July, 1997 Children's play; River playing

Mieko Nagano : Oita city

This is one of my pleasant memory in my childhood.

After the rainy season, a swimming season is now open. Children are very happy to go swimming in a nearby river together with play mates. They throw away clothes on the rocks of the river and jump into the water. Elder children can swim across the river floating on the stream. Small children splash about in the water close to the bank using rubber rings. Mothers are closely watching children by rotating parasols, holding the rubber rings, and taking care if anybody is out of sight.

Somebody blew a whistle! Now all children should come out of the water to bask in the sun. The lips of elder children who were in the water for long time turn purple. Let's take warmth on the sun heated rocks on the bank. After children get warmer, they again play for a while. The mothers call up children to take them home. Children frankly get out of the river for preparation of going home. Well cooled water melons may wait children at home.

Regrettably, there is few rivers left that children can play like this way. As the rivers are contaminated or dangerous, children have to go to swimming pools with complete equipment. But it is still pleasant to recall happy days when we stretch ourselves out on the river bank, swimming together with small fish, and hot sunny trails walking with small children hand in hand following after the elder boys and girls.