Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mid-Summer Ruminations

今年東京的夏天雨特別多。And it hasn't been as hot as what I have remembered of a typical Tokyo summer. Last year around this time, I was sitting in the mid-town garden with YC dipping our bare feet into the cool summer stream, chatting about life, school, the meaning of getting a doctoral degree and some of the new, frivolous developments in the love department of our lives. This year, I've been so busy that I didn't realize that 隅田川花火 has passed, the month of July is almost over, and I missed all the 朝顔・ほおずき festivals in town.

Missing out on the seasonal changes is a very sad thing to me. More reasons for me to embrace the rest of the summer harder till it slips away!

At least I'm gearing up for the 高円寺阿波踊り祭り even though I still can't imagine dancing in 下駄 for 3 hours straight. The Japanese 我慢 spirit is no longer a surprise to me, but how to 我慢 on that painfully tight pair of 下駄 remains a puzzle still to me. Should I wrap my toes with extra layers of band-aids or should I try to somehow pull those straps apart as hard as I could so that they could allow for more room and less blisters?

Will also be attending a friend's wedding party in a week. Having known him since the beginning stage of his relationship to now watching him busying himself with wedding preparation, I can't help to still be amazed by how two human beings with drastically different upbringing and past could come together and vow for spending the rest of their lives together. Just like the U.S., people in Japan too like to show a collage of pictures at the wedding reception that show the grown-up process of the bride and the groom and the magical point in time when God or whatever invisible hand (or pure forces of nature as some may believe) orchestrate that meeting and that spark of affection. Seeing M putting that collage of pictures together and how each of them grown up so differently and having embraced so many different experiences in life before coming to meet each other and forming a new life together, there was no other word to describe how I felt but the word, "awe."

Then given the request by A for her little bro's wedding also coming up in 2 weeks, I emailed Prof. W for advice on a suitable Chinese poem/prose to be read out at the wedding. In less than a day, Prof. W wrote back suggesting the following from 詩經:

《詩經·邶風·擊鼓》

擊鼓其鏜,踴躍用兵。土國城漕,我獨南行。
從孫子仲,平陳與宋。不我以歸,憂心有忡。
爰居爰處?爰喪其馬?於以求之?于林之下。
死生契闊,與子成說。執子之手,與子偕老。
於嗟闊兮,不我活兮。於嗟洵兮,不我信兮。

執子之手, 與子共著.
執子之手, 與子同眠.
執子之手, 與子偕老.
執子之手, 夫複何求?


And according to 『詩經釋義』:

契,合也。闊,離也。
成說,有言在先,約誓也。
偕,俱也。

In order words, to translate the line「死生契闊,與子成說。執子之手,與子偕老」into modern Chinese language - 「不論生死離合,我皆與你有誓約。與你攜手,直到與你一起變老。」

Romance, love and commitment - who's to say they are only modern-day products?! Apparently people back in the 11-6 centuries BCE had already known what they are about.

But have we truly understood what they mean? And does everyone have the privilege of meeting that very special one to enter a sacred covenant as the Book of Songs spells out?

梅ちゃん at 12:15:00 AM

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1 Comments

at 8/11/09, 11:40 PM Blogger Yuji said...

Are you going to go Koenji-Awaodori this year? It's very exciting.
I would like to go there too, because I live near Koenji

 

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