September, 2004

This page is written monthly by Harumi Okochi,
and sometimes Harumi's friends join.
We'd be happy if you look at
r previous issues.


Torahiko Nakashima

September Song

Well, it’s a long, long time
From May to December
But the days grow short,
When you reach September.
And the autumn weather
Turns the leaves to gray
And I haven’t got time
For the waiting game.

And the days dwindle down
To a precious few . . .
September, November . . .
And these few precious days
I spend with you.
These precious days
I spend with you.

Torahiko Nakashima's precious days in Hawaii.

I would like to introduce you one of my e-mail friends, Mr. Torahiko Nakashima.
He was born in 1953 in Ureshino Town, about 1 hour drive from Karatsu.
When he was a university student, an accident injured his cervical cord.

Now he is a poet, essayist, novelist and also a critic.
His challenges have always encouraged people around him including me.

Recently Torahiko told me about his journey to Hawaii.
So I asked him to allow me to introduce him on my web-page.

Please be happy with me for Brave Tiger ( Torahiko means Tiger Man).
His "Quest" in Waikiki has been achieved,

Cervical cord injured people 's trip to Hawaii
        written by Torahiko Nakashima

On the Sand
All empty

  (Haiku by Torahiko Nakashima)

I was floating in the cobalt-blue waves in Waikiki.
In Japan, when we suddenly get to see something clear, we often say, "Oh, scales dropped off from my eyes!"In my case, I felt as if scales dropped off my buttocks. As our bottoms are always oppressed against wheel-chairs or beds, if we float in water, we feel stresses softly slip away from us. As I am paralyzed from the breast down, I can not feel water, but my eyes and ears and nose can make it up enough. In the swimming-ring ,which is my only lifeline. I paddled with both hands and changed directions.
 White sand-beach, palm-trees, and skyscrapers were suddenly before my eyes. Then I felt a great joy of achievement. "At last I swam in the sea of Hawaii!" I!d say I am the first spinal cord injured Japanese who dared to swim here.

When I was leaving the water, two young men on the beach came and helped me in a natural way.

It was three summers after my first swimming in Omura Bay in Nagasaki Prefecture, which was mentioned in Mr. Tamio Sakai's newspaper column.

In the end of June.2004, I went to Hawaii for a trip of 7days 5 nights. It might be a too optimistic act in this scaring world situation, but I wanted to join the meeting planned by a magazine, Post- card Communications. If I miss this chance, I would never see Hawaii in my life. Until this year, the members met in Hiroshima, Yokohama, Fukuoka, Kyoto, etc., but this year it was planned to have an experience of a trip abroad. For the first trial, someplace safe and of reasonable cost. We were a big team of 15 motor wheel chairs and 23 carers.

Most of them look heavier than me with heavier disabilities and heavier equipments. Some of them are successful business-men like building owner, company president, tutoring-school owner, etc.

This is my second trip abroad, after a one-day tour to Pusan, Korea. But for most of the members, this was the first experience. So our journey was full of excitements, like the famous Japanese comedy of Yaji-Kita ( two ignorant men Yajirobei and Kitahachi for the first time made a trip and made many laughable mistakes).

The first hurdle for me was the 8 hours' flight of going. Our tickets were the economy-class, so the seats were very tight. Smaller people, using some cushions under knees, somehow could take resting positions, but I am a big guy, stuck in the chair, and could not move. I kept looking at my watch, and endured my inferno.

The next problem in the hotel. In my house, I have a supporting device above my bed, and it helps me for the urination or posture-changing. But, here in a hotel, how can I do this?
I was going to stick a pole onto my wheel-chair and hang a rope from the pole, but luckily enough, I found this condominium's partition between the living room and the bed room was a wooden one, and I could hang the rope there with two s-shaped hooks.
The chamber-maid, whom I have tipped beforehand, did not say No.

The bus to Polynesian Culture Center ran swaying too rough through the mountain road. I felt sick and asked the driver to go more slowly. In the Honolulu Zoo, it was too hot, and I got heat illness. When enjoying barbecue at the lounge, a drunken Australian soldier came on me. I gave him a copy of a book of my Haikus, with my own English translations.He praised me very much. I have many other happy memories. I hope I can have another opportunity to tell them to you.

At a street corner,
He catheterizes himself.
A wall to hide him
I will be
As high as a skyscraper.

(Tanka by Torahiko Nakashima)

mail to Torahiko Nakashima

Thank you very much for meeting Torahiko Nakashima.
He will be happy if you send your comment on his trip to Hawaii.

I hope you enjoy your precious days with your precious people in beautiful September!

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi

Proprietress of Ryokan Yoyokaku

  Mail to Harumi Okochi