Entry Way Lint
Walking Down the Autumn Paved Path of Life
by MISONO Ayako

The other day, somehow or the other, a certain person about the same age as me and with the same sort of frank personality said, “My mother, you know, she can barely move anymore, but she still always picks up any lint or dust she finds on the tatami or in the toko.” And while she said this she laughed, “When a woman starts losing her eyesight, she becomes better at noticing lint. It’s so they can better bully their daughter-in-law: `You never clean the house properly!` When her eyesight becomes poor… well, it is restricted to only such people, but the only thing she can see well is lint, and it’s from that that mother-in-laws and daughters get into fights, you know.”
When I said, “My family, too, complains that I don’t pick up such trash,” my friend said, “Really!” in a happy tone,”It’s a way to bully the daughter-in-law?”
“Well, its because we were living seperately in Kansai and Tokyo. It wasn’t really a type of bullying, but at my house the rug spread out in the entry way was littered with lint.” It was because it was the first thing guests saw when visiting, but it just had white threads scattered all over it.
When I explained this, the other woman laughed and said, “That isn’t lint though; that is just because the worn out warp threads are showing through from the bottom.”
When I was still young, I went to Pakistan as my first overseas trip. There, being myself, I bought an absurdly expensive hand-woven rug. Somehow or the other, I still have that rug after over 50 years. The slightly dim entry way area was a good place for it. But that rug, along with myself, have been through quite a bit. So sometimes, I confess it looks tired.
However, the next day, I immediately did something dishonest. I went and coloured in the white bits with a black magic marker. The rug had black parts as a part of the pattern, so my deception was largely undetectable. With this, my entry rug became completely free of lint.
Ancient European tapestries and the like, mostly famous ones, do not forever have the same body as when they are made. Many countries have a type of art restoration shop where the threads sullied or broken with age are regularly replaced. Thus it becomes that largly none of the original threads are left.
This too is a form of new life. This Pakistan rug and I will stay here, growing old together, until this old house is torn down after my death. My own restoration techniques are a little on the rough side, but those who know my personality will probably give a laugh.