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Essay “The Sound of the Heart”

August , 2021
The Olympic Games

After all, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have started.
I was due to run the torch marathon on public roads in Kanagawa Prefecture as one of the torch bearers, but I was informed that the event had been cancelled, and only the “torch kiss” would take place.
At that point, I decided to avoid the heavy crowd and refrained from going to the venue.
As the world watched and wondered what would happen, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games continued to move forward, while a series of problems were exposed. People started buzzing that the Games might not be able to open in Tokyo once and for all, but the Games went ahead and did open.

I watched the opening ceremony on TV.
There must have been very mixed feelings among everyone involved.
All the expressions on the faces of the performers shown on the screen were different, some serious, some sad, some seemed to be in pain. Lots of performances were carried out but it was not a glamorous celebration and seemed like a reflection of the feelings of the troubled and lost people.
There were scenes of mourning for the many victims of Covid-19, and performers depicted the athletes who have been unable to train as they would have liked, during the long quarantine.
The Japanese festival music rang sadly, invoking mixed feelings.
Then, the athletes entered the stadium.
Athlete’s faces, covered with masks seemed to be hiding their true feelings, trying only to think about achieving their own goals.
In reality, Covid-19 infection in Japan is spreading faster than ever. As I write this essay in the end of July, there are warnings already, from the medical profession how strained healthcare is.

So, the competition has begun.
In a situation where nothing was clear until the last minute whether the Games would be held or cancelled, the athletes said, “We’ve been working hard until today, believing that the Olympic Games will be held”, revealing their honest thoughts.
I could relate to it.
It reminded me of last year, when concerts were cancelled one after another.
As I practiced for the concert ahead of me, the fear that it might be postponed or cancelled, kept growing. As the concert day approached, it was cancelled. Then, I concentrated in practicing again for the next concert, but as the date grew nearer, it was cancelled.
This kind of thing continued for six months. Whenever I start practicing for the next concert, I wonder if I will ever be able to perform the piece on stage again. A whirlwind of anxiety strikes me, wondering if I would ever be on stage again.

I am sure that the athletes too, have also gone through such whirlwind of anxieties until reaching the day of the Games, holding on, just believing in themselves.
Not just the Japanese athletes, of course.
Athletes from abroad must have faced great difficulties in keeping their top condition, concerned about the isolation and various restrictions they had to overcome.
Finally, under such condition, the Games is being held, one competition after another.
It must have been so difficult for all the athletes to perform under such different conditions.
One athlete said in tears, “Thank you for holding the Olympics…”
Athletes who have tested positive with Covid-19 is increasing day by day, who have to give up competing in the Games.

It is now, the 27th of July while I write this, a day in which we watch in fear as the number of infections spreads in the passing of time.
I wonder what colour of shades would be in our feelings when you read this essay.