Sunday, August 18, 2002

A Mathematician's Desire

In the 15-Aug evening issue of Asahi-shimbun, the mathematician and essayist Masahiko Fujiwara writes a comical essay entitled "Odoriko Motomu (A dancer wanted)". When his mathematical work comes to a difficulty, he goes on a trip as he pleases. During those trips he wishes to meet such a lady as the heroine dancer in the Nobel-Prize winning writer Kawabata Yasunari's novel, "Izu-no-odoriko (The dancer of Izu)". The hero of the novel, a high school student, found the dancer crying without being able to say him "Good-bye".

Prof. Fujiwara writes that the lady whom he wishes to encounter is not necessarily be a dancer but that it is important for her to cry without being able to say "Good-bye." His desire was intensified because his wife got love letters from an English gentleman. However, the desire has never come true, and thus he has lost hope for its realization a little.

Everyman possibly has a similar desire of having a romantic adventure on a trip, but no one can write about it with an excellent sense of humor like Prof. Fujiwara. I am only afraid that as a result of that essay he might get so many letters from ladies who want to be a dancer for him.

I have memories of some young ladies with whom I talked on the train during my trips in younger days. A physics student going to get an exam for the grauate course, an office lady of Hiroshima, a mysterious lady who majored in English literature, . . . I do not think that they remember me. Each one of them and I enjoyed our conversation to some extent, but said simply "Good-bye" to each other when we took off the train.

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