japanese kneeling

A few short decades ago when I’d visit Japan, I could coil and uncoil from sitting or kneeling on the floor to standing up as effortlessly and gracefully as any native Japanese.  Probably just a shade below that of a professional geisha.   I possessed an ease and self assurance that I knew was secretly admired by other visiting foreigners, if not by the Japanese.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

How far the high and mighty can tumble. These days, I would compare my attempts to rise from the floor to my feet to that of an aging elephant. My knees just are not that eager to make the effort. When asked politely to perform routine tasks, they act as if they’re not a part of my body anymore.  Let’s just call them non responsive.  It can be disheartening.

low chairs

Descending from standing to sitting  is equally precarious, but is more easily faked.  Once my bent knees refuse to support any more deepening, I allow my body to just plummet  the remaining 3 -4 feet to the ground. If someone is watching me, they could see my speed accelerate, but fortunately most people don’t pay attention. I must trust that a low chair will be there to catch my impact, if not, I might make a hole straight through the floor.