Bulls Meet World: Host Mother

The person in the above photograph is Sekimoto Tsuneko, the host mother for me while I stayed abroad in Japan. In the photograph, she’s celebrating a Japanese holiday, where one eats an uncut role of sushi without speaking. She was the housekeeper in a very gendered Japanese society where despite working a full job, she was also expected to cook, clean, and do laundry. Even though she was overburdened with work and chores, she was the most energetic of anyone at the household, always bursting with liveliness and never missing an opportunity to comment on something, jump into conversation, or be present in some manner. A good cook and conversationalist, she helped me practice Japanese while I helped her with her English. She told me many stories about the students who had come before myself, and about how she had kept in touch with them and how they impacted her. She was an avid traveler and her room was decorated with dozens of pictures of her in foreign lands.

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