A strange foreigner has moved into the apartment building at the bottom of the hill I call home. The really strange part is that he has moved into the exact same apartment where the the last foreigner to come and go from this valley lived. It's as if they keep that space reserved for ex-patriots, or maybe the last guy to live there recommended it to the current occupant via the international grapevine. I don't know if either is the case but it just seems like a weird coincidence.
At least one person I know, my wife, swore the two foreigners were one in the same. She claimed she couldn't tell the difference and then told me to stop peaking out the window. It wasn't until I told her about the arrival of the new appliances that she finally believed me and agreed it was a new and different occupant. It's not like I'm staking out the building or anything like that. It's just that the house we live in rests inside a little dimple* in the face of the earth overlooking the apartment building below so I can't help but notice the goings on there.
I never got to know the last foreigner who lived there. All I know is that he was an American and kept kind of odd hours (9-5). Our paths only crossed once and I think one of us was slightly inebriated at the time because all I managed to utter was "howdy" and tip my cap. He seemed like a nice guy, at least that's what everybody in the neighborhood said, but I was sort of glad to see him go just the same.
Now there is another one there in that exact same spot. I imagine he will help the old ladies in the neighborhood carry out their garbage while regaling them with tales of rodeos and the inner workings of the American political system in flawless Japanese. He will no doubt become known as "the good foreigner" and I will by comparison be known as "the bad foreigner."
This has happened before.
*I think it might be the mouth of a dormant volcano.