The fairy tale "The Three Little Pigs" is beloved not only in Japan but also around the world. The story goes like this: Three little pigs leave their parents and set off on their own. The eldest builds a house of straw, the middle child builds one of sticks, and the youngest constructs one of bricks. However, the straw and stick houses, while quickly built, lack durability. As a result, they are destroyed by a wolf, and the pigs are eaten. The brick house built by the youngest, however, remains unshaken when the wolf tries to huff and puff, and when the wolf attempts to enter through the chimney, the youngest pig places a pot on the fireplace. The wolf falls into the boiling water and meets his end. Thus, the threat is removed, and the youngest pig lives peacefully.

This story teaches the importance of diligence and resourcefulness. However, it is questionable whether these values still resonate today. While the importance of diligence is undeniable, once people enter the workforce, the ability to work quickly becomes more important. Many working adults have experienced that as long as they can keep up appearances, there is no problem.

The development of communication and transportation networks has contributed to this change. In the past, there was a "waiting time" for everything, which could be used to prepare or study. Nowadays, with the internet enabling global transactions and 24-hour businesses becoming common, there is virtually no "waiting time" left. In this situation, it is difficult to make adequate preparations, making it seem as if everyone in Japan is living in a house of straw.

So, what should we do to build a brick house? The answer is to pause and think. Instead of being swept away by the speed of society, let's consider what preparations are truly important for us. Even if we cannot keep up with the pace, our lives will not be taken away. However, if we go with the flow without thinking and rely solely on quick fixes, we will eventually be devoured by the metaphorical wolf.

Japanese people are known globally for their diligent national character. To remind ourselves of this, we should strive to walk with our feet firmly on the ground. We should pause, work steadily at our own pace, and not let ourselves be controlled by others. This, perhaps, is the most important thing for protecting ourselves.

(Columnist Yoko Fujikawa) April 2023

(コラムニスト ふじかわ陽子)2023-04

 三隻小豬與停下來的重要性 童話『三隻小豬』在日本以及世界各地都受到喜愛。故事大綱是這樣的。三隻小豬離開父母,大哥建了一棟稻草屋,二哥建了一棟樹枝屋,最小的則建了一棟磚屋。然而,稻草屋和樹枝屋雖然建得快,但耐用性卻有問題...。因此,被狼破壞了,小豬們被吃掉了。最小的磚屋即使被狼撞擊也毫無動搖,即使狼從煙囱潛入,也會把鍋放在壁爐上。然後,將狼扔進沸騰的水中,懲罰了它。就這樣,威脅被消除了,小豬平靜地生活下去。

(專欄作家 藤川陽子)2023-04