Steve Cotler

Steve Cotler

Japanese Lessons-Part 3

CaracalAt Tokyo’s Narita Airport, Mr. Mizutani shook my hand, bowed slightly and said, “Kotora-san, you have safe trip home.”

“Why,” I asked Mr. Mizutani, “do you pronounce my name Kotora? My name isn’t COAT-ler. It’s COT-ler. Why don’t you call me Katora?”

Mizutani took a deep breath and smiled broadly. “Kotora good name. Ko mean small. Tora mean tiger. Small tiger. Good name.” His expression became serious. “Katora not such good name. Tora still mean tiger, but ka mean mosquito. Striped mosquito in Asia give people dengue fever. They die. You not be Katora.”

Lynx, bobcat, caracal, alley cat, small tiger…I was smiling as the plane took off.

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