VOX POPULI: Recalling the 'happiness of feeling cramped'
2011/01/10 一 例When cold fronts trace graceful curves on the weather map, our country is in the grip of a severe cold wave. Some people must have spent New Year's Day in their hometowns, blanketed with snow. Arriving home safely to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones must have felt especially sweet for those who had to put up with major traffic snarls and other travel inconveniences under the leaden sky.
The thought made me imagine a cozy family scene in a house with its roof covered with snow.
Aoi Mado (Blue window), a children's poetry magazine published in Fukushima Prefecture, ran this piece by a fifth-grade elementary school girl: "The kotatsu (a low heated table covered with a quilt) is warm/ There are five in my family/ My big sister says, 'Wish we had a five-sided kotatsu.'/ My mum is always the last to come to the kotatsu/ She and I squeeze together/ I'm happy with our four-sided kotatsu."
The endearing poem brings out the young girl's simple pleasure and contentment from sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with her mother, and it warms my heart.
According to Hiroshi Sato, the late publisher of this magazine, the poem was written many years ago, and it inspired him to pen this one-line piece: "I'd forgotten about the happiness of feeling cramped."
Our society seems to be suffering the unhappy consequences of refusing to feel "cramped." A series that recently ran in the vernacular Asahi Shimbun looked at fragmented families whose members have lost all sense of familial ties, living out hopelessly barren relations of virtual strangers.
I can only pray that people will stop allowing themselves to become isolated "islands" and reawaken to the comfort and warmth of being physically close to one another.
The late psychologist Hayao Kawai (1928-2007), whose uncanny insight into human nature never ceased to impress me, held that being independent doesn't mean living all alone, and that independence is definitely not the same as isolation.
On the contrary, he argued, an independent person is capable of depending on someone when necessary, and knows perfectly well this is how it should be.
To use the kotatsu analogy, I believe our society in recent years not only got a five-sided kotatsu for every family of five, but also set up partitions on the five corners so everyone could maintain their own space.
Convenience and personal comfort do not always translate into happiness. With the new year just beginning, perhaps we all need to think about the "happiness of feeling cramped."
--The Asahi Shimbun, Jan. 1
Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.
2014.10 讀蕭公權先生1942.12.2 於《成都中央日報》撰《中英友誼之基礎》說：《尚書》說的，"天視自我民視，天聽自我民聽"者，直不啻Vox Populi, Vox Dei 之譯文......
vox populi, vox Dei: (An old proverb quoted by William of Malmesbury in the Twelfth Century), The voice of the people is the voice of God.
最早的 （天声人語）對照本有英文注解. 編輯比較死板---日文的全頁之後，接英譯全文.
朝日新聞著名的（天声人語）專欄, 日英文並列（hc按：（結集出版，20年前買過幾本，想學日文））, 長久以來為人所喜愛
去年十月, 朝日新聞更開闢 天聲新語 新專欄, 廣招會員入會, 號召會員共同為此，專欄增加新頁。
廣招會員 提供互動 開創新局。
我問：「aspara 不知何義？as-para 或蘆筍？」
經http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp / 查他們的「高校」（こうこう）為 a (senior) high school.，不是大陸的「大專」義。