Even the Devil Sometimes Catches Cold!


Soon into the New Year I came down with a bad cold. I think it was the first time for me to realize that I had really caught a cold since I joined our company in April 1968, 40 years ago.

I developed a fever of nearly 39 degrees and a persistent cough. Because I never had much awareness of what my normal temperature meant, however, I didn’t understand how serious it was when my temperature went above 38 degrees and exerted myself too much. That was the reason for my subsequent suffering. Since I hadn’t had an influenza vaccination either, I went to the hospital on January 3 and had a test. Fortunately the test proved negative. So all I had to do then was take the antibiotics and other medicine that the hospital gave me, get plenty of rest, and await my recovery.

Nevertheless, I had to do something about my hoarse voice quickly and make sure that I looked healthy because on January 7, the first business day of our company, I was due to speak to our employees on the subject of “returning to the essence”---“Essence Year 2008.” So I forced myself to take it easy, staying in bed and sleeping a lot. I wonder how many hours I slept in a day. Usually I have a very busy schedule, in the daytime and in the evening, and on weekends too, and this was the first time for me to take a long rest since entering the company.

Since I spent the New Year’s holiday in bed, my family probably thought it was a bad sign for the year to come, but I myself felt that it was maybe a very good omen. Because I caught a cold, in the end I spent the holiday in a state of bliss, not having to think about my family members and having my meals brought to me in bed. It was a nasty cold, but I was quite happy to be able to rest in bed and sleep a lot. It was like a command from heaven for me to take a rest over the New Year’s holiday, and I am very grateful indeed.

While resting, when I was awake, I watched television. I like programs about travel, world heritage sites, nature, and animals. It’s a wonderful feeling to enjoy a journey around the world while lying in bed. Absolute bliss! But I also experienced a dreadful sense of shock when I watched a program about global warming.

With a heartrending voice, the prime minister of the Maldives said that if the present situation continues, his country could disappear within a decade at the earliest. And as a result of melting ice, as many as 900 lakes have appeared on Mount Everest, so the peak is in danger of breaking up at any time. I was seized by terror at the realization that the Earth is in such a wretched condition, including the melting of ice at the North and South Poles. The foundation of my thinking, my philosophy, about the cycle of universe?sun?nature?plants and creatures?humans has become powerless.

We often hear about “nature and people,” but human nature, which in the end is destroying nature and the natural way of thinking and behaving, is really sinful. I believe that the true way for the “technological kingdom” of Japan to make a contribution to the world lies in striving to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and quickly establishing, as a nation, technology for the prevention of global warming. While keeping warm under my blanket, I could feel a pool of tears welling up at the bottom of my heart.

On January 7, although my voice was still a little hoarse, I was fit enough to deliver my New Year’s speech without incident. I also spoke about the problem of global warming and decided that we should put into practice whatever we can.

I wish my readers the very best of health.