Hey, replace your sneakers!

"There are no excitements in the real world.... really."

My wife's serious character makes her unable to think right ever since we started to prepare for relocation. Seems she is looking at the scenery around her but I don't think the visual information is not reaching to her brain. This is our first day of relocation to Furano today. Water level of the river, which flow alongside the road to the village, was rising a lot due to the melting snow. It was last July when we last drove this road. Color around us was "Green", no it was rather "Vivid Green". Now it is April, there is still a lot of snow remaining here and there. This snow makes the color of khaki ground and gray trees pop out. I feel this view more beautiful than the one from the last summer. Looking at this view, I am satisfied myself about this relocation. "Oh yeah, this is it!" It's been 2 years since we decided to make a move to Hokkaido. We had to overcome many things but well, however it was done. Can be done! But if I really think to myself it is merely the "relocation". Ha ha ha. After all it's nothing different from that.

Being in Tokyo for the last one month was very full filling. Saying goodbye to our friends at 11 in the morning, crazy camping, drinking at downtown pubs, the best drinking party under the cherry blossoms, a Tour! to "Odaiba waterfront area" since we haven't been there, a Tour! to "Tokyo Tower" because we haven't gone to the top. It became just a joke to have farewell parties at the end. We had 17 farewell parties, almost always the same group. I passed away at the end. After an all night drinking, I found myself in the midst of the day, taking copies at the convenient store - black and white picture mode of the machine.

I am driving this country road right now, but I still feel the smell of Tokyo, noise, heat, warmth of our friends, bluffs, and suspicious looks hanging around my back. I cannot get rid of these feelings easily, that's me.

Came to the capital city, Tokyo, when I was 19. It wasn't a "new departure" at all, I came to enrolled at the university preparation school. It was the same time of the year as now. The sky was cloudy everywhere, typical of the northern country when I left. A lousy weather suits a lousy new departure. I might have felt even worse if it was sunny. Some snow piles remained only at the bottom of the posts of the platform at Sapporo Station. A childhood friend came to see me off. Then strange thing happened. My dad appeared with a grin without any notices. I remembered he had casually asked me about the train schedule the day before. I don't understand what he had in his mind since I don't have kids yet. But there must have been mixed feelings in dad's head, probably that made him grinning. His mixed feelings reached me sharply, I got flurried a bit.

Dear Father,

To tell the truth, I made a false cry in the train a little bit.

It's been 20 years now I never imagined I would be back to Hokkaido with easygoing face accompanied with a wife and a cat. Especially not back to hometown Sapporo but relocating to Furano. But I think I have been choosing to go forward on my invisible road. I have been escaping as soon as I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sounds strange but what can I do? I am only a human too. One more thing, I didn't think I would be getting such heavy mustache. Is this a wonder of male hormone's 3,000 years history? I remember mom used to say "Non hairy men are coldhearted."

Dear Mother,
Would you recognize me as a benevolent guy now?

I was thinking about such things in the car. A squirrel jumped in front of my car when I was reaching at the end of the woods. I could stop the car because it was not going fast. It would have left a bad taste if I had made minced meat on the first day relocating here. To my surprise the squirrel came towards my car instead of leaving. It jumped up to the rear-view mirror and chewed something in its mouth. But no, that squirrel was talking to me.

"Are you the rumored new face?"

"What me? Already rumored around?"

"Yeah a little, by the way I got some good Darjeeling Tea. Why don't you come to my home to try?"

"A squirrel's Darjeeling... Yes, I would love to, but not this time. My friend is waiting for me."

"Oh well, that's fine. You really don't know the custom of this village, new face." "My name is Soo. This village is small, so we will meet again often for sure. I hope I get to see more of you."

Soo said that and disappeared down the fence towards the woods.

"Mura (nickname of my wife), did you hear the conversation between a squirrel and me?"

There is a left turn corner after the woods. The view opens up suddenly and the road becomes straight for miles from here. This land around the straight road is the area called "Furano-city Aza Tairasawa" where we are relocating.

Wow, we really are here. We can't imagine how we are going to live here yet. But to see this land in front of us, the land looks different from last year.

The contrast of the blue sky and snow covered mountains was splendid.

We got to the house owned by the landlord who abandoned their farm. We begged the landlord to have this house for us to live last year. This house was used as storage space at the time but it was empty by the time we arrived, thank you very much. Because no one lived in that house for a long time, the house was in the bad shape. Winds come through the window frames freely, the weight of the snow destroyed a bathroom, and the toilet floor is tilted. We didn't think we can live in there as is. (But we started our new life there as if it's normal because we had to.)

I always had this little feeling in my head somewhere. That was "Do I really want to end my life just as is, without any excitement?"

And now that we are here, my plan was, "Finally, my life is getting exciting! " in front of this house. But in reality, I had this insecure feeling. "How the heck shall we start our new life here?" This feeling was unexpected to me. Unusually cold temperature for this time of the year multiplied this feeling, it didn't help either. Mura and I just came to our witÕs end. Being at a loss will only make us getting cold...

"Shall we start to transfer our belongings out the car?"

The ground was muddy, I had a pair of gum boots but Mura didn't. I looked at her leg and found that bottom half of her brand new sneakers were already brown. I had a strong dearly feeling towards her when I saw those dirty sneakers. Most necessary thing we need is gum boots right now.

Why did we choose to relocate? I might tell you in the future on this report but it doesn't matter now. Whatever the reason it was, we have to start anything we can do, little by little.

Thank you for following me all the way here, Mura. I can only express my ordinary gratitude to you. Ordinary girl might have left me by now. But I really believe Mura would do better in this environment.

And yes, the pony? We can have it if you want... That was our promise after all.