Friday, December 31, 2004

The heavens weep

For the second straight morning, I woke up earlier than my missus to prepare breakfast.

She is still coughing rather badly.

I feel quite terrible because it was probably me who passed on the germs to her.

Despite her condition, she could not help but to supervise me on how to toast the bread and spread the cheese.

I shook my head gently, inviting her to relax, and let me do it my way.

It was sleeting on this gray morning as we solemnly munched on our pizza toast.

It seems that the heavens are crying for the victims of the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami.

The Japanese observe the first of January as their new year.

I believe they switched the New Year commemoration from the lunar calendar to the Gregorian calendar during the Meiji era, that is, the late 1800s.

I recall many years ago, most of the shops are closed around this time of the year.

I would be hard pressed to find a restaurant open.

But these days, there is just about one convenience store at every couple of kilometers, and the hamburger joints always seem to be opened.

So there is actually no fear of running short of food.

Even supermarkets open on first of January these days.

My missus sent me to go shopping alone.

I thought there would be few shoppers but I was surprised.

There were so many shoppers in the mall, buying loads of food.

Until last year, I had spent all my Japanese New Year holidays at my in-laws' place in Kanagawa prefecture, which is about 30 minutes by train from Shibuya.

My father-in-law had passed away two years ago and we are still in the mourning phase.

Today, the world slides deeper into sorrow as the death toll creeps to 117,000.

The heavens continue to weep on this final day of two thousand and four...