Chapter 1. Autumn: Autumn in Hot Spring

Back in Tokyo 1

The further the train moved from Takafu-cho, the more functions grandfather lost in his RUICA, including the town's intranet. Although he expected this, he was sad. When he had told his friends that his "Kohei's Japanese Sake Lecture" site would close down for a while because he was going to go back to Tokyo, he received many e-mails saying, "Come back soon, we will wait until you come back."
Tsubasa did not touch the RUICA Kanalu had given him. He decided that he would not touch it until Kanalu contacted him.
Tsubasa's grandfather began talking to him and his mother. He talked about the rainbow.
"I saw a rainbow in Roppongi one year after we moved into your condominium. I was just about to go for a walk after the rain had stopped. I saw part of a rainbow over the canyon between the tall buildings. I rushed back home because I thought I could see the rainbow more clearly from the window in my room. When I entered the elevator, there was an elementary school boy inside. I pressed a button of the elevator impatiently and said to the boy "Kid, when you go back to your room, look at the eastern sky, you will see a beautiful rainbow. They say that if you see a rainbow, you will become happy." The boy looked uninterested and did not say anything. When we got to my floor, I stepped out. Just when the door was about to close, I heard the boy saying 'Stupid.' I was saddened; however, I hurried to my room and opened the curtains." He sighed. Tsubasa kept quiet, afraid of hearing his grandfather's next words. "Tsubasa, you know, I did not see the rainbow from that window. The sky was blue and clouds were white as usual. The condominium was equipped with a color adjustment system that makes both sunrise and sunset look beautiful, but the system did not react to the rainbow colors. The seven colors of the rainbow were controlled and disappeared into the blue color in the window. I stood there for a while and asked myself what I was doing here? Then I remembered what the boy said, "Stupid." Yes, it was silly. Does it make any difference whether or not we see a rainbow? It would not make any difference. I had to think that way; otherwise I could not live in this condominium." He stopped talking. Tsubasa fully understood his grandfather's pain; he had suffered so many losses. He had left his old friends and the land he used to live on. When he did not see the rainbow from the window, he felt that he had been separated from the heavens as well. IMAGE:illustration

Grandfather continued: "Let me put it this way. We saw the rainbow this morning. Can we live without seeing a rainbow? Can we live without connecting our spirits to the heaven and the earth?"
He continued. "I closed my hands in prayer when I saw the New Year's first sunrise. This gesture may not do any good. We make wishes when we see shooting stars. We wish for happiness when we see rainbows. These acts may be superstitions, however, they reflect our simple beliefs in nature not only in Japan but also worldwide. I have not felt that sense of awe towards nature in Tokyo. Therefore, I cannot live there."
"You didn't feel alienated from nature in Takafu-cho as you did in Tokyo." Mother commented quietly.
"Yes, that's true. In Takafu-cho, I felt myself connected with the land by knowing the history of the land and its climate and local products using RUICA. I felt myself connected with the local people through sharing their thoughts, and issuing thanks-tickets. I felt forest and wind and I felt myself connected with the sky when I saw the rainbow this morning."
"Uhhmmm...connected with the sky, the land, and people..." Tsubasa murmured in a low voice that he realized sounded much like Kanalu's. It was as if Kanalu was speaking through him. Tsubasa thought that what his grandfather said was true. The purpose of developing RUICA was to make people feel connected with each other and nature.

"There are eight million gods in the world," thought Tsubasa. "We used to worship these sprits that dwell in nature. When we did, we appreciated the blessing of the land and understood that human beings exist to help and support each other-that people are not meant to live alone." This simple teaching of the gods filled his heart.

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