February 16, 2012

Chinese Cajones

It is no secret to readers of this blog that I am not a fan of February. As long as I live in the northern hemisphere, the shortest month always feels like the longest. Now creeping into mid-February, I feel the tantalizing promise of baseball’s spring training, dangling the assurance of summer warmth, just over the horizon, beckoning. This makes the lingering cold all the harsher. 

Trying to be optimists, we often do things on weekends that banish the midwinter blahs. In the first weekend of this month, we went to Yokohama’s Chinatown to watch some of the celebrations of the Chinese New Year. A small park in the middle of the Yokohama Chukagai (Chinatown) hosted traditional new year dragon dances, drum shows, and marked the new lunar year with salvos of firecrackers. Throughout the neighborhood, the air was suffused with the whiff of incense.

One episode shames me into admitting I’m a winter whiner. A Chinese acrobat showed me what a wussy I am: he emerged on stage, amid hundreds of onlookers, in temperatures hovering around five degrees Celsius, wearing only a Lycra gymnast uniform. He then proceeded balance himself on six or seven chairs in succession, ignoring the crowd and the loud exhortations of the emcee. Eventually, he suspended himself on one hand on the topmost chair, and twirled around—all of this at least 20 meters above the ground. That takes tremendous mental and physical discipline, and requires a huge pair of stones. Saludo!

Thank you, Sir, for reminding me that a little cold is only a wee mental obstacle, and nothing more.  And, yes, Lady E. and M both had an enjoyable afternoon in Chinatown.

No comments: