Setting Sail, Cruising
Setting sail is just the right fit for the New Year.
For me, a sea voyage was something that I did not take much notice as I had the scary image of the rough sea, and getting sea sick. But from a few years before, I got the chance to travel on a ship for work, performing on a cruise. Being a violinist, I thought
going on a cruise was something far away from me but now, getting used to it, I sometimes feel I cannot wait to go on the next cruise. (In fact, my voyages are far too short to call it a voyage! )
There are so many different types of cruises.
A trip around the world, spending several months on the sea, and a trip around Japan, spending a few weeks on the sea, and also a casual short trip of a few days on the sea, one can choose whatever fits their needs and schedule.
The best thing about a voyage is that you can change the flow of time. As I always live my life in a very busy schedule, moving around all the time, I get to rest when I am on the sea, no matter what. And the time starts flowing slowly.
The big cruise ship, slowly advancing on the vast open sea gives us the feeling that there is a different timeline that exists outside the land that we live on.
It was seven years ago that I first went on the Nippon Maru, and now, I go on Asuka II several times and perform concerts on the ship.
First, I was worried about getting sea sick but it was no need. I am now quite fine with it. When I get worried, I take pills for motion sickness and it seems to works for me.
When I am performing, I am too concentrated to notice any ship sways and I once surprized the crew as they laughed, “The swaying was so hard that even the crew was cautious but it did not seem to distract you”.
When I go on a large, luxury type cruise ship tour, I get on the ship sometime close to the performing date and get off at the nearest stop after the performance and go back to my normal life. But even so, I can still enjoy the luxury of resting on a cruise.
My favourite moment of a cruise is when the ship sets sail.
When the ship leaves the land behind, blowing the whistle, it gets to my heart and I become so emotional. On the land, people dance and sing farewell in their own traditional style. People waving for ever calling out “Good bye”, which refrain again and again, the voices get blown with the wind, as though they are regretting the departures of their loved ones.
When those voices are gone with the waves, my mind gets occupied with my private matters, and all the happy and sad memories flashes back in my mind.
One of the departures that I cannot forget is the time when I got on a ship soon after my mother died. The ship set sail from Aomori, sent off with traditional festive music. The beat of the drums and the shouts brought speechless sorrow to my heart. To live, and to pass away, memories with my mother from my childhood, time passing by, and life itself., and what was to come, ahead of me.
There was no such time in my daily life that made me think of such things.
Now in the New Year, the ship blows its whistle and starts moving slowly…