Maru 4 ~ What does it mean to have a teacher? ~

August 23, 2011 (Japanese) / February 13, 2013 (English)

Maru, whom I re-encountered last summer, had become the chief manager of a large franchise massage salon at the age of 22.

That night, as courtesy of Koseki-sensei, I was scheduled to get her massage before going out for drinks with her.

A few women were at the counter by the entrance. Among them was Maru.

One of the women politely approached me as I neared the counter. Looking into Maru’s direction, I said, “Hello. I have an appointment with the chief manager at seven.”

Blushed, Maru slightly bowed and greeted me, “It has been a long time.”

Gently, she introduced me to her staffs,

“This is my homeroom teacher.”

Those simple words carried the entire 8 years that have passed between us.

I now wonder why I remember that moment so clearly. Was that her way of distinguishing me from Koseki-sensei? Perhaps. He is her teacher. But she called me “my homeroom teacher” ... as if I were her only homeroom teacher.

I wasn’t sure if it was because of her profession, but Maru had become a tender young lady. Or, at least, she was behaving that way. It was far from the feisty image I had of her.

There might have been about five staffs in the salon. Many of them were clearly older than Maru.

I sat on the couch as directed. A few whispers were exchanged at the counter. I pretended not to notice. Soon, Maru came with the menu and knelt down by me. I knew well enough that she was simply being a professional and treating me like a regular customer, but I felt a bit embarrassed.

I couldn’t be a regular customer.

After she walked me through the system and various options, I told Maru that I would leave it all up to her.

When the massage began, perhaps a bit awkwardly, I began to ask numerous questions about her work.

She began to explain how she got there. She told me that it was not long ago that she began the job, that she began to receive countless requests for appointment and was given a shop manager’s position within half a year, and that now the number of her appointment request ranked 5th in the entire national franchise.

Nothing was surprising.

She was much loved by Koseki-sensei’s own mentor as well and was given the recognition of “master of conversation” by the old man. Perhaps, what attracted many people was not only her massage but her ability to have a pleasant conversation with any individual.

Maru then told me an interesting story.

Just the other day, a younger employee came to Maru crying. When Maru asked, she said she was shocked because a male customer asked her for her email address.

“I can’t believe he was seeing me like that. I didn’t become a masseuse for that!!” said the girl.

Maru replied,

“Wait a minute. Are you then good enough as a masseuse so that people pay to see you just for your massage? First of all, isn’t it an honor for a woman to be thought as someone worthy of paying to see?”

Hard to believe those are the words of a 22-year-old.

But, yes, Maru would say that. That’s Koseki-sensei’s beloved mentee.

Tough and driven.

I felt as though Maru had just demonstrated what Kosei-sensei would call, “the capacity to live.”

 (To be continued...)

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今だからわかる 〜 ヨネ5 〜











そう言った後、あれ、反応がないなと思って 運転席の米倉の方を向くと、あいつが今までなかったような尊敬の眼差しで俺を見つめていた。























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