Chapter 2.Winter: Gifts

In front of the fireplace 2

Tetsu replied to Takashi's question:
"Using RUICA, I have collected information about my daily life and transmitted these images and data. Using RUICA's translation function, I provided information in English, too. Do you know what happened? I got e-mails from around the world and some readers even came to visit me. I graduated from the University of Alaska with a degree in Wildlife Biology. I compared the Asian black bear with the grizzly bear. Through e-learning courses, I studied the differences in hunting methods of hunters in the Tohoku district in northern Japan and Inuit in Canada. Now, I am Japan's representative for the Global Reforestation Project. I was not good at English at school but now, if I have to, I can communicate in English. I can proudly send information about our mountain life to any part of the world. Now I understand that the mission of the descendants of hunters is to preserve our intangible cultural heritage."
Takashi persisted in his request. "Then, why don't you take me with you, to work with you? You need successors."
"Come on, you are stubborn. By the way, what else did you want in the mountain? Something you were lucky to have?" Tetsu asked.
"It was RUICA. I was so happy when it connected," Takashi answered.

Kanalu's face took on a soft expression. He seemed to share Takashi's thought.
Tetsu said,"Yes, the RUICA is a tool to connect to someone. Human beings do not need so many things in order to live. Food, water, security and communication. We are weak. We cannot live alone. That is why we connect to others. We become strong when we are connected to others, but that does not mean that we should too heavily depend on each other. Even though those who live alone become strong when they work with others. Look at the trees in the forest. Each tree stands firm to withstand heavy snow. But they whisper softly together, they communicate with each other. A group of trees supports each other. Their community, the forest, helps them all survive. We can say the same thing for human beings."

They listened to Tetsu attentively as if his philosophy was percolating through their minds. Tsubasa thought that he had not heard such stories at any school, even his university, and he wondered whether students learned knowledge in the wrong order. Surely the fundamental knowledge of how to survive in nature and society should come first. Tetsu continued, "If I had not meet Kanalu, I would have stayed just a simple hunter, an old country man who can't speak English, or use the Internet."
"No, that is not true," Kanalu said. "The time was right for you. I am very happy that people who have abundant knowledge like Tetsu does can share their knowledge. I owe the residents a debt for helping me to develop such a tool."
"Why did you develop the RUICA?" Takashi asked Kanalu directly. Tsubasa was a little alarmed. Fortunately Kanalu did not show his sad expression, but simply said, "It is a long story. I will tell you when we have time."

Tetsu smiled. "It is a very important memory for Kanalu. By a strange coincidence, RUICA means "bridge" in the Ainu language. It connects two lands and two thoughts."
The fire in the fireplace burned warmly. Tsubasa felt that another fire had been lit inside Takashi.

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