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Ruby Buddemeyer: Samurai's Garden Scrapbook

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Ruby Buddemeyer: Samurai's Garden Scrapbook - Page Text Content

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1: When first arriving in Tarumi, I thought my visit would be one of the darkest times of my life. To my pleasant surprise, I was introduced to people and places that I can never forget. This scrapbook will forever remind me of my visit, and how it completely transformed my life.

2: SACHI | The strongest woman I know | A journal entry I found from Sachi...

3: October 9th, 1937 Yesterday was an odd day; I met someone new. Matsu brought him to me, Stephen was his name. I was so shocked by his appearance, Matsu unfortunately gave me no warning. I've grown purely accustomed to the people I surround myself with. Matsu is really the only "normal" person I am in contact with, so seeing Stpehen felt almost un-natural. As soon as he walked into my house, I could feel my ugliness. In my forty years in Yamaguchi, I can hardly remember a time I felt as self conscious as I did in that very moment. I suddenly could feel every inch of my disease, it felt like spiders were crawling on my skin and my body went into a cold, pure shock. However, I kept my composure and simply kept my wounds covered. I decided to trust Matsu, I've known him for so long, I could never second guess his judgement. I figured Matsu must have brought him to me for a reason. After warming up to him, I became very intrigued by Stephen, his presence was simply captivating. I soon discovered that Stephen was ill, and I suddenly could feel it. We suddenly had something in common, although I am still uncertain of Stephen's circumstances. He told me he was hoping the air of Tarumi would help cure him. Although I wish I could, I will never be able to see Tarumi as a place of healing. Yes; the air is clear and the scenery is beautiful, however, there is this dark energy filled with disease and misfortune. I fear for him. He's so young, he has so much promise. It would break my heart to see another soul hindered by Leprosy. Stephen's presence reminded me of my healthy youth. Looking at Stephen, I studied his beauty and distinct features.Although hidden by my mask, I couldn't help but imagine what he thought of me. Could he see the small, lean beauty I had left? I wonder if he could see past my ugly appearance, into my soul. I definitely think Stephen is going to have an important roll in my life- I really hope to see him again. I want to know more...

4: I will never forget Matsu's beautiful garden | A collage that constantly reminds me of its captivating beauty

5: September 15, 1937 Stephen arrived today. My prior image of a spirited, youthful young boy was completely shattered. He looks pale, very pale. And too skinny. After seeing him, I immediately knew my cooking would come in handy. It’s weird having another person in the house. I’ve grown so accustomed to the harmony I’ve created with the house, that the presence of another person almost frightens me. My privacy has been demolished, and it’s becoming apparently that it is no long just my thoughts and me. In a sense, I feel a bit or relief. Stephen’s presence reminds me of my youth; the days that smiling didn’t cause me pain or discomfort. He makes me think of Tomoko; my delightful younger sister. My memories of Tomoko consist strictly of joy and happiness. Truthfully, her absence has been the cause to my lonely persona. Oh Tomoko, why did you have to go? If she were here now, I feel that she would enjoy Stephen- even if she was still restricted from her disease. I can already feel his accepting personality and I know he would be able to see Tomoko’s beauty through her sickness. I don’t plan on having much of a relationship with this boy, as I feel I have lost most, if not all, of my appropriate social manners. I don’t know to relate to him, except through our similarity of misfortune. It saddens me to see a young man so ill, however I must remain collected and calm. My job is simply to help Stephen retain his health, I must not let my feelings and emotions get in the way of my performance. I can’t even begin to imagine what he must think of me. I was so nervous and uneasy for his arrival, that when the time finally presented itself, I did not know how to perceive myself. Stephen must see me as he sees most Japanese; disgusting and blood thirsty. I wonder if he’ll ever know where I even stand on Japan’s cruel invasion of China. Will he ever understand I see it as just as a big of a tragedy as he? Perhaps not. But I wish he will, for the sake of equality and peace to remain as present occupants of this house. | A journal entry from Matsu...

6: October 17th, 1937 Not a day goes by that I don't think about Sachi. What does she look like? What does she smell like? Is she thinking about me? She runs marathons through my head, making it spin constantly. If she knew how I still felt, I wonder if she could find it in her heart to love me again - even after I left. Yes we communicate through Matsu and letters, but I don't feel the magic and excitement in her words. When we were young, I could tell she loved me just through the sound of her voice- whether it be written or spoken. Her beautiful words poured out on paper still have passion and truth, I just can't feel the love that we used to share. Has she moved on? I don't see Sachi being able to find love amongst Lepers- no matter how well she has adapted. Yes, people change, but I feel the majority of our traits remain the same. Matsu acts like he knows Sachi, and yes, he may know her now. However, Matsu didn't know Sachi how I used to. Sachi was such a spirited girl, with so much potential. Matsu may know the woman Sachi has developed into- but I will always know the real Sachi, no matter how much time we spend away from each other. | A journal entry from Kenzo

7: Matsu & Sachi- First I would like to apologize for my disgusting, hateful actions. I've never felt such a strong amount of anger, and never have I lost my temper on two of the people I care most for. I had created this image of you, Sachi, in my head. All I could remember was your youth, and your uncanny beauty. When I saw you, I wasn't scared of what you had become, I was just scared I had forever lost the image of your childhood, and with that escaped many cherished memories. Truthfully, you look as beautiful as I can remember, and much beauty has shone from your impeccable strength, which I now envy. I can never forgive myself for the untrue words that erupted from my bitter mouth. You are nothing close to a monster, as you are far more brave, strong, wise, and beautiful. And you Matsu- I console you for taking such flawless care of Sachi, I can only imagine how hard you worked. Although I felt betrayed, I now realize your actions were only for Sachi's best interest. I don't think I can forgive myself, as I've created so much pain and dishonor between two people I love so much. I just wish, even with my soon absence, that you two can forgive me. I love you Matsu and Sachi- and I hope my actions don't allow you to forget that. I love you. -Kenzo | Kenzo's heartbreaking suicide note

8: 12/3/1937 I'm starting to truly enjoy seeing Stephen. When I first met him, I was utterly annoyed by his presence and his perfect appearance. But, with each short interaction we have I become more drawn to him. In a way, Stephen is completely mysterious. I feel like I know nothing about him, which makes me want to get to know him even more. But of course, Mika interferes with my getting to know him. Mika and I have been so close for so long, it's hard for me to feel that I must sneak around her and avoid her. But- unfortunately, I see it as the only way. Part of me is worried about my budding relationship with Stephen. I'm not used to feeling this way about someone and I fear I'm not acting as adequately as I should. I'm sure Stephen has met numerous girls- all of which adore him. I don't want to just be another girl he meets... I want to be more. I don't know how to convey this to him; I wouldn't even know where to start. All I do know is that every time I see him, I put up a wall and feel the need to hide my true feelings. I don't want to seem naive; I feel that I must truly protect myself and my heart. I think the more I see him, the more I will put down my guard and reveal my true self. I hope he puts up with me long enough to see this truth- I feel like he'd really like me if he knew. | A journal entry and letter from Keiko

9: To: Stephen From: Keiko | Stephen I'm so glad we took time to see each other yesterday. I hate to admit it, but I really do enjoy a break from Mika- especially when that break is spent with you. I hope to see you again soon, Stephen. Saynara, Keiko

10: Our blueprints for Matsu's new garden

11: journal entry from matsu | 12/1/1937 The events that took place today, in a sense, have changed and altered me in ways I can hardly describe nor accept. Kenzo has created such a mess, but in a way, I feel the blame is partially on me. Before Kenzo's surprise visit, I felt so in touch with my happiness. Finally alone from Stephen, Sachi and I harmoniously worked in the garden. I felt we were in complete unison and I could feel her almost every move. For a moment, it felt as if we were in another world; sheltered and protected from the misfortune that ever haunts us. However, good things hardly last forever, and we were abruptly drawn from our fantasy world. Kenzo stood above us, his face confused, and even scared. He looked at us with such disgust; deceived by his best friend and shattered by the image of his childhood love. I can only imagine how abused and tormented his mind and soul must have felt. However, Kenzo did not react properly. I don't see how anyone could have reacted with serenity and a level head, however, he acted with such dishonor and anger, that for a moment I hardly recognized him. I felt Sachi's embarrassment as he ripped off her scarf. We were again in unison, only this time it was our pain and remorse.I will never forget the way that Kenzo treated her... And I don't know if I will ever be able to mend our now broken friendship- I feel too hurt and too ashamed. | A journal entry from Matsu

12: I will ever forget Matsu...

13: And more importantly I will never forget my times in Tarumi. My visit completely transformed me into the man I am today.

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  • By: Ruby B.
  • Joined: over 4 years ago
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  • Title: Ruby Buddemeyer: Samurai's Garden Scrapbook
  • Samurai's Garden Scrapbook from the perspective of Stephen
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  • Published: over 4 years ago

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