Japanese Variation

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13

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Once again she filled her trolley as the cashier looked on astounded, asking herself the same question she did every day. How could such a small woman, frail and tiny, eat such a huge quantity of food? No-one round there had seen any offspring or multiple older relatives she had to feed.
The pretty brunette with the smooth complexion, dark eyes elongated into green almonds, her dark gaze lit by glints of emerald, never spoke during her almost mystical acquisition of supplies.
This morning, she bought no less than three chickens, frozen fish, two family-size packets of rice and an abundance of vegetables, not forgetting the traditional packs of beer.
As she went through the check-out, she smiled, slowly took out her money and counted her change, proud of her purchases and of the curiosity she had aroused… which she knew would be heightened tomorrow. An expensive pleasure but one that was worth to fulfill her happiness.
Back at home, she cooked everything in a cauldron and poured its contents, moistened with stock, into deep china bowls. Her mission was over now until the next meal.

Crouching at the back of the room, she curled up in a ball to make herself invisible as she was infringing the rules, the presence of women not being permitted in this sanctuary full of paradoxes, dedicated to bodily combat while brushing up against the sacred nature of the human soul.
She stared into the dojo with her cat-like eyes.
The signal was given, the fan turned over, the men touched the floor with both their hands, accepting the combat.
This was the young girl’s favorite moment, this rush of adrenalin before she became the discreet heroine of the day. Because he was going to win, she was sure of it: the kami, omnipresent divinities, had murmured in her ear that the performance of her rikishi would be recognised by the Master.
It was a close fight, with no rest period allowed during the course of the tournament. But it mattered little, the salt thrown would purify the arena and Akio was at the top of his form. She saw him shamelessly throwing his adversary, and the very essence of Japan throbbed in the confrontation of the two giants.
From following her hero, she knew by heart the eighty-two holds he would be able to call upon to cause his rival to falter and she was reassured when she saw him stamping his foot to chase away the evil spirits.
Then she stole discreetly away and returned to her stove.
Yet again, victory would have given her sumo wrestler of a husband a voracious appetite.

Translated by Wendy Cross

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