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452 Mori Aikko’s Tears 2 – Part 1

 When Gun-Ho woke up at the condo in Daikanyama, Shibuya, Mori Aikko was not there. She probably left for the airport already.

\"I wanted to give her some money to spend, but she is already gone.\"

Gun-Ho's returning flight ticket to Korea was scheduled the next day, and since Mori Aikko was not there with Gun-Ho, he thought of changing the ticket to leave for Korea early. And then, he thought maybe he could use the day to see people he knew in Japan like Mr. Sakata Ikuzo, who was the world-renowned Japanese engineer and used to work with Gun-Ho in Dyeon Korea, and the Korean restaurant owner-Ms. Ji-Yeon Choi.

\"I will have lunch with Mr. Sakata Ikuzo, and then I can swing by Ms. Ji-Yeon Choi's restaurant and have a bowl of oxtail soup for dinner.\"

Gun-Ho looked at his watch.

\"It's already ten o'clock.\"

Gun-Ho cleaned the room where he spent the night with Mori Aikko, and he also emptied the trash can for her. After arranging the bed, he walked out of the condo.

While walking toward the subway station, Gun-Ho made a call to Mr. Sakata Ikuzo.

\"Sakata Ikuzo desu ka? Watashi was kankku no kyu shachodesu. (I'm President Goo from Korea).\"

\"Oh, Kyu shacho san, ohisashiburidesu. (Oh, President Goo, long time no see.)\"

Gun-Ho could speak Japanese a little bit. Thanks to Mori Aikko.

\"I'm in Daikanyama, Shibuya right now. I will come to Yokohama. Let's have lunch together.\"

\"Oh, you are in Japan? I live in Motomachi. It's a suburb of Yokohama. I will wait for you at the subway station.\"

A while later, Gun-Ho and Mr. Sakata Ikuzo met each other.

Mr. Sakata Ikuzo looked older than before, and he was a little hunched, but he looked healthy overall. Gun-Ho could still smell some sort of metal from him.

Mr. Sakata Ikuzo took Gun-Ho to a restaurant that specialized in grilled eel. Gun-Ho took out a bottle of liquor that he bought at a department store in Yokohama. It was a gift for Mr. Sakata Ikuzo. As he gave it to Mr. Sakata Ikuzo, he said, \"You look healthy.\"

\"Thank you. I guess I am maintaining my health by keeping my work.\"

\"So you are still getting work from your clients, huh?\"

\"I'm still in contact with my old clients. When they need a handmade mould, they bring the work to me. It's not a high volume of workload though since a mold carving machine is doing a great job these days. Even if I could get lots of work, I wouldn't have been able to handle the workload. I should admit that I'm getting old.\"

\"I still have the samurai figure that you gave to me in my office in the building, Sinsa Town. That figure always reminded me of you.\"

\"Thank you. Oh, how is Director Jong-Suk Park doing?\"

\"He is doing good. He is married now, and he has a daughter. His life is now committed to his family.\"

\"Oh, really? Please send my congratulations to him.\"

After lunch, Mr. Sakata Ikuzo invited Gun-Ho to his home. Mr. Sakata Ikuzo was living in a single house that was not totally in a traditional Japanese style or a modern structure, but it was in between. He had lots of yellow flowers in his yard, and there was a separate and small storage, which he was using as his workshop.

Mr. Sakata Ikuzo showed Gun-Ho around his workshop. Several pieces of metal were scattered everywhere along with sawdust.

'How come there is sawdust here? Is he working with wood as well?'

When they moved to a room with a tatami floor, Mr. Sakata Ikuzo brought some tea. Mr. Sakata Ikuzo was sitting in a kneeling position while filling an empty cup with tea. Gun-Ho couldn't sit in a kneeling position like him because that would make him very uncomfortable. He just sat with his legs crossed on the floor.

\"You can sit as you feel comfortable.\"

When Mr. Sakata Ikuzo opened the traditional Japanese sliding door, Gun-Ho could see the entire yard from the room with yellow flowers.

\"They are so beautiful.\"

\"They are wood sorrels and rapeseed. They are wildflowers; I moved some of them to my yard.\"

Mr. Sakata Ikuzo brought a small box that was about the size of a cell phone.

\"Please give this to Director Jong-Suk Park. It's a gift for his daughter from an old man.\"

\"What is this?\"

\"You can open it.\"

Gun-Ho opened the box.

Once Gun-Ho opened the paper box, there was another box that was made of wood. When Gun-Ho opened the wooden box, there was a butterfly.

\"Is it butterfly taxidermy?\"

\"No, I made it.\"

\"What do you mean by you made it?\"

Gun-Ho touched the butterfly. His eyes widened.

\"Oh, this is made of wood. Oh, my gosh. This looks so real.\"

\"I've been doing wood carving since I was a young man. It was my hobby, and I did it whenever I felt bored. Given the nature of my work, I work with metal most of the time, and I've been trying to neutralize the metal's energy that affects my body by touching more wood.\"

\"I see.\"

\"I actually received an offer from Yokohama's art gallery. They want to host an art exhibition with some of my carved figures. Since I have spare time these days, I'm working on carving more figures in preparation for the exhibition.\"

\"Oh, really?\"

Mr. Sakata Ikuzo showed Gun-Ho more of the figures that he made.

\"Wow. This looks like a living dragonfly.\"

On a large tray that Mr. Sakata Ikuzo brought in order to show to Gun-Ho, there was a dragonfly, a frog, and a small bird, etc. They all look so real, especially with the vivid colors painted on them.

\"Wow. This is incredible.\"

While he was looking at the animal figures on the tray, Gun-Ho saw an anchovy. He tried to take it out from the tray.

\"I guess you dropped an anchovy here by accident.\"

When Gun-Ho picked up the anchovy, he was amazed.

\"Wow! You made this one too!\"

Mr. Sakata Ikuzo smiled. He looked satisfied.

There was still the calligraphy wall hanging in his room, which said 'Isshokenmei.' It was his philosophy of life, which meant that he would put everything into his work even though he had to risk his life to do so. His work with wooden figures reflected this philosophy very well. Mr. Sakata Ikuzo, who was sitting in a kneeling position on the floor, reminded Gun-Ho of the legendary swordsman in Japan-Miyamoto Musashi.

\"It's amazing. When does your art exhibition start in Yokohama?\"

\"It will open in June.\"

\"I will definitely come and visit your exhibition then.\"

\"Thank you. I will send you the exhibition's pamphlet once it comes out, shacho san (Mr. President).\"

Gun-Ho thought that he would come to Mr. Sakata Ikuzo's art exhibition in June with President Jeong-Sook Shin.

After parting from Mr. Sakata Ikuzo, Gun-Ho came back to Tokyo, and he headed to New Otani Hotel in Akasaka, Tokyo. After checking in, he went up to his room and looked out of the window.

\"I have a good memory with this hotel about two women.\"

While looking out of the window, Gun-Ho thought of Mori Aikko and also Seol-Bing.

'I had the first night with Mori Aikko in this hotel. Also, I held Seol-Bing's hand for the first time in this hotel.'