Japan, My Foot – Installment 2

When we left our UnSavvy Heroine in Kyoto, she was debating hari-kiri by Plaform Shoe. A voice from, apparently, nowhere suggests she go to the hospital. Who is this mystery person? Ghost of a geisha past? Yakusa hit-man?

“You should go to a hospital.”

That was Cliff.

“It’s the same tendon I strained in Vietnam. I know what to do.”

That was me, popping ibuprofen at a terrifying rate. Our third day in Kyoto, I woke unable to put weight on my foot.

Romanji. Water/held like Buddha's tears. Poet/not feeling as Zen.

Our plan that day was to head for Nara, a nearby city, famous for sites more ancient than Kyoto’s. Walking is the thing to do in Nara (You were thinking maybe bullet train? Why should anything be easy?): around the park filled with free-roaming deer; up a mountain; through the Daibutsu-den, the largest wooden structure in the world, built to protect and venerate Japan’s second-largest statue of the Buddha. We had arranged to meet up with an English-speaking volunteer guide. While Cliff was coming up with creative ways to allow me to visit Nara—crutches, rental car—I was remembering a sign spotted the previous day, reading Hari. As soon as Cliff departed for Nara, I cried for forty minutes, then limped down the narrow, wooden stairs to confirm with the chatty lady who ran our inn that hari meant “acupuncture.”

Matsubaya-san didn’t recognize the word hari, but seemed to understand my pantomime, the old “Needle Piercing Flesh” routine. If I didn’t find treatment, perhaps a cool tattoo?

The woman who slid open the door looked to be in her fifties. She wore a white lab jacket, kept her eyes closed, and held her head at an awkward angle. Blind.

While I refused to see an allopath, I was fully prepared to pay a blind person I had never met to jab needles into my wounded foot.

(Dramatic music) Again we leave our heroine in a crisis worthy of her histrionic nature. Will the blind acupuncturist turn out to be a tattoo artist? A hit-man? A hit-man in drag as an acupuncturist who rips open her lab jacket to reveal her true nature, a geisha showgirl? As what happens in Kyoto stays in Kyoto  … wait! Wait! I am receiving word that this blog has been granted special dispensation. Tune in tomorrow for more of this Unsavy tale.


Author: allehall

I am a writer. I write to explore childhood: literary essays and short fiction, journalism, and three haiku. My published work expresses my belief that everything which did or did not happen to me as a child is manifesting in everything that is or is not happening to me today. More importantly, it is also manifesting for my children. I believe funny is the new navel-gazing, and that the best funny keeps a penny's worth of serious in an accessible pocket. Little-known fact: I have a completed novel decorating the inside of a desk drawer. Perhaps it is not funny enough.

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