Thoughts for No One in Particular

Can I do without?

Not this, I can’t. No maybe’s about it!




The first of the biannual publication for this year is finally here! Not being able to do without it for a second longer, I rushed to the bookstore first thing in the morning and grabbed hold of it. I had every intention of going straight home and immersing myself in the game.


But one look at a poster in the bookstore and I had a change in mind: a Great White Heron Dance being held today at the oldest temple in my town… can’t do without that, now that I know about it!


So I hopped onto the train, and I got to the site a few minutes before the performance began. Not too many other audience were there yet, so I was able to settle myself in a nice position.

But soon after, a family of foreigners came and stood beside me, in a place that probably would not have as good a view of the performance as mine.


At first I thought nothing of it. But as I heard them converse in French and understood that they were obviously disappointed they would not be able to get a full view of the performance, I had a change in mind: I can come see it any other time, but it could be their only chance – I could do without the nice position that I was in.


So I turned to them and offered my place. They were happy they could now see the entire performance, and I was happy I did a good deed. But unfortunately, not everything ended happy.


As the performance began, there was a group of people – it turned out they were mothers of the kids who played guardian angels in the performance – were led to the area in front of us by the organizers. Because they were obstructing our view, one of the audience asked if they could crouch down a bit, but the organizers said that it was part of the performance for them to stand there and it could not be changed.


So we were all forced to shift away from the obstruction. Once a fairly polite audience now silently fought for what was left of the nice positions. Possibly angered by being pushed aside, some no longer cared if they were obstructing others in turn. This one man in particular – it turned out he was asked by a friend to take photos of grandchildren who were in the performance – who budded in front of me obscured my view was quite rude in doing so, and I was just about to let him know how much he upset me.


But, one look at the Great White Heron Dance and I had a change in mind: it is a dance dedicated to the Gods, to thank for the things they have given us. It should be a sacred moment, and it could do without ill feelings. So I chose to let it all go and simply enjoy the performance.



(Argh! See the man in the right end blocking my view?)


Maybe the mothers could not do without looking on their kid performers in the best seats.

Maybe the organizers could not do without sticking to the strict regimen of the performance.

Maybe the bud-in man could not do without living up to his words to take photos for his friend.


But, maybe if they could do without, even a tiny bit, their self-centredness and stubbornness and narrow-mindedness, they would not have spoiled the performance for others.


Well, I think I had enough of things I could do without for the day. I am home now, picking up a pencil – I think I deserve a little indulgence with what I absolutely cannot do without… kakuro time!!!


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