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Monday, February 01, 2010

Faithful "Whity Family" Coffee Mug and Spoon

It was August 1994, the hottest summer in the recorded history of Japan. I was sweating bullets in Hikone, Shiga-ken, studying the fine art of ancient warriors ways, language and culture. This was probably one of the best summers of my entire life. I found a coffee mug with a little spoon resting on a table marked as "FREE." These were the things that people couldn't take with them from the dorm when they concluded their studies. I liberated the coffee mug and the little spoon in the name of the Republic and since never used a different coffee mug.... until January 31, 2010 when I finally decided to retired this faithful friend and confidant of so many secrets.

We traveled a trajectory so rich on history and detail that a complete memoir could be written about the year after year journey. Now, the Faithful "Whity Family" mug and the little spoon rest on my desk as a pencil/pen holder. Of course, many people will think this is an undignified way to go, but I beg to differ. You see, the mug was always at risk of being dropped, or kidnapped by people who came in and out of my life. Once, a person dear and near to me decided that the mug was "offensive" and "politically incorrect." No such thing could ever be true. The illustration on the mug is that of a family of bears preparing breakfast. The father is shown carrying a frying pan, tripping on something and the fried egg flying through the air as "Junior Bear" tries to catch it with his plate. "Mama Bear" and "Sister Bear" are also there. The Japanese inscription reads: (in Roman-ji, meaning Romanized pronunciation of the Japanese) "Oniichan abunai. Otosan gambette. zyunbionotokikara tanosii wagaya no yugohan." In the Queen's English it means: Be careful brother. Good luck father. It is fun from the time we begin preparing our dinner." Now, you probably have not heard of a website called www.engrish.com so there's the link. The Japanese have tendencies of translating and using very weird Roman-ji print copies. Some of the signs and announcements are simply hilarious.

I never considered my keeping this specific mug a "fetish," or a "personal relationship with an inanimate object". The mug went from Japan back to college, then to graduate school in Washington DC, and back to Ohio with me and in the middle of all those times, the comfort of drinking coffee in the mornings became a ritual of sorts. This mug, with its accompanying spoon, now holds a place of "prestige" next to me on my writing desk. August 1994 -- January 31, 2010. To some people, that's a lifetime.

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At 2:29 PM, Blogger m caroline said...

Can't think of a more fitting (and less demanding) mid-life career change for your mug~ it has moved from providing you with one important tool for your profession (morning caffeine) to becoming a receptacle for the other.


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