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"Grandpa! Your leg! What happened?"


Doom of Hibakusha


However, the dream lasted for only 3 months. One telephone call from her parent was powerful enough to destroy my vision for happy life ahead. "Keep away from my daughter." The sentence kicked me off, straight from heaven down to hell. How could I have replied? I was just trembling. I wanted to cry out loud and scream "I haven't done anything wrong." I hated the USA for its inhumane act. I was full of anger and despair. I detested the Hibakusha's fate.

I saw nothing in the future. I had nothing that I felt good to remember in the past.

I began to wonder if dying is harder than living. I had managed somehow to overcome several hardships in childhood and in youth. However, that blow was too harsh to overcome. We usually need a dream for keeping on living. I had no dream at all. The world seemed meaningless, as nobody seemed to need me. The last wish of mine was "that if there is reincarnation I will never be a Hibakusha again."

It was quite easy for me to come to the conclusion that I must kill myself. In early June, I tried to commit suicide by taking a lot of a drug (sleeping pills.) I could not die. I wonder why I did not swallow all the pills in the bottle. I thought my mother was looking sadly at me when I was fainting. I felt so bad and I vomited several times before falling asleep. When I woke up, I saw my mother again.

"Hidetaka! You are not the only Hibakusha. You were just predestined to be one. You need more courage and dignity to live." Mother was trying to persuade me not to try to kill myself again. Father hit me with his fist.

"Father, Mother, forgive me. I will endure whatever, and survive." In my heart, I apologized. They needed me, though what they can was quite limited.

I was nervous and wired after the suicide attempt, for many days. I was not feeling comfortable to stay in Nagasaki. I would not be able to remain sane if I ever saw the girl again. The voice of her parent on the phone lingered in my ears. How I wanted to get rid of all that!

One day, I made a phone call to Miyata-san in Osaka. He had worked a little longer than I as a barber. "You can come and work in Osaka, anytime." That was what I wanted to hear. I told my father that I wanted to go to Osaka. "Good. Anywhere in Japan, you can go to work. In case of trouble, remember that you have father and mother in Nagasaki. I hope you will get over this."

When I left Nagasaki for Osaka, I was not yet recovered from my broken heart. My mother saw me off. I was determined not to come back to Nagasaki, a tormenting hometown. I was 24.

I started working at a barbershop with only 3 chairs, in Tsukaguchi, Amagasaki City near Kobe.

The barbershop's master went hunting on holidays. Only once, I went with him hunting boars. We had to keep standing, in snow up to our knees, for many hours. It was a kind of torture for me, and I never did that again.

Sometimes I had fun with him. One day in the summer, we were driving on the Meishin expressway when a police car, blowing its siren, approached us. We had to stop. "You are not allowed to drive slower than 60 kilometers per hour. Drive faster." was the police advice. "They have warned me of speeding before, but this is the very first time I was caught for driving too slow." the master said. We laughed together. However, the next moment, we were in trouble. Our small humble car trembled when we tried to run fast with the windows open. We had to close the windows in order to run fast enough. Soon, we got soaked in our own sweat.

One barber came to work in our shop from Wakayama, so one time we went to Wakayama for an overnight stay. We went fishing on a boat and caught a lot of whitings to bring back home to Osaka. The master's wife cooked them. It was hard to eat them because of the scales. She was from a mountainous area in Hiroshima, and she did not know how to prepare fish.

Master's parents lived in Mita City. They had some bushy land where a lot of Matsutake mushrooms grow in fall. I and other strangers could not find any Matsutake. "Komine-san, one is right there at your foot." Somebody said to me. So I took a closer look, only to find a small bump on the ground. The Matsutake turned up when I removed the fallen pine leaves. In the evening, we enjoyed boiled Matsutake with soy sauce and vinegar. The flavor was nice and the toughness was just right; comfortable to chew.

Another fun in fall was catching ayu (sweetfish). Ayu go downstream for spawning. We spread a net in the water and throw a stone. Surprised ayu get hooked in the net. Ayu smelled like a watermelon. Many ayu lovers eat the whole fish, including the stomach. However, I could not eat the bitter stomach. Life in Osaka was refreshing and enjoyable. I worked hard and had a lot of fun, too. I thought I was lucky to be in Osaka.