Born in London to a Japanese mother
and Egyptian father.
Still honouring their own cultures, his loving parents brought Hisato up to embrace western society and adopt English as his first language. As a happy young child he would often peacefully drift to sleep listening to his mother’s story telling, which without fail ended, ‘and they all lived happy ever after.’
The abiding memory that came with those childhood stories was to remain with Hisato for the rest of his life. He was a bright child, studied well and achieved excellent results at a prestigious university, where he studied philosophy and ancient history. To the joy of his aging parents, Hisato married a pretty young woman whose parents were wealthy entrepreneurs. She had an eye for material gains and made the most of her position in life to accumulate substantial wealth. Hisato was more spiritually inclined, believing that we can never truly own anything; we merely borrow it while we live. His views made no difference to what he perceived as his wife’s obsessive behaviour with financial gain. A big house, social standing and an interesting and clever husband led to ever more success and no room for children. For Hisato this was not the dream life he’d desired from childhood. After his parents died, he knew it was time to move on.
He imagined they would live forever. After all, didn’t the fairy stories promise this? He took little with him but a few necessities and a change of clothing. With a reasonable bank balance of his own and passport in hand, he set out for the lands of his ancestors. There he hoped to find the answers to immortality that abounded in eastern mythology. First stop, Cairo, then on to Luxor, where his Egyptian parentage, smattering of Arabic and extensive knowledge of ancient history made him a most welcome guest among the local people. He bonded well with boatman Mustafa Mohamed and spent several weeks staying at the family home. They were good days, good company, fine weather, simple healthy food and a chance to meet genuine minded seers of ancient mythology. But even the guides working the valley of Kings only had superficial knowledge and it soon became apparent that what Hisato was discovering, as interesting as it might be, was not taking him towards the edge of immortality. Mustapha and his family begged Hisato to stay. Why not? He could settle there, marry a fine and devoted wife and enjoy a long and happy life in Egypt. But such a life was not long enough to fulfil Hisato’s dream. Many a tear was shed at the airport for his parting, as the aircraft took off for an interconnecting flight to Japan. Perhaps the spiritual city of Kyoto would bring him the answers he sought.
Once more, Hisato soon made friends by his humble ways, his knowledge of the ancients and the Japanese language which his mother had taught him. Hisato seemed frustrated at every turn; Kyoto had become superficially spiritual in order to attract tourist dollars. Hisato already knew as much as any of the priests, monks and scholars of their day and the only gain, was meeting with relatives of his mother. They felt blessed by his arrival; they could not have been more attentive and kind to him. Old Uncle Morihiro, as Hisato knew him, made him welcome in his own home and soon secretly dreamed of marrying Hisato off to a beautiful Japanese woman and there, in the village, they would all live happily ever after, all family and friends together.
One night, as Hisato sat with Uncle Morihiro, he told him of his dreams to realise immortality, just as the ancient Gods had done. Uncle was deeply saddened by the conversation. Being a deep thinking philosopher himself, he had found no reason to believe in the possibilities of immortality.
‘Hisato, my dear boy,’ he said with great affection, ‘only the Gods are immortal and they, only so, while they live in the mind’s of our children and in their children. It is the destiny of man to die. Don’t waste a good life by trying to avoid that which is inevitable, for indeed it is.’
But Hisato was not sure death was inevitable, there must be a way, if only he could find it. He was irritated that the very root of his beliefs, in the lands of his ancestors, failed to provide the answers he sought. He was by now short of money, having spent it on gurus, monks and mystics, but had enough for one more flight. Hisato had already trawled the finest libraries and private collections for manuscripts that might help his quest. He had once read a quite plausible report of an Hermitage of Immortality near an obscure Tibetan/Mongolian border. Here would lay the answer, of this he was sure. Yes, this would be the place.
Once more a happy family was to be saddened by his parting. With much begging and wringing of hands they watched him leave. Part of them died, for he’d taken a piece of their life away with him.
The journey to the Hermitage was long, much longer and harder than he ever imagined it could be. With his money soon gone, he fell on charity, begging lifts from drovers and other travelling folk. Much of it, though, he walked. As the weeks wore on, his clothes were rags, his feet blistered through worn shoes and his joints ached with the sorrowful hunger for rest. In truth, this was a lonely, painful road and its only saving grace was his belief that, at the end, the secret of immortality awaited.
Eventually, Hisato came within grasp of his destination, a villager pointed towards the distant greenery of a small valley amidst an otherwise barren and stony landscape. It took Hisato a whole day to arrive. By then the Sun had dropped behind a mountain peak and he felt the cold bite his bones. In front of him was a humble stone hovel showing thin wisps of smoke from a dwindling fire. The hermit welcomed him in. It was hard to tell who looked the more ancient, as both had suffered much, in search of their respective desires. Hisato was surprised to see how frail the Hermit appeared and was obviously not a candidate for immortality. Weakened by the dust of his road and demoralised by this final disappointment, Hisato collapsed exhausted on the cold earthen floor. With the last remnant of his own life the Hermit eased Hisato’s body on to the cot and sheltered him with sack cloth. Now all alone and in the dark, Hisato was just conscious when the death came for him and tapped on the doorway of his soul.
Hisato’s search was over.