Taking on Heaven

Long awaited cherry blossoms
At last flowering in all their glory
Eventually to flutter to the ground
But now radiant even in the wind

This is a famous poem by Wakayama Bokusui. Since my younger days, it has continued to sparkle in the depths of my soul as a poem that evokes a sense of certainty, relief, and joy of a time when the four seasons were clearly distinct. In recent years the seasons have been irregular, and this year in particular the abnormality has been striking.

Last year I went twice to Echigo-Yuzawa to see the six meters of snow there, and it really was an awesome sight. It was a winter that made me fully understand why the people of the snow country long so much for spring to come. This year, however, the situation changed completely, and there has been very little snow at all. Because of the unprecedentedly warm winter, there were many days when the snow country had snow-less scenery and, once again, we were made to worry at the thought of climate change.

The “long awaited cherry blossoms,” which used to bring such a feeling of certainty, bloomed earlier than usual. And contrary to that sparkling moment of full bloom when the cherry blossoms would be “radiant even in the wind,” they began to fall from the branches almost instantaneously.

I still exchange letters and talk on the telephone with my second-grade elementary school class teacher. She has now reached the ripe old age of 90, but her voice is firm and, I am pleased to say, she is in very good health. In the letters that she sends to me, she always sticks on a pressed flower, which makes me feel most affluent. And she always adds a reference to the changing seasons, making me recall the distinctive seasons of my childhood.

Inevitably, my teacher’s letters also have come to be laced more and more with words relating to the abnormal weather conditions. In particular, when it became cold very suddenly, my attention was caught by the expression, “Today ambulance sirens can often be heard.” She lives in a mountainous village where the phenomenon of aging is advancing rapidly, so when there are sharp changes in the temperature, ambulances are often called out.

My teacher’s name is Fumiko Takayama. She was only in charge of my class for that one year, during my second grade, but her every word and response were the core that created my mind. For human beings, the nature that forms the core of that person’s future life is created from infancy. In the process of growth, this nature is built up deep in the mind and becomes a philosophy, deciding the path that you should take and guiding you along your own way.

For myself, my encounter with Ms. Takayama was a thankful meeting in the process of the maturing of my core, like an adult fish eagerly sending air to eggs laid in the shade of a rock. And I am sincerely grateful that even now, through her writing and phone conversations, she is still coaching me with that unchanged gentleness and correct view of things.

From the perspective of the philosophy that was forged inside me, at any rate I can say that I have a strong desire for peace, philanthropy, and the constructive development of our business and am contributing to these goals. Since April 3 Phile-web has been sending news every day to the audiovisual household electric appliance page of Yahoo, which attracts 45 million visitors, and I am happy to report that we have constantly stayed in the upper reaches of the access ranking best 10. In addition, Chinese versions of Analog and Home Theaterphile, issued by our company, will be published in the rapidly growing Chinese-speaking region from June. The Visual Grand Prix and Audio Excellence Award will also be announced in the Chinese language, so they undoubtedly are going to become a hot issue in China as well.

Take on heaven and do your best.
That was the important truth that Ms. Takayama taught me.