02-16 / “P” is for “Preeeetty”
Yoko (the kanji in her name literally means “child of the sun”) was my first Japanese friend on Iki outside of my Japanese moms. (There are things you tell your friends that you don’t tell your mom… the two are distinct in several ways.) I met her via XXXtine, who worked with her at one of the elementary schools on the island. Although she’s not an English teacher, like Eiko she had very good English–and it’s improved so much since we first met–and she’s super kind, thoughtful, and funny, so we became fast friends. Like Eiko, she’s also pretty much a midget, which I find highly entertaining.
Though we may joke about her being a lush and going to a lot of “work parties,” in reality Yoko’s a serious, hard-working woman with a stupendous Teacher Voice. She has strong, solid opinions, and is ready to barge into anything and argue with the best of them if provoked. None of that namby-pamby, wishy-washy Japanese politeness with Yoko–not when she feels she’s been wronged. I really admire that about her. She’s not remotely afraid to stand up for herself.
All the same, she’s still extremely Japanese. I will forever remember several of her reactions the first time we took her to a foreign bar. She also dresses quite elegantly, putting the rest of us (sans TANK, who also dresses well) to shame. And, let’s be honest, she’s just adorable.
One more year, Yoko, and then you’re off the island! Which means one more year of awesomeness with the Iki crew.