Saturday, December 25

Pages from my first Japan Life

Copied from an old diary page

1. Sakuma Dam Festival
Well, we had a nice weekend too. At our group's secy Kobayashi san's house. Our company with Kobayashi san started when our boss invited us, along with her for a yatching at Lake Hamana, during our last visit. It then strengthened and extended when we invited her and her husband for a lunch to our house. The response came and we were invited for a grand Jap lunch at their mom's house, which I could not attend. Then they were invited as a whole to us again a few weeks back. Kobayashi san, her husband, her two sisters, two kids (Ayu chan and Noe chan)of one of them (Mina san), and her husband (Nobuo san) turned up and we went to the beautiful Hamamatsu Flower park after the lunch. There we played the "Kannukettikkali"or the game where the blind folded catcher (Ooni san in Japanese) will chase you. A nice day it was and they liked the way they were entertained.

Yday we were invited again to join them to go to one festival. What will you guess as a festival? Some festival in a local temple? Some traditional festival?

This is one thing to read a people. The festival, to my surprise too, was called Sakuma Dam festival. What does it mean? Some festival , (call , a celebration or a kind of carnival) arranged at the Dam site. Obviously a created festival.

(here I disagree with the character Dasan of Mayyazhipuzhayude theerangalil by M. Mukundan, who as many others when their blood is too hot says that if he had power he would have destroyed all the temples around there and would have erected reading rooms instead. Either some festivals like these will have to be created instead, or some bars or dances appear to substitute. No doubt. Thats why Jesus (Peace be on him) said "Man does not live with bread alone")

Indeed the place is nice. Very scenic. Making me a little lost to some missing feeling:) The green hill sides have just started to turn scarlet and in two weeks it will be totally red, they say. The 'festival' started around noon. When we reached a big group of bright designed blue kimono clad women are ready to start their dance. I really feel a group dance need much coordination. And the group here had women all above 50, and even more !! Such kind of coordination is somewhat unimaginable in India in that age, I felt. Why to say, I feel difficult to do that at this (comparatively, though:) ) early age.

(Thats another mark of Jap. There is never an individual. The max individualism they have is limited to individual groups such as students.No individualistic individual. Thats why some author said, there is no one who is more a fool than a single Jap. And there is no one who is wiser than two Jap.)

Well, the dance was good. At the backdrop of plain drum beats. Parallely we had our lunch, Mina san brought. Good Jap lunch (Jap lunch is always good only but I enjoyed this very much) prepared by Oka san (mother). Before we could (at least I, for sure) finish the lunch the fireworks had started. After the firework, went back and had the remaining lunch. Then there was a 'Vyaali' dance. (Vyaali - I dont know what in Eng. I feel the same as "Kaliya"?- a dragon?).

Then a kind of circus using Pambaram (spindle), then a Balloon show. Then a sort of lucky dip. Thats all. The 'festival' over and people started to drive back the 60 kms and more they have driven up all the way for this !! (There again the usual Jap road. Cars moving slowly, as if they never know there is something called a horn that comes as a std accessory in all cars, waiting for people walking on the road to feel the presence of a car behind, using any 6th sense they might be having, and to move out)

Apparently there was nothing , as there was no 'Bale' no 'Ganamela', but it helped me a lot in understand the species called Jap in more ways..

We concluded the trip, after having a dinner at Mina sans house and playing around with Ayu, Noe and Hiroto and the other people around, when Mina san and Kobayashi drove us back to our apt.

We are glad we have what we deserve!
An example of the sincerity is the bus service. When you get into the bus, a machine there will give you a coupon which states the point of entry. In the front, there is a display which updates the rate for people from every point at every coming stop. So, when your stop comes, you just see the display for your charge against the point of entry as marked in the coupon, put that in the machine near the driver and get down. You are supposed to exit through the front door. The middle door is meant for entering. If you know the entry point number , you need not take the coupon also.But if you opt to pay using the prepaid card, you need that for the machine to read.

One day, my pre paid ticket card (for train) got stuck in the ticket vending machine as my friend tried to insert his before mine came out. The station was unmanned that time and we did not know what to do. I started pressing the buttons available there. You know, no english. Suddenly over the speaker I could hear "Moshi moshi" (Hello in Jap). The call was attended by people at the central station. Luckily I got a school girl who knew English . She talked to them, told them the problem. They asked me where I am travelling to, whether I coud get my ticket, when I will be getting the train next day and from which station etc. They finally told me that the station master at the place where I will board the train will hand it over to me the next day morning. I will just have to tell him my name.

That travel was just 20 min. I was getting back home from work. When I reached my station, the station guy asked me if I lost the card !!! He was already informed about the matter and he was also told that I will be coming in that train....He said he will get it to me the next day !!! I was too too too shocked. The pace at which they do things !!!

The people here have prosperity. They deserve it.

Scene two is me losing my umbrella. I forgot it near the ticket vending machine at Daiichi Dori station. After I got into my train I realised that. I anyway went to my station, which is just 10 minutes away from Daiichi Dori and reported it there. I just had to wait for another fifteen minutes and it reached me.
Another day I lost my phone in a taxi on the way to office and before I realised that I lost it, I got a call asking if that was mine. Again I did not have to go anywhere as that reached me instead

Well, I will tell you a common scene when we start from home mostly. The schools here for those tiny kids, have a special feature that the kids are collected from their houses , not in a cycle rikshaw or anything, but they walk. They are folked into a group of some , say, 20 kids and there will be one lady who guides them. To our place, she comes with already big group and the kids here will join them. The mamas (amma) will be rushing to the spot where she collects them, eventhough she will be passing in front of the house. All kids at the 'stop' now gather, they all bow together and wish "Ohaio Gozaimos" (good morning) and then start again to collect the next group. You have to see them crossing the road. The guide lady asks them to wait, they wait. Then she has a yellow flag (a school std in Japan. All these kids will be wearing a yellow bag and a yellow helmet too - like a CRP one) , which she shows towards the road , when the road is free and then she asks them to cross. All of them, in a queue of two (hand in hand) cross the road, with one hand extended up showing the vehicles to stop. The lady will be just standing in the middle of the road. Once everyone crosses she will go ahead.

Did you notice anything here? If not, my narration is the problem. The discipline those little kids show, I failed to express in words.

They carry on. Then in train we can see another such group getting into it from another stn. Yes, they travel in train. They all get in the same pair queue and they all sit as the seats are available. No rushing, they will stand if the space is not lavish. Then getting down is more funny. They all get down, in pair again, very cool, and then wait there, because the lady with them will ask them to sit down. She will take them out only after the train goes. As soon as she says that, they all sat.

This is how they are brought up. The mamas dont complain that their children are asked to sit on the floor or like that. They are not afraid if the lady will take care of them on the way to school. In short they believe each other. Credibility, Its there. And its valued too.

Politics is not the main criteria. We have a rule, that we deserve. While riding on the road, did we see anyone who is waiting to cross the road? Did we slow down for them? Zebra marks, what are they? Didn't we blow our horn for those 'damn guys' to get off the road soon? Did not we get angry on the guy in from of us going too slow? We are in a rush. Do not we ride high speed to go somewhere, when there was no reason for that speed? Yes, we dont have time. WE ARE TOO SELFISH. When we overtake on the roads, we think that guy is not worth the wait and we are going to achieve something big in that time. Time. Do not rush against that. I was thinking on that. Probably time was the first creation in this world. (Time was indeed created. It is not the beginning. The fact that it changes means that it was created. The eternal One cannot change. Then only it can be creator.) Thats the basis of all other creations. We cannot run against time. If we can slow down, there is nothing we can do as a crime. Patience. Thats the first step of discipline. And dscipline is the step stone of success.

Innallaha magassabireen. Indeed God is with those who are patient. (Holy Qur'an)

I can tell you a hundred such stories. Credibility is something which we can maintain at least to ourselves. Just if we decide that anyone can believe me, we are done. We are entitled to change ourselves. We can try to change others. Not enforce. But we can enforce ourselves. Then if someone assigns some credibility on you, never ever break that. For, that may cause that the guy will never attribute any credibility to anyone.

Yes, if we change, today it is only one person. As Mother Theresa said, if you add a drop of water into a sea, that drop of water exists. It is not the same as that without that drop.

A one today can be a ten or hundred in another ten or hundred years. It may not be. Still we did not lose anything. We can only gain from it.

Yamanashi trip

Had a nice time at Yamanashi. It is just beautiful to see mounatins everywhere I look around. Just encirled with mountains. I did not know Autumn is beautiful too. With all its shades of reds the trees are turning into, just before it all goes for a nude bath in the winter, the mountains are very eye catching.

And Yamanashi was more rural than it is now, till the Medical Uty was founded there. With so many flowers and fruit bearing trees of Apple, Orange, kakki and grapevines.. The Japanese rural beauty is beautiful too. Yamanashi has a different temperature than outside.It has a hot summer and a very chill winter. The autumn temperature itself could touch the 0 deg mark !

The Mt Fuji (they call it Fuji-san) is really nice to see. A huge figure (though I saw only from a distance) with the straight line slope as a kid would have drawn a mountain. That should be because of the lava flow. That could be one reason for the rich agriculture? But Yamanashi is said to have only one crop in a year. Then it is left open to the summer, autumn and winter. May be these seasons are not okay for crops.

The train journey back from Yamanashi was probably the best part. The encircling monutain was not just a mountain, it was a cluster of mountains. With Mt. Fuji on one side. The train took so much time to come out of that.And with the beatiful pieces of isolated land in between. Too good. The entire place is very rural, predominantly agricultural till I reach the Fuji city.

When brother Dr. Rahman dropped me back at Joein station in the Minobu sen line, it was like waving to my native place after the thrice a year visit to the place we did during our school days.

[Dr. Rahman is from Bengladesh, doing research in immunology in the Yamanashi Med Uty, and he was my host during the visit. Also thanx to his friend, Hashimoto san who took up to the fitness club where he is a member and we had cycling and then the Japanese famous public bath]