When I was in junior high and high school, there was a time when it was popular to listen to foreign stations and collect BCL cards, which were sent to us with our comments.
I listened to the BBC in England, the Voice of Ecuador, and even North Korea. My father, who was very strict at the time, bought me a special radio for shortwave broadcasts, and I listened to foreign broadcasts every day.
I thought the world was a small place, because I could listen to stations from all over the world just by tuning in. There were broadcasts in Japanese, but also in English, Korean, and other languages, and I felt that I was in touch with the world when I could write about the program in simple English and actually receive a vericard from abroad.
North Korea had Japanese language broadcasts at the time, and I was surprised to receive a vericard. When I read in Japanese that the name of the great leader of North Korea was wrong, I really hoped that nothing had happened to me, because the word “Kiminsung” was repeatedly mentioned.
Most broadcasters sent only one vericard, but North Korea sent about ten postcards, which became an important collection.
In addition to shortwave broadcasts, I also began to listen to domestic radio programs on medium wave. These were programs that could not be heard on the Miyazaki Broadcasting System.
From April 1978 to October 1989, “Tsurube and Niino no Nukurumi no Sekai” was apparently broadcast on Radio Osaka. I found out from Wikipedia (Tsurube/Shinno no Nukarumi no Sekai – Wikipedia) that I listened to it for about two years during that period. The time frame is listed as 24:00 to 26:30 on Sundays. If I had listened to all of these hours, I would know how neglected I was in school on Monday.
In conjunction with this program, two books titled “The Muddy World” were published. I think I ordered and bought them from a bookstore.
I sent the books to Radio Osaka to have them signed by the two of them and sent them back to me in a self-addressed envelope, and I think the program saved me from a crisis.
I remember, however, that when my mother saw the book, she was appalled and told me not to buy it.
From the title, she probably thought that I was going down the wrong path as an adolescent. I left those two books on my bookshelf, as well as my Vericard, shortwave radio, and all the Patchin and Kamen Rider cards I had collected as a child, and went to university in Tokyo.
I continued to live in Tokyo for the next ten years, but my father had destroyed the house and rebuilt it, so he asked me to come back to my hometown. My father was retiring and said he had used his retirement money to rebuild the house.
Although my life in Tokyo had been fulfilling, I felt that Japan was slowly coming out of recession in the late stages of the bubble economy, and my own work was not going so well.
With my father’s words, I made up my mind to return to my hometown.
I had some expectations that a new life would begin. I decided to throw away the memories of my time in Tokyo.
To tell the truth, I had been pushed to that point.
There was no trace of the house where I had spent my time, but it had been reborn as a large two-story house. My room, of course, was gone. Everything that had been in my room had been destroyed, except for a few paperbacks. I couldn’t find the radio on which I listened to BCL, the two books of “The Muddy World,” or anything else anywhere.
My father and mother had long since passed away, but I couldn’t ask them about it. Where did everything in my room go? Why did they get rid of the things I cherished without asking me?
Perhaps, I thought, my father and mother wanted to renew the memories that remained in that house.
If my father and mother were alive today, I might ask them why they threw them away.
However, it was useless to say anything to my mother and father who only appeared in my dreams.
There are some things that I can buy again now, but to tell the truth, I don’t have the courage to do so.
Maybe it’s because I still feel the need to keep the memories of that time sealed.
No one lives in that house now. My sister sometimes uses it for private piano lessons. I am also estranged from the house these days.
In my dream, my father and mother appear as they were when I was young. I don’t have a chance to ask for the book back anymore.
Maybe that’s okay. Time flies. It might be painful to look back on the memories of that time.