|噂の David Jackさん
Still on the trail, with raindrops carried by the cold wind in my face,
I was granted with the responsibility of writing November’s report. Great
honour, in the occasion of Kansai Ramblers’ 25th Anniversary.
Where was I twenty five years ago? In Jacarei, city of Sao Paulo State,
Brazil, taking my first Arithmetic lessons sitting on a cold, antique desk
at a school building that trembled with the steps of hurried students going
down the stairs at breaktime; blowing the mobile over my newborn brother’s
cradle to hear his laugh; watching, in despair, Kempes and his teammates
scoring six for Argentina against Peru to take Brazil out of the World
Cup; and holding a small globe that costed my father forty five cruzeiros,
amazed with the idea that the Earth is, in fact, round like a ball.
I could never imagine that, on the other side of this sphere we live
on (represented on that globe big as an orange), Mr. David Jack was organizing
what would be the first Kansai Ramblers Hike, the beginning of this group
of people who love nature, exercising, talking to people from several cultures
in different languages, and, of course, good food and drinking.
A quarter of a century has passed, I have left my small globe on a shelf
at my parents’ house, traveled half of Earth’s circumference for work
and taken part in the “Ramblers” in front of Okamoto Station to follow
Mr. David’s pioneer steps.
My journey started with an enthusiastic talk to my coworker I-san inside the crowded train about the elections held that day, with no conclusions due to my lack of Japanese Language knowledge and interrupted at Osaka Station for the change to the train bound for Okamoto. But, unlike usual, we did not get lost at the station’s platform, what did not allow the day to begin with an interesting episode.
In Okamoto, a group of fifteen people decided to start the hike not on the trail, but at a long table taking three quarters of the space inside a small Asian food restaurant for lunch. Conversation about several subjects which were interrupted sometimes by the viewing of an old album with pictures containing the Kansai Ramblers history.
Full belly, cloudy afternoon, cold wind; it’s an invitation to take a nap on the sofa in the living room, in front of TV set. But there was no living room, no sofa and no TV. There were the automatic ticket vending machines at Okamoto Station, where we went back to meet other people before taking the trail.
I was surprised when I met Niamh, an Irish girl who studies Japanese
at the same school as me. We live near the same train station but we don’t
see each other frequently. We agreed that the fifteen minute walk between
us are a big distance, at least during the hard working days. Fortunately,
there are the Kansai Ramblers’ hikes.
I was always at the last positions, like Sao Jose EC, The Valley’s Eagle, my favorite soccer team. Being among the slowest means frequent stops to admire the view of Osaka Bay, the buildings at Umeda, the ships at Port of Kobe, the rocks on the mountains, the contrast between the dark green and the vivid red of the trees’ leaves during the Autumn. And keeping talking without snortness of breath. This allowed to me taking Photography lessons from Mr. Stewart and English lessons from Betty.
Waiting for the last hikers to pass, Mr. David talked to me, at first
in Japanese. When he realized I was embarassed, he wanted to know what
country I came from. When he heard the word “Brazil”, he asked promptly:
“And how is Lula doing?”. I could not hide my satisfaction to find people
interested on the Brazilian President’s government.
The rain surprised the group in one of the breaks, near a lake. An old joke from my University says that people who don’t like rain are made of tissue. No, the Kansai Ramblers are not made of tissue. And they aren’t scared because of the dark after the sudden sunset, which did not allow me to see a face litographed beside a waterfall that Saito-san was trying to show me.
The hike finished in Ashiya, a very rich region with several mansions, including one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs on a hill.
After the hike, as usual, the dinner at a restaurant on the region. Replenishing calories lost, talking with no worry, trying not thinking of work the next day and gathering coins for the ticket back home.
What remains from that day? Not the mud on the shoes which was left on the asphalt of Ashiya, nor the wet clothes from the rain and the body sweat which were dried by the wind and the heat of the body and not the physical stress which disappeared into the sleeping night before the return of day to day life. So, what remains? From meeting old and new friends, from the multilingual talks full of half words understandable because of the will of friendship, from the exchange of experiences among people from several countries, what remains for me is the impression that I am closer to be capable to hold the World, like once I held the small globe that today lies on a shelf at my parents’ house