02-19 / “S” is for “Shun-chan”
I met Shun-chan for the first time a few months after coming to Iki. He’s a pharmacist in the village Guy and XXXtine make their abode, and he’s been a friend to the Iki ALTs for a long time. (His brother owns one of our favorite restaurants, Hanatsubaki, which is right across the street from his pharmacy.) I was very surprised when I met him because he asked me right away to call him “Shun-chan.” In Japanese, the added -chan implies either that the addressee is someone younger than you by a great deal or that you’re very close friends. (Shun-chan’s full name is Shunichiro.) But I quickly learned that his nickname is indicative of the man: open, kind, and not too serious.
One of Shun-chan’s greatest love is the game of golf. He’s got tons of trophies from his younger days littered around his house, and he goes to Fukuoka often to keep up his game. When I went to take his picture, in fact, he lamented that, “As an older man, it’s hard to keep my level the same as before. But I am glad I’m still competitive!” I really admire him because he’s still so active and rearing to go, even though he’s getting on in years. (Doesn’t look it at all. Dare you to guess his age.)
I also really admire Shun-chan’s integrity and courage. He’s not afraid or embarrassed to ask questions–especially about English or foreign culture. He’s honest and sweet, and an overall pleasure to be around. And hey, if I ever need a prescription, he’s got my back. 🙂
I look forward to getting to know you more for the next year-and-a-half, Shun-chan.