Akira Wani, now teaching at the law department of University of Tokyo, is a good friend of mine since senior high school. He is a legendary genius. Akira's score for the test conducted by the National Center for University Entrance Examination was top of the nation, taking 981 out of 1000. For the graduation essay book of the senior high, Akira wrote an essay titled "On the concept of glory in the Latin civilization", while the other students wrote on the memories of school life and other mediocre themes.
In the senior high school, we discussed many things, history, philosophy, esthetics, politics, etc. Meeting with Akira was one of the most fortunate encounters in my life. It uplifted my spiritual and intellectual conditions tremendously. When I entered University of Tokyo, I felt that the intellectual atmosphere rather deteriorated, compared to the intense interaction I used to have with Akira, although the university is supposed to attract the academically high achieving kids of the nation.
So the senior high school days with Akira was a heaven. I remember quite well one particular day, when I happened to see Akira Wani at the train station. He was reading a book. It was a biography of Queen Elisabeth I of England. Out of curiosity, I asked Akira "Why are you reading such a book?" Akira answered, "as I am busy with studies, I need to read such a book from time to time, otherwise I cannot maintain the balance of my spirit".
This morning I am writing about Akira as I suddenly remembered one episode from the senior high days.
In the sports class, we were one day told by the teacher to do sumo wrestling. Chance had it that I was to do a match with Akira. The idea of sumo wrestling with my respected friend was something beyond my imagination. Out of the blue, I started to laugh, and I could not really control myself. It was ridiculous, absurd, and yet so fascinating.
Finally, sumo wrestling we did. I don't quite recall who won. I remember though that Akira was quite solemn in the match, and conducted his duty as a serious wrestler all the same.