I fell in love in Japan. They were the sweetest, most warming soul you’d ever lay your eyes on. They’re name was Yakimo. Now if you don’t know what Yakimo is, it’s basically a roasted sweet potato. Nothing special right? Wrong. One thing I’ve discovered about Japan, Especially Osaka, is that every food that seems simple here or something that you could get in America, tastes 10 times better. Yakimo was my everything, Yakimo for breakfast, Yakimo for Lunch, Yakimo for Dinner. Yes I age Yakimo 3 times a day sometimes. The only time I stopped for a little bit was when I ended up getting a bad Yakimo at the Convenience Store. That was then I found that the very town I lived in was a sweet lady who exclusively sold Yakimo. Her name was Mago, and I frequented her store so much that she started to remember me. Every time I would walk up to her store I was greeted with an excited “HANA!!”. It was heart-warming. Which got me thinking.. I started going to her store more and more, and not even for the Yakimo, it was simply for her kind words and kind phrases and her constantly calling me “Kawaii” or cute in Japanese. She told me she reminded me of her granddaughter and told me our shoulders were super similar, which is very typical for Japanese to point out body type similarities. I didn’t mind it made me feel like I was part of her family. Mago helped me realize how much my obsession with Yakimo started to become more of an obsession with the town of Aikawa and how accustomed I became to the environment and what the people of the town meant to me. Now if you don’t know, it was very strange for Gaikoukujin (Foreigners) to be in Aikawa, so my program was the only foreigners in the town at the time, so the Japanese local became quite comfortable with us, and it almost to a point felt like we became Japanese ourselves. Before I came to Japan, I met up with the late president of Kyoto University who was in fact black, and what I remember him telling me was skin color doesn’t matter in the long run of being accepted in a Japanese community as long as you speak and act Japanese, people usually end up accepting you. I truly felt that in my time seeing Mago and practicing my speech and behavior patterns around her where she was super comfortable hugging and greeting me. She made me so happy I became so unhealthily obsessed with Yakimo.