Sunday, June 19, 2011

We just sat on the river bank, and watched the water flow.

Youth is about wondering, not knowing why or how, and making many mistakes.

As I look back, my college days were full of wonders and mistakes. And the figure of a fat man was always with me.

His name is Ken Shiotani. He is a fat philosopher at large, meaning he has no job. His wife supports him. It is amazing to think that he worked for Japanese government once. That's where he met his wife. Now he has achieved a status of the "Totoro" character in Hayao Miyazaki's film. Nobody knows why he is here, but he is here anyway. And he is incredibly clever. He is too clever to make a living in this vulgar world.

I met Ken Shiotani as I entered college, and have been with him ever since. Once, we were lying on the bank of the Sumida River, with a can of beer each in our hands. We were making confessions about girls, as well as discussing difficult questions in Physics and Mathematics.

It was dusk, and many lovers were strolling the river bank in couples. They saw us, two blokes, drinking beer, speaking nonsense. They took the natural reaction of avoiding us, not coming to within a 10 meter radius of where we were lying. Maybe they thought that we were homeless people. We were dressed quite shabbily. Once I was refused by a restaurant owner when I tried to enter with Ken Shiotani. For some strange reasons, Ken Shiotani is always wearing a pair of sandals. Even in the middle of winter. Maybe that's why he looks like a retired sumo wrestler.

In any case, that evening, when Ken Shiotani and I lay on the bank of the Sumida River, drinking beer, talking about girls, physics, and mathematics, abhorred like pests by the well-meaning couples, stands as an epitome of my bohemian days. We were ignorant, full of hope, and did not know where we were going. We just sat on the river bank, and watched the water flow.


yuka-tanaka said...

I feel like understanding u interested in LADY GAGA.
I mean u value the way of living to stike through being yourself. Whole world would never stop like a river.We can not guess right the future.
But we should not be afraid to dream...

Nazra said...

Beautiful post.

(ma)gog said...

When I think of my college days, I look back at the early 1980's with much affection as well.

"Affection" is truly the right word for me for the precious moment of letting myself hover around in those days full of young spirits including hopes and mistakes and friendships and love.

With my whole imagination, I could glimpse at you and your friend Totoro lying on the river bank with the tins of beer in your hands, and I feel as if I were with my dear old friends.

Phoenix C. said...

Very interesting post with lots to think about!

I tended to drift dreamily when I was at art college, whereas now I follow my dreams vigorously with a sense of purpose. I suppose the drifting had to come first, to find and establish the dreams to be followed.