In a sense, I’ve been employing a Zatoichi of my own here. The baby in Nam’s belly is a week bigger than normal, and Nam feels very heavy, so she goes to get massages 2 or 3 times a week now. I also went last week after my fever, because my shoulders were all bunched up and I couldn’t sleep.
The masseuse is a blind man named Moh Ken (“Moh” is an honorific for doctors and other health practitioners). Moh Ken is a funny sorta guy; he doesn’t carry a cane sword, but he’s strong as hell from massaging people all day. When he massaged my shoulders, I was very aware that he could have snapped my collarbone like a twig any time he felt like it (and yes, this is a funny thing to be thinking during a relaxing massage if you’re not at least a little bit strange yourself). Moh Ken carries around this talking pocket watch that tells him time at the press of a button. His senses are fine-tuned enough to tell when people are moving around huim in the confined space of the massage shop.
I watched him change the sheets on the massage table this last time, and it was just fascinating. On one hand, I wanted to offer help (I mean, he was double-sheeting the table with fitted sheets so that he only had to change them after every two customers – pretty cool!), but on the other hand, I knew he would just swat me away with his rough blind samurai hands…
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