Thursday, October 05, 2006

Let’s Walking

Dangers to the Right of them, Dangers to the Left of Them . . .
Every event in Japan begins with a ceremony of sorts, even elementary school field trips. And every ceremony must have its speeches:
“Kids, remember the dangers we spoke of. What dangers shall lie upon your left, among the hills and forests?”
“The Bears and the Bees!”
“Even so. And what dangers shall be at your feet upon the trail?”
“The snakes!
“Even so. And what dangers shall lie upon your right, where lieth the river?”
“The cliffs!”
Even so. Kids, I know you’re not used to walking. But what awaits you when you reach the goal?”
“Our box lunches!”
“Even so. Against the dangers to your left the teachers have armed themselves with bear-bells and pesticides. Your rubber boots shall protect you from the dangers at your feet upon the trail. But for the dangers upon your right there is no defence. If you fall off the cliffs into the river, you will never get to enjoy the box lunches your mothers prepared for you.”

Danger to the Right of Them

The sad truth is that the kids in my rural little village walk on their two legs even less than their urban neighbours . . . possibly even less than the monkeys that occasionally invade their homes. After all, “playing outside” ceased altogether way back when I was in grade three. That was the year Nintendo started marketing the Fami-con (Family Computer). I was actually surprised that they were able to puff their way over the entire 5km of trail.

Empty Cicada Shells Locked in Eternal Combat On a Picnic Table Where the Kids Were Playing with Them

The Forest (a.k.a. The Dangers to the Left of Them)