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Taiga and I have been friends for many years. Since he was a teenager! Wow, time flies. My nickname for him is “Young Tiger”. He is half Japanese and half American, so he often comes to Sendai to visit his mother. For many years he visited in the summertime, so we have a lot of good memories BBQing at the river.
In our conversation he tells me about his parents meeting each other, and why he was born in Yamagata. Please listen to find out (bottom). If you want to read about it first to make the listening a little easier, please continue reading.
Young Tiger’s mother is originally from Sendai. She got married to a man in the American military when she was very young. He was based in Montana state, so that’s where they lived. She decided to go to university there, and after graduation, she began teaching Japanese to adults.
During this time her husband had some personal issues, and they grew apart. Then along comes Young Tiger’s father. Papa Tiger. He was learning Japanese, and was a very smooth man. They met in the classroom. The love dance began, and soon they were married. They continued living in Montana, and had a daughter, Taiga’s older sister.
Then when his mother was pregnant with him, her father became very sick and was in the hospital in Sendai. His condition worsened, so she decided to travel to Japan to see her father before he died.
During her trip, she gave birth very early in an emergency situation. The hospital in Sendai was full, so she was rushed to Yamagata. Taiga was born there 3 months early, but with care and treatment, he would survive.
However, just one week after his birth, his grandfather passed away in Sendai. Taiga is the only boy in the family. Some of his Japanese relatives believe that “Grandfather Hiroshi”’s spirit passed to Taiga during that crazy week.
Growing up, Taiga often visited Japan, and lived in Japan for a few months here and there. He can speak some Japanese, but is now working and living in Seattle, where there are not many chances to use it. In the future he would like to spend more time in Japan, improve his Japanese, and maybe do business here.
Listen to the conversation to see how much you can catch! The pace is a little slower than natural “native” speed. （１５分）