Over the years I've let a number of my dreams slip away.
Some of the things that I once longed to do, such as becoming an astronaut (seriously), are simply no longer feasible. And some of them, such as living in the south of France, hold no interest for me anymore. Since high school, though, I have continued to hold on tightly to the dream of being a successful novelist. (Please, stop laughing.)
Many people I have met over the years have also told me that they have dreams, too. But while I cannot imagine my life without that dream of mine leading the way and commanding a good three to five hours a day of my time, most of the people give an insouciant shrug as they watch their dreams slip unceremoniously away.
One such woman, Akiko, told me years ago of her dream to live in Paris, to be a Parisienne and walk along the Avenue Montaigne with her French poodle in the park, dressed smartly in prêt-à-porter fashions, a Channel bag hanging from her arm, and so on. For a while she was even studying French.
Over the years, we lost touch as you do. But a few months ago I bumped into her at Ôhori Park.
Akiko was walking a shibaken. Dressed casually in jeans and a Uniqlo sweatshirt, she was clutching a plastic shopping bag full of dog crap instead of designer bag. She wasn't nearly as talkative as she used to be, and seemed eager to say good-bye and move on. It was sad in a way.
 Where this dream came from, I cannot really say. Where many writers started off as bookworms, I was slow to pick up reading, so much so that I almost flunked first grade. I blame this on a dearth of good reading material around me when I was young. It wouldn’t be until high school that I was finally introduced to the “joy” of reading, the gateway drug to literature being J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.