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His language, my language spill out like puke on the bar, dribble and splatter in a great pool of communication. "Kokoro wa, your heart is Japanese," he informs me and I puff more smoke in his face, make a little bow and gulp more beer. The beer glasses sweat and so do we, cramped together at the little bench that is the bar with stools enough for seven samurai. And inevitably the talk turns to my heart. Outside the rain is a torrent. Inside too everything is sodden. Beads of sweat pool on the counter, shirts are damp and sticky and deeper, deeper inside, I am told, I am pure Japanese. Outside I may appear to be a gaijin, a foreigner, but inside, he can see, mine is a local heart.

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