Father – “a horse”
My father only looked at his daughters in the eyes when he had enough alcohol in the system. One game he liked to play with us when he had enough sake was “a horse.” He got on fours, and my sister and I took turns in mounting his back. He’d go around the house, and every now and then, he’d rise on his knees to pretend to neigh. I almost slid down from his back, so I grabbed onto his neck harder, laughing and screaming. Then, he’d take me to the dark corner of the house, where our ancestors’ altar was placed. I’d get scared and begged him to turn around, but he’d go further into the room and tell me he could see someone else. After a while, I learned to cling to him so tightly that he had to elevate the challenge. He pulled up his lower back, so I slid down from the head first. This meant loosening the hold for a second meant banging my head and my back on the tatami mat. I tightened my grip around his neck while putting my legs around his waist to prevent myself from a fall. I couldn’t laugh anymore. I wanted to get off, but to the eyes of a four-year-old, the floor looked far down, and the tatami mat looked like a concrete surface. I’d tell him I wanted to quit, but he’d pull his hip up further until I was completely upside down, and just when I thought I couldn’t hang on any longer, he’d come down to his knees.