|With the Buchholz family at the company Christmas party|
As one who is exposed to the Japanese language daily, I have come to love its sing-song quality. My wife and children chirp-on endlessly, and it is a tremendously pleasant sound...as long as they are not in the argument or debate mode. Then, it becomes a piercing nag to my brain, and I just want to escape and go outside to do some nursery work. Chirp, but not negatively! Even now as I write, my wife is happily intercoursing – no, not that way! – with our live-in male intern, Yuki Tamori. I fear that I am too great of an influence on him, as he is now partial to strong black coffee, potent craft beers and deep pinot noir etc.
|Super Why look-alike|
Yuki Tamori is from Nagano (of distant Winter Olympic fame). Spoken Yuki can mean "snow" in Japanese, but his name's characters denote something more obscure. What I can gather is that our Yuki has nothing to do with snow, but rather his is a name for someone who is most helpful to others (named by his hopeful mother). The Yuki name can also refer to someone with strong samurai abilities, but mother was very much against that meaning. So our dear Yuki is not Snowboy, but this morning we had a funny incident. My car was warming up – we are now in the thick of a huge snowstorm – and Yuki was helping me put on chains. While on his knees an avalanche slid off the car and into his glasses, and he really did look like a snowboy. I laughed and laughed, at his cold expense.
|At Oregon's Timberline Lodge|
Yuki's year-long internship is nearly over, with only a month left. His English has definitely improved, but he has had to learn other languages as well, namely the Buchholz Nursery language. He now knows what is a Felco, what is a pallet, what is a rootstock and what is a scion. Add to that he must be able to identify a Ginkgo from an Acer and an Abies from a Picea. He must also learn the language – or moods – of women, for in Japan his mother and father raised Yuki and two brothers, while here in America he has to deal with two new little sisters, my Saya and Harumi. Yuki has also progressed to the point where he can take the mass-transit into Portland, each time going to a different neighborhood, or at least to a new adventure in the areas he likes the best. At 22 years of age he is primarily fueled by finding a girlfriend, and last week a pretty Sarah showed some interest, so he at least got to first base.
|Working on Pumice Planters|
|Happy at a buffet|
|Yuki loves meat|
As the company grunt, Yuki must perform difficult, menial and physical tasks each day, but he's now most thankful for his newly acquired muscular body. The downside to that is that he eats like a horse, and on an average day he will consume three times the volume as myself, even though I have thirty pounds on him. So that tells you who is working, and who is sitting around paying bills and writing blogs. My wife and I stress the importance that when back in Japan he should press on: to accept new challenges with curiosity and enthusiasm, and to stay extremely fit. One must be humble – that is the Japanese way – but still one can be exceptional. Bowing is an ingrained custom in Japan, and Yuki always acknowledges his place in the family and in society, even though he might have superior thinking to the bowee. It was mildly amusing that Yuki and previous Japanese trainees would bow when receiving their paychecks, and I humorously suggested that my American employees do the same. Ha to that! But to the Japanese it was a no-brainer since I was old boss and they were young workers. Every time we arrive at work Yuki says, "Thank you very much."
|Planting the vegetable garden|
Yuki has a great sense of humor and he readily flashes his infectious smile. After the snow fell into his glasses he laughed and said "Yes, now I am Yuki Snowboy." He is kind and energetic, especially with my children, and that's not always an easy task. Occasionally he spends time with two male interns from another nursery company. Of course boys will be boys, and they tease Yuki that he has it made, for he gets to live with the boss's beautiful young wife and the two pretty daughters. He was disturbed with the banter and later confessed to my wife that he "would never do anything bad to her or the kids." Haruko replied, "Yeah, you better not!" But Yuki just wanted her to be sure.
|Yuki with Sammy the Wonder Dog|
I can best describe the boy – now a man – as simple and pure, but still alert and intelligent. Hosting him into my family has been good for all of us. He will certainly find a sweet happy wife one day, and I look forward to meeting their children.
|Wake up Yuki!|
I asked him one morning, on our way to work, what was his best day in America. "Uhhh, errr, mmm. I don't know Mr. Talon." I answered for him, "Today is your best." He bowed and mumbled, "Yes, of course, yes of course." I sometimes rouse this great intern, exclaiming: "Wake up Yuki! Yuki today, Yuki tomorrow, Yuki Tamori!"
|Yuki with hillbilly-country musician|
|At Mount Adams in Washington state|
|Talon and Yuki at Mount Adams|
|Fun at the waterpark|
|Apple cider time|
|At Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood|
|With Harumi and Saya at Mount Hood|
|Yuki at the Columbia River Gorge|
The following is Yuki's summation of his year in America, presented in [sic] form. Sic is Latin for "thus" or "such," meaning "that's really how it appears in the original." His report was no easy task, and it took him all evening after a hard day's work.
Yuki's USA Report No. 1
This USA life is a wonderful experience for me because it is new for everything and I'm so excited. First, I'll talk about working time when I got some experience at the work, or I'm learned about nursery work at the work.
#1, "Precise on time:" It is very importance in our life. Mr. Talon is punctual. I'm learned about it from him. I came to here before when I couldn't do punctual for time in Japan. But I can do punctual for time now.
#2, "I came to always think about how to increase efficiency:" We need speedy work always. I was thinking about how to speed up. I came to instructions to worker. But if I do about it when I have always communicated with worker, so I could do it.
#3, "Every American likes Japan culture or thing:" I never thought Japanese maples is very popular with many people. It was learned from nursery work or Mr. Talon took me to some nursery shows. I'm glad to see Japanese maples & Japanese garden like many people in the nursery shows. I'm felt they like old Japan culture. But now Japan is losing many old Japan culture. It's too bad because I think, our old culture still have big business chance. I think, I'll do our old culture to use business.
In these circumstances, Nursery work is not easy work! It is hard work!! But we're making lovely trees. So we can give wonderful time to many people. Because they can feel happy or lovely to watch our made trees. I think, I had a really great trainee time at the Buchholz Nursery.
|Saya counting Yuki's beers|
|With Nathan Buchholz at the brewfest|
Next, I'll talk about every my happy life except working time when what could I learn some? I learned a lot of thing here. Oregon have an unbelievable beers. I am a captive of Oregon beers. I want to be brewer someday when I want to do many people be happy. So I hope go to Belgium & Germany because I can study about beer. Thank you for drinking me so many kind beers, Oregon.
I made many new friends in here. Everybody so nice & kind guys. I'm so lucky boy. I am thankful to have your guys in my USA life. I think, I could make new friends very easy more than Japanese because American guys everybody forthcoming guys, But Japanese some people only can do. I think, it is big problem for Japanese culture. I like other country sociable culture, so I think I have to make people community to Japanese, because I want to do Japan's province of vigor, so beer is one of that my ideas.
I went to Portland many time. They're having nice ideas about city planning. It's giving good hints always for me. And I knew, I'm knowing Japan not so many. Some American knows about Japan more than me. It is very big problem. I have to take more pride about Japan. So I'll study about Japan's histories when I'll go back to Japan.
I found Japan's good parts and not good parts from here. And especially I appreciated, there is nothing like our family. Thank you always, my family!! I learned, I don't have to forget "I'll always be grateful for everybody."
Making a summary of my report above, I am certain, this year will be useful for life from now on. I learned quite a lot of consideration from Mr. Talon and his family. You guys were giving great USA life for me. I can't thank you enough. So I want to use you guys gave great experience in my life now on. I was really excited to live in the USA!!
Let's enjoy a life
Because it's only one time