Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan
Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan
Photo by Marek Okon.

As a way to live a life and leave it, one could do worse.


Born of a humble & poor family,
Received minimum education,
Learnt how to live by himself at fourteen,
Survived storms, one after another:
Bullets, starvation & concrete wastelands.

A day’s fare — a cup of brown rice, vegetables,
Small fish, a little water, & a lot of wind.
Delighted by children & women,
Sharing beads of sweat with farmers,
Fishermen, carpenters & blacksmiths,
Paying no attention to soap, shampoo,
Toilet paper & newspapers.

Now & again
Loves to suck the nectar of honeysuckle,
To flutter with dragonflies & butterflies,
To chatter with winter wrens,
To sing songs with coyotes,
To swim with humpback whales,
And to hug rocks in which dinosaurs sleep.

Feels at home in Alaskan glaciers,
Mexican desert, virgin forest of Tasmania,
Valley of Danube, grasslands of Mongolia,
Volcanoes in Hokkaido & Okinawan coral reefs.

And — one sunny summer morning
He will disappear quietly on foot
Leaving no shadow behind.

—Nanao Sakaki, Summer Solstice, 1993

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