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Essay “The Sound of the Heart”

July , 2021
Encounters with the social media.

It’s been a year since I started using the social media.
Last year, when the Covid-19 disaster started, just before the first State of Emergency was declared, I was invited for a lunch with Miyuki Morita, the broadcaster of NHK, whom I luckily get along well with, together with Fumiko Lee, a very competent TV producer. That lunch had indeed, turned out to be like a door of destiny to me.

That lunch had become the last time we were able to eat together for a while, and moreover, a big change had occurred to me.

While we enjoyed our lunch, Miyuki said to me in a natural conversation.
“Oh, since Lee-san is an expert on smart phones, I think you should change your feature phone to a smart phone from now on, Mariko-san.”
She said, in a kind of smooth tone.
Fumiko-san also said, “Yes, I have some time after this lunch, so why don’t we go straight to a phone shop?”
Let’s do that, let’s do that! It came like a very natural flow of events.

Feature phone.
Up to that point, I had no intention of moving away from my beloved feature phone.
And yet, somehow, wrapped up in Miyuki-san and Fumiko-san’s tender affection, I made my way smoothly and irresistibly to the phone shop after lunch, and then moved to a coffee shop with Fumiko-san.
Fumiko-san didn’t seem to mind my nervous glances as she steadily set up my new smart phone, installing the necessary apps, and quickly downloading necessary things and made the phone usable.

Soon after that, the State of Emergency was declared.
Life in the very first self-restraint period was scary, full of fear of the unknown virus, and I hardly went out, and stayed home, just practicing.
The smart phone turned out to be effective, being able to pick up various information so fast, which I would not have done with a feature phone. I searched for suitable apps and installed them…the smart phone had instant power.
My eating habits had also changed.
Before, I used to eat out or buy prepared food and ate them in between my practices, so fast without even chewing properly. But once I got my smart phone, I gradually started to cook and took photos of them and sent them to the worried Miyuki-san and Fumiko-san to let them know, what I was eating.
It was fun!
It was also fun to cook, looking at the photos of Miyuki-san and Fumiko-san’s cookery, trying to imitate them.
Thanks to them both, I had become a person with a healthy diet, buying decent ingredients. Cooking the vegetables, meat and fish, gradually became my pleasure.
Even the eggs.
I used to swallow three raw eggs a day, but I learned to enjoy cooking eggs in a variety of dishes. Sometimes I made mistakes, and didn’t know what I was doing, and ended up cooking strange things, but even then, they both praised me for my creativity and encouraged me to eat lots of vegetable, and I ate them feeling responsible. I felt so grateful.
Whenever I posted the photos of my dishes on Instagram, the followers cheered me up with encouraging comments which really helped me to get through. How encouraging it was!
I gradually tried to make nutritious and tasty food, and I was able to start leading a decent life.
Whenever the State of Emergency was lifted, the “three best friends” had the opportunity of enjoying a short meal out after a long time. I took the opportunity to bombard them with questions about the smart phone.
Looking back now, I feel that the Covid-19 disaster was not always a negative experience after all.
The days of worrying about the Covid-19 have not stopped yet. I am praying that the variants of the virus do not spread, and I am still here today, with the help of my smart phone.