I have often wondered why in the Chinese/Japanese zodiac there is the dragon, a mythical animal, yet somewhat “honored.” And why there is a snake, a reptile with no arms and legs who crawls on its belly for life and represents, in a sense, evil or treachery. I often wonder, too, why there is no cat (ha).
According to the zodiac, a person born under the sign of the snake is a deep thinker, a person of few words, an intellectual, never lacks money and tends to be a show-off, skeptical and jealous of others.
The first book of the Bible is Genesis, which begins with, “In the beginning God created the Heaven and Earth.” The first chapter deals with the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve, the first two persons God created on earth. It was the snake (serpent) who tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. She, in turn, tempted Adam to eat the fruit. It was not the fruit in the tree, but the pair on the ground who initiated the sins of the world; however, God is a loving God who forgives our sins.
I did not know until I was in my 30s, while watching a nature program with Mama, that snakes are hatched from eggs. I told Mama, “I didn’t know snakes were born from eggs.” Mama looked at me and said, “Omae wa baka neh.”
Anything that crawls, except babies, crabs and lobsters, makes me cringe. There was a time when I would turn my head when a picture of a snake came on the screen at a movie or on TV. Now I can look at the scene, but nonetheless, I still do not like to see a crawling snake.
One day when I was incarcerated in Poston, Arizona, in the early 1940s, while hanging clothes near my barrack, I felt something distinctly crawling across my bare feet. I looked down and saw it was a garter snake. I screamed and the other three families living in the barrack came rushing out. I still remember what a weird sensation that was even after these many years.
To those who read this article, “Thank You.” May 2013, the Year of the Snake, bring you much happiness and prosperity and good health. Do be careful how and where you “crawl.” Sometimes it is better to “crawl” than rush. As the old adage says, “Haste makes waste.”
Hisssssssss and Amen.
Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.