The Oyster Pot

Takotsuobo Oyster Pots (wiki)

Professor Hiroshi Matsumoto was reputedly the most illustrious cardiologist of Japan, and his colleagues at the Tokyo Institute of Cardiovascular Science expected him to win the Nobel Prize for Medicine one day, soon, for his discovery of how sudden happiness can cause a heart attack, leading to death. He called the condition takotsuobo cadiomyopathy. Takotsuobo is a pot used by fishermen to trap oysters which is narrow at the top and balloons further down. Matsumoto had discovered that the left ventricle of the heart balloons in the same way when people prone to the condition received sudden news, bad or happy.

It is important to know that the sixty-three year old genius had one other passion: a young female Korean doctor Chai-Won Seung Mo, doing post-graduation in cardiology at his Institute. At first it had just been a physical attraction, but it had soon developed into an all-consuming passion

However, Hiroshi was married to Miyeko who was a year older than him, and although he did not love her anymore, he knew that he did not have it in him to divorce her. Not after her sad childhood. Her father was a colonel in Dai-ichi Sogun, the First General Army and had disappeared in the jungles of Borneo during the second world war. Miyeko was convinced that he had survived and that one day he would suddenly turn up. He would be aged one hundred and four by now. Miyeko shrugged when reminded of this and pointed out that her grandfather was one hundred and eight when he passed away.

Chai-Won would often joke about going back to Seoul, but she never had the intention of walking away, and the professor knew this. However one day she was upset about something and threatened him to do just that, and the old professor lost his clarity of mind and his heart began palpitating furiously.

I’ll think of something, he promised, having no idea what it would be. Until in the middle of the night the idea struck him.

In mid-morning on the next day, Hiroshi arrived home unexpectedly, when he should have been at the Institute, to Miyeko’s consternation. Sit down, he ordered her, but she did not. Your father, your father, he started, they found him, alive, in Borneo. He’s on a plane to Tokyo as we speak. She tottered back into a chair, collapsed, became ashen, and was in the throes of a heart attack. Before he could do anything, she had expired.

Hiroshi was a bit shocked, but allowed his passion for the young Korean to dominate his thinking. He called her. Chai Won picked up her phone and he told her the good news, that Miyeko had passed and that he was now in a position to make good his promise. Her phone went blank. She was later found lifeless on the floor with her phone by her side. Like Miyeko, she too had died of takotsuobo cardiomyopathy.



Prizewinning playwright. Mathematician. Teacher. Professional Siesta addict.

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San Cassimally

Prizewinning playwright. Mathematician. Teacher. Professional Siesta addict.