「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


Feeling old

By Mike Dwane


Japan only occasionally makes the TV news here.

Usually, the story has something do to with the economy. But it could also be the latest innovation of Sony's. Regional tensions over North Korean rockets have featured quite often of late. And of course earthquakes and natural disasters in Japan are big news all over the world.

The latest story to make the headlines and the news broadcasts here concerned Yuichiro Miura and his conquest -- at 80 -- of Mount Everest.

It fits in well with the notion we Irish have that the Japanese are almost superhuman when it comes to health and longevity.

According to the World Health Organization, life expectancy in Japan is 83 years, the highest in the world. In Ireland, the average person can expect to live to 81, which is slightly better than the U.S.A. or the U.K.

The Okinawa Way -- basically a diet book -- was a bestseller here and had many imitators. Because I lived in Japan for a couple of years, friends and colleagues will sometimes consult me on what to eat as if I were an authority.

I have to tell them I was in my early 20s when I lived in Japan and little of the Okinawa way had rubbed off on me. Huge bowls of salty ramen, fatty chunks of maguro, dripping skewers of yakitori and Asahi beer are all highly recommended, but not if you want to lose weight or see your 90s.

I thought about Miura-san when my own birthday passed last week. The occasion was not one I felt like celebrating as I am now much closer to 40 than 20. I might just make it to Miura-san's age, but I somehow don't see myself skiing down Everest between now and then. The evergreen Japanese mountaineer makes me feel old.

In fact, I am starting to feel older with each passing day. I am beginning to favour classical music and wine over rock and beer. I can't pass a hardware store without stopping to admire power tools in the window display. I find myself disapproving of how teenagers are dressed.

In Dublin at the weekend, I arranged to meet an old friend (although he is younger than me) who I got to know well in Japan. Ollie is a graduate of my local university, one of only a few places in Ireland where you can study Japanese to degree level. He lived in a small town in Fukushima Prefecture and became almost fluent in Japanese, something I was very envious about.

Like his language skills, Ollie is also more advanced when it comes to family. He has three kids with a fourth on the way, while I struggle to manage with just one boy.

With so many little people to look after, Ollie and I agreed that meeting in a pub was no longer appropriate. So the choice of venue came down to either a gardening exhibition or IKEA. We chose the furniture superstore. I felt about 100 years old.



The Japan Times ST: June 28, 2013

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版