Saturday, August 21, 2004


While a member of the teeming crowd waiting at the redlight in front of Umeda station in Osaka yesterday morning I noticed the big posters all over for the movie Seabiscuit, and in a redlight reverie I entered the inviting green pasture background of the posters, where I recalled reading the superbly written book on my last visit to the States, especially the part about the race between Seabiscuit and Ligaroti (owned by Bing Crosby), one of the big national-attention-grabbing races Seabiscuit ran. Charles Howard, Seabiscuit's owner, first set eyes on the ungainly colt at a claims race in Saratoga, and I remembered my mother proudly telling me, when I was a little boy, in one of those extended and aimless conversations mothers and their kids used to have back in the days before television, the staggering fact that she had once seen Bing Crosby himself in person, at a horse race in Saratoga, and I realized in Osaka that she must have gone there to see the great Seabiscuit in those lifetime-ago racing days, now in all their glory showing here in Osaka as well, and that somewhere in those Saratoga crowds is my mother as an awestruck teenager, then the light changed.

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