Upon bidding farewell to sweet Matsuda-san, Osaka Ali crossed the railroad tracks on his way to city hall. More brightly colored kimonos signaled to him that he wasn’t too late. Immediately he was captivated by the image of a dashing young man wearing a white kimono and golden hakama …
Chontesei from Suita made a friendly introduction and invited O.A. to be a part of the festivities. He cajoled until he could ride the bike and get his picture taken. What, the intrepid JapanCast reporter asked, did the young man see in his future? For Chontesei-san, the answer was simple: to personally be happy, to share happiness with mankind and to care for a loving family.
Uehara, Yamaguchi and Fujimoto are childhood friends and inseparable. Their interviewer wondered aloud if their friendship could survive into adulthood. Fujimoto-san’s ambition was to become filthy stinking rich in the inu-eat-inu world of Japanese financial firms. His steely gaze and equanimity-oozing poker face sort of convinced that he had the wherewithal to pull it off. The dame in the knockout fur and pink blossom outfit was the greatest altruist of the three; her declared future is in the hospitals and care wards of Western Japan; Yamaguchi-san aspires to be a nurse. Finally, her other escort to her right, Fujimoto-san, stood as firm as Rokko mountain. What field would he enter? He dreams of being the hero, in other words, a firefighter. Osaka Ali wished them all the best of success.
This group of young ladies didn’t want to think of tomorrow, but to enjoy their special day in a carefree moment of blissful reminiscence and fun. Cute, no?
And then, finally, there was the ‘wild bunch’. Ryoutarou, Daiichi, Ryusei, Dai, Shinya and Gupi have in their youth lived by the motto, ‘work hard, play hard’ (or is it ‘play hard, play harder’?). Anyway, they were tickled to be interviewed for an international audience, and wished you all peace today and in the future. They have a strong fellowship, and their only wish is to share fellowship with their countrymen and folks around the world. To prove this point, they invited Osaka Ali out to the after-party festivities that would begin in earnest that very night. Uncertain that he had the stamina to ‘play’ that ‘hard’, this writer gracefully declined [maybe ‘rainen’?].
All light-heartedness aside, the scene in front of the ceremony and the location of these interviews was made all the more poignant by the background music; an instrumental of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. It is said that there are a set of lyrics in Japanese written for the familiar New Year’s melody; but the mood in the Nihongo version is just as you may be accustomed to. This tune is played at this same ceremony in towns throughout Kansai and perhaps the rest of the country. The meaning is the same. Goodbye to ‘times gone past’, welcome to days to come.