the day after arriving in hong kong after my dramatic departure from tokyo in the midst of the crisis, we went to watch the ballet show performed by the oldest, 6-year-old daughter of our friends as promised earlier.
the show was held in the concert hall of the hong kong city hall, in a quite formal manner for young children of her age. official tickets were required for the entry, all the performers were dressed in different costumes made for various themes (red tutu for flame, yellow tutu for stars, white tutu for marshmallow, etc.). the stage was nicely decorated with different materials, and the use of lighting and sound effects were professionally done. keen parents were seated in the front rows with a large flower bouquet for their children’s milestone.
our friends’ daughter’s performance came in the 2nd act, 5 minutes after the show had started. her act, along with 10 other girls, finished within 3 minutes or so. she performed very well in fact, dancing excitedly and proudly. she was so cute that i could not help waving towards her on stage, even though i knew she could not really see me. and for that brief moment i did not think about the problem back in japan and appreciated the new cultural experience of a parenthood.
after her act was finished, we sat there to watch other children perform for another half an hour. it was the strangest 30 minutes that i had ever experienced, being totally out of place, because i didn’t know these girls in person, because it was outrageously peaceful at the concert hall, because i was anxious about japan, because i should have been in tokyo protecting my family, because i was safe in hong kong but my family, friends, and millions of other people in japan were facing the fear at that very moment. surreal, was the word to describe how it was to me, to be in that place, at that time, with these happy people. watching the rest of the show, tears came from my eyes, thinking about what the huge crisis we were in back home, what a difference it would make depending on where you live, how lucky these children were in the ballet show for their safety, and what fate could bring to your life.