May 12, 1997
Location: Cozad, Nebraska - Location: 40:51:35N 99:59:13W Elevation: 2486 feet
Summary: Monday, May 12, 1997 - finding a place to pitch the tent.
Journal entry: [Translated by Hajime Namagawa]
Today was very hard day to walk. Cozad, where we reached in the afternoon, was a pasture which was littered with dung everywhere. It was not easy to find a space to pitch our tent.
While looking at the Americans surrounding us, they didn't seem to care about the dung. Wait a second, this is no place for a Japanese person who obsessed of cleanliness, I thought. But as the proverb says, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
"Osamu, where shall we set up our tent?" Takako asked me looking around.
"Why don't you set up it here?" I answered naturally while pointing to a place which was strewn with the dung.
"Dad, there is dung all over here!" Yuji argued back.
"So what?" was a dignified word of father.
"Dung! Dung, dad!" Koji shouted as pointing at the dung.
I recovered my breath, then spoke to them slowly, "Listen to me carefully. Here is a pasture. If there are cows, there is dung. If there are horses, there is dung. This is dung of herbivorous animals. I've heard it say that the pioneer burned dung as a substitute for fuel. Apart from dung of carnivore, this is not a part of the excrement because this is dung of herbivores," I said.
Then I picked up the dung from the place where we wanted to pitch out the tent and threw each one, one after another. Don't hold it only between your thumb and forefinger. Hold it boldly and fearlessly, like when an American president shakes hands. This behavior is the dignity of a father.
"Osamu, do you need gloves?" Amy, who was setting up a tent on the dung, asked with a sullen look.
I saw that even Americans didn't pick up dung in the naked fingers. It seemed I went overboard.
"No, thank you," I declined her offer, then I took my hand off a dung which I was picking up and sighed lightly.
Do you think I could keep my dignity?