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Essay “The Sound of the Heart”

December , 2021
A Voyage

It’s been a long time since I’ve been out on the sea.
I went on the Nippon Maru cruise ship.

Due to the Covid-19, performing on the cruise ship which I ‘ve been doing for a long time had stopped during the past 2 years.
In Japan, the start of the Coronavirus pandemic was from around the Diamond Princess disaster.
Therefore, it may have created the impression to many people that cruise ships could be scary. The staff member who attended us on the ship told us the story.
Probably for this reason, we were all subjected to strict rules, such as a series of PCR tests, taking our temperatures, filling out detailed questionnaires, sanitizing our hands, and following the seating restrictions (only one person or a couple from the same cabin could sit at one table) and so on.
When the cruise ship leaves the coast, the horn is blown. I really like that sound. It touches my heart. Since the first time I boarded a cruise ship, the melancholic sound has always made my heart burn, making me very sentimental. Slowly and gradually, the ship moves away from the shore, moving forward towards the wide, wide ocean.
The waves gently rock the vessel, and the sound of the waves can only be heard when we take a close listen, which purifies our hearts.

The sea is beautiful and scary. The nature, both the sea and the mountains, continue to fascinate us with unbelievable beauty, but sometimes attack us with unescapable horror.
For us artists, the nature is a great teacher whom we look up to.
I remember about the composer, Mr. Toru Takemitsu once said that he could never compete with the beautiful melody line that the nature brings out, such as the birds singing and the rustling of the trees. I remember this phrase whenever I see the beauty of nature.
I went out on the deck to look at the horizon. I saw the gentle range of mountains afar.
Swayed by the gentle waves, I thought about the flow of time,
Yes, it is said that there are some warps and distortions in time and space. I wonder why we feel that when we are out on the sea. I also think that time is not equal. Sometimes it feels longer and sometimes shorter, I believe it warps at times.
Spending my time feeling the waves, I felt like I was sitting on a stretched-out rubber. As time flowed by so slowly, my thoughts also flowed slowly, looking back in the past, present, and imagining the future.
It is also when I’m out on the sea, when I think that the earth we live on, is actually a planet.
In the nighttime, the sky and the sea get so dark and other planets shine beyond the dark space. I feel that this earth is also just another planet floating in space.

Well, this time on the cruise, Nippon Maru had headed for Yakushima. I had planned to disembark there and play the violin in the nature. However, the weather got rough with white waves and strong winds, and Nippon Maru was rocking hardly. We were almost there… The crew went out on the deck and started to untie the ropes. We were so close to Yakushima that we thought we could even swim to the island when the captain made a quiet announcement. He announced that we had to give up landing on Yakushima due to the strong wind.
All the passengers and the staff must have felt disappointed. No one wants to let anyone down. The captain had made a painful and hard decision, carrying that burden. He made the decision because he had the most important mission of all, of saving our lives.

I have seen many times, a documentary about mountain climbers who are close to the summit, but the weather gets bad, and they decide to give up going to the top and leave. A most frustrating situation. The more professional they are, they make that frustrating decision most courageously. It is said that the moment they feel they might be okay and push themselves too hard, their lives are brutally taken.
The mountains and the sea inspire us with their beauty, but they can also suddenly turn cruel on us. I admired the captain, for his courage to make the tough decision.
The ship slowly changed direction and headed back to Honshu, in a carefree, graceful, and proud manner.
My heart was burning quietly and thought that I would like to sail on the Nippon Maru again.