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Elizabeth Brunner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairy Tales around

16th March 1996... 

about Japan 

 

 

After a long time Elizabeth had the wish to tell us a little about Japan: "We were in Bombay, when mother suddenly fell ill with a terrible fever and pains in the head. This affected her eyes and she could hardly see. We were told that this was 'Bombay fever' and the only way to get rid of it was to leave India immediately. So we booked ourselves on a ship which was leaving for Japan and we were very glad that this was to be our destination, as my mother had always wanted to go there.

            A young Indian friend, whose family was in Kobe, gave a letter of introduction to us. When we reached the harbour to embark, I felt as we went up the gangway that my feet were dragging and wanted to go backward instead of forward. There I stood half way up, tears beginning to flow, when I noticed my mother's face appealing to me to come. Realising that we were sailing because of her illness, I pulled myself together and crossed on to the ship, with a strange feeling that I had left my life behind. I felt much better, though, by the time we reached Colombo, as my mother's fever disappeared within a very short time.

            We went via Singapore, Hongkong and Shanghai and arrived in Japan in time for the cherries but not the cherry-blossoms. Landing in Kobe, our first experience was an astounding one. There we were with no knowledge of the language, in the customs shed with all our luggage around us, including about eight/nine large boxes of paintings. How were we to explain that they were only paintings. We need not have worried. 

Japanese actor playing Buddha

            A customs officer opened one case, and as soon as he saw what it contained, he began taking out the pictures, very carefully and delicately. His whole expression changed and he became very affable and attentive, as soon as we told him that they were our own work. 'Ekaki san!' He said to his colleagues, and to our great surprise in a short time the whole customs shed had become an art exhibition with all our paintings!

            Everybody stopped working, including the porters, loaders, and dock hands, and gathered round the shed to admire the paintings. With such a keen interest. It really surprised us. Even the humblest worker seemed to be an art connoisseur."

 

 
     

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Copyright Dagmar Barua 1997 Sass Brunner East West Trust, 75, Rabindra Nagar, New Delhi - 110 003