Filled with Stars

fiction, Feb. 2019

SAKI.S

Her smartphone, which didn’t usually make any sound, just got several LINE (1) notifications. Selina Miyazawa couldn’t guess from whom, so she immediately checked them. While scrolling through her phone, she kept receiving so many more messages that it was hard to reach the last one.

It was from a group chat with her friends from college. Misa sent: “I got married!” with a picture—she and her husband holding a marriage with a picture of her and her husband.

The other three college friends immediately sent: “Congratulations!”; “Please invite me to your wedding ceremony”; “Wish you a happy married life!”; etc. Before thinking about anything, Selina’s fingers also typed a word “Congrats!”.

Selina, now 28 years old and still not yet married herself. She went through the motions of congratulating ye another friend on an upcoming wedding, though she was getting tired of sending such messages, because they reminded her that her friends were moving on with their lives and she was not closer to getting married herself.

“Excuse me Ms. Miyazawa, can we talk for a second?” One of Selina’s colleagues spoke to her from behind. The colleague’s voice was a bit sharp, and she became worried that he might see her on her phone and criticize her not working hard.

So, Selina quickly locked up her smartphone and turned back. She was relieved a bit that now she couldn’t see Misa’s happy smile picture.

On her way home, Selina saw a slight sign that spring was approaching, but still the branches of trees along the street seemed very cold (2), and she tied her scarf up tightly.

In her coat pocket, her smartphone chimed with another notification. “Let’s have some lunch or dinner to celebrate!” Tomomi was always the one to make a suggestion.

“Where do you wanna go?”
“I had dinner at this Italian restaurant before.”
“Oh it looks delicious…(Heart).”
“I’m free next weekend.”
“How about you, Selina?”

While holding onto a strap on the metro, Selina typed “I’m fine with those days too (Smile)”. She locked up her phone and looked at her reflection in the window, but it showed an expression far from the smile emoji she just sent. All the other passengers were focusing on their phones, so Selina watched them through their reflections, without reservation.

And she noticed that someone was staring back at her: an elementary school girl, a passenger Selina rarely sees at such a time. The girl’s red school bag and yellow hat stood out in the train filled with black coats.

Selina always diverted her eyes as soon as possible when she met others’ eyes, but for some reason she couldn’t take her eyes off the girl. The girl’s eyes seemed to be filled with stars. Gazing at such eyes, Selina felt as if she was soaring into a starry night sky……

……With the announcement, “Tokyo, Tokyo”, the passengers in the window disappeared at once. Selina came back to herself and also rushed off the train. The school girl vanished.

At the station, Selina stopped by an accessory shop, which she always passed. A kanzashi, a Japanese traditional hair accessory, caught her eye. “I’ll never really wear it, except for maybe during the summer festival”. She always thought like that, but this time, she couldn’t help herself, because the kanzashi was so beautiful with a deep blue glass bead on the top.

Selina couldn’t wait to get home. She took out the kanzashi from her bag. She held it up to the street light. The blue bead seemed as if it would be fille with many stars. Although the real night sky in Tokyo was cloudy and Selina couldn’t see any stars, she felt as if she could still see the clear night sky in the kanzashi.

Seeing that, Selina’s mind and feelings gradually became clear. Until now, she worked and earned money because “everyone” did so, and she wanted to get married because many friends of hers did so. The clarity of the sky in the kanzashi helped Selina see her life more clearly. It helped her stopped living her life according to social pressure and trying to meet other people’s expectations. She decided it was time to focus on herself and what she really wants to do with her life.

While touching the kanzashi with her right hand, her left handtyped “I’m gonna look search for a restaurant, too. Looking forward to seeing you guys (Smile).”

She struggled to put on the kanzashi, but she finally got it on the back of her hair. The blue bead reflected the light of her room and twinkled for a second, along with Selina truly smiling at herself in the mirror.

Way to go:
You can make your original accessories with Japanese-style glass beads in “kinari glass“, Asakusabashi, Tokyo.
In Asakusabashi, which is near Asakusa, you can buy lots of handicrafts items:
Open Google Map

Footnotes:
1. Line is the most-used chat app., in Japan. It’s popular with a variety of charming stamps.

2. Traditionally, Japanese people are familiar with animism—the belief that places, objects, plants, and all creatures have a distinct spiritual essence, like believing that plants have souls. So, it is usual to personify the nature.

written by

SAKI.S

Chief editor of mono.coto Japan & Owner of books1016. Lived in the US, China, Germany, Taiwan and HK. Love cookies

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