Who has seen the wind?
―Yumiko Shige, Ｂｏｒｎ to Sail―
Who Has Seen the Wind?
Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing thro'.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their
The wind is passing by.
The heat of summer is still lingering, but
I know the winds are changing.
When the wind passes by my ears, unconsciously
I am humming the song 'Who has seen the wind?'
And when I notice I am singing the song,
next moment I am thinking of Yumiko Shige,
who has seen the wind in the sea of Savannah,
Georgia, back in 1996.
This is a story of a girl who always chases
Yumiko Shige was born on August 4, 1965, in Karatsu.
Her house was near the sea, so
sea was always
a friend to her. Yumiko joined
Class of Genkai Sailing Club when she was in the 5th grade.
There, she met some very nice middle-aged
men, as volunteer instructors, who taught
her how to fix, paint, take care of the boats
at the same time they taught her how to sail.
They were the men who taught this small girl
to get unified with the waves.
The famous coach Kazuoki Matsuyama found a genius of sailing in Yumiko. Hard
training started. Matsuyama-sensei gave everything
he had to Yumiko. She learned quickly.
In 1990, in a domestic competition, Yumiko
met Alicia Yurie Kinoshita. Alicia was tall. Yumiko thought Alicia
would make a perfect crew of her sailing
470 (Double-handed Dinghy).
Alicia was born in Denmark in 1967. Her father
was Japanese, and mother Danish. After finishing
her college in Yokohama, Alicia came to Karatsu
to sail with Yumiko.
||Alicia Yurie Kinoshita
Yumiko and Alicia won the second place in
the World Championship in 1992. In the Kiel
Week in the same year, they became the champion.
Now the world knew that they were here.
Then, the Olympic Games in Barcelona.
In the early stage of the races, it looked
that Yumiko and Alicia were going to win
the medal. Everybody expected it. But these
two young girls were not ready in their mentality.
the late stage of the game, they were losing
|Coach Kazuoki Matsuyama
The result was the 5th place. Yumiko and
Alicia were not satisfied with this result.
Their skill should have been higher.
Yumiko and Alicia started their training
again towards the next Olympic Games.
The road to Atlanta. The road to the Medals.
Yumiko and Alicia grew in the spirit. The
experience of the failure made them stronger.
On July 24, 1966, their challenge started
in the sea of Savannah, Georgia.
Here is an essay Yumiko wrote after the Olympic
Games in Atlanta.
Please enjoy it.
Chase the wind.
I would never be sorry again, as I was,
at the Olympic Games in Barcelona!
There, on the very first day, we were at
the top unexpectedly, and that put us in
ranks which could hopefully get a medal,
|Sailing in Barcelona Olympics
The image of Gold Medal, which every sportsman
dreams of, occupied our mind. Could I really
get it? Anxiety gripped my heart. Races proceeded.
We were not chasing the winds any more. We
chased the rivals who were near Medals. Gradually
we lost the eyes for the winds.
Chasing the ghosts of medals, we at last
lost our way, and our boat sailed into a
deep forest of No Way Out.
We could not follow anymore. We gave up the
dream. Only the last race was the one that
satisfied ourselves. I was so sorry. I shamed
myself, because I lost control of myself
by chasing the medals. I disgraced myself
and the Olympic Games, where I should have
enjoyed the very best essence of sailing.
Read the nature, get unified with the waves,
and overwhelm the audience. Then, Medals
come into your sight. A Medal is just a reward
for the result. It is not a goal. Do not
chase the Medals. We have to chase the winds.
have to be obedient to the Nature.
||Siver Medal in Atlanta Olympics
In Atlanta in 1966, the expectation on us
became bigger and bigger, interviews were
getting enthusiastic, and the Feeling of
the Olympic was going to crash me down. I
was losing myself again.
Then, thoughtfulness and support of the people
whom I had met when I was sailing without
any special intentions pulled me back to
myself. Words of the people who try to take
advantage of us might sometimes trap us in
danger, but our team were not greedy. They
were patient even when I had my own way,
and kept supporting me towards the big goal.
It was not a system of a business organization,
but it was the team of friends that escorted
me through the way to the Medal.
I thank the bondage of friends for the Medal.
This Silver Medal is theirs.
(Translated by Harumi Okochi)
In the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, Yumiko
and Alicia ranked 8th place.
They are still challenging big races in the
At the same time, Yumiko teaches children
how to sail, how to be strong, and how to
love the sea. This summer, in the three months
from July to September, Yumiko instructed
times. In between, she must take care of
the harbor and the boats. And in between,
she goes abroad to join big races.
||small children love to sail
She had no big sponsors to buy her new sails,
fund her expedition expenses, because she
doesn't belong to a big company.
The culture of marine sports
in Japan is
Isn't is strange? Yumiko wonders. Japan is
a sea-country. Japan should learn more from
other Western countries where sailing is
common as a part of daily life.
Until the day when it is so in
keeps chasing the wind.
Thank you for your meeting Yumiko Shige.
I hope you will yell out with me, "Yumiko!"
Thanks to GIF Animation Gallery for animation