Chika Chan’s Insight – Kitchen

My dearest Eriko,

I’m so miserable. Why do things like these have to happen? I can’t believe in the gods. The thought of not being able to see you again is utterly devastating. Yuichi is all alone in the world now.

You always handled your problems on your own, and, in this, he’s so much like you. However, this independence of his hasn’t allowed anybody to see a weakness in him before, you know that, but seeing him almost on the verge of tears the other night was so unlike him. I’m crazy, you know that, and most of the time I don’t understand other people’s feelings, but his words that night made me understand one thing: he and Mikage (that beauty) are in love. Of course! I should have seen it before…theirs has been an instantaneous connection, and I have a feeling (had for some time now) that you had it too; after all, how could you not?

Yuichi understands loss; his and Mikage’s shared knowledge of loss brings them closer together. For Mikage, Yuichi, and even you, who lost everyone, your love came together to create a new family: your bond so powerful and enduring that you help (and have helped) one another  survive. And now that you aren’t here anymore, those two have to manage on their own.

Painfully connected by grief, they know what many of their age do not – that we lose what we love, that we ourselves can cease at any moment—but it does not stop them from loving or living. Take our Mikage for example: that girl has gone a long way don’t you agree? She’s going to Izu for her job…she’s definitely doing well.

By joining that cooking class not only is she nurturing herself, but Yuichi too in the process. With her cooking, a means to living independently, she’s forging her own identity; adding to our changing roles in Japanese society. Despite all else, the care of others is ultimately self-serving: a means to understand her own limits and strengths; cooking as a vocation brings her control in the kitchen to achieve ultimate control over her own life. Cooking is the means by which she becomes fully herself and enters into her own life as deeply as possible.

I bet they’ve realised the world does not exist for their benefit. Which is why she is forging her own place, by being alone, and dealing with loneliness along with Yuichi, together but separate; fighting their very own battles side by side, backing up one another.

Looking at them these past few days, dazzled by the light given off by each other’s eyes, has reminded me that we should experience both the painful and enjoyable aspects of life, appreciate the sacredness of life, you know? In the aftermath of so much loss, they salvage what they can from life, affirming the power of love and friendship to help them survive their personal    tragedy.

Loss is the governing force of our lives, source of everything (of love and community) but also of pain and torment: the one thing we all share, the one thing that links each of us to every other human being on this planet; what wounds us also connects us, people can and will be lost but we cannot stop loving them, we cannot stop reaching out to them.

Although they’ve always been dancing around their increasing intimacy, and with youth and beauty perishing easily, their love could easily be exchanged as platonic. Yet, love is never incidental, there can be no true coincidence in a world where people are victims of fate; these unbelievable occurrences and marvelous events extend to a universe where the element of magic, of the fantastic, arranges for them, as lovers, to be together.

Although bad things continue happening to good yet passive people, magic comes their way: the unintentional meeting of gazes, fingers brushing accidentally, an impulsive embrace, makes Mikage’s shy yet growing awareness of physicality heighten the tension between the two; making me wonder what happens in their minds in those fleeting moments of contact.

Yuichi truly struck a chord in Mikage. Her cuteness, innocence, naivete, and nostalgia…she is shoujo isn’t she? She should at least have a chance to live happily ever after, whether or not together with our Yuichi…

And I’ve seen them bond over food… a romantic love confusingly exciting in its discovery, restrained by innocence and hesitation; a sensual form of love where food itself perhaps replaces their sexuality. They always appear to be dancing around sex, unable to make decisions while overwhelmed by grief. But Mikage’s relationship with Yuichi is so much more; he is the surrogate family she has never had, her anchor in critically desperate, lonely times of her life when she needs family/ a lover to love, and love her, unconditionally; someone to place her everything into, someone to nurture and be nurtured from. For their relationship has been growing under the moon, one of life’s miraculous forces, a silent overlooker of their love. No such romanticism could have flourished without hope; happiness cannot exist without it, hope subverts the ugly realities of despair and helplessness to alleviate Mikage and Yuichi’s suffering, if only just bearable, uniting them to confront their demons together.

I can trust you with this can I? I might not believe in gods but I certainly do vividly believe in the help from a woman who certainly knows what it feels like to suffer and endure, to continue battling for the recognition of their own identity, for themselves and their world, their most important creation: their sons.

Invariably yours,

Your dear friend Chika XXK

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