Musings / May 29, 2019

The Yomiuri ShimbunFor no reason, time passes slowly in childhood. Poet Junko Takahashi compared that feeling to a raindrop.

“Doesn’t our time/like a pleasant raindrop born in the sky/start like this,” she wrote in her poem “Kodomo no Jikan” (Time of children). It continues, “A new round raindrop still/floats in your sky and does not seem to fall down.” The flow of time, which is boringly leisurely for small children, can feel so fast for parents, who no matter how much affection they shower their children with still have more to give.

This precious time was slashed by murderous knives. I’m speaking of the case in which elementary pupils waiting for their school bus and others were attacked by a knife-wielding man in Kawasaki.

We are devastated by this tragic news. Hanako Kuribayashi, an 11-year old sixth grader at a private elementary school, and Satoshi Oyama, 39, a Foreign Ministry employee who was there to see off his child, died. It was a crime committed by a man who must have known nothing about the happiness of the time that children and parents spend together.

The poem continues with the following passage: “[A raindrop] starts moving/probably when you get off/the last school bus.” This seems to refer to the time when children reach puberty. Kuribayashi will never get on the last bus. Oyama will never be able to watch his child grow. It must have been a terrible way for them to die.

(This is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s May 29 issue.) Speech

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