Kenyon College

 

Irene Li, ’99
Kansai Gaidia Osaka, Spring 98

 

“On the Keihan Line”

 

I pulled her by the arm and said. "Hurry up, it's going to leave without us."
We made loud giggling noises; no wonder they stared.
Looking at her blond hair, they pointed and wanted it.
I wanted it too.
I used to wonder why people said I had "yellow" skin;
(but my hair and skin do not match!)

We are loud, young but looking too old with our
painted lips, shining.
We are wearing "slippers" on the train!
Her hair is tied up in a bun, exposing five earrings on one side.
They said, "gaijin" to one another.
We are still loud but now we are aware.

Newspapers folded up in fourths,
novels read from right to left.
Down and up,
down and up
Sa-la-ri-ma-n and their wives waiting at home.
These damn 8 o'clock rush hour jams.

"Nihonjin" one said about me. He thinks I'm Japanese?
"Suguoi ne," returned the friend when she heard me speak English.
I speak too fast and I must stop.
A-me-ri-ka-jin.
I can hide in silence.
I can pretend with my yellow skin.
Amerika-jin.

The conductor call out: "Shinsaibashi, Shinsaibashi desu"
Feet and bodies moving.
Pushing.
Sumimasen.
Su-mi-ma-se-n.
Amerika-jin.

 

 

Back to Personal Stories

 

 

 

Comments to: Rita S. Kipp
Last Edited: 11/23/98


Back to KenyonBack to Kenyon Back to Group HomepageAsian Studies Homepage