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8 Mar, 2008

To the northest village, Grise Fiord.

At 8:30 in the morning, a tiny boy was sad and crying out for his father who stayed in Resolute by himself in the airplane.@The two other elder brothers were looking outside from the window quietly.@The mother in an Inuit costume didn't say anything holding the boy in her warm arms.

The passengers are just 6 of the family, young men seated in front of me back to Grise Fiord and me.
Though I had chatted with the young men until the plane was ready, I remembered I had not asked their names. So I tapped one young man's shoulder, "Hey, What's your name?" "It's Jimmy. Jimingwa" said he with smile. "I'm Noriko" "It's the first time I met a person whose name is Noriko." "Me, too. It's my pleasure to meet you all."

There are high mountains behind the village in Grise Fiord. Drawing down a big circle, the plane entered the sky up from the village. The moment I thought it might crash the mountain, it quickly turned and landed. Then Jimingwa turned toward me, and said, "Welcome to Grise Fiord!!"

The lodge where I was going to stay had no visitor except me, and it is run by COOP, so there was no person who lives at the lodge. I had been told by Wain I was going to stay alone.I e-mailed the lodge about my stay about three weeks ago, but I had got no answer, and though I had made a phone call, nobody had answered. So, I had been worried if it was all right.

At the small airport, there was no person who came to meet me. So, I said to a woman, "Do you know anyone who works at COOP?" Then "It's me." said she. Something like this always makes me happy in the village around the polar region. A little girl with a white apron welcomed Teevi, the woman and me by shaking hands. The girl had short hair and chubby face full of smile. I felt she could warm other people's hearts just by her side.
"I'm Pauline, a cook."

I had been chatting with Pauline over delicious food she made, in the dinner of the lodge without any other person. Being surprised that our topic wasn't out, we talked about this village, Inuit culture, each life of us, and favorite movies. We talked about everything from small things to happy and sad things in the depth of each heart.

In that evening, Pauline told me an Inuit story. She said she had loved stories which old people told since she was a little girl.

Once upon a time, there was a mother whose name is Sedona. When she was lulling her baby in an "amaut", a piece of clothe with a bag to keep a baby in, Qulupilluk, a sea monster in an amaut as well kidnapped her baby in its bag, and had gone into the sea. She dived into the sea to look for and get back her baby, and rode the back of a unicorn whale. No matter where she looked, she couldn't find her lovely baby anywhere. In the end her long hair tangled in the unicorn whale's body. They say the twisted pattern of a narwhale' corn is the trace of the mother's hair.

Pauline said she was often told if she played near the sea, she would be kidnapped by Qulupilluk. I used to be told if I played until it got dark, I would be eaten by Otoka, a creature, so I would often be hurried home in the dark when I went home alone.

There are many stories about Nanuqs, which means polar bears. A Nanuq walks on its two feet the same as an Inuit person. They believe Nanuqs can make a kanatik and an igloo, and hunt seals. That means the Inuit people respect Nanuqs as the most intelligent and the strongest animal.

Noriko Miyashita