May 30, 2011

The Song for All of the Stupid Boys in the World

I went to see Ben Folds' live performance yesterday.

Haruki Murakami wrote the essay "Who Killed Jazz? (誰がジャズを殺したか)" in the book "I've Been Getting to Feel Sad about a Foreign Language (やがて哀しき外国語)". I'll translate the passage of this essay as follows.

In the end I am sorry that jazz might have been straying away from the contemporary music, which is alive in this age. With a cold attitude, I feel and think the same way.
"In the end jazz may become a kind of "traditional art" for the generation of Marsalis". Wynton Marsalis is a bright talented young man, and he studies jazz quite intensely.

His playing has full of love and affection, but they are from the time that has passed by and is going to die.

Jazz is not the thing to resist for the generation of Marsalis now, but the music to be moved by, be touched by and study. It is the circle, which has already closed, for them.

Jazz is taught in Berklee College of Music as if it's a "traditional art", and jazz musicians have never learned music in the jazz clubs full of cigarette (or marijuana) smoke

I think that rock music isn't contemporary music now either. Hip hop killed Rock music in the 90s, and Nirvana was the last band that created new rock music. And then rock musicians have basically rehashed old rock music, so I mainly listen to rock music from the 60s and 70s. (Fortunately Berklee hasn't taught rock music. When they begin to do so, it’ll be the time of complete death of rock music.)

Ben Folds is one of a few rock musicians, whose new CDs I buy. Sometimes he also rehashes old rock music, but he tries to enhance the possibility of rock music in the 00s at the same time. He plays the piano (he plays all of the instruments by himself when he records his songs in a studio), and he doesn't use guitars in his band. But his songs are considered to be rock music, because he plays the piano as if it were a percussion instrument. He hits a keyboard with his palms, knuckles and elbows.

"Army" Ben Folds

I love his music, and himself as well. I feel closely related to him.

We are the same age. He looks like a geek, so do I. When he was young, he seemed to be a stupid boy, and wrote and sang songs for stupid boys, like "Songs for Dumped". I love such songs, because I love stupid boys and of course I also was a stupid boy.

"Songs for Dumped" Ben Folds

"金返せ" (Japanese version of "Songs for Dumped") Ben Folds

When I saw him at the live, he seems to have matured, in other words, he's got older. I have also became a little more matured and older. And both of us wear glasses, (although I'm not as talented as he is.)

I was afraid that he would not come to Japan, because of the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear accident. In fact many events were canceled. He's been worried about Japan, and he played for a charity on ustream, and finally I was able to see him again.

"Jackson Cannery" Ben Folds on SXSW 4 JAPAN

It's super cool for him to kick a keyboard, lol.

I have some disappointing experiences with seeing some musicians perform live, because their performance was much worse than their CDs. But seeing Ben Folds' lives was much better than his CDs, (although his CDs are good enough). He is great at playing the piano and singing.

This live performance was held at Hitomi Kinen Hall in Tokyo, which are usually used for classical music concert, so the sound was really great. I could hear his piano sound directly, not through a PA. It was just the live music!

I was singing, shouting and dancing throughout this performance. I really enjoyed singing with him. I took my wife to this live performance. She isn't fan of Ben Folds, but she was satisfied with it.

I'll never say to you "金返せ (kanekaese)". I love you, Ben chan.

May 27, 2011

I Am Linus

I love the comics "Peanuts."

Everybody may know Snoopy and Charlie Brown, but I wonder how they read the comics themselves  nowadays.

In the comics you will find full of characters, who you can really love. Each of them has their own unique and lovely personality.

Snoopy isn't just cute, but cool and dry. Charlie takes care of Snoopy eargerly, but Snoopy doesn't remember his name and call him "the round-headed kid". Every boy could find the similar traits of Charlie Brown in their own mind and so do I.

Lucy is a typical "girl". She is always mean to Charlie Brown and Linus in a very girlish way, which is quite unreasonable for them. In my childhood I was always running away from such girls, and I might be running away even now. But she also loves Schroeder, and she becomes a very sweet girl, when she sees him playing the piano.

I love Peppermint Patty. She is the other type of girl, who is really natural. She went to dog school as one of the students, (of course the other students are dogs), and she has not found that the school was for dogs, after she graduated from it.

And I love Linus most of all apart from the rest of the "Peanuts" characters. No, I don't love Linus, but I am LINUS himself. When I read "Peanuts", I always sympathize with Linus. We have a lot of common things with each other. He is calm but argumentative. He is logical but childish. He seriously believes in the Great Pumpkin, which other people never believed, and depends on his famous blanket. When Lucy is mean to Linus, he always fight back logically, but finally Lucy beats him. I can understand how he feels perfectly.

My wife says that she is like Sally the most out of all the "Peanuts" characters. I feel relieved with the fact that Linus is Sally's boy friend. Our conversations are like this skit, lol.

When you read "Peanuts", you will find the character that you relate to the most. Try to read it.

May 25, 2011

The Reason Why I Won't Buy an iPad

I found an article that the prices of PCs are going down in Japan because smart phones begun to compete against PCs in Nikkei ( I'm sorry for this article written in Japanese).

I wrote "In the future PC will die" in the journal "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" on my weblog, but PC already has been dying.

But I don't have a smart phone or an iPad, partly because I think that PC, which has a big display and a full keyboard, is more convenient than them. I have another reason why I won't buy iPad.

I imagined what would happen if I were to buy an iPhone or an iPad.

Now to access the Internet, I have to go to my desk, turn on my PC, wait for its booting up, log into my account, click the icon of the browser and wait for it to it to open. It's a barrier for me to access the Internet.

If I get an iPhone or an iPad, it will get much easier to access the Internet. I'll bring them and access the Internet at anytime and anywhere. Only when I write a long journal, I'll use PC. It must be more convenient than now.

The convenience is a problem. Sometimes I see a website and write a comment on Facebook while I talk with my wife. I miss what she says and give a vague answer. It's really rude for her and I regret it afterwards. If I have an iPhone or an iPad and can access the Internet at anytime and anywhere in my house, what will communication be like between my wife and me become? It's obvious.

Some children never leave their portable game devices even at dinner, and they are scolded from their mothers. If I bring an iPhone or an iPad even in the bed, what will happen? I can't imagine how awful it will be.

For the peace of my family I won't buy an iPad.

May 23, 2011

How Well Do You Understand What I Mean?

I might be the biggest fan of my own weblog. When I read my journals, I think that it's very clear and easy to understand what these journals mean, natch, because I wrote them by myself.

My wife says to me that she can understand what I mean in my English journals (I’m a Japanese native speaker and an English learner as a secondary language, so we talk in Japanese in my house), because we talk about the same topics, which I write on my weblog, and she knows my way of thinking very well. We share a lot of things, which help her understanding my journal, but how about the other readers, who don’t share culture and backgrounds with me? I can't imagine how they understand my journals.

Logically there is no perfect communication. I can't understand what you mean completely, and you can't know how I understand what you mean. But actually we can do with imperfect communication.

In fact I always have misunderstandings in Japanese communication even with my wife. But when I speak in Japanese, I don't care about misunderstandings seriously, because I can imagine how they understand and misunderstand what I mean.

But I worry if they can understand what I mean when I speak or write in English. I've got a lot of feedback to my Japanese remarks throughout my life, but I haven’t had enough feedback to my English remarks.

I can have good chances to get feedback to my English remarks on Facebook and Lang8. When I read comments on my journal, I guess that some people understand what I mean precisely and other people don't understand it well.

How do you understand what I mean? If you don't mind, please give me your comment for the improvement of my English. Thank you.

May 21, 2011

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Recently I wrote about "the Stone Age", which I call the era before the Internet as a joke, on my weblog. Today I'll write about the differences between the ways of using and thinking of the Internet by my generation of the Stone Age and younger generation of the Iron Age.

I'd like to go back to an older age. I was born in the New Stone Age, when the TV already existed. But my parents' generation was born in the Old Stone Age, when the TV didn't exist yet. They had experiences of the first encounters of TV, as if monkeys encountered a "Monolith" in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey."

TV is the "Monolith" for my parents' generation, which changed their lives. But I don't know the era without TV in the Old Stone Age. There already has been TV in my life, so it has not changed my life and it has been a part of my life at beginning. I think that the ways of thinking of TV by my parents' generation and my generation might be different. The Old Stone Age people and the New Stone Age people are different.

For me the Internet is the "Monolith." I clearly remembered my first encounter of the Internet. I encountered the Internet on business, not privately. Of course I use the Internet now because I have no other choice, but I feel PC and the Internet are basically for my work. PC means "Personal" Computer, but for me it isn't "personal" but "official". I guess that for younger generations, the Iron Age people, the Internet is a part of their private lives.

When I touched the "Monolith," I used a UNIX (not Linux) machine, which was based on CUI (Character-based User Interface). A browser wasn't installed, and I used e-mail and accessed remote databases. I wrote e-mail by "vi", which is a popular text editor software on UNIX in the New Stone Age. I thought of the Internet as a tool of my work like a mainframe computer at that time.

After Windows 95 was released, the meanings of the Internet for me were changed. I had been able to access the Internet by my own PC and WWW (World Wide Web) became common. Although Microsoft made a great improvement from MS-DOS to Windows 3.1 and a greater improvement from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95, and then they have stopped improving windows at least for users, and it's the same as MS-Word and MS-Excel.

Nowadays everybody uses the Internet, but at that time the user of the Internet was limited mainly to some business users and geeks. And I often heard the word "netiquette." The capacities of network and computers were much poorer than now, so users had to care of not giving network too much load and it was called "netiquette". If I made mistakes, some geeks would have given me a telling-off on the net at once, so it was hard to get into the world of the Internet.

Anyway I found that I could make my own website by Windows 95 and my desktop PC, so I tried to make it, which was only seen in the office. One of my friends, who saw my website, told me that it was fun and I should publish it, so I started this website.

In the Early Iron Age there was no weblog service and SNS. I typed html to keep my diary on my website by myself, and communicate with my friends through message boards and e-mail. It was very fun, and it might be more fun than now. After all I’ve been doing the same thing, keeping diaries and making comments on friends’ website, on the Internet until now.

Now we can access the Internet by various tools, but I don't have a smart phone and iPad. I have always accessed the Internet by PC, so I feel it is most convenient to use a PC with a big display and a full keyboard. Sometimes I send e-mail by a cell phone, but I'm not good at writing by a cell phone. I don't want iPhone and iPad but MacBook Air.

I guess young people, who were born in the Iron Age, touched the Internet through cell phones first, so they have no feelings of resistance toward accessing the Internet by various tools.

In the future PC will die, and I, the Stone Age man, will go extinct. "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away."

May 19, 2011

I could survive in the Stone Age

In the previous journal I wrote about differences before and after the spread of the Internet. I call the era before the spread of the Internet "the Stone Age". I'm so old that I could be considered to have come from the Stone Age.

Let's imagine the world as it was during the Stone Age.

There was
no Internet, only white and black TVs,
no cell phones, only public phones,
no PCs, only calculators,
no e-mail, only mail,
no website, only newspaper,
no digital cameras, only film cameras,
no video cameras, only 8mm cameras,
no CDs, only analog LP records,
no DVDs, only, well, nothing,
no iPod, only Walkman, no, transistor radios,
no Nintendo, only playing cards,
no, only small bookstores,
no Google, only libraries,
no weblog, only diary,
no Facebook, only circles,
no twitter, only graffitis,
no Wikipedia, only encyclopedia,
no lang8, only pen pals,
no MS Word, only pens and paper,
no PowerPoint, but OHP,
no ATM, only clerks in banks,
no Hip hop, only rock ‘n’ roll,
no Messi, only Maradona
no LeBron James, only Magic Johnson,
no Barack Obama, only Martin Luther King Junior,
no Al Gore, only Rachel Carson,
no Junichiro Koizumi, only Kakuei Tanaka,
no Europe Union, only Soviet Union,
no Iraq War, only Vietnam War,
no al-Qaeda, only communist countries,
no Facebook Wall, only Berlin Wall,
no Fukushima only Chernobyl and the nuclear bomb test at Bikini
cars and airplanes,
rich people and poor people,
earthquakes and nuclear plants
in the Stone Age.

But I could survive in the Stone Age.

In the end it's like John Lennon's lyrics, isn't it?

May 17, 2011

Travel in the Stone Age and Travel in the Iron Age

Traveling is fun, and planning a travel is fun, too.

My wife and I are now planning to travel to New York and Washington D.C. for our summer vacation. We really enjoy it.

Before I could use the Internet, planning a travel abroad was completely different from now. I call the age before the Internet the Stone Age. I'd like to write about travel in the Stone Age.

At first I, the Stone Age man, had to buy a travel guide, which was printed on "papyrus". At that time there was no good travel guide for personal travelers written in Japanese, so I used to buy a travel guide published by Lonely Planet. In the Stone Age of course there was no, so I bought it at a small foreign bookstore, for example Iena bookstore in Ginza. I loved such foreign bookstores, but in the Iron Age has wiped out these lovely foreign bookstores.

A travel guide published by Lonely Planet was quite useful, but it was full of words. I tried to decipher it with an English-Japanese dictionary and an English-English dictionary, which were of course printed on "papyrus", and I found where to visit.

The next step was to go to a travel agency in the "real" world to buy air tickets. There were small travel agencies selling cheap air tickets in old and small "caves". HIS is now one of the biggest travel agencies in Japan, but at that time it was one of such small travel agencies. In order to get the cheapest air tickets I went to such travel agencies and compared the prices of air tickets. To get real information I had to walk around by foot in the Stone Age.

When I visited Europe in the Stone Age, I used Aeroflot, because it was very cheap and fast. At that time airlines in Western countries could not fly over the region of Soviet Union, so they went a long way around from Japan to Europe. Aeroflot, which was managed by the government of Soviet Union, could fly straight from Japan to Europe. I took an old airplane called Tupolev, which was made of "wood", "cloth" and "fur".

I usually didn't book a hotel, because it was bothered. Travel agencies in Japan didn't reserve cheap hotels, in which I wanted to stay. I looked for a cheap and clean hotel in a travel guide published by Lonely Planet reading small letters. When I arrived at a city, I directly went to a hotel and looked over at it to judge if it was a safe and clean hotel. After checking it, I got into the hotel and made a negotiation with a clerk, who was usually an "Aarchanthropine" at that time. If there was no vacancy or the price was too expensive, I would try the next hotel.

Sometimes I made a hotel reservation from Japan. I should make a phone call or sent a fax or a letter. At that time I wasn’t used to speaking English on a phone, so I really got nervous.

Now in the Iron Age it's very easy to find a hotel. I search for a hotel on Expedia. I read comments about it, and I also check its website. I can expect what kind of hotel it is, and I have never been disappointed with what the hotel really is. After I have decided in which hotel I’ll stay, what I have to do is just click a button of reservation. And then the hotel is waiting for me!

In the Stone Age I had to buy a train ticket at the station, a ticket for a sport event at the stadium, and a ticket for a show at the theater. I wasn’t sure that I could get a ticket before I arrived there. Sometimes I couldn’t get a ticket and had to change my travel plan.

But in the Iron Age I can arrange everything while sitting at my desk. I met a lot of unexpected accidents, for example finding a "dinosaur", in the Stone Age travel. It was a kind of adventure, and very exciting. The Iron Age travel is easy and comfortable, and everything in it can be expected. I can’t do the Stone Age travel in the Iron Age again (because I’m not so young now), but I miss such travel a little.

May 15, 2011

“A Beatle” Feelings of Girls in Love

Today I'll try to translate aiko's songs into English.

When I heard her song for the first time, I was really surprised and impressed with her lyric. She sung, "I'm a beetle tempted by your sweet smell" (甘い匂いに誘われたあたしはかぶとむし). She expressed feelings of girls in love through the word "beetle". Her lyrics are very original, but I could sympathize the feelings of girls, which are described by her lyrics.

I'd like to introduce her lyrics, but they are so "Japanese" that it's hard to translate into English. I don't know if I can make them English lyrics, but anyway I'll try it and just do my best.

Please read her lyrics and listen to her songs.

"A Beatle" (カブトムシ) aiko The original lyric in Japanese

A lovesick make my body hot and my fingertips chilled.
I heard "Why not? Say it soon", but I'm weak.
You've gone and I'm getting older.
I can't imagine it and this time is more important than anything.

A merry-go-round is going round slowly, and manes of white horses are bending.

You are a little taller than me, and I put my brow on your ear.
I'm a beetle tempted by your sweet smell.
A star is falling, and I feel pain, happiness and hurt of my heart at the same time.
I'll never forget you in a lifetime.
I'll never forget you in a lifetime.

Spring tickles my nose, and summer stands generously in the blue sky.
Wind blows through my sleeves in autumn, and then I find winter passing by.
If all of strong sadness remains in my heart,
it would be a proof of living with you and I could feel it happy.

I'm watching my long eyelashes waving without breathing.

Listening to a little different your voice,
I'm a beetle sinking deep peace.
The amber crescent moon is in the sky, and I can't breath with heartbeat.
I'll never forget you in a lifetime.
I'll never forget you in a lifetime.

"Fireworks" (花火) aiko The original lyric in Japanese

At the moment of falling asleep in the sheets,
I always think of you, and I'm very sad to find you are in my dream.
Fireworks don't rise today, either.
The word searing in my heart fly away,
"I'll never forget just one mm of you."
I can't depend on
all of the shadows without shapes in mist.

An angel with triangle eyes and wings,
finds the sign of love.
Putting on my right shoulder,
she says "Should you give up loving him, if you're tired?"

Hanging down from a constellation in summer,
I look down at fireworks.
I love you so much, and I can't help it.
Hanging down from a constellation in summer,
I look down at fireworks.
I put out fire dropping tears.

There remain only a piece of memories
at toes in order, a collapsed sand mountain and a bitten apple.
When a little cold wind blow under my knees,
I wanna laugh fully.

An angel with triangle ears and wings,
hears the sigh of love.
Pointing at round-eyed me,
she says "Why don’t you fall down once or twice?"

Hanging down from a constellation in summer,
I look down at fireworks.
I'm sure I love you, and I can't return.
Hanging down from a constellation in summer,
I look down at fireworks.
I wave my hand at the last fire.

Pointing at red and green chrysanth,
I think of only one thing, yes, one thing
"Should I give up loving you, if I'm tired?"
After fireworks go out, tears will never dry up.

Hanging down from a constellation in summer,
I look down at fireworks.
I love you so much, and I can't help it.
Hanging down from a constellation in summer,
I look down at fireworks.
I drop tears.

Hanging down from a constellation in summer,
I look down at fireworks.
I'm sure I love you, and I can't return.
Hanging down from a constellation in summer,
I look down at fireworks.
I wave my hand at the last fire.

Hanging down from a constellation in summer,

bye, bye, bye,
bye, bye, bye.

May 14, 2011

Pure Animism in Okinawa

I wrote the journal "My Religion Is Animism" on my weblog. Of course it's kind of a joke, but a little bit serious. Common Japanese people, including me, don't have faith in a certain religion, but they have religious feelings. I call these religious feelings “Animism”.
Most of sacred objects of worship in old shrines are natural objects, for example mountains, big rocks, deep forests, waterfalls and so on. Kumano Nachi Taisha (熊野那智大社), which is one of the world heritages, is in front of the Nachi Otaki (那智大滝 Nachi large waterfall). None knows when it was founded, but it was at least 1,400 years before. It is clear that the sacred object of Nachi Taisha is the waterfall itself. I guess that at first there were no shrines in front of the waterfall and people directly prayed to it. This is the archetype of Japanese "Animism".

My wife and I have been to Yosemite National Park in U.S.A. When we saw the Yosemite waterfall, we felt that it was sacred like Nachi Otaki. This feeling proved that we had sense of "Animism". We believed that Yosemite waterfall was the sacred object of worship for Native Americans, who lived there.
the Yosemite waterfall
Buddhism was introduced to Japan and it made Japanese "Animism" from just worship of natural objects to a religion called "Shinto". Shrines and Buddhism temples were built in the sacred places, where people had prayed to sacred objects, and then people began to pray to shrines and temples, not to sacred objects themselves.
Buddhism was also introduced to Okinawa, but it was not common there. There is a lot of Utaki, which are places of worship, in Okinawa. Ordinary Utaki is just a place in a jungle without any architectural structure.

I have been to Seifa Utaki (斎場御嶽 ), which is also one of the world heritages. It is the most sacred Utaki in Okinawa, and it is also just a place before huge rocks in a jungle. But I was really impressed by the sacred air in Seifa Utaki, and I could understand why Okinawan people select this place as the most sacred Utaki. It a the special place with full of sprits.I think that it is pure "Animism".

May 9, 2011

Goodbye My Good Old Yankees

I'm planning a trip this summer vacation with my wife. Traveling is fun, and planning a trip is also fun.

We'll visit New York to see Ground Zero and a New York Yankees game. I've not been to New York since the summer of 1998, before 9/11. I remembered that I looked up at the World Trade Center at that time. I think that I should see Ground Zero after the death of Osama bin Laden.

I loved New York Yankees in the 1990s. They play really smart and cool baseball. They didn't have any macho power hitter, but all of them were devoted to the win of the team. Nobody played selfishly.

They rarely won by a big lead, but they often came behind late in a game and won by a narrow lead. Their games were full of tension and really fun.

On a sunny day I was sitting on seats in the Yankee Stadium. At that game Andy Petite was a starter. At first Royals had the lead on Yankees, but Derek Jeter, Paul O'Neill and Bernie Williams beat Royal's pitchers and turned the game. Finally Mariano Rivera closed it. It's a really perfect game for Yankees' funs.

Andy, Derek and Mariano were so young and bright. Bernie was in his golden age.

But now Andy and Bernie have retired, and Derek and Mariano are in their last years. The special air, which Yankees in 1990s had, is gone now. Alex Rodriguez is a good athlete, but he isn't suitable for Yankees. He doesn't look like he is playing for the team no does he look smart.

I barely find the smells of Yankees in 1990s only from Derek, Mariano and Jorge. They will retire in a few years. And then my good old Yankees will be gone completely.

May 7, 2011

The Smells of Tokyo

I was born in Tokyo and I've been living in Tokyo until now.

I love Tokyo, and I'm always looking for the flavor of Tokyo in literature and music.

In modern Japanese literature there are two types of authors. The first are the ones that came to Tokyo from rural areas, and the second are the ones that were born in Tokyo.

The authors that came from rural to Tokyo wrote novels about the conflicts between their families back in the rural parts of Japan, and their new lives in Tokyo. But I'm not interested in such conflicts.

I love authors that were born in Tokyo. They have the same smell as me. I want to feel the scents of Tokyo from their novels, Soseki Natsume, Junichiro Tanizaki, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Soetsu Yanagi and Shuzo Kuki.

Haruomi Hosono, who were also born in Tokyo, made music that smelled very Tokyo. He sung that "It smells of the earth and the paint" and "It smells of the rain and the mold" in his song "The Love Is Rosy". I'm quite sure that was very reminiscent of Tokyo.

"The Love Is Rosy" Haruomi Hosono

Where am I? I don't care.
Can I forget how to arrive here?
It smells of the earth and the paint.
The walls are the color of ivory and the skies are the color of glass.

Since I've arrived in the night,
Blowing cheerful songs out,
a fired car is going into darkness,
and playing tag with the red moon.

I've walked on this road
along the river before.
I find the town that I've been to
through the breaks in the clouds.
Trutururu, trutururu, truturururu.

When it rains in your body,
Can I get wet closing my umbrella?
It smells of the rain and the mold.
The skies are gray and the love is rosy.

I've walked on this road
along the river before.
I find the town that I've been to
through the breaks in the clouds.
Trutururu, trutururu, truturururu.

May 6, 2011

"What I try to Express in My Novels." Haruki Murakami

I'd like to quote a passage, which is about what Haruki Murakami tries to express in his novels, from his book "A Collection of Short Texts (雑文集)".

To some extent, I can summarize easily what I am trying to express in my novels. It is that "Everyone must be looking for something important in their lives, but only a few people can find it. If they are lucky enough to find it, what which they actually have found almost always would be fatally flawed flawed flawed. Nevertheless we must struggle for it. If we do not struggle to it, we would loss our purposes of our lives."

This is basically common all over the world, I think. Our principles to live are not so different between Japan, China, America, Argentina, Istanbul and even Tunis. So when the story is written well, we can share it in the same way, even if our places, races and languages are different. In other words, my room can travel far away from where I live. It is wonderful without a doubt.

I can understand what he meant very well. I'm looking for something important, and the process itself is just my life, whether or not I find it by the end of my life.

Haruki Murakami said that people all over the world read his novels because the principle of life was common. Is it true? I'd like to know how you think about this.

In most of his novels main characters are struggling with something, but they don't overcome it at the end of novels, "A Wild Sheep Chase", "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World", "Norwegian Wood", "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" and "Sputnik Sweetheart".

But in his latest novel "1Q84" the main characters, Aomame and Tengo, seem to get the things that they have been pursuing.

At first Haruki Murakami planned to finalize "1Q84" book1 and book2. At the end of book2 Aomame and Tengo have not reached their goal. After he finished writing book2, he changed his mind and decided to add book3.

I wonder why he added a "happy end" to "1Q84".

May 4, 2011

Holmes' Secret Love

The stories of Sherlock Holmes are full of contradictions. But their contradictions are innocent. This innocence of their contradictions is the biggest attraction of the stories of Sherlock Holmes, so Sherlockians never tire of pursuing them.

I've read the book "The Signs of the Four", and I can't stand pursuing its contradictions as an irregular Sherlockian.

I'm most interested in the relationship between Holmes and Dr. Watson. Many Sherlockians are interested in it and some Sherlockians insist that Dr. Watson is a woman; other Sherlockians insist that Holmes is a woman! But my interpretation on first reading this story was that Holmes is a gay, who loved Dr. Watson, and Dr. Watson is a really insensitive man, who never noticed Holmes' love, when I read this story straight.

Dr. Watson fell in love with Miss Mary Morstan, who was Holmes' client in this case, and finally they got engaged.

I'll quote the opening scene, where Holmes, Dr. Watson and Miss Morstan took a four-wheeler, pursuing an invitation from a mysterious person.

He leaned back in the cab, and I could see by his drawn brow and his vacant eye that he was thinking intently. Miss Morstan and I chatted in an undertone about our present expedition and its possible outcome, but our companion maintained his impenetrable reserve until the end of our journey.

Dr. Watson loved Miss Morstan at first sight. Holmes, who was quite observant, never missed that Dr. Watson fell in love with Miss Morstan. When they talked intimately with each other, Holmes was sullen.

It might not be enough to prove that Holmes loved Dr. Watson. How about the next scene?

"… Look here, Watson; you look regularly done. Lie down there on the sofa, and see if I can put you to sleep."

He took up his violin from the corner, and as I stretched myself out he began to play some low, dreamy, melodious air,—his own, no doubt, for he had a remarkable gift for improvisation. I have a vague remembrance of his gaunt limbs, his earnest face, and the rise and fall of his bow. Then I seemed to be floated peacefully away upon a soft sea of sound, until I found myself in dreamland, with the sweet face of Mary Morstan looking down upon me.

Holmes played the violin seriously to make Dr. Watson fall asleep. Dr. Watson dreamed of Miss Morstan while listening to the sound of Holmes' violin. Poor Holmes!

Next morning Dr. Watson said that he would visit Miss Morstan first of all.

"Then I shall run over to Camberwell and call upon Mrs. Cecil Forrester. She asked me to, yesterday."

"On Mrs. Cecil Forrester?" asked Holmes, with the twinkle of a smile in his eyes.

"Well, of course Miss Morstan too. They were anxious to hear what happened."

"I would not tell them too much," said Holmes. "Women are never to be entirely trusted,—not the best of them."

I did not pause to argue over this atrocious sentiment. "I shall be back in an hour or two," I remarked.

"All right! Good luck! But, I say, if you are crossing the river you may as well return Toby, for I don't think it is at all likely that we shall have any use for him now."

How insensitive Dr. Watson was! Last night he fell asleep listening to Holmes' violin, but he never noticed Holmes' love at all. If he noticed it, he would be a really cruel man.

He said to Holmes "I shall be back in an hour or two," but he would no be back so soon because he met Miss Morstan.

It was evening before I left Camberwell, and quite dark by the time I reached home. My companion's book and pipe lay by his chair, but he had disappeared. I looked about in the hope of seeing a note, but there was none.

"I suppose that Mr. Sherlock Holmes has gone out," I said to Mrs. Hudson as she came up to lower the blinds.

"No, sir. He has gone to his room, sir. Do you know, sir," sinking her voice into an impressive whisper, "I am afraid for his health?"

"Why so, Mrs. Hudson?"

"Well, he's that strange, sir. After you was gone he walked and he walked, up and down, and up and down, until I was weary of the sound of his footstep. Then I heard him talking to himself and muttering, and every time the bell rang out he came on the stairhead, with 'What is that, Mrs. Hudson?' And now he has slammed off to his room, but I can hear him walking away the same as ever. I hope he's not going to be ill, sir. I ventured to say something to him about cooling medicine, but he turned on me, sir, with such a look that I don't know how ever I got out of the room."

"I don't think that you have any cause to be uneasy, Mrs. Hudson," I answered. "I have seen him like this before. He has some small matter upon his mind which makes him restless."

Such insensitivity is guilt. Dr. Watson said "I have seen him like this before." It was your own affair, Dr. Watson.

And then the last scene was so merciless.

"Well, and there is the end of our little drama," I remarked, after we had set some time smoking in silence. "I fear that it may be the last investigation in which I shall have the chance of studying your methods. Miss Morstan has done me the honor to accept me as a husband in prospective."

He gave a most dismal groan. "I feared as much," said he. "I really cannot congratulate you."

I was a little hurt. "Have you any reason to be dissatisfied with my choice?" I asked.

"Not at all. I think she is one of the most charming young ladies I ever met, and might have been most useful in such work as we have been doing. She had a decided genius that way: witness the way in which she preserved that Agra plan from all the other papers of her father. But love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment."

"I trust," said I, laughing, "that my judgment may survive the ordeal. But you look weary."

"Yes, the reaction is already upon me. I shall be as limp as a rag for a week."

"Strange," said I, "how terms of what in another man I should call laziness alternate with your fits of splendid energy and vigor."

"Yes," he answered, "there are in me the makings of a very fine loafer and also of a pretty spry sort of fellow. I often think of those lines of old Goethe,—

Schade dass die Natur nur EINEN Mensch aus Dir schuf, Denn zum wuerdigen Mann war und zum Schelmen der Stoff.

"By the way, a propos of this Norwood business, you see that they had, as I surmised, a confederate in the house, who could be none other than Lal Rao, the butler: so Jones actually has the undivided honor of having caught one fish in his great haul."

"The division seems rather unfair," I remarked. "You have done all the work in this business. I get a wife out of it, Jones gets the credit, pray what remains for you?"

"For me," said Sherlock Holmes, "there still remains the cocaine-bottle." And he stretched his long white hand up for it.

What a tragedy! Holmes knew what the outcome would be from the beginning, but he couldn't stop it at all. And Dr. Watson was innocently happy to get Miss Morstan.

I've thought that "Kiss of the Spider Woman (El beso de la mujer araña)", which was written by Manuel Puig was the masterpiece of the tragic gay love, but is there more tragic love than Holmes' one in "The Sign of the Four". His reason taught him he could never be satisfied. He had just a cocaine bottle.

I wonder what Arthur Conan Doyle thought of this story. Did he intentionally write the tragic love, or did he unintentionally write the ultimate tragedy? Sherlockians are stimulated by the fact that Doyle’s

May 1, 2011

Gathering Winds

I heard from my father that it was very hot and bright on the day that Japanese Emperor Hirohito surrendered to United Nations. There was nothing in Tokyo at that time.

Most of the people living in Tokyo believe that, someday, a huge earthquake will hit Tokyo again.

I can imagine a Tokyo that has been destroyed.

I'm looking up at the blue open sky, which used to be blocked out by skyscrapers befor they collapsed to the ground. I sing the song "Gathering Winds", remembering my old good Tokyo.

“Gathering Winds” by Happy End

When I took a walk
along a stretching alley on the edge of a town,
I found a street car just waking up
and going across the sea
through a messy haze.
And I'm also
gathering winds, gathering winds and gathering winds
to fly in the azure sky,
in the azure sky.

When I walked through
the really lovely and bracing time,
I found a city hoisting a green sail
and anchoring
over an empty seawall
And I'm also
gathering winds, gathering winds and gathering winds
to fly in the azure sky,
in the azure sky.

When I passed time
in an empty morning coffee shop,
I found the rustle of skyscrapers
spreading over pavement
through cracked crystal.
And I'm also
gathering winds, gathering winds and gathering winds
to fly in the azure sky,
in the azure sky.


Buddhism tell us everything in this world isn't eternal (諸行無常) and we should look straight at and accept this fact (諦念).

Most of Japanese, including me, aren't eager Buddhists, but they have this thought (諦念) in the back of their minds.

At this earthquake and tsunami one of the reasons why afflicted people could keep order might be that they share this thought (諦念) that they should accept whatever happens to them.

Usually I have a positive way of thinking for my life. At the same time I have to accept the fact that anything will be gone.