A little talk with Mr. K vol.1
In the travel, I try talking to the local people as much as possible. Not a big talk, just a general conversation. However I often see some tips for understanding the country in it. Then it isn't a little conversation any more.
In the evening on the day, I was walking on the street in Iran. I had taken a bus although I didn't understand for the route sign in Persian. I had thought the bus would keep going on the main street straight to the square of the city center. But contrary to my expectation, it had turned away from the street. After all, I got 4km long walk to the downtown.
When Mr.K, Iranian, talked to me, I was in the half way of the walk. He had tanned face and silver-gray hair. A big plastic bag was hanging from his arm.
"Hi, Where are you from?" "From Japan" "You enjoy Iran?" "Yeah, I think so" Once we found common language, English in this case, got start a small talk. The scenery was darken. In the reddish sun light, Mr.K and me got walk side by side for the direction of downtown.
Recently Mr.K retired a factory which he had worked for long years. He had been engineer. "By the way, how about you?" He asked to me. I didn't like the moment getting private question about private. I wanted to be invisible and just listen what he's saying. Anyway ... I opened the mouth
"Bla bla bla ... So I'm still single, not married, and walking to the downtown at dusk" Then Mr.K asked to me."Are there so many people who don't get married at your age in Japan?" "It became in high rate after getting into depression. More over, population of new born baby is declining" "Why?" "Maybe they cannot afford to raise a child" "Interesting. Because we are in similar situation here" I got little surprise from his words.
According to him, by the long depression and economic sanctions, raising child became more difficult in Iran too. For example, children had not needed to buy even stationery when Mr.K was child. Compare to that, it's too expensive raising child now a days. The number of classroom was lessen in half, from 12 to 4 for instance. I couldn't believe that. Because I was often asked by many children if I could took their picture in Iran. However gathering from Mr.K's stressed words, It must be true. I had thought that Iran would be conservative Muslim country. So most of the Iranian people get married at certain age, have a family and raising a child. In other words, I had never expected to hear the story about late marriage and declining birth rates from Iranian.
The obvious thing is that uncertainty of economy and society affect to the birth rate. Although Mr.K had nodded for the similar social issues between the two countries, he shown more serious expression when I told him "Now Japanese over 65 year-old population is 1/4 of the all. And the rate will be increase for next decades" The fact in Japan is so serious and shocking.
"Salaam(hello)!" "Salaam, Mr.K. Why don't you stop by my house?" "Ah, thanks. I'll be there later" The man who talked to Mr.K was his ex-colleague in the factory. He had retired and enjoyed the after life like Mr.K.
We kept going on. At the front of flower shop, a old man talked to Mr.K. "Salaam, Mr.K. Who is he?" "Our guest from Japan" I was introduced. They talked something in Persian for a while. Then we left.
"He's my ex-colleague too. After retire he found the new job at the flower shop" He told me. Well, each person has each life.
" Portrait " Esfahan, Iran 2013
Far above the Straits of Hormuz