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Essay “The Sound of the Heart”

January , 2022
Year of the Tiger

The year 2022 has started.
I love New Year’s Day, when you can feel that everything is like a reset.
The Covid-19 virus has been around us for two years, spreading and receding, and we are now worried about the new variants.
Concerts have gradually been allowed to start, taking measures to prevent infection, but they are still cancelled now and then. I need to wear a mask even when I am playing the violin, which is very tough, but somehow, I am getting used to it.
We cannot shake hands or hug each other with our co-stars on stage at all, and we cannot have after parties.
Just when we thought that the infection has settled down, signs of disquiet seem to be spreading gradually and steadily.
This new variant of Covid-19 is scary as it spreads through asymptomatic people without knowing.
The virus or the invisible enemy plays with humanity, mutating itself and eating away and surviving inside our bodies, as though we are watching a science fiction movie.
It is a battle. A battle against the new Covid-19.
It is not time for humans to be fighting with each other. No time for us quarreling or hurting each other!
I feel restless that humanity must come together and fight this virus.

The year begins in this anxious situation.
How nice it would be if we could reset everything. It would be so nice to say goodbye for ever to the new variant.
I pray at the Shrine to forget last year’s bad luck and wish for good things to come this year.
On New Year’s morning, even the air seems to be fresh. The first sunrise on New Year’s Day always brings special feelings no matter where you are on the planet.
I pray that the saintlike sunrise will shine upon everyone around the world, to those who are currently suffering from Covid-19 as well as wars and disasters.

In Japan, we have the 12 signs of the Japanese zodiac.
Each year, an animal sign is assigned as symbols and the cycle is completed in 12 years.
I feel that this is a very heartwarming custom of ours.

子(Mouse), 丑(Ox), 寅(Tiger), 卯(Rabbit), 辰(Dragon), 巳(Snake), 午(Horse),
未(Sheep), 申(Monkey), 酉(Rooster), 戌(Dog), 亥(Boar) 

It is usually in the New Year’s that we learn the 12 sings of the zodiac in our childhood, talking about our family’s sings, such as our grandmother’s sign is the monkey, and our daddy is the boar and so on.
Every year, we talk about the sign of that year.
It is also a heartwarming custom that the person of the zodiac sign of the year is called “the woman of the sign of the year” or “the man of the sign of the year”.
As for me, my sign is the Tiger, so I happen to be the woman of the sign of this year!
The 12 signs of the zodiac come around once every 12 years, so it is quite tricky for a woman as we can guess the age of a person if we know what their sign is.
This reminds me of my mother’s words.
My siblings were told from my mother when we were little, that if anyone asked our mother’s sign, we should always tell them that it was the pig.
“There is no such sign!” we laughed out loud, telling the story to my friends, without knowing my mother’s sensitive feelings as a woman.
My mother’s sign was Tiger, like me. My grandfather was also a Tiger, and I was happy because he used to say that 3 Tigers are so strong together.
So that made me love the Tiger sign.
I collected tiger goods, and when I went to the zoo, I watched them closely in front of the tiger cage, and
talked to them secretly, “I’m, a Tiger too” in my heart.
Well, to all those people of the Tiger sign including the people in the world who are Tigers but don’t know it, though we can’t actually gather together, let’s hope that we can scare away the virus by uniting our hearts!
Who knows, something might change!