In this memory, I am five and my little brother is two. These days, my brother follows me around and likes to mimic whatever I do.
When my mother calls us for a photoshoot, if I wince, my brother also winces. If I place my hand in front of my forehead with two fingers stretched out like the anime character Sailor Moon, my brother also does it.
At dinner table, when I start shaking my head for fun, my brother also shakes his head making the same calling sound as I do until my father tells us to stop because our hair might fall on the food.
Sometimes, I choose my action knowing that my brother will follow me.
When I’m bored of playing with my dolls and want some company, I pick up my wooden doll that I got from a local hot spring resort – kokeshi in Japanese – and I wave it where my brother can see me. As soon as he sees me, he goes to my mother asking for his kokeshi doll from another hot spring resort. Then we both walk around our tiny apartment with the wooden dolls in our hands.
Other times, I pick up my latest Sailor Moon toy and start chanting the fighting words that Sailor Moon says in the TV series, waving my toy in the way she does. My brother joins me holding another Sailor Moon toy of mine, an older one, and chants the words next to me.
“Moon Gorgeous Meditention!”
The last word should be said “meditation” to be correct, but I don’t mind. My brother is doing his best, and the satisfaction of recreating a scene from Sailor Moon together is too great to mind such an error.
Though being a toddler, my brother is not always happy holding an older item, an older version of what I have in my hand. So I make sure to point out that there is value to the older item, too.
One day, we walk around our apartment with playing cards in our hands, as always, me holding the newest one and my brother holding an old one. He is bothered by the fact that the case of his playing card is missing its lid.
“But your playing card is special,” I tell my brother, taking him to our bedside lamp and turning on the light. “Look, your cards shine! Mine don’t!”
Staring at the shining surface of his playing card, my brother looks satisfied. The missing lid no longer bothers him, and we happily continue walking around the room with cards in our hands.