2018-01-01 New year’s day
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.
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?
2017-12-14 On losing uncle
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.
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.
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
"But I damaged your car"
"I will pay....though in installments."
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.
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....
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.
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.
2013-01-16 What’s happening to me?
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!
"Something might be wrong with your internal organs."
"For something like liver functions and......"
" and what!!!?"
"And cancer markers."
- to be continued ----
2012-11-01 Now three of them
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).
2012-09-06 Since then
Almost a year has passed... already.
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.
2011-09-23 Autumn Equinox
Lilies... Lilies. We guessed who.
"Yu-chan". I said.
"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...
2011-09-17 Sound of existence
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.
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.