“Did you clean the fish’s teeth?”

Every week Thursday, Uiko comes back from work with Mark for supper/Bible study. She stays about 4 hours, so we discuss and dissect a whole variety of topics.

A little bit of background on Uiko: Not only is she Deaf, all (5) of her siblings, her parents, and her grandparents are Deaf. In fact, in the small fishing village on the small fishing island where she grew up there are so many Deaf people that the entire population knows sign language. So she grew up in a “rich” sign language environment and is a wealth of information on Japanese Sign Language. She also knows a whole lot about fish–how to catch ‘em, prepare ‘em and eat ‘em. That’s right. Once a fish is on the plate, there is a right way and wrong way to eat the different fish–just like you don’t eat your chicken drumstick the same way you eat your T-bone. Anyway—living in a fishing village with a fisherman father, Uiko ate the fresh catch every day, she knows fresh fish. Me? I can’t tell if a fish was caught the day before or not. But Uiko can. So, I only serve her chicken, or fish that her father doesn’t catch. Fortunately she can’t tell if a river fish is fresh or one day old.

Last Thursday when Mark and Uiko arrived home I was still preparing supper. Uiko comes into the kitchen as I am in the process of washing the trout, and placing them on the broiler. She watches me and then asks “did you clean the teeth?” Knowing my Japanese Sign Language is still lacking, I asked her to repeat herself. She asks again, “did you clean the teeth?” “Teeth?! I ask, did you say teeth?!” “Yes, did you clean the fish’s teeth” she asks a third time. “WHAT? Trout have teeth?” “Of course they do,” she says. I open that mouth, an sure enough, that trout has teeth. That fish may have brushed and flossed faithfully when it was living, but this one’s not keeping his next dental appointment. Why should I clean its teeth? “You’re going to eat that fish, that swam in the dirty river water with all that crud, and you aren’t going to clean the teeth? You need to make sure that fish is clean before you eat it.”

Next Thursday we’re having chicken!

About Mark and Mary Esther Penner

Mark works as an adviser and resource to a Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project that plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement. Mary Esther founded a non-profit organization that partners with local communities and organizations to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs throughout Asia.
This entry was posted in Other Stuff. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s