The Fastest Way to Enoshima
illustration by Mika Inohara
It's around 10 a.m. City is ready to be thronged with people looking for their lunch. Shopping street is being busy to receive hungry local people to refuel on the go. The moment empty cardboard boxes fly gracefully into the air, they become piled up. Many brooms go right and left restlessly at the shop fronts. Foods and side dishes pop up in the showcases right after they are cooked. All are set now. The center area of Nakadori Shopping Street is where I was born as a daughter of merchant. I remember that when I was little, I used to unlock the door of my house by myself in order to go out the street to find something fun. Looking at merchants handling their work efficiently was one of the excitements that I found during the period. One lady of cake shop drew a message with a chocolate pen. At egg store, old lady who was bent over put an egg on one peace of newspaper and tried to wrap it up by licking her rough-skin fingers. Old man of vegetable store threw the change into the basket. Their each and every movement was like magic as I stood there for a long time without being bored. About 30 years have passed since then, and the street has changed dramatically. I still love to walk through the street as I did before. Why? Because all shops still have their own uniqueness coming from their magic-like technic, commodities, people, and price, and those fragments give me a picture that they are ready to make costumers happy. They look fresh, delicious and beautiful as everything at street was certainly telling me how attractive they are. The street is full of those treasures. Once you went through the street and hit the main road, you will encounter that smile. The kind smile what only Ofuna has... Yes, the smile of Kannon statue.
I remember that Kannon statue was often used as a sketch model for students of Ofuna elementary school. Hanging a drawing board from their neck, they drew the statue as he/she likes. The shape is terribly difficult to draw. I have a memory that among 30 sketches of Kannon statue pinned at the back of classroom everything was different to each other. There was a sketch that Kannon looked intelligent. Another sketch had greyish color for its white face. Since I grew up by looking at the smile every day, I feel some sense of nostalgic that I finally came back to my hometown when I saw the smile. At dusk, there are moments that I suddenly feel sense of loneliness and memory of losing someone. The smile of old man at bean-curds vendor watching people walking the street while drinking some alcohol, the side face of man cutting fishes in earnest. The face at fruit store and the face at kimono shop. Those memories and culture they established remain still at this street and in my heart. I remember everything. Ofuna is good city because it says so. Written by Yo