An Introduction to this Website/ An Introduction to this Website (Japanese)
Welcome to Keiko Kitada's Homepage.
This is a personal website of Keiko Kitada. It includes my writings such as poems, essays, reviews, reports and photos of cities/parks/plants/animals mainly of Tokyo, Japan. By clicking "The Latest Note" in the index page, you can read the up-to-date information and my brief comments. Please get the overview of the contents of this website in A guide to this Website.
In 1997 I was inspired by a public lecture series on the Internet provided by the library of the University of Virginia, USA, where I was staying as a visiting scholar. The lecture was open to students, faculty members, office employees of the university and the citizens of Charlottesville equally for free. The librarians specializing informational technology instructed us of the fundamental system of the Internet and ideas of making use of "webistes" for various purposes. When they taught us how to handle HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), I was amazed to find a few tags enabled us to visualize colored alphabets on the browser. It was really exciting.
I felt thrilled to think that ordinary people can "publish" what we write freely online. I thought it was totally a new concept to share writings without printing them. At the same time I remember I heard a graduate student saying that the Internet is "like a library on whose floors books good and bad are all scattered being not categorized nor classified at all." No matter whether they are individuals or institutions, those who are to "write the message" through the Internet have the responsibility as the sender of the information--that's what I thought at that time. It was at the beginning of the days when the Internet was going to be popularized immediately.
Almost nine years have already passed ever since and the situation of the Internet has greatly changed. The days when we listened to the subtle sound of the modem connecting our computers to the Net are far away. We're now living in the day when broadband connection lets us take in any image/sound of a large size all at once. It seems we have completely lost our naive sense of wander about the Internet. Anybody can start "the weblog," a very simplified style of the website so easily. Nothing is new and striking on the Net. I'm asking what's the use of keeping a website of my own in this style today.
Looking back on the days in Virginia in 1997, I remember it was very natural for me to communicate with people in English. As I had been staying in the States several times before, however, I had known quite well that the keen sense of the language will be gone soon after I go back to Japan. To our astonishment and disappointment, a foreign language disappears from our brain very quickly unless we practice it on a daily basis. I wondered how I would be able to maintain what I've acquired. It occurred to me that I should use English every day! If I keep writing everyday online, I expected, I would be conscious of readers and pay attention to my styles and vocabulary. Actually it was impossible to write every day, but I've been still in practice of writing in both English and Japanese ever since. Thus, I made it a bilingual website in principle. I hope by writing on the Internet I would keep brushing up the sense of language all the time. That's how the idea "Language for Better Communication through the Internet" started.
One more thing I got in Virginia was the habit of writing poems and personal essays. We are considered to be all poets while very young, but usually experiences deprive us of our naive sensibility and many of us tend to become grown-ups equipped only with sense. We can easily forget the feeble touching heart and strong longings as we grow physically old. At the workshops of creating writing course of The Virginia Writing Project, I recovered the liberty of writing. I got away from the restrictions called "evidence" and "proof." I remembered to write what I had in my memory and what I really felt. Perhaps this kind of activity might well be said quite childish and sentimental, but isn't it quite natural to write our feelings and emotions? I wanted to keep writing the voices of my heart on my website.
As a matter of fact, however, I have been reminded of time after time that I'm not perfectly free to write anything on my website. The more I write, the heavier I feel the responsibility of a writer. Once you get the habit of writing, it's quite difficult to get out of it. Wondering what to do with the freedom and the responsibility, I've enjoyed thinking of what to write and what not to. It's also true that we happen to meet people unexpectedly through the website. Encounters and the interaction with visitors are perhaps the best part of having a personal website.
In spite of its subtitle "Language for Better Communication," this website contains a lot of image files. In some pages, they are more dominant than language. I rely on non-verbal communication quite often recently. Thanks to my digital cameras and photo retouching software, I've found the joy of taking photography. When I do with photos, I find myself look at things and think of them differently from my usual ways. Particularly, plants and animals are inspiring me very much. I feel as if I'm starting to live a new life with them. However, at the same time, image files have taken a great amount of bytes as I was constructing this website without any particular design. Finally I've noticed I could hardly go on increasing image files especially freely any more. I have to think of the designation of this website clearly. I must be more conscious of how to select the really essential factors for sharing information with visitors over certain topics.
Only sometimes I feel I am fed up with the Internet, but I have to admit that it's a very important moment of my life when I sit in front of the computer and work with my website. It's the important moment for me to face with myself. It gives me the chance to get the insight of myself. I never think the machine is an inhuman object. My website really identifies myself to a certain degree. I'll continue to liberate myself, think, create here. And if possible, let me share something with others here.
Although the Internet has been very often criticized for its representing "the virtual reality," it has established a significant status in the contemporary society with its virtues and vices. Who know the future of it? I would rather experience it than just talk about it. I'll go on learning more about it. Thank you very much for your visit.
(Born in Tokyo, JAPAN in 1952. Studying literature and teaching English.)
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