Reunion with Mr. Zaitsu

I have been friends with the actor Mr. Ichiro Zaitsu for 24 years. In 2013, from October 18 to November 20 to be precise, I was hospitalized at Juntendo Hospital in Tokyo to treat a lung abscess, from which I fully recovered. At that time I received a small parcel from Mr. Zaitsu that included a letter of encouragement, a magazine article by him, and the poem that I attach below.

“Get well soon,” he wrote. “No need to fret. Just think of the day when we will meet again on the grass under the glittering morning and evening sun.” And he concluded, “Hip, hip hooray, Mr. Wada!” I was overjoyed and called him to express my gratitude. When Mr. Zaitsu was 61 years of age, he had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and spent several months in hospital himself, so he was able to tell me about the technique and spirit needed to beat an illness. During my one month in hospital, my weight dropped from nearly 70 kilograms to 57 kilograms. At that time I wondered gloomily whether I would ever get it back, but now my weight has returned to 67 kilograms.

On October 23 I met Mr. Zaitsu again for the first time in two years since my discharge from hospital. We enjoyed a game of golf together with Mr. Yoshitake Sato, president of Pit Inn Music. Mr. Zaitsu is now 80 years old, but he is as powerful and accurate as ever and even managed to “shoot his age” twice. I was trounced. Here is the poem that Mr. Zaitsu sent to me. I hope that it encourages our industry as much as it encouraged me.

Ode to Golf

Ah, golf, golf . . .
Sometimes so easy, sometimes so hard
Everything starts and ends with yourself
You are your own judge
In this tough but wonderful sport!

Ah, golf, golf . . .
The fairway linking mountains
Dyed a faint yellow in winter
Come spring, looking back against the setting sun
It shines green, sprouts green, smells green
The fresh grass glitters golden
Like a green carpet linking heaven and earth!

Ah, golf, golf . . .
The trim putting green looks like a round tray of dreams
But various obstacles stand in your way before getting there
Blue markers, yellow markers, white markers, water hazards, trees
And those dreadful sand traps
Like life itself, lots of hurdles to cross
And not a moment’s lapse will be pardoned!

Ah, golf, golf . . .
The hole on the green seems such a restful place
Putt, putt, putt, putt as the ball drops in
From inside the darkish hole
The white sphere gazes up to the heavens with a smile
Sometimes gleefully, sometimes bashfully!

Ah, golf, golf . . .
Calling again today, calling me
Those mountains, those hills, those slopes
Yes, I’m going again today
With my set of two-piece balls
Come rain or wind, although lightning can be scary
It’s my 79th summer
Yet even the pain in my neck and back seems to fade away

I hope my golf friends remain hale and hearty forever!