Second Progress Report

I had my last bowl of ramen noodles for breakfast, as planned, along with my daily cup of green tea. It was raining when I left the house, and once again would do so for most of the day. I hoped that the rainy season would mostly burn itself out before the family arrived.

I spun down my cells and started the process of breaking them open using the sonicator on the 8th floor, which I hoped once again would really be it for my purifications. I went to the Post Office to withdraw some cash for when the family got to Japan, afterward I could resist the spell of Starbucks no longer. Nothing sounded better on this rainy, dreary day. Kiyoe walked past as I was standing in line, on her way to the bank’s cash station. She was going to Keisukei’s wedding over the weekend and wanted some cash as a wedding gift. On her way back, she could not resist stopping at Starbucks either. She was unhappy that the cash station had given her old-looking bills, as it was the custom to give new bills at a wedding. Since it didn’t matter to me one way or another, I traded her my new bills for the old ones.

I had almost finished with the cells by lunch, they were on their last spin as I bought my bacon over rice and wonton soup mixed with eggs. Although it didn’t occur to me at the time, it was if I was compensating for having such a strange breakfast that day. Once I was finished with the cells, I got my lab notebook in order so I could show it to Kaneda-sensei. Kiyoe said that I didn’t need to have fancy PowerPoint slides to show during this month’s progress report, raw data out of my notebook would do fine. Our meeting was at 3 pm, and it seemed to go well. I had accomplished a lot in the month that had passed since our first meeting, in which I had mostly just presented my planned research project. I showed Dr. Kaneda that I had purified the first of two protein complexes and assured him that I could purify the final protein, which I needed for the second complex, soon.

Since my small-scale complex formation had worked fine, it was now time to scale up. I added the rest of my most concentrated fractions of H2A and H2B together, put them in a dialysis tube, and placed them in the correct buffer in the cold room. I would have a large amount of complex purified by Monday, if all went well. I left on the 5:55 bus so I could have time to eat before “Konnichi wa” class, by this time the rain had slowed to a drizzle. I decided to quickly stop by home before going to class, my bag was heavy and did I not want to be lugging it around with me afterwards, especially since I hoped to stop at the grocery store then. This detour did eat into my allotted dinnertime, however, so I went to McDonalds once again. I did have just enough time to eat my Big Mac meal at the restaurant. I was sure the park bench outside the community center was quite wet, anyway.

We talked about various topics at my Japanese class- including shopping, transportation, as well as topics which were related to my family arriving. Afterwards, four women cornered me and made me write down my Indian Chicken recipe from memory. As a group of us walked home from class, we passed the grocery store that I had gone to the day I visited Mino-o Park. I told them that I needed to go shopping and bid them goodnight. Inside the store was Lu, the Chinese man I knew from the bus, along with his wife, whom he introduced me to. Since his English was not good, and my Chinese was worse, we mostly conversed in Japanese. We talked for maybe 10 minutes, until the produce lady came over to remind us that the store would close in another 10 minutes, at 9 pm. I had just enough time to pick up the basics to ensure that I had breakfast and dinner for the next day, I would have to return to the store then. As we walked the 15 minutes back towards our house, we talked about the couple’s son, Rohenton, who was Brennan’s age and attended to the same school that he would be starting soon. They said their son didn’t know any Japanese when he came in February, but was now getting along just fine. While Rohenton was the only foreign student in 6th grade at the time- I assured them that soon, there would be two.

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