By Hiroshi SAKURAI, April 2021
Today, I would like to talk about to you about how stupid I am.
Recently, I did a medical check-up, like every year, and I was shocked to hear that my height had reduced from 175 cm to 172cm! My weight has also been steadily increasing in proportion to my shrinking height. When I had my waist measured, I was also shocked: 86cm. You see, I usually pull my belly in a little when it gets measured, but this time it seems I was being too careless.
Or, rather, the fact that I'm talking about such things, is stupid!
I also went to my dentist the other day and he told me a Senryu that read:
Well. That’s just me…
(note: a “Senryu” is a cynical, ironical form of poem mainly about people – as opposed to Haiku which are more serious and mainly about nature. The Senryu above reflects how ironical it is that elderly people, as they get older, would wake up so early that they eventually wake up and wait for their morning bell to ring.)
This dentist is a great, skillful man by the way. He is quite an unruly person but has also a great sense of justice. Back in the days, it seems he even had a lot of trouble with the Ministry of Health.
At one point he told me (in Yamaguchi dialect): "I'm always being told what to do, and I never say anything back. I always have to put up with it…”
On the examination table, I said to him: “But, doctor, you always talk and talk and talk; taking advantage of your patients who can’t talk back with their mouth open!”.
"Yeah you’re right. Just the other day someone said to me that, if I should ever wear a pedometer, it should not be around my waist but around my mouth! Ahahahaha!”, he said laughing.
(poem by unknown poet)
Another day, I was out for a walk when I saw a small truck parked in front of a friend's house. There was something written on the back of it and when I looked at it, it read:
“At 18 years old you drown in love, at 80 years old you drown in the bath".
I still have 10 years to go until I'm 80, but I wonder how many centimeters my waist will be then… It's scary.
Anyway; our stock of Yamada-Nishiki rice at the end of last month was 150,000 bales (9,000 tons)! That's a bit much. This is probably more than a quarter of the national production of Yamada-Nishiki for the last year. When I visited the three warehouses where we keep our stock, I was amazed at the sheer volume. But then again, we are the ones who bought it, so what am I amazed about right?
The reason, as you may have guessed, is the decline in sales last year due to the virus spread. From March to May last year, sales were less than half of the previous year's level. We were so frightened by this that we halved our production of sake, and even though demand recovered from July onwards, mainly from overseas, we were unable to meet this demand due to stock shortage. As a result of these two factors, last year's sales were 80% of the previous year's level.
Normally, it would have been wise to reduce the purchase amount of Yamada-Nishiki in response to this, but unfortunately, I am not a wise businessman...
As you may remember, we started producing disinfectant ethanol from the expensive Yamada-Nishiki rice, sold Yamada-Nishiki in small bags as a food product…etc. We worked hard to use up all the Yamada-Nishiki rice available. We all made a fair amount of money, but not enough to cover for all the losses. The result of these deductions is this stock of 150,000 bales. Silly me…
I've always been a bit of an idiot. (You can't get rid of stupidity unless you die.)
But I think it was the rightful decision for me back then to tell the CEO, "Let's not cancel our rice orders to producers”. (I really am stupid, aren't I?).
By the way, it seems that we will be able to get rid of this excess inventory in about three years, supported by strong overseas demand.
Anyway, the unrepentant and unaware sake producer will go on for today. So, everyone, let's get on with it, even though the virus is still a problem, the vaccine hasn't arrived, and we may or may not have the Olympics.