Sugoi! It's Beautiful
Yuko laughed softly as Katrina gazed at Mt. Nijozan in awe. Yuko knew that this would be a good retreat for Katrina. She just lost her fiancée in an unfortunate accident and was beside herself with grief. Slowly with new surroundings and a familiar, comforting face in her life Katrina felt reborn and alive.
Friends since college Yuko remembered how Katrina helped her ease into American life by showing her most of the United States. At first she was scared, she honestly didn't know much about African Americans outside watching television. Helping her overcome homesickness, depression, plus the occasional culture shock, was what Yuko needed in her life, but Katrina also gave her enough room to grow, discover and learn about the unknown country as well as herself. Even after college they have stayed in touch, and their friendship stayed strong despite the distance between them. Now it's her turn, and after 10 years the two ladies reunited, but this time in Osaka, Japan.
"You really like it?" Yuko asked while winking "Its nothing but a few big rocks."
"What? Oh!" Katrina laughed hard as she leaned against the railing. Yuko repeated the same words that she said to her when they viewed Mt. Elden in Arizona.
"Yea I guess you are right, but it's just peaceful out here." She replied, "Not like the near desert in Arizona. The trees and landscape is-well soothing."
Her smile slowly fading, Katrina's gaze swept over the horizon. "Keita" she whispered while a mask of sadness slipped over her face. Yuko moved towards her and leaned in close just as she turned to hide her newly formed tears.
"Are you going to be alright, Tama-san?" Yuko asked, " Why don't we go to the coffee shop and get a snack? I know you wanted to try the latest iced banana mocha smoothie."
"Yea I should be fine Yuko-san. I am sorry," she replied trying to stop the tears. "It's just that Keita wanted to show me these places that he visited as a kid. I remember him saying that his parents lived here until their death a few years ago. Matter of fact we met 3 months after the service. On that day he was still trying to cope with the loss. Clearly he was devastated, but his spirit was so strong. I wish I could be as strong as he was then, but I just miss him with all of my heart."
The memories of happy times played in Katrina's mind. With each picture the pain of loss echoed across her usually cheerful features, until she could hold back no more. Katrina's body convulsed violently with each sob as the tears flowed like a mournful river down her cheeks. Yuko handed Katrina a tissue as she maneuvered her towards the nearest bench to rest.
Several moments passed as the sun cast the final shadows of daylight on the landscape. Yuko sat and cradled as sniffling Katrina while she hummed a forgotten Japanese rhyme that always made Katrina smile. Curious bystanders were perplexed by the scene but rushed passed for politeness sake.
Night covered the valley while the fireflies began their illuminating dance between the blades of grass. Yuko gazed silently at the stars as Katrina stared coldly at the ground.
"Let me tell you a story." Yuko said out of the blue.
"I don't know, Yuko-san, I'm kind of tired" Katrina started to reply but Yuko continued as if she didn't say a word.
"Local legend once said that after 500 years a princess by destiny would be resurrected from a lovers spell. This princess saved her beloved country by stopping an army of demons from enslaving humanity and tipping the fragile balance between the world of shadow and light."
Katrina fell silent as she followed Yuko's tale.
"Kaori Sokane, orphaned at birth, was gifted with the power to animate origami. Along with her weapon the Tamashii Sensu, a large paper fan, Kaori fought through the battlements to face Hajime, the demon prince whose only want was to control both worlds. The Battle of Peace lasted 4 nights on the peaks of Mt. Nijozan, and on the last hour of the last day Kaori delivered the final blow to end Hajime's terror. However it was not without cost to Sokane-sama's own life."
"Not being able to reach her in time Tanosuke, Hajime's younger brother who fell in love with Sokane-sama, used his power to erect Dendo no Ayame at the base of Mt. Nijozan to keep Sokane-sama's body free from the flow of mortal time. Vowing that he will find a way to reunite with her, Tanosuke traveled to the Underworld to fight the last of his brother's minions. The Battle of Shadow and Fire lasted for 10 years with Tanosuke emerging as victor, and within his possession he held the Book of Spirits. Inside the archaic pages he found a resurrection spell that would transform Sokane-sama's spirit into a star. After 1 million individual wishes are made on the star or 500 years pass, the star will fall and reunite her spirit with her body."
Yuko pointed to a lone bluish-white star in the heavens. Katrina stared at the star, enraptured by the story and the swimming images of demons and mortals fighting within her mind.
"In two days," Yuko continued with a soft smile on her lips. "This years Dakenobori Festival will be a special one. The 500-year wait will end that night and everyone who saved a special wish will be making one on Sokane-sama's star. Why don't we go camping that night after a nice hike on the trail? I am sure that you would have a special wish on the star also. Not to mention that it would be fun to get out for one night!" Yuko smiled brightly and laughed.
Katrina smiled also and soon laughed along with Yuko.
"That sounds does sound like fun." Katrina said softly. "Thank you Yuko, I am sorry that I caused a scene."
"Sonna koto wa nai!" Yuko jumped up trying to pull Katrina to her feet. "But if you are going to feel that way then you owe me coffee!"
"Deal!" said Katrina.
Laughing arm in arm the two friends headed to a late night coffee shop to talk about the upcoming trip.