From time to time I wonder: If I lived this time as a small school boy, what would I have done? How would I have felt about the goings on the world, how would I regard the people around me? How would I breathe in the air which is the beginning of the 21st century?
Occasionally, I encounter kids who remind me of my own youthful days. I observe them with great interest and empathy at these times, as they appear to be the echoes of my emotional and intellectual life of the past.
While vacationing in Taketomi island last extended weekend, I glanced upon a boy by chance. He was reading a book while strolling the venerable street of Taketomi, flanked by age old coral walls. The boy was deeply absorbed in his reading. From time to time, he would raise his eyes, and watch us strangers from a big city afar.
What kind of mental life is he nurturing, I wondered. How would it feel to be born and grow on this lovely island of a population of 342, with just 172 households, where everybody presumably knew everybody else?
How would he absorb the flying clouds in the sky? Would he be astonished by the great fruit-eating bats flying in the darkness of night? Would he pick up the seashells on the shore? Would he accumulate knowledge about the beautiful butterflies that inhabit Taketomi? Would he dream of going to the big cities, to attend places of higher education?
It was not likely that my life and his life would cross again in any significant way. However, that afternoon, on the coral island of Taketomi, my life resonated with the life of a diligent boy, leaving a bittersweet aftertaste.
I wish all the best in life for the little soul.
The diligent boy on Taketomi Island