Image is not available
Image is not available
Image is not available
Image is not available
Image is not available
Image is not available
Image is not available
Image is not available
Blue Sky


Blue Sky

Gaku Kitahara

Along the railway line, there is a river lined with lush trees.
It is slightly after 1:30 p.m. The strollers along the river include a senior citizen, a mother pushing her little baby in a buggy, and me. Traces of the previous day’s rain remain in the dips in the paved sidewalk.
It is Thursday, sunny, and 24C, the borderline between hot and warm. Mid-summer is just around the corner. It seems the trees and insects can no longer wait for the season’s arrival. The pleasant sunlight makes me feel that even though I’m alone, I would be OK for such a splendid day to continue indefinitely. I look up and see a blue sky, whose end can never be reached and which gently eases my sadness.
Everybody grows older. There is no exception to this truth on this earth. Although it’s a weekday, I’m strolling with sweat oozing through my T-shirt, simply because I have nothing else to do. I’m too lazy to shave, and I’m a skinhead because I don’t want to be bothered with styling my hair. A few years ago, I moved to a single-room apartment. No depth or warmth can be felt in that base of my life, suggesting that nobody has visited the apartment recently. Living alone, I’m desperate to have a tie with another human being, but in reality, I’m scared. It’s dim at the entrance to my apartment, and all the shoes left there are mine. Everything I do is merely out of habit. I feel bored every day.
I’ve quit my job, and I’m entirely to blame. I could not keep up with my experienced co-workers due to my lack of ability. My girlfriend didn’t want a boyfriend like me, so naturally she left me.
There is a bench on the sidewalk. A young woman is walking her dog. Her arms extending from her short sleeves look dazzling, like white snow. A mother is lifting her baby from a buggy and kissing the baby. “Happiness”this word comes to my mind and lingers there. Happiness, mother, kiss, hug, love, slight tears, and happiness again. This series of images goes around and around in my mind.
Friends of mine are holding a wedding ceremony next Sunday. Nowadays, I feel that I can really understand what they are seeking and going to obtain. It’s happiness. They are going to give shape to the abstract idea. I used to have a good time with my family at our kitchen table, on which the family dishes were piled up and used glass cups were left as they were. In those days, I was certainly happy. Everybody wants to be happy. Even though the form of happiness might differ depending on the person, everybody wants to be happy. Now, I’m just off the track leading to my happiness. That’s it. It doesn’t follow that I don’t seek to be happy. I’m just off the track, right? Even though there is nobody that could answer my question, I ask the question again and again.
I have begun to dislike the term “round off.” Rounded off, my age would be 30. Even though I’m not busy, I’m pretending to be busy and continuing to work part time merely out of habit. This is my only way to make a living. I know it will not take me anywhere, but I can’t stop it.
Do I have nowhere to go? Have I forgotten the term “target”? I feel as if my hometown were calling me from far away. As expressed in a poem, my hometown is what I think of so far away. Thinking of my hometown, I’m choosing to live here on my savings. It was probably 20 years ago that I learned from a boys’ magazine that I should not run away from difficulties. How do I look now? Am I fighting?
Children are running in the sunshine. Their mothers are watching them gently from a bench. A senior citizen seated across from me seems to be reading a paperback or something intently.
How much should I give my friends as a wedding gift? I sometimes envy them because they are getting closer to happiness when it is still far away from me, but at other times, I don’t envy them. I sometimes don’t care about them at all, but at other times, I feel they are friends of mine after all. I hear the sounds of a train rattling along the track, the bustling of a shopping street, and the chatter of strollers, sometimes together with a blowing breeze, rustling leaves, fluttering flower petals, and barking dogs. Time just runs on and on. After all, I’m here and I keenly realize that I’m alive.
I take a seat on a bench, lean back on the rest, and look up at the sky, making me feel that I want to be swallowed up by the blue sky. My imagination pictured what would happen, but I feel left behind in the end. So, for now, I still want to take a breath while looking up at the sky a little longer. This makes me feel that I’m still OK.


北原 岳


 今度の日曜日は友人達の結婚式で、ふたりが求め手に入れようとするものが僕には最近よく分かる。幸福。抽象的なものを形にしようとする彼ら。僕がいた家族の団欒、キッチンのテーブルに重ねられた家族分の皿、飲みかけのグラス、きっとあのとき、僕は幸福だったんだ。幸福、誰だってほしい。幸せの形、それが人それぞれ違っていてもみんな幸せになりたい。僕は今、そういう連鎖から外れてしまっている。ただそれだけ。求めていないわけではない。ただ、外れてしまっているだけなんだ。そうだろう? 答える人は誰もいないのに僕は何度も何度も尋ねてしまう。