Friday, June 18, 2010

How would you feel in the autumn of life?

After finishing the job for the day, we went to an onsen (hot spring) place in Fukui prefecture. If you are "vetted" by the Japanese culture, you know what to expect in an onsen ryokan. If you are not, well, you don't.

The meal was superb. We had fun chatting and laughing, and the idea naturally sprung up to go to a Karaoke place.

Matsuoka went around and reserved a table at a Karaoke bar. When we arrived, several senior gentlemen were already having a good time. The bar ladies sang along with them, and danced with them when the tunes came along. One girl, who was rather stoutly build, attracted my attention. I wondered how she would have been at the age of five. The bar ladies danced and flirted with the senior customers with the beauty and mastery of people who knew how to handle drunken men.

Somehow Matsuoka got the idea of dancing all by himself. He held his own shoulders tightly, as if to simulate two people in a passionate embrace, and slowly ventured onto the floor. His mimicry with perhaps a bit of mockery did not attract the attention of the old men, as they were in the blissful amnesia of intoxication.

A job description of singing along and dancing with customers at random every night might not have been a part of the girl's dream at the age of five. However, in a very strange way, the sight of Matsuoka trying to mimic and light-heartedly ridicule the whole situation might have been a transformation of a little girl's idea of a prince on a white horse in the pipedream.
On the morning after, I was in the great onsen bath. In Japan, the idea is always to share a single gigantic bath with miscellaneous people (it is usually NOT co-ed. Don't start getting ideas!). While enjoying the comfort of the volcanic water, I noticed that some gentlemen from the Karaoke bar last night was there.

I noticed also that their hairs were very gray. Their flesh fragile, their movements slow. Once in the bath, they apparently went into an meditative mode. Maybe they are reflecting on the past days. Maybe they are thinking how many more dances they would be getting.

This is the autumn of their lives.

Dance, dance, dance, every living creature.

How would you feel in the autumn of life?

As I start to reflect on what happened the night before in a more mellow and favorite light, the rich enigma of life would slowly unfold in my mind. Everybody has his or her time, and there is after all beauty in miscommunication.


Greg said...

Your descriptions convey a sense of poignancy. Each of the seasons of life and nature has its joys and sorrows. Those of us in the spring and summer should experience them fully and not take for granted that it will always be this way. Perhaps the combination of drink and dance transported the seniors to their earlier days of vigor.

I hope you enjoyed a refreshing soak with a wonderful view.

stray sheep said...

I enjoy summer time but I am in the hospital now.I forget my dream.There are a real.I do not know where should I go.I want to dance with you in the night club.I am sorry that I am not a scintist.For my dear.

Reiko.Y said...

After reading this, I thought back to the time when we stayed at Onsen for company trips. I felt something that I can't catch staying at hotels. And after the trips, I could accept my superiors who sort of dislike.
I think that's because I noticed that I was still pretty wet behind the ears.

yuzu said...

I have never imagine my life in the autumn yet. I generally don't say this but I sometimes remember
when I am a kid. Then I very feel that a human's metamorphosis is not easy. I'm also very slow starter.
I do not want to think about the autumn of life yet.
Does it have limit to think?

Lisa said...

Hi, I enjoyed reading about seasons in life. It brought me to remember hearing about had a life been condensed into a day, the time of the day you are in would be your age divided by 3. (Of course you might know it already...)

I'm 30 this year, that makes me in 10:00am of my life. I can think of it as I'm not even passed noon, half the day, but pretty much far in the morning. For 15 years old, he/she is at 5:00am of life, still in sunrise glow way earlier than the start of the day...Doesn't it make sense? : )

I thought it's one of the beautiful ways to regard life and share it with you in comparison with the concept of season in life, putting one's life in a year.

Swadhi said...

Hi there,

I came upon your blog quite by accident, and I've been reading a few entries. All your musings are fascinating and thought-provoking, but I was most interested in this one, because it reminds me of a poem I studied in one of my classes, called "Ode to Autumn." It was written by a poet, John Keats, towards the end of his life (he died very early, at 25). It compares his last days to autumn, as you do here. Just thought that was kind of interesting. :)

Keep up the great work on the blog!

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