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Yurio Uneyo

Today would be Thanksgiving Day in the United States but of course it was no special day here. In town I was able to make out a poster announcing a town meeting tonight and I decided to go.

There was a town council of five older people and they were hearing public comment on what sounded like -- a “tourist pier”? A man in a suit, evidently an outsider, explained the project and took questions. My sense was that the townspeople would be happy to attract any kind of business and they were leaning towards the proposal. A couple of townspeople got up to the podium and read statements in support.

Then I saw a turning of heads. The Ama had appeared in the doorway. She strode up to the front of the room, the slap of her feet against the tile floor being the only sound. She did not hide behind a podium; she faced the town in her total nakedness. The council behind her was formally dressed but in a way her bare, tanned skin was the most imposing outfit there. Room temperature seemed to be a little warm for her; she was sweating, but perfectly calm.

Her arms were at her sides though her breasts wobbled a bit as she spoke, her nipples pointing here and there as if at everyone in the room. Because she was speaking slowly I could understand her even with my limited Japanese. She said (more or less): “This pier will disrupt the beds of abalone and oysters. Future diving would only be profitable elsewhere, perhaps on shores abutting neighboring towns.” Then she left the room, again with the slapping of bare feet. There was silence for a few moments and then the council chairman spoke again to resume the meeting. I didn’t understand much of what was going on but it seemed sentiment had changed.

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