Sunday, August 23, 2009

Character: Midori

Who is she?

• Midori Yamazaki (山崎 緑)


• 26 years old (born 20th March, 1983)


• Japanese

What’s her family background?

• Midori belongs to a middle-class family in Osaka. Her father Shoichi Yamazaki (b. 1950), grew up in a new, post-nuclear, pacifist Japan. Brought up the single child of his war-widowed mother, he learnt self-reliance at her knee. He completed his B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Osaka University, and is today a well-paid supervisor of a car factory, working for a company he joined more that 30 years ago. A serious and hardworking man, he is a pillar of the local community. His mother died ten years ago, having enjoyed a full and happy life.

• Midori's mother, Tomoe Yamazaki nee Kusano (b. 1952), is a typical Japanese housewife: mild-mannered, supportive and accommodating. She gave up a career in nursing to marry, and eventually gave birth to two daughters: Aki (1980) and Midori (1983). After her third pregnancy miscarried, she was advised not to have any more children. She has one younger brother, Yusuke, in the Osaka Metropolitan Police Department.

• Midori's sister Aki is a jolly and fun-loving girl, a bit on the plump side, who currently works as a hair stylist in an upmarket Tokyo salon. She has a fiancé (Minoru) of three years whom she plans to marry (just waiting for him to propose any day now!). He works in the creative department of an ad agency whom she met on the job.

What’s her story?

• Midori was a good student in school, and also played volleyball at the inter-school level. She is a natural-born leader and is used to taking control of a situation. Admired and popular in school, she sometimes abused her wit and beauty to bully others. After school, she studied Physics at Osaka University. However, she felt she could do better in the business world and took a job as a bank clerk in Sumitomo Bank, Tokyo. Midori completed a part-time MBA from Waseda University while working.

• Midori met her ex-boyfriend in college. Ken was studying history and wanted "to become a star". He and Midori moved to Tokyo together, she to hunt for a job and he to hunt for acting roles. While she got her clerk's job, Ken continued to struggle as an actor, often depending upon her income to survive. This continued for almost a year, and it was pure bliss for her. Never mind that Ken doesn’t provide for the rent, or that he refuses to help around in the house. One day, she returned home early to find him sleeping with some female studio executive. Someone used to being in charge, this betrayal came as a shock to her. Midori threw them both out, with screams and fisticuffs… she had never cried so hard that night before she went to bed. That was three years ago.

• A few weeks after this, Midori moved in with her sister. Her behaviour has become colder and more aloof as a result of this experience, her mouth curling into an unpleasant snarl when she sees anything that reminds her of Ken. However, she still believes in true love, and hopes to find "Mr Right" someday: she has a marked weakness for romances with a happy ending. Midori lived with her sister till a few months ago, when she moved into the company dormitory to give Aki and her fiancé more privacy.

What’s she like?

• In a word, Midori is pretty. Not glamorous, or sexy in an obvious way. She has a full, expressive face (what in Japan would be called a tanuki-gao, or raccoon-face –don’t worry, it’s not as insulting as it sounds) with elegant features framed by a chic boy-cut with an asymmetric fringe (thank you, Aki). She has a tattoo of a blue dragonfly on her left shoulder-blade, which she got on her eighteenth birthday, much to the mortification of her father. She is outgoing, decisive and opinionated, a subtle contrast to her mother, as well as a discreet revolt against the highly patriarchal Japanese society in which she exists. Like most any girl, Midori is unhappy with her looks. The more her judo buddies tell her how cute she looks, the more she thinks she’s got a fat ass. Yes, she learns judo; for about two years now.

What about right now?

• Midori is by-and-large content with her lot in life. She still regrets dumping Ken; she was truly in love with him. After Ken, her longest relationship has been for less than a year. But then again she’s still young, independent and sociable. Settling down with a husband is a distant prospect for her. Her favourite pastime right now is going out shopping with her sister. Remember that MBA she did? Well, it finally got her promoted to a management job at the bank last year. But when Midori returns to her empty apartment, and says "Tadaima [I’m home]" to no-one in particular, she can’t help wondering, "What happened to my life?" That’s when she reaches for her cigarettes.


Rhea Silvia said...

oh, this is utterly brilliant.

Sharad said...

thanks, rhea. i forgot to mention her tat, which I have now put in.

Shayeari said...

khub shundor....but tell me, are u inspired by your Midori?

De Wolf said...

I like Midori Kamikaze...she is good... :-D