Theory of Happiness
I glance through the viewfinder. Move slightly while adjusting focus. Then I’m
down on my knees before I realize it. People looking here in the brightness.
I feel that I have known them from long ago. They respond like I know them.
When was it that the phrase “new family*” came into popularity, which everyone
living their separate live? That sentiment reminds me about seeing what appeared
to be a very close family walking together. But when I look at the photos, the
camera shows they are not acquainted.
At first, I am reminded that they are families, not individuals. Or perhaps the
final ghosts of the institution called home. Promises and conventions of ties to
the land and ties to each other, Shinto and Buddhist practices, ceremonies and
rituals with neighbors, house-hold matters and concerns, the daily work of un-
hesitating adults, harmony and conflict, mystery and discovery, ongoing ex-
change of the heart and soul.
The world seems to have aimed toward a definite direction and progressed along
that path. There are times of losing the way and times of finding the way. It’s a
constant surprise, different people and varying senses of the world. Right before
me is the direct look that satisfies all curiosity, the freedom of a bad temper, a
lively sense of affinity, the grace of a lasting smile, a hint of shame, a full laugh.
There are the prologues to stories.
On a day when the sun is shining brightly, I go out with my camera. In the instant
of a breath, the certainty of a glance can reveal the sense of what is truly precious.
*new family : refers to families composed of spouses and children born after
the baby boom that followed WWII. Conceived of by advertisers
and retailers, couples in the "New Family" mindset treat each
other like close friends, rather than in a patriarchal fashion; they
are generally family-minded; and are attuned to fashion.