25 June, Makiko Uchidate

文字数 3,584文字

The Mystery Behind the Miracle

My grandpa turned seventy-six today, the twenty-fifth of June. Sometimes he gets things in a muddle, but I wouldn’t say he’s got dementia. Even I can tell that, though I’m just in the ninth grade .
  Grandpa is my mom’s dad. He was born and raised in Morioka in Iwate Prefecture, where he taught Japanese language and literature at a prefectural high school all his working life. Even after Grandma fell ill and died, he continued to plant flowers in the garden and take courses in literature, which is his hobby. He lived alone in Morioka.
  But sometime last year, his confusion and forgetfulness started getting worse. So he came to live with us in Tokyo, where we are because of Dad’s work.
  The thing that Grandpa is most proud of now is that Iwate is the only prefecture in Japan where not one person is infected with the COVID-19 virus.
  I get all agitated when the evening news comes on the television. Will there still be no infected people? Grandpa always turns to me to find out.
  So, what was the score today for Morioka?
  Every day I’ve been able to reassure him.
  Still none today, Grandpa! But it’s not just Morioka that has none. There isn’t a single case in all Iwate. Miyako and Hanamaki and Mizusawa . . . all Iwate is virus free!
  Morioka’s really something, he says.
  No matter how many times I tell him it’s not just Morioka, he still comes out with Morioka.
  The papers and the television refer to Iwate having no cases as a miracle, and this has given Grandpa a new lease on life. Both Mom and Dad say so, too.
  And that’s why the three of us are scared. What if a case of infection shows up today? Each day brings the same anxiety. If even one shows up, Grandpa will probably knowingly nod and say, Hmm, thought so. I hope that day doesn’t come. And today, of all days, is his birthday. We wanted the miracle to continue. We were scared of turning on the television.
  No cases today! Happy Birthday, Grandpa!
  I was really pleased.
  Iwate is out of this world. I wonder why? I asked Grandpa.
  Grandpa came right to the point, which was unusual for him.
  It’s because of what Miyazawa Kenji, who was from Hanamaki, wrote in the introduction to his story ‘The Restaurant of Many Orders.’ He was talking about people from Iwate, I’d say.
  Then Grandpa went on to quote from memory in a cheery voice:
  We are able to eat the clear and lucid wind and drink the beautiful pink rays of the morning sun.
  I believe that Grandpa absorbed that lucid wind and those pink sunbeams while teaching students about Kenji from a classroom where they could all see Mt. Iwate.
  If the day comes when Iwate’s streak is broken, I know what I’m going to tell Grandpa. . . .
  We should let the virus be. Let’s watch something more entertaining.

Translated by Roger Pulvers/Arranged by TranNet KK

Makiko Uchidate
Born in Akita Prefecture, 1948, and raised in Tokyo. Graduated from Musashino Art University. Made her debut as a writer in 1988. Her writing for television includes


which won the 1st Sugako Hashida Award in 1993,



which was broadcast as the 1997 NHK taiga drama production, and




(My blue sky) which won the Hoso Bunka Foundation Award in 2000, among others. Former member of the Yokozuna Deliberation Council, and enrolled at Tohoku University’s Graduate School to study sumo, graduating in 2006. Her novels include



(The person who ended) and



(I’ll soon die anyway), among others.




  • 特大
  • 生成り
  • 水色
  • 明朝
  • ゴシック
  • 横組み
  • 縦組み