It’s like a mirage.
A journey itself is worthless, which is a part of the subject of my previous article. As some of the readers may notice, it is inspired by the words of Marcel Proust (the above image is not him but Marcus Tullius Cicero, by the way): “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” I have lived in many places so far (relocation may not be regarded as a journey), and so, I believe I have them. In addition, things sometimes can’t be seen when they’re too close. Let me introduce a funny characteristic of people living here in Hokkaido that I become able to see after gaining the new (and hopefully clear) eyes.
Hokkaido is the northern-most part of Japan which is covered with snow in winter for about four to five months. We are under the spell of snow. For example, when we see a narrow road, a house with an odd-shaped roof, people driving a convertible car, or even people dressed in white, the very first thing coming up in our mind is a concern – what if it snows? The last one is just kidding, but I recommend you not to wear in white in a heavy snowstorm, so as not to be hit by car.
Hunger is the best sauce, or our satisfaction is something generated internally, not caused externally.
I’m sure you’ve understood how much anguish snow causes on us. For fear that you may feel dislike for our hometown, let me share a big advantage which, I strongly believe, will more than make up for the anguish. After enduring the long and harsh winter, you can see the moment when the world is brought back to life. Winter scenery is beautiful, but as is often used in English poems, the metaphor of winter is always death. Grasses are hidden under the blanket of snow, and trees lose their leaves — the whole world really looks like being surrounded by death, but spring brings about a drastic change. I don’t think plants in Hokkaido are something special, but assume our cravings would make us see spring more vividly. In order to experience this special moment, you will have to live here and survive the winter, though.
He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.