S: Sehnsucht, longing
Longing always has to do with the lack of something: a person who is not here, ideas or hopes that have not become reality. Longing is always a state of contingency; it holds the option of many possible things before you decide on one, or before any single one becomes concrete. The moment a certain longing is fulfilled, the longing disappears. The longing for love is ubiquitous, although we cannot rationally explain why we have fallen in love with a certain person and no other. Longing can be associated with both sadness and pleasure. On one side, the focus is on lack and loss, on the other, it is on leaving everything open in order to preserve the state of longing. It is either about actually implementing and realizing mental images, or it is about maintaining an imaginary state. Longing can be directed at the future but also at the past; it arises from loss and manifests itself as a lack of nearness, intimacy and love. In one’s imagination, longing can compensate for a lack, but at the same time, the feeling of lacking something is encouraged or formed by longing.
Is longing a means for questioning past or future options in life? Are the answers inscribed in the reality of the present? Longing keeps what is absent or fictitious alive in an imaginary way. In a way, it is a response to a lack. When a person is absent, what we are aware of, among other things, are the lost answers. This also means the lost willingness or ability to respond, in the sense of response-ability. It is not merely the lack of a response, but absent responsibility. To take responsibility, one must consciously perceive the other person or thing. The willingness to respond to another person or other things does not automatically mean taking responsibility, but it can be seen as a prerequisite. When we answer, we think about the other person’s situation in the sense of response-ability, looking for answers to the questions and challenges in life together. In this way, “I” become part of “us”. That could be an answer, even if it doesn’t explain anything.
If we don’t only think about ourselves, but also about what we have in common, nearness arises. Can a close relationship also arise out of the longing for nearness? To some extent, abstract forms of nearness can become very real, for example, the nearness of memories, books, or digital communication. In contrast, physical nearness is defined by shared experiences and well-being. Since we had limited opportunities to be physically near each other during the pandemic, we were particularly conscious of our loss of physical nearness. In contrast to digital meetings, when we encounter someone physically, we perceive them with all of our senses. Although sensual experiences are just one aspect of nearness, they can help us to assess situations and find answers. In turn, a sense of connection and responsibility is created by virtual nearness, how we think and feel, how we see and take care of things, what is important to us or what we believe, etc. Not only is the longing for nearness a determining aspect in our lives, so is the fear of nearness. Who do we want nearby? Who do we want to be far away from?
A: All will be fine
Can something become fine again? There is always a chance that things will turn out to be fine. If this were not so, everything would be predetermined. Change can be both sad and hopeful. It is usually both. The relationship between past and future can also have a decisive impact on the present. Nearness can be maintained through memories. And nearness can be created by being responsible about the future. Is there a parallel or a connection between the goodness of things and of people? What does it mean to be a good person; who decides or judges? What we mean by goodness is decided in the context of different conventions, whether legally established laws or unwritten social rules. These lay down separate frameworks for action. But also individual people have different ideas about this. For things to become fine, people must also be fine.
Empathy can help people find answers together, especially in times when self-realization and self-marketing is the rule. If we focus on what we have common, the chances are better. It is not always possible to be empathetic. But conscious attention to other people’s feelings, thoughts, emotions and so on, also of living beings in general, can help make everyone’s life better worth living. Also out of sorrow, or in the sense of its aesthetics.
translation from german: Cynthia Peck-Kubaczek
Imaginings, apart from 2, 3 things I know about him...
S for Sweet-tempered, which he radiates while nonetheless resolutely pursuing his own goals. Letting decisions happen rather than
forcing them. Living gentle “error-friendliness”, knowing that humans are flawed beings, beings that are irreparable...
for Streetwise: He has to leave the shelter of the schoolroom early, he studies in the school of hard knocks, real life. Tough stuff. He accepts his lot in life
and accomplishes a great great deal.
for Self-made man: Set up a restaurant as a one-man business, cultivate regular customers, be responsible for everything, survive crises,
work even with aching feet, never ever allow yourself to get sick... That takes strong will, courage, sutamina! and and and.
for Sun worshipper: “...there’s nothing more beautiful than being under the sun...” with a hat, Hawaiian shirt, Sanshin…. Short escapes, preferably
to Okinawa... and the trips to Austria, from where he loves flying to Spain or Croatia. Just for the sun!
for Sport: First of all golf. But more remarkable is the child in him and around him: In the middle of a Viennese outdoor restaurant he starts to play
with his little son, throwing him some juggling balls. Everyone else eats and talks. He jokes around with Emil.
At O-Shogatsu, he keeps up an old tradition with friends: Edo-Goma (Begoma), a Japanese game with spinning tops. Connected to the players with a string,
the tops/koma spin on a low tin barrel. Sanae’s spins the longest and he wins.
Good luck for the coming year! This game of skill is as simple as it is difficult. Still today it is fascinating to watch how moving and standing still can happen at the same time. If the koma is so
fast that you can no longer tell whether it is spinning or standing still, they say in Japanese that the spinning top “is sleeping”. Also Sanae’s top?
for Silence: The guests at the counter talk, the closeness between the little restaurant’s chef and his customers is obvious, the chef
cooks right in front of them. He scoops up a portion of noodles, juggles some plates, fishes for some onions, drapes the ingredients on top of the soup, he
arranges a few more extras, and so many stories about life and worries rush past his ears....This is his answer: A dish
set before the customer’s nose, something like: So, now enjoy it, sip it all up and everything will be fine....
Those “Westerners”, they just never stop talking! I, on the other hand, communicate “hands on”. I offer you home-made food.
His modest philosophy of silence is probably similar to that of a character in a novel by Murakami Haruki, who has his protagonist Menshiki
say, “There are some things in life that cannot and should not be explained. Because in most cases the most
important things get lost.” And so the fushigina koto buzz inextricably around the room, like the big and small riddles of life and its oddities.
A for Ageless: He always looks the same. Neither young nor old. How does he manage that despite everything he does?
for “Assimilated social maverick”, because he is equipped with a lot of common sense. He prefers his own unconventional
path through life, and is not alone in that.
for Assiduous worker: Delivering consistent quality every day also means starting with new enthusiasm every day. Because as far as
famous noodle soup is concerned, and also food in general, you can’t fool a Japanese.
N for Noodle restaurant: Harubarutei is a cross between a bar, an izakaya and a ramen-ya, it’s a Sanae creation. Jazz music is playing, the norens
hanging at the entrance change according to the season, there are cocktails like Kyodo Sundowner and Okinawa Beach Drink... tapas and
the cult ramen soup, with variations of course. At least since the movie Tampopo, we now all know about the fine art of making ramen
until she is finally umai.
And how does Sanae do it all? His strenuous business, playing games, travelling, making music, skiing and all those
for nantonaku. Just like that, nantonaku…
A for Autodidact: He learned all sorts of things, nantonaku. Amazing and admirable.
for All day hero, one of those who are quiet, unobtrusive and thus all the more impressive.
E for the Event Edwina
for the Event Emil
for the event on the bicycle: falling from death into life, into another way to go on living.
translation from german: Cynthia Peck-Kubaczek