One Moment In Time: Ichi-go Ichi-e. Image Credit NASA

Seize That One Moment In Time: It’s Ichi-go Ichi-e

One Moment In Time ~ Ichi-go Ichi-e

In that one moment in time in spring, I chanced upon a painting of six children, each with a halo-like ring around their heads. Dressed in identical kimonos, there were few features on their faces. But those few brush strokes were sufficient to convey to me the peaceful and serene faces of the children. They seemed happy and contended. A four-character idiom 一期 一会 (ichi-go ichi-e) was calligraphed above the children. Although the characters were strikingly simple, they appeared to be in harmony with the entire composition.

Painting with six children with halos

Lower half of the painting show six children with halos over their peaceful and serene faces

A Lesson In Life ~ Once In A Lifetime

The four Kanji characters 一期 一会 come from a Japanese four-character idiom (yojijukugo) to describe a cultural concept of treasuring meetings with people. The idiom is frequently translated as “for this time only” or “once in a lifetime”. Taking the meaning of “once in a lifetime” this idiom has served me well in sorting out seemingly conflicting priorities. I have shared with my two children the wisdom of this idiom.

One example is when my siblings and I were planning the grand celebration for our Mom’s 88th birthday some years back. My children understood that whilst they may have other plans, the birthday celebration was a “once in a lifetime” event.

Japanese Painting With Ichi-go Ichi-e Japanese Idiom

My Japanese Painting With Ichi-go Ichi-e Japanese Idiom

The Painting ~ Bought In Hiroshima, Painted By A Kyoto Artist

Hondori Shopping Arcade in Downtown Hiroshima. Image Credit: Wikipedia

Hondori Shopping Arcade in Downtown Hiroshima. Image Credit: Wikipedia

We (my HQ bosses and I) were walking, strolling rather, in downtown Hiroshima one fine April day looking for lunch. Earlier in the morning, we had a fruitful meeting with the prefectural governor about Singapore Airlines services to/from Hiroshima. Turning into Hondori Street, we slowed to a more leisurely stroll, as we entered the pedestrian arcade that is lined with colourful shops and tempting restaurants.  It was in one of the many shops that I saw the Ichi-go Ichi-e painting.

On the back of the painting, I had attached the faded receipt with these hand-written words “Hiroshima. 11 Apr 1999. Kyoto Artist”. Though not a princely sum, I recalled paying 50,000 Yen (about US$400 then) for the painting – one that I still enjoyed.

Life Is Only Travelled Once, So Seize That One Moment In Time

We all know that life is only travelled once and that today’s moment becomes tomorrow’s memory. So seize that one moment in time and make it shine with Whitney Houston. Your dreams can be just a heartbeat away.

You’re a winner for a lifetime
If you seize that one moment in time
Make it shine