A Generation in Japan Faces a Lonely Death

TOKIWADAIRA, Japan — Cicadas, every Japanese schoolchild knows, lie underground for years before rising to the earth’s surface in summer. They climb up the nearest tree, where they cast off their shells and start their short second lives. During their few days among us, they mate, fly and cry. They cry until their bodies are found on the ground, twitching in their last moments, or on their backs with their legs pointing upward.

Chieko Ito hated the din they made. They had just started shrieking, as they always did in early summer, and the noise would keep getting louder in the weeks to come, invading her third-floor apartment, making any kind of silence impossible. As one species of cicadas quieted down, another’s distinct cry would take over. Then, as the insects peaked in numbers, showers of dead and dying cicadas would rain down on her enormous housing complex, stopping only with the end of summer itself.

“You hear them from morning to evening,” she sighed.

  • Drunk by Noon ✓

    Have lots of kids, at least 4.
    Acquire assets and make money so you will not live in isolated squalor when you are old.
    That is the secret to enjoying all of your life.

    • Maurice Miner

      Hmm, DbN are you a Muslim by any chance?

      • Drunk by Noon ✓

        No, I’m not, but I do wish I had more kids, and was rich.

        • Justin St.Denis

          If you have good relationships with your kids, that IS wealth.

    • Justin St.Denis

      Hmm… That is pretty much what we did, Drunk. Naturally, a lot of that “acquiring” was done over the long haul or AFTER the kids were out on their own. Now retired, I enjoy my relationships with my kids, their wives/husbands, my grandkids etc. But that’s expensive, too. 😉

  • Hard Little Machine

    That was an absurdly long piece even for the New York Handwringing Times. Yes people get old and die alone. I’m amazed that the Times didn’t use it as an opportunity to Trump-bash over health care because these people are super old and they don’t die in a hospital..you know all ‘healthy’ and shit. Or maybe the Times should scream that this is why Japan must welcome in 60 million ‘refugees’ to be home health care aids.

  • kurt9

    I read like this and wonder why so many remain hostile to efforts such as Aubrey de Grey’s SENS to end aging. I honestly do not understand the hostility and opposition to the development of effective anti-aging bio-medicine.

  • WildWelshWoman

    I almost got the shivers when reading the short narrative on the blog. Reminded me of Silence of the Lambs.