Lotus and Cranes
By Jd Wheels
*** This is a Original piece of Yuri fiction... I own all characters and events***
Tokyo seemed so large, especially from the back of a small taxicab in the middle of a wild traffic jam. It seemed large when my plane came in for a landing an hour and a little ago. Now being in the cab and on the road, it was so damned huge... and it was intimidating for a young girl like me from Canada.
The past few weeks had been interesting to say the least... life usually changes amazingly fast at the best of times, but with me landing in the Japanese capital Tokyo... was way more than what I was wanting change. Saying that this was going to be a huge culture shock for me coming to this sprawling metropolis was putting it mildly. It was enormous, large place and I was just young girl.. Far from where I was from.
I had been brought up in a small coastal city in farthest west Provence of Canada, born to Mark Hammond and Yoko Saatchi. My father was a oil rig manager off the coast of British Columbia for a major Oil Drilling company. He was a tall strapping Canadian, with dark hair and a soft hazel eyes. My mother was a very petite woman, a teacher who was originally from Tokyo City but had moved to Canada to learn to teach non-textbook English back in Japan. Since I had been born a Canadian, it’s clear that she never made it back to Japan. I was conceived on the night they were engaged, a little over seven months after she had arrived. Guess my Dad worked fast.
She was going to marry my Dad, but they decided on about eight months to saving money so they could do the wedding a good as they could, but the wedding never happened. Two months after they had decided that, my mother found out she was pregnant with me. They were ecstatic... Mom said that my Dad was overjoyed. They decided to continue on, and get married around my birth. They were happy... that changed, as my Mom said.
Two months before their wedding had been scheduled, no tlo mention before I had arrived, my Dad was killed by a malfunctioning Hydraulic boom crane on the ocean drilling rig he was managing. The arm of the huge machine collapsed under the over ten tons it was carrying, and it and the load landed on my Dad, and two other workers that were assisting him in an inspection. In the blink of an eye, I had only one parent.
Because Dad had been an orphan and had no relatives that were alive any more and his foster family had all died, my mother ended up being left alone before I even had been born. With that said, I was born a few months later... and my mother said it was a truly bittersweet sort of moment, but she would not change it either. She said that my smile reminded her of him even from the moment I came out.
Despite finding herself a single mother, she did not return to her homeland and simply worked hard to bring me up in Canada as a teacher for newly immigrated Japanese families. She stayed because that it was in honouring my father’s life and the love he had for my mother, that she did that for. As I grew, she made sure that I knew my father as well as she could have done, even though they had only been together for just over a year when he had died. She said that she felt as if she knew him for years... that makes me want to cry.
Despite living in Canada, my mother made sure that I was fluent in the Japanese language while also learning proper English... because I was half Japanese. I soon had amazingly good grasp on both of the languages when I was a little over six, not to mention that she was probably the start of me having an interest in Japanese Literature and history as well. It was a passion for my Mother, and she instilled that in me. Because of that sort of thing, I am sort of a bookworm when it comes down to it. Ok already... I fully admit that I am a bookworm. I said it, now I move on.
My world then crumbled around the time just before my thirteenth birthday. With in three short months, my mother was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer. I was so devastated, to the point of being despondent. She had gone to the doctor about some migraines she had been having for weeks, but tests showed a much more sinister of a problem... Cancer that brought a tumour the size of a baseball deep in her brain
She had attributed her excruciating and debilitating migraines to just working too much, or something as simple as a pulled neck muscle... the reality soon was clear that this pain was telling of something that was more sinister than anyone could have ever imagined. The Doctors were all agreement, saying that there was no radiation treatments, Chemotherapy or even surgery that could help out at this point. Morphine was the only thing that eased my mother’s pain, even though she never showed it very much...I still knew that she was in such pain.
Despite knowing that she was going to die soon, we started to talk like at no other time. She kept telling me to be happy and live my dreams as much as I could... she also told me that she would be proud of whatever it was that I became. She admitted that it was sad that she would not be there to see me fall in love or graduate from school... but reminded me that her spirit would be there. I felt comforted by that, as she quickly got worse until finally drifting into a coma. It was my 13th birthday, and I knew that it was not much longer
I lived with a family that was close to my mother while she was in the hospital, they helped me as my Mom withered away for a few months as she hovered in a state of suspended animation. I would go to school, go see her and then go back to the people that I was staying with and start it all over again. I hated it, but I would never change it either... I was there for my Mother.
Thankfully Mom’s suffering came to an end five months to the day that she had been diagnosed with the tumour in her brain... she finally died. I was at her bedside when she passed, and I hoped that in her state, she had known that I was there. I wish to believe that she really did know that I was there at the very end.
After my Mom died, I continued to live with that family friends for a few more months before life changed once again. Through translators and children’s advocates at the Japanese Embassy, it was decided that I was going to live in Japan with what little family I had.... rather than having to endure the foster child system ore the chance that I would not be adopted.
My Mother’s only Sister and her Husband agreed to adopt me as their own despite them having a older son already. With no other family that could take me, and the family that I had been staying with having already too many in their house, that was the only choice I had. Twelve days later, I was sitting on a commercial flight to the orient with most of my worldly possessions in the belly of a 747.
This is how I came to be in the back of a taxi being driven around in the middle of one of the most populated cities in the world with a trunk load of possessions and not knowing was going to happen next. Just a question as you ponder all of this... Want to be me?
By the way, my name is Akimi Saatchi in the western style. I am just thirteen years old, very short, got some thick glasses and shortish hair that I hate. I am sort of brainy and dorky as well, I don’t stand out or am anything special, and just am me... and that is all I want to say for now.
Chapter One: Arrival
The area that the cab was taking me to was affluent to say the least, amazing at the best. The houses were in the old ways of being built with the angled roofs and wood gates with amazing stone wall that surround them. I watched the houses in awe as we travelled along the streets of this awesome city, I could not help but think that this was perhaps one of the most amazing places in the world... and where I would be living.
The taxi stopped in front of a home that had a red and gold roof on it. It glittered in the sunlight, throwing a shadow through the gates that were in front.
" This is my destination?" I asked the cabbie, not sure if this was the place that I had him taking me too.
" It is." he said, giving me a yellow teethed smile.
" You sure this is the right address?" I asked, not wanting to be left alone in a unfamiliar country.
He turned around and seemed to be a little irritated with my question.
" You showed me the number, I brought you straight here, girl" he said, snapping a little at me. " This is the address that you were wanting."
" Ok..." I said, a little scared with the man’s tone to me.
" Now..." He said, seemingly satisfied that I backed off. " That will be 5,000 Yen."
I stepped out and found there was a middle aged woman in a grey and light pink Kimono standing there as the Cabbie began to unload my mountain of bags from the back. I looked at the woman as she payed the man his fare before I could even get the money out to, and that forced a smile onto my weary face.
The woman was a little taller than me, which is not hard considering I stood only four foot eight and I maybe weighed eighty pounds. The woman in the kimono was pretty yet all too silent, as she only venturing to give me a bow in welcoming. I was not sure if this was my Aunt Kiko or not, but considering how far I have travelled... I was feeling being bold in my exhaustion.
" Auntie?" I asked.
The woman shook her head, and bowed.
" I am Yui, the maid for your Aunt and Uncle." She said, almost apologetically in very broken English. " They are inside and wait for you to arrive from the airport, I was told to wait for you and pay for your cab, Akimi-chan."
" You lead me then when your ready.." I said, in Japanese.
The woman’s eyes lit up, as she heard me speak in her language.. And that made her seem to relax. She bowed low and swept one of her arms towards the gate.
" You go in to the house back there, and I will gather your bags into the yard." She said, happy. " I will bring them in later."
I bowed back and went through the gate, following the surprisingly fast Maid who was carting many of my bags. I headed towards the house that sat near where a large rock circled coy pond was in the middle of a beautiful lily garden with stone carved benches for sitting and meditating. I was impressed by the scene... it was tranquil yet opulent at the exact same thing. It was the prettiest sight I have ever seen.
The inside was very neat and decorated quite elaborately for a Japanese house. I was led back to what could be called the dining room. Kneeling around the table were three people. A stout man in his late forties sat in a expensive blue suit and reading a paper sat at the head of the table with a woman in her early forties next to the man... and she was a near perfect twin of my Mother. Next to the people was a boy that was about fifteen in a school uniform of dull grey and white.
" Aunt Kiko?" I asked, as the t.
She smiled, her eyes danced with the hinting of tears. She seemed overjoyed just looking at me, as she stood up and come around the table.
" You look like your mother so very much.." She said, looking my face over intently. " She was like a china doll even when she was a woman... you have that exact beauty as well."
" Thank you..." I said, very nervously.
The stout looking man started at me, and his eyes made me start to sweat like mad.
" She looks like a boy.." The man commented with a gruff grunt, looking me over as if he was looking at a piece of meat at a butcher’s shop. I could not say a word back, fear took care of that. " Not a girl as she suppose to..."
" She does, Father." Piped in the boy, while glaring at me. " She seemed all up and down, no angles to her..."
" There is nothing to her... like a praying mantis" Snorted the man, giving a almost malicious sort of chuckle.
" Tell me father... is she a boy, or a girl... I think even she doesn’t know yet..." The lad chortled as he jumped right in, his word were venomous and hate filled.
The woman looked at the barrel chest man in the sharp business suit, and seemed to be upset.
" Hush, Sadato, Teru.." She said to both the man and the boy sternly. "She is our Niece, and your cousin... we welcome her as family."
The lad looked over at his mother, the unmistakable mask of irritation flashed over his young face. He was clearly irritated by his mother
" But she does, Mother..." Came back the lad, leering at me a little harder. " Look at her, I have more boobs than she..."
" Stop, your mother asked you too...!" Barked my Uncle, immediately stopping the lad’s words dead.
I was taken back by my Uncle’s boldly cold comment, not to mention the leering and sexual jabs the young lads crassness delivered... but unfortunately I have to admit that they did have a point.. I had this bob type of haircut that came to just above my jawline and I had a pair of black rimmed glasses that matched my hair that made me look a little like a boy. That point aside, it was probably the fact that I was just starting to go through puberty and had ‘very little ones’ that made me look boyish even despite that I wore a dress. I was still hurt by the comments that had been thrown at me.
The burly man looked at me and gave me a stare as he stood up, showing that he was larger than what I had thought. He walked over to me and stood there and looked down on me. He towered over a foot taller than me. I swallowed hard as I felt my uneasiness growing as my uncle stood there, staring down at me like a giant.
" So you are Yoko’s daughter, Akimi?" He asked, being a little intimidating just by the way he looked at me..
" Yes sir..." I said, bowing low and gracefully like I had been taught to by my Mom. " Nice to meet you Uncle, and I truly thank you for letting me come here to live with you and Auntie."
He seemed quite shocked as I talked to him. He stared right after me for quite a while, then give a low grunting noise.
" You speak very good Japanese, girl..." He said, glaring at me. " I am pleasantly surprised that you can speak this well and be coherent, despite you had been born in Canada."
" Thank you." I said, glad to hear any little complement come from him, after what I had been welcomed with.
" Don’t be too proud of yourself, girl..." The man growled, almost irritated with my politeness. " You need to continue to improve on it... and all before you start school, so you don’t embarrass your family here."
He never once gave any hint of a smile, looking me over continually. I was still feeling stunned with his words, and stung by it’s calm yet vicious venom. I swallowed hard, but made the decision to just let it go the best that I could... I had no idea on how to be dealing with this in anyway.
" Teru is right...There is not much to you, is there, girl.." He finally commented with a flat tone. " You look like a scrawny chicken standing there, you have no meat on you."
" N...No, Sir... I guess not" I said, not quite knowing how to respond to the man looming over me.
" And I guess it is now our job to do that.." He said, with a sarcastic tilt to his speaking. " We are family, as my wife informed me."
He looked me over for a second more, then walked by me without another word. He seemed to go from staring at me, to ignoring me... which I was sort of glad of that for the time being. It was better to be ignored, than to be criticized from the moment that you have arrived.
" I am off to work then... tend to this girl like we agreed to.." He said, walking out the door. " Come Teru, I will drop you off at the train station."
" Yes, Sir..." Said the lad, jumping up and grabbing a black leather bag that was near him and followed his mountain of a father.
Uncle Sadato just walked to the front door as a man in a black uniform waited just inside the house. I had not seen the man there, and I imagine that this was his driver that was picking him up for his work at some large financial company based in the heart of Tokyo. My cousin followed his father, never once saying a word, almost as if he was afraid to say anything. That was fine by me as well
My aunt seemed a little embarrassed with Uncle’s attitude. She waved for me to take a spot at the table. The maid set a cup of tea in front of me almost immediately when I got to my knees, which shocked me. I nodded to thank the woman, but she had already disappeared almost like a ninja.
" Don’t mind your uncle, Akimi..." She said with the same calming lilt as my mother’s tone was.
" He does not like me, I think..." I said, being honest with what my sense of it all was.
" He can come across like that..." Sighed my Aunt, adding with a peaceful tone put with her words. " He is a very gruff man, but is kind once he gets to know you, and lets you know him as well."
I nodded and took a sip from my cup, unsure of my aunt’s words or my Uncle’s attitude towards me. Frankly, I did not see any sign of him ever liking me My first few moments at my new home was far from being a bunch of great memories... it was very crappy in fact. I felt so uncomfortable just being here, that all I wanted to do was take the first plane back to Canada. I was now feeling more alone that at any time..
My Aunt just tried to make me get to relax by simply talking softly while she was getting to know me. I was glad for the great amount of kindness being shown to me from her, as my mind was frazzled by the long flight I had endured to get to Japan... not to mention that it took almost a half hour for security alone. I felt my exhaustion coming over me like a freight train, now that I was sitting still. I knew that this was jet lag, but it was still uncomfortable to be going through.
Auntie noticed right off the look on my face, and she gave me a little smile of complete understanding. She reached over the table and set her hand on mine, and I felt instantly comforted..
" You look like you are very tired." She commented. " I see your eyelids drooping like the branches of the willow under a heavy snow."
" Uh, very, Auntie." I said, with a sleepy nod, feeling he full effects of the long journey come over me " It has been a very long day..."
" It is the long plane trip that has made you like this..." She said, waving at Yui to hurry of somewhere. " I think that your bags are already been taken up to your room so you can nap without being disturbed. You can rest up so you can try and get to know your cousin when he is back from school... he really is a nice young man"
" Really?" I asked in a little voice... when I am really tired, I tended to do that.
A nap did sound really good, right about now, I had to admit. I was getting tired from fighting it off like I was. I nodded that I wanted to, and that felt good to me.
" There are fresh sheets on the bed in the room that is set for you, and I will make sure you are not going to be bothered..." She said, sounding proud that she could help. " Just lay down and rest for as long as you need to."
" Thank you, Auntie..." I said, my whole body was loving the idea. " I am so tired."
The maid led me back through the rather open house and up a narrow staircase located past what seemed to be the point were the hall to a few rooms met the way to the kitchen. I looked at the steep stairs, but quickly followed the maid, my need for some sleep making climbing the steps very hard.
The stairs led to a rather small upper floor where I could see that two bedrooms and a bathroom were. Through the one door, I saw a neat bedroom room with sports posters all over it and various sports related knickknacks were. It was apparently my Cousin Teru’s room, and I was very impressed with how neat it was..
There was a second doorway that was directly across the little area from Teru’s room. It was obviously empty, but I could see the mountain that was my suitcases and boxes that were stacked just inside the doorway. I smiled, as that was my room. Yui waved me to follow her in to that room.
The room was quite small, having only a desk built right on to the wall with a pink coloured laptop set on it. The desk had a wood chair with a cushion that had a crane handstitched on its top. There also was a western styled bed tucked under a storage cupboard where a upper bunk might have been back in Canada. There also was a small side table with a alarm clock and a pale blue goose necked lamp and a few books on it. The room was rounded out by a woven mat on the hardwood floor next to the bed and a small closet that had a built in dresser just inside the two sliding doors.
" Cozy..." I commented to myself.
Yui said nothing to me as she simply bowed and backed out of the room smoothly with out one word spoken. She pulled the door closed with out a whisper of a sound, and I heard it shut tightly. I was now all alone.
Standing in the middle of the room like, felt very strange to be alone after the plane ride and everything else. I looked around my new room, trying to process everything with a very exhausted mind. In truth, that was not working very well... I felt like I was in a very thick fog.
Deep down weary, I was glad of the silence that the room brought me, the large airport was almost too much for me to endure.. It was so overwhelming with the throng of people and the sheer magnitude of the noise that rose from it as I tried to go through security and get my bags as well. I had never in my life experienced a thing like that, and hoped it would be a long time until I get to again.
I turned my head and looked at the boxes and suitcases that was now all of my life. The pile seemed to loom larger than Mt. Fuji did when we flew over it. A part of me wanted to start unpacking so it would not be overwhelming me, but the heaviness of the complete weariness I had through my body made that thought out-of-reach.
" I will put that all away later..." I told myself, my exhaustion was now all consuming. " I need to sleep."
I walked over to the small bed took a seat. As I sunk in, I noticed that it felt very comfortable and inviting, the mattress felt as if it had been made for me. I swung myself onto the bed and laid there, taking off my glasses to set them on the bed table. I remember sighing and closed my eyes, then that was it... I fell into a deep sleep.