Laughter is the Best Medicine

By Fusako de Angelis
Friday December 21, 2007

When my granddaughter drew my portrait at the age 6, the very first thing she put on the outlined face, before she drew the eyes, nose or a mouth, were the liver spots on my upper cheeks. What a surprise! What impresses her the most on grandma’s face are the brown spots? 

Now another of my granddaughters, who just turned 5, often comments on my yellowed teeth and a darkened front tooth, as well as my wrinkles and stains. 

“You are old”, she says. 

“I love to be old.” I say. 


“Because I can play with my granddaughters.” 

Aging is shocking when I see my face in a lighted mirror, but there is also a phenomenal joy. It is a relief to see the path of life ahead, definitely shorter, but more clearly after a lifetime of experience. But still many unexpected events keep happening to convince me that Life is a Mystery. 

One of the most significant is a frequent affair with Kami-kakushi, a ancient Japanese word which means ‘god’s hiding’, used in cases like someone suddenly becoming lost in the forest and so on.  

Everytime I look for something and can’t find it where it is supposed to be, I murmur and curse at the divine act of the Hiding god. 

Not only things, this god loves to hide words, particularly proper nouns from our brain. It’s been happening to me for some years now that whenever I need it, I can’t remember it.  

I meet old friends on the street. I know who they are clearly but their names are under Kami-kakushi. So I try hard to keep a conversation without calling them by name. Only after I succeed and proudly say goodbye, the Hiding god gives me back the names it had hidden. 

I hear it’s not only me, but common to people of my age. We have a daily contest, my husband and I, of who is the first to remember a person’s name in our conversation. If it comes to one of us, we both raise our fists and shout, “Yatta, we did it!”  

The Hiding god often makes me feel that I am creating a late blooming, new career as a comedian, under it’s direction.  

For instance, I make a fragrant cup of hoji-cha tea and take a sip. Then I can’t find the cup for the second sip. I walk through the house seeking. Then back on the kitchen counter I find it empty next to an unpored pot full of tea. 

Often I look for a jacket or my glasses to bring with me when going out, getting frustrated and impatient as time is running out, cursing Hiding god, my director, loudly. Then suddenly I discover that I already have them on. 

A few weeks ago, I acted in the best comedy. I was going grocery shopping. I opened the closet in the kitchen to pick up my handmade cotton shopping bags. They are hung on the hook on the right side wall inside the door, and on the left are house cleaning tools. I picked up what I needed. After walking through the house I found myself at the front door holding a broomstick in my hand!! 

I screamed and laughed so loud that my husband came out of a room to join me. We could not stop laughing for a long time. Then came to my mind the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.” I agree! After laughing so hard, I felt a delightful surge of energy.  

So instead of always cursing it, I decided to graciously accept the devine acts of Hiding God. After all, in this time of depressing news flooding in all over, who can give us such an opportunity to laugh out loud? We must be grateful to whoever can do so. 

With my sincere prayer I made a New Year wish list for God’s Hiding.  

• Please hide money from the war addicts in the White House. 

• Please hide guns and weapons from our world.  

• Please hide causes of global warming. 

Only then can we have uproarious laughter, the best medicine for all on the planet.  

A Happy Holidays and a laughing New Year!