Y-kun is still coming weekly for English. He still brings me vegetables each time he comes. Sometimes I don't know what to do with them (like two or three stalks of bamboo shoots. They hardly fit in my pot!) Y-kun and I still have a weekly routine of cooking up whatever vegetable he has brought me. Both of us trying to figure out what we might add, whether something should be boiled or fried or mixed up with something else. Y-kun says he doesn't cook at home but he sure looks like a pro to me. I think he finds it humorous that his mature, female English teacher has no idea how to cook some things. He takes his role as official "taster" very seriously. Weekly he acts like he's king of my kitchen!
As we cook I ask Y-kun about his grandfather... The grandfather is still in the hospital, probably a rehabilitation center. He recognizes people but can't sit up alone and can't talk. Y-kun doesn't have much to say on the subject unless to mention that the grandfather is battling pneumonia or has had convulsions. I can't read how this affects him... Y-kun always seems cheerful. I don't think I've ever seen him sad.
Y-kun is in sixth grade this year so I probably have only one more year with him. Despite his "enthusiasm" for things (he sends the cats into typhoon formation) I still insist that he is a bright boy trying to overcome his disadvantages. Though he probably doesn't get good grades in school he just seems clever to me... able to work out problems, not just in English, but normal puzzles of life, like how to get a drawer unstuck, how to make Choco be quiet. So many kids just sit and don't try to use their brains but Y-kun always is wildly figuring, planning, trying things out. I wonder what will happen to him when he hits his rebellious years... I wonder if he'll just get pushed aside in the competitiveness of Japanese education.
I wonder if he'll disappear from my life like most of my students.