Haibun by myself
Tamashiro Market T-shirt
I was at Long’s Drug store, flipping through drag car magazine. I was not good in English then so I just admired photos of the fancy-looking car in it. As usual, I had on my favorite T-shirt, which was not the kind that was sold in Waikiki souvenior shops but was a kind of uniform of a local store. It had a big nice illustration of a red crab on its back and smaller one in front. When I wore it, I felt like a local boy. It was a size bigger for me, and looked flabby, but that was how local guys wore so I did not mind.
While absorbed in the magazine, someone tapped on my shoulder. I turned around and saw a small guy with white beard, a long one like Santa Chraus. He said “That’s Tamashiro Market T”, and turned around and showed his back, saying “Mine’s, too” He said it in English, but because I reacted by saying “Wa!”, he said “ Oh, you a Japanese. Me, too” . He said it in Japanese.
We started talking in Japanese. I said I was just starting high school in Honolulu and having hard time catching up with schoolwork. I said I studied many hours reading textbooks which had in the spread pages like more than hundred words I had to look up at dictionary, and was sweating over building a huge vocaburary each day, and my brain was brimming over with alphabets. He said he had come to Hawaii five years ago, and did part-times like bus boy, but since he had training in auto mechanics in Japan, he was able to get a job at Pearl City Bus Company. “I am a real bus boy now” said he laughing. “Come with me. I’ll buy you da kine,,, a humberger” he then said.
Ever since then, every time when my brain began to get over-worked, he called me on the phone, saying “Let your body work now so your brain can rest” and took me to his bus company and let me do bus washing. I started calling him Santa-san.
Crushing waves -
a small crab clings hard
to the coal rock