A Rich Life

When I went to a rotating sushi bar in Takayama City, I came across a cheerful elderly man sitting next to me.  He introduced himself as a person who went to Utah in the States to learn how to fly a glider in 70’s and currently lived in Australia to teach how to fly.  During winter in Takayama, he goes back to Australia and, in winter in Australia, he comes back to Takayama.

“Are you from Takayama?  Or do you work here temporarily?” he asked me as others ask.  I explained what I do in Hida Kiyomi, then he replied as I expected.

“You’ll get bored soon and want to come back to Tokyo for good.  This place is only for a short time visit.”


Well, in a way, I guess it was true in the past, as people were not able to enjoy many material things in these regional town and cities.  Then, what do we enjoy in, for example, Tokyo?  There are great food and drinks, theatrical performance, art, high-level education, any types of hobbies and others. When people want to enjoy many different things, they can learn and enjoy what they want in Tokyo.  


When I, a nineteen year old woman, lived in the States and went back and forth between the States and Japan, I was able to think about what it means by a rich life for me.  Being English major (and Mathematics Minor!), I had many chances to get contact with Mother Nature in Michigan as I had to read so many books but always got bored reading them inside my apartment.  Driving only about 10 to 15 min., I could sit by a stream where you could catch rainbow trout.  At Friday night, I learn to go to a pizza place nearby to enjoy a huge pizza and beer with my friends.  At Saturday night, I learned to enjoy classical music concert at University Auditorium. I never thought about there was such a different way of enjoying life.  I believe the blue print of my “rich life” formed during this period.  Wherever my intellectual curiosity is filled, participation of community activity and growing vegetable is possible in the heart of nature’s bounty, the place will offer me a Rich Life.


At home in Tokyo before coming to the States, I did not live in an environment to appreciate that everything is given by nature.  Therefore, when I lived in the States, I was able to feel the life in that regional university town in the States was very luxurious.  Some of my friends who came from Europe said that they could not think about a life without nature.  I understood that some people in the States and Europe would be able to live my definition of a “rich life,” if they want to.  In Tokyo, on the other hand, people pay too much attention to “materials, money, power” and tend to forget about appreciation to the nature.  This is pitiful. 


Looking into future of Japan, I believe such rich life would be possible in regional cities in Japan as well as we have bunch of new communication devices to overcome physical distance.  For example, we can even listen to lectures from abroad through internet; enjoy watching World Cup Soccer in a school gym; and so on.  Children in regional cities would be able to receive high-level education in Tokyo through more advanced communication system soon.  As I believe the physical distance won’t be a problem but will become a benefit in the future, I would like to get involved in such a project whenever it becomes available.

*Go back to the top of the page