3 July, Mariko Hayashi

文字数 3,714文字

July 3


I was in Ginza for the first time in months. Actually, I had dashed in there once or twice by taxi, but riding the subway and taking a stroll through the 4-chome district at the heart of Ginza—well, that was something I had not done in a long while.
  The building I was looking for was new to me, so I stopped at the 4-chome police box to ask directions. I used to love using a map to find my way about, but recently I’ve lost my touch for that. Then, off I went to my destination. I wonder if you can guess what it was?
  My assigned date for this series was July 3. If I want to write something clever or smart, I can write about any number of things. If I decide to lie, there’s no reason I can’t do it. But without question, the point of these daily essays is to record the truth, plain and unvarnished.
  I could go on and on, but the fact is I went to an obesity clinic, introduced by a friend.
  Though I have always been on the plump side, it’s not something that jumps out at you from old photographs. I look a little chubby, that’s all. Sometime after turning sixty, however, I became genuinely fat. I could not lose weight no matter what I tried, and to cap things off I was having to go to dinner engagements night after night. It was a slippery downward slope as my weight kept climbing, but it was all the self-restraint for the sake of controlling corona that delivered the final blow.
  My gym with personal trainers, where I used to go twice a week, unfortunately had to close. Then my domestic help started working shorter hours and went home at two. Everyday I would go to the supermarket and cook dinner. The menus I planned had lots of vegetables and I made bran-fermented pickles as well. With all that, I should have been able to lose weight, but in the evenings my husband and I drank wine together. We bought cases of Koshu wine to support the wineries in my hometown and signed up with Netflix. Then every night, while gulping down wine, we would watch hit dramas such as Crash Landing on You. It was bliss.
  Meanwhile, I was sitting down all day with loads of work to get through, and the only time I ever went out was to the supermarket. My weight climbed to an alarming level, but I had skipped my annual health check-up due to fear of corona.
  At the clinic I was weighed again. My weight had shot up another four kilograms from pre-corona levels! Blood sugar levels were not so bad, but the checkup revealed a cholesterol problem. I am going to be paying regular visits there for some time to come.
  Crushed by all the statistics, I left the clinic and dropped in at Kyūkyodo, the old specialist paper shop in Ginza, on the way home. There I bought twenty beautiful seasonal postcards that I will use for writing thank-you notes for any midsummer gifts I receive this year.


Translated by Alison Watts/Arranged by TranNet KK

Mariko Hayashi
Born in Yamanashi Prefecture, 1954. Graduated from Nihon University College of Art. Her 1982 collection of essays

Runrun

o

katte

ouchi

ni

kaerō

(Let’s buy euphoria and go home) became a huge bestseller. Won the 94th Naoki Prize in 1986 for Saishūbin ni maniaeba (If you make the last flight of the night) and Kyoto made (Up to Kyoto), the 8th Shibata Renzaburō Award in 1995 for

Byakuren

renren

(Lingering love on the white lotus), the 32nd Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for Literature in 1998 for

Minna

no

himitsu

(Everyone’s secret), and the 20th Shimase Romantic Literature Award in 2013 for

Asukurepiosu

no

aijin

(Asclepius’ lover). She was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 2018. Her recent work is

Bijo

sutei

hōmu

(Stay at home beauty).

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