Hatena::ブログ(Diary)

Small talk in English 英語で話そう!

2018-01-01 New year’s day このエントリーを含むブックマーク

The year 2017 ended followed by 2018. Writing this way may sound like this year is simply a seamless continuation of the last year. Not quite another year. Well, actually it is not. I was reading a novel, a Sci-Fi titled Solaris the New Year's eve and finished this morning. It was a good book the way it suggests what an absolute alien intelligence is like.

Anthropomorphism is the word for us always interpreting everything we first met from human's aspect. However, another intelligence, if any, should not necessarily be the one we can be familiar with.

Solaris is a planet in a double star system. A bloody red sun rises and sets, then a dazzling blue sun rises. No life had been considered to survive in the planet in such a system since the orbit is unstable and unpredictable (well-known as the three body problem), resulting in the drastic change of climate and weather that would never allow any form of life to be born. After the discovery that the planet Solaris follows a regular orbit, intensive exploration began. The ocean was found to be controlling the orbit in an unknown manner. It looked like the ocean of the Earth; in the way it consists of liquid, occupying most of the planet. However, as we read the book through we get to know it is not something we can understand in our terms of common knowledge. You can call it a form of life or just a material having unique natures. Strangest of all was its capability of mimicking anything. Yes anything including our thought. It seems to reproduce what we have in the deepest of our mind. Weird, right?

The protagonist is sent to the station in Solaris to investigate what is wrong with the staff out there. Something extraordinary must be happening in it.

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2017-12-14 On losing uncle このエントリーを含むブックマーク

When I was around 20, I had a reason to drive a car. A girl I got to fall for asked me out for a drive, the moment she knew I'd got a driver's license, for which I used all the money I had. Flat broke I couldn't afford to rent a car. I was at a complete loss.

Then it dawned on me that my uncle owned a car, stylish Skyline Hardtop 2000GT. I went to his place and asked if I could use his car for two days. He gave a shy smile avoiding eye-contact as always and handed me the key with warm "good luck". So kind of him.

The drive trip to the foot of Mt. Fuji was great. We, just like decent young couples, went deep into a forest road, looking for a "romantic" place. I stopped the car at what seemed an ideal spot, spending some time in the car looking out at a shining water surface of Motosu lake through the lush green of trees in the dark forest, and then we decided to head for our hotel. I backed the car. No, I THOUGHT I backed the car. We heard a strange high-pitch sound coming from under, every time I stepped on the accelerator. I asked her to get off to see what was wrong. She walked around the car once and moved her forefinger in a circle a couple of times, a gesture for me to open the window. When I did by winding the lever anticlockwise many times, she reported to my right ear in a sensual whisper with a serious look "the back wheels were spinning VIOLENTLY". Now I got it. After a heavy rain the day before, the ground was soft and slippery and my attempt to move the car had got the matter worse because the spinning wheels made trenches of ten cm depth into the ground. I tried to get the car out of the trenches by tapping the accelerator professionally but the back wheels started to spin freely while the car moved a little backward and then adamantly returned to the original position. Left alone in a romantic-turned-desolate jungle, we were at a loss.

In the meantime, a sporty black car came up from nowhere. A godsend. In it was a young couple apparently with the same purpose as ours. The driver came out and approached us caught in the quagmire. He looked a bit older, a lot sturdier and taller than me. With a quick glance he took in the situation and called out loud for his partner still inside the car. When she appeared unwillingly she turned out even sturdier than he.

"Hi... Just as you see." I said.

"We'll push the car while you try backing it up." He said.

Back to the driver's seat, I changed the gear to the reverse and stepped on the accelerator , hard this time. The wheels made a screeching sound and the car got out of the ditches it had made. I kept backing the car watching the pushers, the guy and his sturdy girl friend and my delicate-built girl friend, moving further and further away. We made it! I thought. The car gained speed and then with "bang" it stopped suddenly. I felt a shock and at the same time my head struck hard onto the headrest. For a moment I didn't know what happened. I looked back. There was a big tree just behind the car. The couple was standing agape with my girlfriend. Feeling dizzy I managed to get out of the car and staggered over to the rear of the car. There was an ugly, big dent in the fender and the back body of the car. I was at a loss.

Repairing the car would cost arms and legs. I was totally broke. Maybe I should pay it back in installments. All the worries aside, I thanked the couple anyway who became quiet after witnessing the tragedy.

Perhaps I've written too much and gotten sidetracked. I have to get it straight back to my uncle.

We drove back home that night instead of staying at the hotel. I canceled it so that I could save the money for compensation. Next day I drove the miserable sporty car to my uncle's place. He seemed a bit surprised at my early return. I stuttered out to him what had happened in the forest elaborating on how muddy the ground was after the heavy rain the day before as if the rain must take responsibility for the accident. My uncle listened without uttering a word. Then with a delicate smile without eye-contact, just as always, he said

"That's good. You didn't get injured."

"But I damaged your car"

"Don't worry. I'll take care."

"I will pay....though in installments."

"You don't have to. I have major responsibility for lending my car to a young man. And I guess the insurance will cover most of the repairing cost."

Thirty years passed and I quit the company I worked for 28 years when I got an unexpected call from him. He asked of me some loan. I was dumbfounded because this "some" was something without which I would have to give up building my new house. It was when I was about to reject his request that I remembered the episode of my youth. I lend him the money. Of course he paid it back all with some interest in a matter of 3 years.

This is all about my uncle and me. No more or no less.

Two weeks ago he passed away at the age of 83. He suffered from hallucination before he died. He refused any kind of life-support measures.

Rest in peace my dear uncle.

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2017-12-13 Why このエントリーを含むブックマーク

If I write for myself why should I try to write better? The answer came all too simple and easy. To be able to write better English.

My interest has been centering around the improvement of my basic ability and skills, come to think of it. Writing English is one of those skills, which cannot get better without writing it, just like speaking English without speaking it. The difficult part of writing seems that you can't tell whether the stuff you are writing is good or bad.

But rest assured. You will come to know it as you READ English more. You will get to know which word, which expression or which style to use according to the occasion, place, and context. It may be a slow process. So slow that sometimes you'd doubt if it really works.

Believe it. You are also training your power of believing. The power of trust. This must be more fundamental than just acquiring language skills. Belief in goodwill and love of others, of yourself, God's invisible hand....

Morning Sun Light thrusts deep

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2017-12-10 Good このエントリーを含むブックマーク

Good, I decided yesterday to write disjointed articles again; I mean to write whatever crosses my mind. But to whom? For what? Why in English?

During my absence, I guess I lost all the readers who at least visited this website as many as 280000 (enormous number, to think) times in total. Once lost they will never come back, I am sure. With all the blogs teeming increasingly in the Internet universe, why should they work their way to my blog? Fat chance.

Then I will write for no one. Perhaps for myself.

Stone-paved road in the Roman city of Pompeii. In the middle and to the left were meant to be stepping stones with flat top when the road was flooded. Between them you can see a rut. f:id:toshi4374:20150410190405j:image

トラックバック - http://d.hatena.ne.jp/toshi4374/20171210

2017-12-09 Hi このエントリーを含むブックマーク

Hi

What a surprise! I believe I deleted all this blog about a year ago. But today I happened to find it was still left intact. As I embrace the power of fate, it doesn't seem a bad idea to resume the blog.

Four years have past since I posted the morbid article. As a matter of fact I have been sick in a way and quite healthy in another; sick as a dog during night and fit as a fiddle during the day, that is. In short I was suffering a serious insomnia. Serious because when I fall asleep, I got a hot flash with plenty of perspiration and woke up with shivers.

Ok, enough of whining. I'm fine now anyway.

masa_shiromasa_shiro 2017/12/29 12:27 Welcome back!
Keep your motivation! Look forward to your updates!

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2013-01-16 What’s happening to me? このエントリーを含むブックマーク

It's been some time, again, since I wrote last. In the meantime, I was going through something of a predicament.

In the middle of November last year, when I was talking with my clients at a meeting, I felt a hot flush in my face. I didn't care so much then, but when I went to the restroom and looked into a mirror, I found red rashes in my neck. "What's this?" I wondered but forgot about it until I was back home. The moment I took off my undershirt to take a bath, I was shocked to see the rashes spread all over my body. Something was definitely wrong with me!

The next day I went to see a doctor, who told me there were three possible causes for this type of rashes, the last one of which shocked me.

"Something might be wrong with your internal organs."

"What possibly might it be?" I asked him. Instead of answering my question he said.

"You look thinner than I saw you last. Don't you?"

"Now that you mention it, yes, I somehow lost my weight by 1 kilo in a matter of a month without doing anything special."

"Hmmm, You need to take a blood test."

"For what?"

"For something like liver functions and......"

" and what!!!?"

"And cancer markers."

suirensuiren 2013/02/01 07:22 Are you doing ok now?

suirensuiren 2013/02/01 07:22 Are you doing ok now?

hirokohiroko 2013/05/07 20:02 What happened to you!!!!!!?????
I want to know!!!

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2012-11-01 Now three of them このエントリーを含むブックマーク

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Here are 3 electronic book readers. Bred itself? Here's the purchase history.

It began when I bought Rakuten Kobo-touch on the day it was launched. It really enlightened me and opened my eyes to the world of a new reading life. But this particular device had problems I mentioned in the last post. I consulted Kobo help-desk staff on its terribly slow response. After several suggestions over one thing or another which I tried all in vain, they decided to replace it with a new one. However, as I talked with the Kobo staff and got tired of it, I gradually wanted to give up on the use of this Kobo tablet.

In the meantime, Sony released a new book reader, type PRS-T2. I was quick to buy one before Kobo staff sent the replacement. It was 2 thousand yen more expensive than Kobo-touch but it turned out worth it. It was simpler and faster in sorting downloaded books, its firmware and PC application software far faster and easier to use and it came with a stylus pen (It doesn't have to be this pen. You can use anything with a pointed head, while Kobo cannot). I liked it, so much so that, looking at my indulgence, my wife wanted another sony too ( the red one with a stylus pen and book cover). Then the new Kobo-touch came (middle in the picture), this time without a slow response problem. So... I can use it too.

In conclusion Sony PRS-T2 is better than Kobo-touch in every respect but one serious drawback for me. The e-book store run by Sony (named Reader Store) does not deal with English e-books. What a shame, considering that the reader tablet has a good English-Japanese dictionary (when to use it if there's no English contents?). Kobo e-book store boasts a broad range of digital book contents in English (Perhaps because Rakuten bought a Canadian company the name of which was Kobo). Unfortunately and naturally, the books downloaded on the Kobo tablet cannot be read with Sony readers (the reverse is also true).

So I am using both of them. The three readers are all needed after all. Now I'm reading Somerset Maugham. "The hero" was really good. You can download his books from Project Gutenberg for free^^;

トラックバック - http://d.hatena.ne.jp/toshi4374/20121101

2012-09-06 Since then このエントリーを含むブックマーク

Almost a year has passed... already.

At age 63, I'm still working, reading some scientific papers, going to the office twice a week, taking a walk, sometimes jogging, regularly eating, sporadically speaking... In short, I live.

I bought an e-book reader named kobo. Despite its insufficient functionality, incredibly slow response, and the who-can-use interface of the ebook store, I find it unexpectedly handy. Yes, I like the gadget. It's light to hold, the battery lasts a week, and the letters displayed on the screen are sharp and clear almost like those printed on a sheet of paper (they call it e-ink) so that I feel no eye-strain during my terribly long-time reading.

Since the day it was delivered to my house, I've been hooked on it and read more than 30 books including 3 English paperbacks in a matter of weeks. I am into Japanese classics partly because I wanted to know how my perception of the same books that I read in my youth has changed as I grow older, but mainly because those books are free. Sure, I got to read classics more deeply with a shallower motivation.

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2011-09-23 Autumn Equinox このエントリーを含むブックマーク

So the summer has ended. This time it doesn't seem to come back again soon.

7:00

Somebody must have visited the grave. Yellow flowers had been already offered in front of the tomb stone on which our family name was engraved as "○○家".

Lilies... Lilies. We guessed who.

"Yu-chan". I said.

"No, the flowers are definitely not her taste." Mom said a tad adamantly.

But when we saw the ground all weeded out, she settled for the conclusion

"Well,... might be".

On top of the flower a gray slimy thing was crawling. Slug. I picked him up and put him on the ground outside our family grave lot. He must have been eating the flower. but how could he find the flower here? Had he just randomly moved about and accidentally come across the flower? Or did he smell the flower and make his way straight to it? Perhaps the latter because he was not the only one. Four of his friends were found near the flower. His antenna, which we call horn "角", were fascinating. Just as I tried to touch it, he retracted it nicely and perfectly into the head. When my daughter fanned the smoke of a mosquito coil toward him, he also quickly pulled it back into the head. In spite of the smoke attack he seemed to try going back to the flower.

By the time we finished trimming trees, cleaning and sweeping the lot, he is back on the foot of piled stones that terraced the 15-square-meter lot of our ancestors' final resting place 50cm above the ground level.

We, one by one, stood in front of the tomb, poured a ladle of water on top of the gravestone, closed the eyes, put the hands together and remembered the dead. My father, grand-pa, grand-ma and my brother...

The slug finally made it and was now on top of the terrace, crawling toward his favorite flowers. He was alive and perfectly immaculate. We left him alone.

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suirensuiren 2011/09/23 23:42 We visited the grave (my husband's family grave) today. (Yesterday I also took my parents to 母方のお墓).
My husband's father loved lily, so I always select lily for him:)
As for slug, there are many slugs in my garden too. They love beer, right?^^
I like snails, but don't like slugs...

toshi4374toshi4374 2011/09/26 08:55 hi suiren,
The grave I visited is of paternal ancestors'. This year I met many slugs crawling around the tomb stone. Perhaps the stormy weather was favored by them.
I didn't know snails love beer. How did you know that?
You don't like a slug? It's just a snail without a shell^^. Maybe you can't touch the slimy surface. If you pick it up, that goo is not easily removed from your finger.

suirensuiren 2011/09/27 08:40 I have no idea why slugs love beer, but it is said so. Once I put a tin of beer near the plants in my garden at night, I got a several slugs that had curled up with a hungover^^;

>Maybe you can't touch the slimy surface.
NO!
So..you have touched them?

toshi4374toshi4374 2011/09/28 10:32 So you had a can of beer with slugs? ^^;
Actually I picked them up with my fingers and that slimy thing stuck on my fingers. It's not easy to remove the slimy thing unless you rub your fingers on a rough surface of concrete or alow it to dry and then rub your fingers against each other.
There are always something you will never understand without touching.

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2011-09-17 Sound of existence このエントリーを含むブックマーク

5:50, Saturday.

As the sun rises and begins to color dull orange the east sky over the beige building, more songs of birds can be heard. But, listen hard, in the background of the merry soprano chirp, there is a gut-resonating bass noise echoing through the town. That may be the sound of people's activity, how prevailing and penetrating.

Last week I went to Osaka and heard a similar noise in a hotel room near the station. It was so faint and at such a low pitch that it felt more like a vibration. But somehow it seemed like trying to reach somewhere in my soul, so familiar and nostalgic that I felt as if remembering what I heard before I was born.

Not long ago, somebody told me that the word "Aummmmm", when pronounced at a very bass tone, is exactly like the sound of the universe.

A sound that thrusts through 13.6 billion light years of time and space, through the stars, the Sun, the Earth and every one of us. That's grand to imagine. If there were such sound, it would definitely be like what I'm hearing now.

The sound of existence. If only I could hear it.

suirensuiren 2011/09/23 23:53 I want to say that..."スケールの大きな話", but don't know which word I should use. Spacious? Majestic?  I've got the impression something like timeless(transcending time) feeling when I read this post.

toshi4374toshi4374 2011/09/26 09:03 I would use the word "grandiose" in this case. 大きな話だけどなんか嘘っぽいというニュアンスをこめて。
If you would like simply to say 壮大な, "grand" may be the word.
majesticは立派なとか堂々としたっていう感じ(だと思う)のでmajestic cathedralという風な使い方が普通だと思う。

suirensuiren 2011/09/27 08:25 Thank you very much for your help!
あはっ...Is this post 嘘っぽいstory?^^ I don't think so.
Your story also reminds me of that everything is made of energy.

By the way,that Aum shinrikyo comes from this Aummmm sound,I wonder?

toshi4374toshi4374 2011/09/28 10:50 You are right. That cult named after the sound of the truth.
But this sound is comfortable to hear when pronounced by good-voice monks.
You can hear an example of Aum or OM in such as
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4e9hcqVVfY
That's music in a way.

suirensuiren 2011/09/29 06:50 I've visited the site and listened to that music!
Amazing!! Thank you very much for letting me know this!

トラックバック - http://d.hatena.ne.jp/toshi4374/20110917