Poem By Yen Cress
Hiroshi lives across the western sea
Beyond the sunset in an ancient land.
His country is Japan-'Nippon, ' says he-
And island nation we should understand.
Hiroshi lives above a busy street
In crowded Tokyo, in a neighborhood
Of stores, and parks where city people meet
To share the peace of fragrant sandalwood.
Hiroshi's home is small; he has no space
To keep a pet like dog or cat, but still
A cheerful, friendly voice warms up the place:
He keeps a birdcage on his windowsill.
Hiroshi has a cozy futon bed.
He spreads it on the wooden floor at night
And sleeps without a pillow for his head.
At dawn he rolls his futon out of sight.
Hiroshi likes hot miso soup to eat
Or fish and cabbage in a little bowl.
Sometimes Hiroshi likes a bit of meat,
But rice is what makes every dinner whole.
Hiroshi uses chopsticks in a pair,
And knows, as well, what fork and spoon are for.
He feels just fine relaxing in a chair
Or sitting on tatami on the floor.
Hiroshi wears a uniform to school
Like all the other boys, six days a week.
He studies hard, observing every rule;
He's quiet till his teacher bids him speak.
Hiroshi studies English every day.
When he gets home, he reads till late at night.
He practices each phrase he's learned to say,
Pronouncing l's and r's until they're right.
Hiroshi studies Japanese as well.
The words in columns tall dance down the page.
The crisscrossed characters a story tell
Like tiny actors on a paper stage.
Hiroshi listens to his favorite band
When walking with his iPod down the street.
He likes the music of his ancient land
As well as music with a modern beat.
Hiroshi rides his Honda motorbike
To visit friends who live not far away.
They play computer games or take a hike
Or, sometimes, sail a boat out in the bay.
Hiroshi sometimes goes to see a show,
A movie or a sumo wrestling bout,
Kabuki drama or, perhaps, a noh,
Or baseball game where he can cheer and shout.
Hiroshi shows his skill in many sports,
Like bowling, skiing, or the martial arts.
On warm days he goes to the tennis courts;
At night he likes a lively game of darts.
Hiroshi takes the speeding bullet train
To go to see Grandfather's distant grave.
He worships spirits of the trees and rain;
The Shinto priests teach how he should behave.
Hiroshi loves Mt. Fuji's snow-capped peak,
Majestic beauty touching puffy cloud,
Volcano sleeping, cool and still and sleek,
The 'emperor of Honshu, ' rich and proud.
Hiroshi wants to be a businessman
And fly to far-off cities everywhere.
America is also in his plan-
He wants to come, to see and learn and share.