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Ginza Hokoten Story Ⅳ
Judit Kawaguchi
Ginza Hokoten Story Ⅳ

You forgot something…


Here in downtown Tokyo, highrises cast shadows over the river and the rows of small houses that are so closely glued together that the smell of miso soup from one home is immediately carried into the next. The elderly tend to their bonsai and flowers in narrow alleys, and they keep culture alive with night patrols and festivals.
On Sundays some of them stroll down the streets of Ginza, reminiscing about the days when streetcars ran on Chuo-dori and people had the right attitude and clothes, even if they were not considered fashionable. Those days many women still walked a few steps behind their men but maybe only so they could keep their eyes on them to make sure they were heading in the right direction.
I’m glad to see that the elderly enjoy their well-deserved, peaceful lives and I share both their happiness and their pain when they talk about the war and how they had to work so hard to reconstruct the country from the ashes to make it into this prosperous heaven for us. After my words of gratitude I am always sorry to remind them that their job is not finished yet and that they have to take good care of their health so they can keep on going for many more years to come not only because we would miss them terribly if they suddenly died but also because they have an important task left: to fix the broken-up Japanese family by teaching the younger generations everything they had no time to tell them before.
I recently heard a man in his 80’s scold a group in their 60’s for not expressing themselves politely and intelligently enough and I felt relieved. This is what we need! All the elderly should point out our misses, rude behavior and teach us how to be better humans. I welcome constructive criticism from anyone, but somehow I feel more humbled when it comes from a beautifully wrinkled face with little eyes covered in cataracts that have seen it all and are still sharper than my near-perfect vision.
I guess these elderly imagined that their good example would be copied but unfortunately that was not the case. A walk around any town day or night shows the great gender divide: stores and restaurants are filled with women having the time of their lives, complaining about their parents, husbands and kids. Not only the well-to-do whine: I heard the same in fast food joints where young moms spend their busy days feeding their babies junk. During that time the husbands are breaking their backs working and wondering whether their pocket money is enough for another gyudon.
In Japan women have the money and they certainly got the power, too and they are not ready to share it with anyone. Men and children got the shortest end of the stick since mom successfully alienated the young from dad by openly bad-mouthing him in front of them and that very behavior also cost her their respect. Husbands lost their wives and kids and the children became orphans within the family.
But hope is on the way: the still powerful elderly! If they put their heads to the task, they will whip us into wise and upright citizens in no time. Please begin because time is running out on us!
Till next time, from hokoten with love! JK
【2006/05/20 16:21】 | Ginza Hokoten 物語(J/E) | トラックバック(0) | コメント(0)
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