mother's absence during night time.

Therefore when he heard that he would move to Saga he expected to be a more comfortable life there, while felt isolated being separated from his mother. However he was astonished and shocked to find out that his awesome grandma was further needier than his mother.

What impressed me most is that the awful grandma was an extreme optimist. She once said laughing, "There are two kinds of poor in the world. One is gloomy, the other is cheerful. We're happy because we are cheerful poor. Do not worry about that because it is not recent that we've got poor but we are 'hereditary poor.'" In this way, whatever happened to her, she was never upset and took it in a very positive manner.

Another episode that strikes me is as follows:

Yoshichi: Grandma, I don't understand English at school.
Grandma: Write your answer sheet that "I am Japanese(that I don't need English)."

Y: I am also bad at History...
Grandma: Do you also hate History? Write that I don't care about the past.
(He actually wrote that way but his teacher heavily scolded him...)

Y: I need to write something about my father as my home work, but I don't remember who he is. How do you think I should do?
Grandma: Write only "I DON'T KNOW." with a big letter in the paper.
(He got a perfect score by writing that way)

Other than that, there appears lots of heartfelt community members, teachers, friends and so on.

This book has gotten extremely vogue among Japanese people because it I think speaks well for good old Japanese, which has been fading away these days. The impressions also comes across to me.

The book is written with very plain Japanese, so if you can read Japanese or want to learn Japanese and its heart and culture, I strongly recommend you to read it. It only costs 540 yen or 4.5$.



Amigo said...

Not to sound morbid, but what do you believe will happen to you when you die.

Tetsuya said...

Thanks for your comment, but unfortunately, I don't know about what it is after the death because I've never seen it. Are you interested in afterlife?