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Essay “The Sound of the Heart”

March , 2023
Nippon Maru

I boarded a cruise ship already again this year. This time, it was a three-day voyage on the Nippon Maru, on St. Valentine’s Day. It was about 12 years ago that I boarded a cruise ship for the first time. In those days I felt a bit scared to board a ship floating in the middle of the ocean, but once I got on, I got very fond of the sturdy and dependable passenger vessel.
From then, I got attracted to the charm of the ocean. Firstly, I like the lonesome feeling when a large vessel leaves the land.
The whistle sounds like a cry that is trying to convey one’s thoughts to someone far away.
No one I know is there at the harbour to see me off, but when I wave to the people, they wave back, as though they’re saying goodbye to their old acquaintances. The movement of the ship, as it gradually and regretfully moves away from the shore, uplifts your spirits.

Vessel that floats on the big, big ocean. No matter what kind of cruise ship you are boarding, there is always a feeling of being embraced by the sea.
The purpose of boarding this time was also to perform, and as I got used to going on board, I feel that I am not getting seasick as before. It was, in fact a very quiet voyage with almost no rocking, so I felt even more so. I even felt that it would have been more realistic if the ship swayed a bit more.
Although I go on board to work, one cannot go straight back home on the day, like when you are on the land. It would take at least two nights at the shortest. Once I finish my performance, I am free to enjoy the time on board with other passengers.
There are various entertainments on board, and no one gets bored, as they have most of the things that are available on land. Movie theatre, concert hall, beauty salon and massage rooms. They have large baths, saunas and swimming pools. There are numerous places to eat delicious dishes, almost 24 hours a day, for free. It’s so delicious that most people may have to worry about gaining weight. I walked on the deck in the mornings and evenings, but there are gyms available. Once you go out on the deck, the sea breeze blows and the sunshine washes over me, and sunset touches me. The sun set is so beautiful, and I feel how wonderful the earth is again.
It’s indeed, a luxurious and relaxing time as you cannot go home. When the ship docks somewhere, we musicians and staff disembark and say goodbye to the other passengers and return home using the train.

This time, however, things were different as it was a short cruise for beginners. So, we embarked and disembarked together with other passengers.
It was a three-day, two-night cruise, leaving from and returning to Yokohama, rather than anchoring anywhere. We enjoyed a quiet cruise, the vessel gently slipping in and out of the nearby bays avoiding the waves. As the vessel hardly swayed, I looked out to the sea if she was anchored there or not. She was anchored at times, moving around quietly and slowly at other times.
On the various cruises I’ve been on in the past, I had sometimes been hit by typhoons and things flew, bumped by the raging waves. At first, I was so surprised and nervous and sometimes got seasick, but when I held my violin, I somehow felt calm and was able to perform. As I stood firmly with my legs under my dress, I suddenly remembered what my best friend taught me at the time when we went skiing together at college. We bent our knees a little and concentrated on our tanden area for balancing our bodies.
Ah, I should balance my torso like when I’m skiing, I thought. Then, I was able to hold myself together even when a big jolt came.
I thought that you don’t get seasick anymore when you get used to boarding ships, but the member of the crew told me that “You get less seasick when you get older.” I felt a bit puzzled hearing that, but it may be true as so many elderly people fully enjoy cruising.

This gave me hope that I may be able to enjoy the cruise more and more, rather than worrying about getting seasick, and it was indeed a wonderful cruise.