香山リカのココロの万華鏡:声を出して笑う /東京

(Mainichi Japan) January 15, 2012
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Beginning the year with a laugh
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:声を出して笑う /東京

I spent the turning of the New Year at my parents' home in Otaru, Hokkaido.

It may be this way all across the country, but it seems that in Hokkaido, the economy is not doing very well.
On the television came news that, "The economic growth for the year ahead in Hokkaido is forecast at zero or negative levels."

Furthermore, this season there is heavy snow, with all the burdens that brings.

As I thought to myself, "There is hardly ever any good news for my homeland," images caught my eye on television of people watching the year's first sunrise.

There were people by the ocean, on mountains, on boats all waiting expectantly, until finally the brilliant red sun appeared from the horizon.

At every location, the reaction of the people gathered was by and large the same.

After raising their voices in awe, they would start to laugh, with a few amongst them even guffawing.

Looking at the television screen, I wondered, "What's so funny about the sun rising?" But soon, I found myself smiling as well.

Who knows why, but the rising sun is a happy and funny occasion, and we just let out a big laugh, and that seemed to feel like the right thing to do at the time.

In his work "Yukishi yo no Omokage," author Kyoji Watanabe introduces writings and diaries from foreigners who visited Japan from the last years of the Edo period to the beginning of the Meiji period.
They wrote that the Japanese were cheerful and bright.

Although those Japanese people's lifestyles were far from luxurious, laughter filled the houses and streets, surprising Americans and Europeans who were visiting what was supposed to be a despotic and backward nation.

We Japanese may be gifted with an ability to find amusement in the smallest of things.

Even if we don't have big success or watch a first-class show performance, we can smile or laugh out loud about little things in our daily lives or comments made in our day-to-day conversations.

I think this is a wonderful strong point and ability.

I hope that those people who laughed at the rising sun lead a full year where they can laugh about all kinds of things.
 「わーっ、初日の出だ! アハハ」と笑えた人は、今年一年、いろいろなことで大いに笑って、心豊かにすごしてほしいと思う。

I, too, plan to also put aside restraint and laugh whenever I find something amusing, and I suggest that we make this a year where we can laugh about our day-to-day lives.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2012年1月10日 地方版

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