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December 29, 2008


I've started cooking for the new-year days. Certainly I do a lot of shopping but there are several things that I cook by myself. I also cleaned the household altar of Shinto. I'm not a believer usually, but only at the end and the beginning of a year like most of the Japanese. There is a local shrine near my house. It's in a small forest which seems to hold a certain spirit. There is a special solemn atmosphere. Somehow, I walk up to the main building of the shrine and pray for the health of family giving a small donation. I can't help it. I spent a year disregarding my health. I should have been more careful. I want to live slowly next year really. I will give up a lot. The world at large has changed a lot. Small private life of mine and the world might be connected somewhere. Let me listen to the voice of life in me. Today's update: this note only.

December 23, 2008


I'm relaxing, enjoying the momentary peace at home. So many things have been happening to me and whole may body and soul ache. You may say, "It's due to your age!" I know. But it's hard to admit aging in myself. I've been realizing how hard it is to endure the physical (and mental of course) aging only recently. I had never imagined myself suffering from stiff shoulders or back pains. I say to myself, "Aha! that's the way a human body behaves!" I have been too careless of myself in spite of several diseases I experienced. But I'm not pessimistic at all. I'm curious of what's happening from now on. Maybe I'll learn what to do and what not to. There might be unexpected encounters. Tomorrow is another day! Today's update: the photo in the index page (a moment of silence on Hakusan Dori Avenue in front of Tokyo Dome) and the one in this page (a lighted tree I saw on my way home). BTW, these days it seems blogs are trendy, not websites for individual people. At work, there is a talk that teachers and students should shift their websites to blogs. What should I do? I feel myself to be very conservative now. Well, I thought a website is a canvas for free expressions.

December 14, 2008


I accompanied my mother-in-law to a clinic of orthopedics. It's a newly opened clinic in front of a railway station. It's very proud of the latest facilities. It's open even on Sundays. There is one doctor but there are many nurses and assistants working for him. (Amazingly he is very young!) To my great surprise, there are a variety of electric rehabilitation machines. In my old fixed ideas, rehabilitation meant people do exercises by themselves but the reality today is not like that. They use all kinds of electric or electromagnetic wave based machines. A large air-bag like cushions were applied to my mother-in law and she seemed very comfortable with warmth. Next she was connected to several rubber cups which sent her subtle waves. People all there in the rehabilitation rooms looked like robots! At the same time they enjoyed chatting each other and assistants working for them. Well, a hospital today is a kind of social club. A health insurance card for the elders, which has been notorious in Japan, demonstrated its power today in my mother-in-law's hand. Today's update: this note only.

December 7, 2008


December! The end of a year has already come. Can you believe it? Blessed with a moment of peace at noon on a Sunday, I checked the photos I took recently. There are not any remarkable ones but I picked up a few including the one on the index page (certainly Tokyo Tower) and the one here in this page (sage growing in our yard) for today's update. I wish I could keep calm in spite of all the bustling matters around me. That's impossible indeed. At least I would like to spend time (just for a while) trying a new retouch software I installed in my PC recently. It is a very simplified version of the full fledged Photoshop. I don't know how different they are exactly; however, I know I'm using only a very small part of the simple version anyway. Photos are not so sharp; it's due not to the software but to my original image data. I don't have time enough to walk around and take photos as many as I like. (I'm far away from my humble pass-time recently!) I catch appealing moments while I swiftly pass by towns. Thus time passes without giving me time to stop and think. Even my birthday has passed by so quickly. I hope I'll be able to update this page more often than last few months. Thank you very much for your visit!

November 28, 2008


November is an important month for me, but I've been away from updating this website for such a long time. I kept running day after day, just trying to catch up with all kinds of demands from everywhere. I've been far away from everybody. I'm quite exhausted with all the things happening around me. I need a rest for a while. I've noticed trees have already turned yellow and red, and now they are all falling down. They are fallen on the ground beaten by the rain and stumped over by footsteps. They smell autumn. How I wish to go out to see the amazing leaves of woods! However, things are happening one after another endlessly. They are like falling leaves over me. They keep falling until they are all gone to make a tree all bare. November is a beautiful season right before winter. It's the season of chrysanthemums. They are all going into the domain of memories. It's not good to be too busy. If I stop, I'll be able to reach the light. I keep listening to songs neither in Japanese nor English. (Do you know Il Divo?) I'm fed up with absurd things! I have precious things to secure somewhere else. Today's update: this note, an unaccountable soliloquy only. Sorry, friends!

November 15, 2008


It's rainy one day and sunny another day. It's already the middle of November. Things are not going so well. I've got to pay more attention to what I say. Because my occupation is to teach a language, I should have been more careful about my words. But I'm often criticized for being lengthy in my speech and writings. My expressions offend people sometimes too. Perhaps it's better to keep silence; however, I can't help saying and writing. How can I restrict myself from expressing myself inadequately? (Whew!) Today's update: a review of a book entitled Dewey, The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World. Sorry, only in Japanese! Also, I updated the photos on the index page and here in this page. Both were taken in Nagareyama, Chiba. How I wish I could go for a walk, step on fallen leaves (smelling the scent of them), and to look out far.

October 30, 2008


Thus, 10 days have passed so quickly like a dream. Should I say "like a nightmare?" I don't have time even to fool around. One after another, like waves, things big and small are coming up to me. I don't think they are caused by the world financial crisis. But I guess the worldwide situation might influence a citizen's life stealthily. To me a more serious thing has happened recently; that is an alley cat which we all loved in our neighborhood has passed away. It belonged to nobody but everybody felt close to it. My family saw it lying on a roadside one rainy morning. What a big difference it is to have it or not to have it! It's getting colder day by day. Please take care of yourself. Today's update: this note only.

October 20, 2008


20 days have passed swiftly since I wrote the short note below. We're already in late October! Although I wrote, " I wish to buy a new suit this month.," however, I haven't got the chance yet. We have so many meetings. One day, we held a TV meeting between Nagareyama, Chiba and Hongo, Tokyo. Thanks to the high quality microphone and the camera, we succeeded in having the seamless circumstances. When we tested a distant lecture via TV, it was very satisfactory. Although there exists "the sense of indirectness," we can hardly attain the perfect understanding whatever the condition is. I believe it's more efficient to talk within a certain duration of time in a distance than to go on babbling endlessly confined in a room. We might be cooler in a distance. It's ecological and economical. (No "off-recording" has a merit, too.) I admit I'm not keen about technology but I will strongly agree to attend TV meetings. Today's update: a photo in the index page (a lane going down to Ochyanomizu Slope) and the one here in this page (Tricyrtis formosana). I'll be right back!

October 1, 2008


October has started. In Japanese old calendar this month is considered to be the time where all the gods have gone to Izumo. I wish something good to happen in busy days. I wish it will be sunny after rainy days. I wish I could have more free time (even once in a while.) If I had free time, I would go out for a walk. Recently I don't have time to wander in town. I wish to buy a new suit this month. No more than that. I wish my days will go just as smoothly as possible. What a simple dream it is! However, to whom am I praying? In the Japanese myth, we don't have any gods in our place in October. Today's update: this note only,.

September 27, 2008


I spent days to clean the space around my desk in a corner of our living room. The most difficult things were paper and books as the result of my random work and reading for many years. A paper shredder didn't work with such voluminous stacks, nor scissors of course; my hands were the most useful. I ripped off sheets to fill trash bags. I put books of all kinds into cardboard boxes and sent them to my office in Nagareyama, Chiba prefecture.I have been there for three years since I moved from Hongo, Tokyo. Nagareyamna office is on the seventh floor of a building overlooking the rural area, which is completely different from an urban cell among buildings. My living room at home detoxified is now really comfortable. To keep it clean is easier than to clean it drastically. The autumn wind is going through. Today's update: this note only.

September 24, 2008


After the long rainy days, it turned to be a perfect sunny day. While I was hanging washed clothes out, I feel my heart was being absorbed to the height of the clear blue sky. The bustling days of a new semester has been slowly settled down. Activities of the autumnal season are starting. BTW, I wonder if the red gingham check is in fashion this year. A few days ago, there were three girls in almost the very similar fluffy dresses at the school bus stop. Hearing what they talk to each other, they happened to choose the dresses. They were complaining (cheerfully) of the coincidence. but they got their photos taken by their mate nearby. Although they were all slim and attractive looking girls, I couldn't approve their flippant talk. I wish young women to be more elegant in speech. (I know I'm just playing a mother hen as people say!) Autumn is a good season to enjoy dressing. It's the common pleasure of all women regardless of ages. Today's update: this note only. It's time to update my wardrobe.

September 20, 2008


When a typhoon was gone, it was extremely hot. First we visited our family grave in Takao and then went to see a students' art exhibition via Hachioji by the Yokohama Line. The campus of an art college where my daughter is going was quite different from what I know of a college in many ways. There were curious and strange objects everywhere. In exhibition rooms, I found numerous works evidently full h ambition but with no clear message. The project my daughter's group has been working for intensively is a hands-on installation. There are 50 human years made of clay on a white vertical panel; visitors are invited to clean the ears with an earpick--the traditional Japanese bamboo one. A camera is taking them cleaning years on the wall to show on a monitor. They can bring back wht they've got form the years in a small plastic bag or put it on the wall for show. Various tiny things are coming out of year holes. Once you start cleaning, you will get fascinated with the joy of the activity somehow! BTW, is it an art, "to offer the pleasure of cleaning ears" at all? Today's update: photos in the index page (a lot to stock stone materials in the campus of an art college) and the one here in this page (Callicarpa dichotoma). Also I uploaded my latest mini review on books by Chekhov. Sorry, only in Japanese. It's autum for art!

September 13, 2008


A week has passed so quickly. It made me virtually crazy. Fortunately, whoever, I had a chance to meet a friend from a far away country again and also a long-waited person finally turned up. I've been immediately involved in the maelstrom of the new semester. I make mistakes too. This weekend I bought some expensive tea on my way home and forgot to receive the goods. I found I had no tea when I arrived home. I returned to the shop. How stupid of me! A friend of mine staying overseas wrote to me that he is going to Dublin in October. Dublin! It's the city of my personal attachment. I will go to Transylvania instead, by a book I'm reading on Dracula! Today's update: this note only. Autumn is deepening.

September 7, 2008


I received a letter from an old friend of mine. It was a letter in an envelope with a stamp on! Recently I've been corresponding with most of my friends and acquaintances by e-mail, so I was thrilled and excited when I opened it. She has changed several aspects of her life recently. To my amazement, she wrote in her letter that she is departing for Republic of Tajikistan in a few days! Where is Tajikistan? I checked the world atlas in a hurry. I found it surrounded by Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz China, and Afghanistan. Pakistan and Kazakhstan are not far. The common ending of the names of these countries "...stan" suggests the prevailing cultural elements of that area. I wonder what her travel would be like. I hope I'll get a chance to talk with her someday in near future. I tend to pay attention only to what's in front of my eyes; however, her letter encouraged me to look up and see further. Thanks! Today's update: this note only. My daily schedule will get into full swing this week.

September 4, 2008

毎日T シャツとジーパンに裸足で過ごしていたのが、上着にスカート、そしてパンプスをはく生活に戻るとなると身体の方がすぐには馴染まないらしい。今夕はほんの二時間ばかり少し踵の高い靴を履いて立ちっぱなしでいただけで、もうマメができた。(なんてこった!)季節の継ぎ目に野外のバーベキューパーティー。但し仕事がらみなので身なりを整えていったのだが。アタマで決めたことを強行しようとしても、カラダが抵抗しているのか。そうそう、これからは無理せずゆったりいくのだった。本日の更新は表紙の写真(パンパスグラス)と、このページの写真(ケイトウに小さな虫)です。ぐずぐず言っていないで、鮮やかな秋色を探しに出かけよう。

After living in a T shirt and jeans with bare feet, my body won't adjust itself with a jacket, a skirt with legs encased in pumps quickly. This evening I kept standing just for two hours in low heeled shoes, I got blisters on my soles (I can't believe it!). At the turn of seasons, I was invited to n outdoor barbecue party. As it was a kind of business related party, I was dressed "unusually." My body seemed not to accept what the brain decided. I have to remember I made up my mind to live, feeling what my body appeals carefully. Today's update: the photo in the index page (Cortaderia argentea) and the one here (Celosia cristata with a tiny insect). I'll go out to find fresh colors of autumn, with no more of grumbling like an old woman.

August 31, 2008


Well, well, it's really the end of summer. We have a heavy shower every evening. I went out to see the River Karabori in my neighborhood to check how much water it has. Usually the river has only a thin stream. Now it has an expanded stream with a lot more of water fully running down with powerful sound. Grasses on the riverbed along the stream are all fallen down by the heavy rain during the night. I don't think this river will flood; however, no river should be underestimated. I could see no birds nor flowers nearby. Very soon I will resume commuting, passing over big rivers by train, such as the River Ara-kawa, the River Edo-gawa, and so on. Whenever the train comes to rivers, I turn around to catch the glimpse of them out of the window. When I'm watching the winding rivers in expanding grassy banks, I forget I'm settled in the metropolitan area. The waves glittering in backlight is so beautiful. I can see the mountain ranges in distance only when it is very clear in winter time. So that the scenes of rivers are precious .Although it's a pity to admit that summer has come to an end, but I can no longer keep slumbering. Let me decide to wake up, but not to busy myself to exhaustion. Today's update: this note only.

August 26, 2008


Insects start singing as soon as the sun sets. In Kanto District, it has been raining nearly for a week. I almost missed sending my short essay to the publisher by the deadline. Thanks to the kind publisher and the editor, I was saved. The publisher, who is also my great teacher, is so humorous that I am more ashamed of my carelessness. I should have been alert anytime! A few days ago, I gave a CD-R to one of my friends, without noticing it was empty. Alas! I've been making mistakes continuously. Stop time, By the by let me stay negligent a little longer. Today's update: the photo in this page (A sort of autumn grass. Sorry, I haven't found its name yet.)

August 19, 2008


Although it has been extremely hot during the daytime, the land cools down thanks to the evening shower. I look back and remember that I didn't skip an-hour-walk in the morning last summer. I've been lazy this year. A year has passed so quickly. No, it was a long time with a lot of things happening one after another! I haven't got anything to demonstrate to the world as the result of my work, though. I'm grateful that I can maintain this small website anyway. Today I spent time browsing in a bookstore at Takadanobaba, Tokyo. I checked books for a long time. I wonder how many writers there have been, and many times more of readers in the world! They say books are not selling well these days. On the other hand, online shops are selling rare books and reviving some books. That's good. But just imagine there are no more bookstores in town! Browsing in bookstores is as nice as walking in woods. today's update: a photo in this page (a flower of snake gourd/ Trichosanthes cucumeroides). I wish I could go out again into a spacious place again before summer goes!

August 16, 2008


Due to accumulate fatigue I had got before summer holiday, I was suffering from stiff shoulder and backache. When I started to move, I couldn't help groaning for pain. Thanks to careful massage, acupuncture and moxibustion therapy, I'm getting to be liberated from pain. Wonderful! I knew the pain was caused by aging; however, I didn't want to admit it. I used to be all right even if I constantly carried heavy bags, stayed in same postures at the desk for a long time; my body didn't cry for help. I was boasting I was rather for physical works than intellectual ones; however, any kind of boasting is vacant. A friend of mine advised me to give out all the evil from my body. I'm such an idiot as to forget that anything is not worth risking my life. When can I be wiser? While I was taking a walk in the late afternoon, I found autumn flowers and grasses are appearing. Even Japanese bush clover is starting to bloom! The season is naturally turning to autumn. Today's update: this note only. I wish I won't have to say, "I'm not ready yet for the new semester!" at the end of summer holiday as usual.

August 10, 2008


Right after I started my summer holiday, I've noticed we're living in autumn by calendar already! We have showers in the evening which makes the air somewhat cooler. It must be extremely hot in Beijing. The time lag between Beijing and Tokyo is only one hour. We're locally very close indeed. One of the Chinese students has told me it takes her 4 hours from door to door when she goes home. I travel China by reading. Today's update: photos of our short trip to Izu. I felt it took me thousands of miles just to go there, Perhaps the distance doesn't matter so much in traveling as long as we can appreciate moments of "traveling happiness."

August 9, 2008


We visited the seashore. It took us two hours by a local express train from Tokyo Terminal Station to Futo and its environs in Ito, Shizuoka in the middle of the east coast of Izu Peninsula. At the dawn in the rocky beach, the sea was bright with the rising sun and I could hear only the waves washing the pebbles and rocks at the seashore. I kept watching the ocean. If I can watch the ocean every day, would my view grow larger and my heart deepen? Or rather would it be busier with tempests and lulls? The sea which I can see only occasionally looked so huge, so deep and so beautiful that all my poor words were blown away. The trip was very brief but the sea stayed in me. The waves of the ocean won't go away for a while. Today's update: the photo in the index page (the rocky seashore near Futo, Ito, Shizuoka) and the photo here in this page (Hemerocallis littorea). When can I go to the beach again next time. Someday for sure!

August 3, 2008


It's been extremely hot. I should say it's almost comfortable to live in such an absolute hotness. At midday, we went for a walk and arrived in Shakujii Park, where people once rumored that an alligator appeared. The lake in the park is surrounded by the rich forest and it is so quiet. When we climbed up to the site of an ancient castle, the cool wind was blowing among the woods and it was much cooler than the lakeside. All I could hear was buzzing of cicadas and occasional cries of craws. Sitting on an old stump, blown in the wind, I really wished to remain there that way for ever. Today's update: a photo in the index page (Sampouji Pond in Shakujii Park, Nerima, Tokyo) and the one in this page (same). The healing power of the forest is just wonderful.

July 21, 2008


The brilliant summer has come! It is Marine Day. Although I live far away from the sea, I appreciate the holiday anyway. My mother visited us. I cooked tempura of vegetables, prepared "soumen" (A kind of Japanese noodles, the thinnest one we eat in summer. Usually it's served in a large bowl of icy water. We pick up a little bit from the bowl and put it in specially prepared cold soup.), offered a basketful green beans (boiled, cooled, and salted) and sliced a watermelon. We ate the big lunch in my mother-in-laws tatami room. She rarely turn on the air-conditioner; instead, she made me open all the window and doors. An old fashioned electric fan and manual fans are the very ecological cooling system in her world. In her tatami room, the subtle wind made us feel cool. My mother brought me a small bottle of red liquid; a condensed juice of Japanese red basil. One of her cousins in Shimane Prefecture made it. I drank it with water and ice. It was really refreshing! Thanks! Today's update: the photo in the index page (Omotesando Avenue, Harajuku, Tokyo) and the one here in this page (a back alley in Harajyuku). I still have a lot of works before summer holidays come. Get out of them as soon as possible!

July 18. 2008

後で降ると分かっていながら洗濯物を物干し台に出してしまうほど、朝は晴れていた。千葉県は昼頃激しい驟雨。夕刻バス乗り場で会った学生は畳んだビニール傘を持っていた。「来る時あまり大粒だったんでコンビニで買っちゃいました」と。きっとこれで梅雨明けよね、と語り合う。試験期間とはいえ、前期の授業が終了した開放感がキャンパスに漲っている。よくここまでたどり着いたというのが実感。これからがヤマ場の課題がいくつもあるのだけれど。本日の更新は『翻訳読書ノート 39』。「バイリンガルであることと」と題した短いエッセイです。このところ小説を立て続けに読んでいる。この夏こそ「読書感想文」の宿題(自分で自分に出している!)をアップしていくことにしよう。今のところ時空を超えた旅しかできそうにないとしたら。

I had known it would perhaps rain later; but I left home hanging washed clothes out. it was so sunny in the morning. In the early afternoon, it rained heavily at Nagareyama, Chiba. On my way back, I met a student of mine at a bus stop. She was holding a plastic umbrella. She said, "I bought it at a convenience store at the railway station because I was surprised with the huge drops of rain." We agreed that it was the end of the rainy season. Although we're in the middle of examination weeks, the atmosphere in campus has the feeling of liberation. We've safely survived the long term somehow. I know I've got to tackle a lot of different kinds of demands. Today's update: a short review of a book entitled An Interpreter, a novel written by a Korean-born American author, Suki Kim. Sorry, it's only in Japanese. BTW, I've been reading books after books recently. I'm planning to upload a reading diary (an assignment I gave to myself) this summer! If I cannot travel far, what else can I do?

July 13, 2008


Recently a friend of mine told me that my e-mails are so longish that those who receive them might not be willing to respond. Ah, well. Because it was a comment made by one of my most respectable elder friends, I listened to her seriously, feeling quite embarrassed. (Where has my poetry gone?) In a rainy morning not fully bright yet, I ride on a bike with the heavy head and heavy mind. I utter, "How many barriers am I going be confronted with today?" And then another voice arises from inside, "Take it easy, woman! At least you're alive luckily, aren't you?" When I take a walk on my day off, I find vermilion flowers which are so striking to my eyes. I also see numerous "mizuhiki-sou"(Polygonum filiforme) growing at my feet. They seem to contain autumn in them. I strongly feel the earth is alive. Then I feel much better, saying, "What words matter?" Today's update: the photo in the index page (green nuts of "ego-no-ki," Styrax japonica), and the one here (montbretia, Crocosmia×crocosmiiflora). Both of the photos were taken in the small woods in Higashimurayama, Tokyo. At this moment I don't have the energy to say, "I wish to make a trip to somewhere." I'm under so many kinds of pressures. Certainly, I won't be defeated. Never!

July 6, 2008


A week has almost gone since the beginning of July. We often have real summer days recently. If it's cloudy, it is extremely hot and humid. I guess the rainy season will continue for a few more weeks. Because of SUMMIT in Hokkaido, the alert level has increased greatly in the central parts of Tokyo. I see police everywhere. Particularly in terminal stations, police officers are watching the crowds from high stands. Inside of trains, there are frequent announcements saying, "We're on terror alert. If you find anything extraordinary around you, please inform us of it." Most of the people look uninterested. They seem to have forgotten there was really an extraordinary murder happened in a place not far from them. Because many of our students go through Akihabara Station on their way to and from college, they were concerned about the happening. Some said actually, "O might have been there on that day." Was it a sort of terrorism? Yes, an individual terrorism. Where there is no hope, terrorism may happen anytime. To remember and not to forget it, we need power. Our young people don't say, "It's none of our business." They are concerned. An individual and a society can never be separated. Today's update: a photo in this page. It's the season of lilies. Let's look for something beautiful.

June 29, 2008


While I was walking along back alleys in Tsukiji, I came across with several shops of "katsuo-bushi"(--dried bonito, which we shave for making soup.). I saw large amount of shaven one and tough rocks of dried bonito. They all looked attractive but I did not buy any because I've decided to buy "katsuo-bushi" at Hongo Oyokocho Street. The young shop master told me the other day that his "katsuo-bushi" is much better than any other ones you find even in Tsukiji where you are supposed to find the best of marine products. I know what he meant. Among all his goods, particularly "hongare-bushi,"dried and molded bonito all covered with pale green powder is, according to his lecture, the best. He let me take photographs. I made soup with it and believed his words. Yes, it tasted and smelled so good. The soup made you warm. When I visited the shop (in Hongo) a few days ago, his mother and grandmother greeted me cheerfully saying, "Hello, welcome!" I asked the mother to shave 100 grams of "katsuo-bushi" for me. She told me a TV program wanted to use their shop for a location shooting of their drama program. She explained to me why she declined the request. She said, "They wanted to change our name boards and sign boards, and also they wanted to bring in boxes of "katsuo-bushi" from the place we never have trades. If we accept their request, our business will be misunderstood by customers. We couldn't do anything against our will." Aha! They have faith in their business. Both Tsukiji and Hongo Oyokocho embody good old Japanese mercantile spirit. It's really interesting to chat at shops. Today's update: photos in the index page (a scene along a green lane in Setagaya, Tokyo) and the one here (flowers of Althaea rosea I planted in front of our front gate). They make me feel summer is coming very soon. Can you believe it's the end of June already?

June 26, 2008

思い切って初めての美容院に飛び込んだ。よくきれいなチラシを配っている店。本当に若い人ばかりでやっている。私が持っていた読み差しの小説に気付いた一人が、「本、読むんですか?」と話しかけてきた。「読みますよ」と私。カノジョは、「私、本て苦手で。」「そぉ?」などと話していると、別の一人が「私、本好きです。この前読んだのは『ダイブ』っていうんですけど。」「あ、飛び込みの話ね。映画もあるじゃない。」と私。カットをしてくれたお兄さんは、「ボクはマンガですね。」「そ、いいのある?」ときくと、いくつか挙げてくれた。最初の一人は「私、活字読むと眠くなるんですけど、ケータイなら。」「あ、ケータイ小説!ど、面白い?」「面白いですよぉ。泣けます。いつも読んで泣いてます。」「ふーん、ケータイ小説って笑うために読むんじゃなくて、泣きたくて読むんだ?!」「そうですね、一人でケータイ読んで泣くの好きです。通信料掛かりますけど。」「主人公に同情しちゃうの?」「そうですね、サイト行って、タイトル見ながら泣けそうなの探して、読み始めてつまんなかったらまた別のに行きますから。」「ふーん、友達も読んでる?」「結構好きな子いますよ」・・・というわけで、ケータイ小説の読み方を教わった。時々河岸を変えるのも良い。変なお客になって、おしゃべりして帰る。知らない店なら身元不明。少々羽目を外して饒舌になっても気にならない。ひとときの解放。本日の更新は短信のみにて。どうしてこんなにというくらい忙しい。やばいぞ、ストレス大敵。Take it easy!

I jumped in a hair salon which I had never been before. They were often giving out flyers of nice designs. Employees of the shop are all very young. One of them noticed a book which I had. She said, "Hey, do you read books?" "Yes, why not?" said I. "I'm not for it." said she. "Aren't you?" said I. Listening to our conversation, another joined us. "I do, I like reading books. Recently I read a very interesting one entitled, Dive." "Oh, you did" I've heard it's about boys in training of diving. They made a film of it too, didn't they?" "Yes!" Then a hair dresser, a young man, joined us. "I like comics. Not books." "Could you recommend me anything cool+?" I asked. He mentioned several titles which I was not familiar with. Again the first one said, "I like reading by cell-phone,." I asked if she meant "cell-phone novels." "Sure! I love to cry reading them." "Oh, do you cry by cell-phone novels?" I said to her with astonishment. "Yea, they make me cryl. They are fantastic although it costs me quite a lot, I mean the cell-phone bill. Battery is out very quickly." I see it7s the way how young people read cell-phone novels! it's good to change hair salons sometimes. I can be anybody at a new one. I can talk as much as I like just freely while I'm having my hair done. It's a momentary relaxation. I've been busy so much. I need to be free from stresses once in a while. .Today's update: this note only. I wish I could spend time more wisely.

June 18, 2008


Last Wednesday, some of my colleagues and I visited "Career English Island" at Tokyo Women's Christian University to study how they have been successfully conducting a program to support students in their career building and the acquisition of English proficiency. We had a chance to observe classes and facilities they provide for the purpose of training students to become realistically competent in business and other activities in society. The program was awarded the fund of "Good Practice in Contemporary Education" by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology. For me personally it was also a good occasion to visit my alma mater. (I hadn't been there for years.) The campus was so beautiful with its well preserved natural environment and quiet atmosphere. Old traditions and new ones coexist there. When I was going up the stairs in the new library, I smelled "something I knew well in the past." It turned out to be the scent of old books and old chairs and desks equipped with classical lights attached, which I used to be familiar with in our days. Both of students actively joining the discussion going on in classes and silent ones in library reminded me of how we were in early 70's. On those days I was eager to get out of the campus; whereas, now I felt so happy to find the same kinds of spirit we used to have still living there. Today's update: the photo in the index page (A big tree in Kinuta Park, Setagaya, TOKYO) and the one here (an organ in chapel at Tokyo Women's Christian University, Suginami, TOKYO). Sorry, updating of this page is so slow! I have a lot to write but don't have time enough!

June 4, 2008


Due to several typhoons and the early arrived rainy season, the field of Japanese irises is filled with water and flowers have started blooming. The best view point in Higashimurayama City, Tokyo is Kitayama Park where millions of irises are planted. I visited there with my mother. We haven't been out for walking together for years. We were excited with our coincidental idea of visiting the park one afternoon. It was only for just an hour, but we really enjoyed ourselves. Freshness of the irises were beyond description. Only 10 per cent of the whole field was in bloom yet; however, our imagination made us happy. Occasionally, frogs cried in chorus. First my mother doubted the noise was coming from a certain electric machines working in the field. No! one frog cried here and another answered over there and suddenly numerous frogs arid all together. They are crying for life. Flowers were not in full bloom, but it was alright because the more flowers are the more people will there be. Numbers of flowers and people were matching. It got suddenly sunny and then became cloudy again. Mt. Hachikoku behind the park was already in the colors of summer. I was happy to see my mother (who is going to be 80 years old very soon) walking in the filed. Both of us like walking and watching flowers. She lent me a newly published novel which se has already finished reading. (Both of us are eager for interesting novels, too!) How I inherit some inclinations from her! Today's update: the photo in the index page (Kitayama Park and Mt. Hachikoku, Higashimurayama, Tokyo) and the one here in this page (a hautboy strawberry; Duchesnea chrysantha). It rains so much! Alas!

May 28, 2008


It was a rare sunny day yesterday. Green color of trees and grasses were so fresh after the rain. Along the Musashino Line, rice field spread as far as eyes could reach. It was very bright in the classroom in which cool wind blew in from the open windows. We decided to go out of the room. Students sat relaxing on the grass under trees and in sunshine in their favorite manners. We had an outdoor class! I used to do this kind of "special" class when I was a young teacher. Young leaves of a huge Japanese persimmon tree were shining. When the chime rang, students left the place, laughing and chatting. It was not an occasion to give knowledge nor skills but a chance to share "a good time." In the afternoon I left the campus earlier than usual. I visited "Issa Soujyu Museum" in Nagareyama City, a small museum commemorating an old poet Kobayashi Issa, famous for his haiku works. The museum was a neat house and a garden very well taken care of. I appreciated a short time of quietness and peace. Then I climbed the bank of the Edo River. I breathed the breeze of the river and enjoyed the spectacular scenes along the river, walking to Misato Station of the Musashino Line. It was really a precious day for me. Today's update; a photo in the index page (a view of the Edo River bank near Misato) and the one in this page (Spiraea japonica in the garden of Issa Soujyu Museum), We have a phrase "Both in sunshine and in rain, we love their unique beauty" is a phrase quoted from a Chinese poem.

May 25, 2008

「春眠」のシーズンは疾うに過ぎたろうに、まだ眠くてたまらない。それにしてもよく雨が降った。どうやらこの分では、ろくに爽快な五月を味わう間もなく梅雨に突入となるのではないだろうか。(昨夜も激しい雨音を聞きながら、四川で住居を失った人たちにテントが足りないというニュースのことを思い出していた。)一方横浜で開催される「第4回アフリカ開発会議」が話題になっている。本日新聞に掲載された政府公報・外務省提供の同会議紹介ページに、アフリカと我々の日常生活の接点が挙げられていたけれど、さらに踏み込んだ記事がこれからどのくらい出るか注目しよう。本日の更新は「翻訳読書ノート 38」です。チョコレートについてのルポルタージュを取り上げた。この本に詳述されている、農産物交易にまつわる不公正は驚愕すべきものだった。アフリカとの真のフェアトレードが成立する日を祈念して。

Although I guess the season of sleepiness has already gone, I'm always sleepy these days. It's been raining so much. It seems we're going into the rainy season before without having the chance to enjoy the sunshine of May. (Last night while listening to the beating of the heavy rain on the roof, I thought of the news informing that the supply of tents for the disaster victims in Sichuan is far insufficient.) BTW, we hear a lot of news on The 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (which is actually held in Yokohama), In the advertisement presented by the Japanese government on a news paper today, I read about the relationship between African industry and our daily life here in Japan. I wonder how the details in depth will be informed hereafter. Today's update: a book review on Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off. This amazing reportage tells us how unfair the trade between industrial countries and African countries (and developing countries in other areas as well) is. Wishing for the real fair-trade in the near future. (Sorry, the review is written only in Japanese.)

May 21, 2008


Yesterday, it rained so heavily and the wind blew so hard that the train stopped. Today, the weather turned out to be sunny and very warm. In Musashino, Styrax japonica is in full bloom. Although there are so many depressive things around, all we can do is to get rid of the wreckage little by little. In spite of heartbreaks and grief everywhere, we cannot but go on living. May the ray of hope come into woods! Today's update: a photo in the index page (Tokyo Dome viewed from Iki-zaka Slope) and one here above (flowers of Styrax japonica). How well white flowers go well with green!

May 18, 2008


The number of victims by the disasters in Myanmar and in China is increasing day by day. There was a news photo in which crowds of people are running away from the danger of dam breaks. The enormous scale of great earthquakes in an enormous country is beyond description. We've started collecting donation of money for victims of the two countries. I saw a group of men collecting money in the street for fund-raising. I wonder how much money, labor, and time we need to reconstruct the damages of infrastructure. However large the damage is, I believe people will surely stand up again someday. (But they definitely need help from other people.) I asked one of the students who mad a trip to China last year, "What do you feel and think at the great earthquake over there?" He was at a loss, and wordless. Another student of mine sent me an email, "Do you know anything about M, a Chinese student, who hasn't been in class recently. I'm worried thinking of the earthquake in his country." He doesn't answer my cell phone calls. We feel very uneasy when we are out of touch. Days pass by in spite of the slight expectations. Today's update: this note only. Cloudy weather persists.

May 14, 2008


Looking up at the sky which is far away from the typical "May sunshine," I get irritated and desperate; however, I feel I need to listen to the voice which is claiming that I should think of the disasters in Myanmar and in China." Since ancient days there have been all sorts of natural disasters, but nowadays we cannot ignore that there are various aspects of human disasters included. If a great earthquake attacks Tokyo area, what will the total damage be like? To my dismay, I can hardly work my imagination beyond the well-being that I appreciate. It's horrible because it means I cannot think of how I could be of any help to those who are in need right now. Remember some hundred thousands of people are suffering. I should be irritated and desperate with my own inability. A few days ago, I woke up at midnight feeling the strong earthquake. I learned it happened offshore Ibaraki Prefecture, which was very close to us. Today's update: this note only. "Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day!"

May 11, 2008


In Kanto District, it has been chilly on cloudy and rainy days. The photo which had been planned to be used for a TV program eventually it turned out to be a dead issue. The woman who had found the photo in my website mailed me occasionally to tell how hard it was to work for the production of a TV program. Well, well, the world is like this everywhere. Always people are in a rush, under pressures. BTW, my goldfish, which is 20 centimeters long, is the only one surviving of many tiny ones I had before. So is the tortoise. (Other 3 have all gone somewhere.) They are living in aquariums next to each other. Sometimes the tortoise gets skin troubles. Then I pluck some Houttuynia cordata into the water. The tortoise eats the grass and the skin is cured soon. The power of the grass is miraculous! I place the aquarium on the shoes case in our entrance hall so that I can see them when I go out and come home. I always talk to them when I feed them. No sound comes back from them. Today's update: a photo in the index page (Sayama Hills behind the bank of Sayama Lake. You can see the top of Seibu Dome Baseball Stadium in the distance) and the one here (rhododendron in town). How I wish it will be sunny soon!

May 4, 2008


In Takao we had a special service (in a Buddhist style) commemorating my father-in-law's 23rd anniversary since his death. As our cemetery doesn't belong to any particular temple, we asked a monk to come and pray in front of our family's grave. My mother-in-law cannot go out and attend the ceremony, so that only their children's and grandchildren's generation got together. Afterwards, we came home and had dinner with her. In March, we had the 13th anniversary of my father too. Memories of fathers are going vague somehow, but at the sight of our children's generation eating healthily, I feel life continues strongly. I wonder if countless families are doing something like this in various styles in the world. Today's update: this note only.

May 3, 2008


This morning I happened to find a large photo of Motomachi Park of Bunkyo, Tokyo, in a newspaper. The park was built right after the Great Kanto Earthquake that happened in 1923. Before that there had been no idea of having the space for town people to resort Trees are growing in the luxurious space equipped with fountains, swings, slides and benches utilizing the uneven land facing Sotobori Avenue. The park itself is a work of modern art. It is famous for its decorative architecture. However, the municipal government is planning to build a public gym in the place of the park. There are residents, architects, people conscious of preserving the landscape and historical architecture are against the plan. I hope the park will remain, but I wonder of the keywords like "landscape," "nature," "cultural heritage" are persuasive enough. In Hongo Area, tall condominiums are being constructed here and there, getting rid of the old houses I see banners protesting against the construction hung by town people. What can really make the town alive? With the newspaper in my hands, I was silent. Today's update; this note only.

May 2, 2008


t was raining quietly all day long. We have quite a lot of rain in May as well as sunshine. We need both in this country for growing rice. I stayed home and did daily chores, had our gas fan heater checked, watched a DVD which I had bought at a secondhand bookstore, and so on. At the end of the very quiet day, I received a curious mail. it was from a member of a crew producing a TV program, a kind of Quiz Show. She asked me for the permission to use one of the photos I have in this website. She wanted the original image data. I've had a request like this before. At that time it was a tiny caterpillar; this time goldfish. She was interested in "ranchu" which I took at "Kingyo-zqka" a few years ago. It's really amazing that search engines can pick up a tiny image uploaded in such a minor website! Out of the original context, all the data on the Internet are considered to be the free source for anybody to use for completely different purposes. When I experience someone happen to pick up an image file in such a minor website as this, I feel the Internet is an indefinite collection of information. If it is just for an entertainment program, I hope the goldfish will be utilized well. Today's update: this note only.

May 1, 2008


It's May. It's the best season for doing anything. I challenged cooking, remembering what I had at my friend's party. When she stayed in Paris for many years, she learned French cooking. She used sea bream, but I couldn't find one in a local supermarket in my neighborhood so I bought some black spot cardinalfish instead. I put a pinch of grated garlic inside of the fish, and sprinkled salt and spices (such as parsley, oregano, basil and black pepper) all over. Then I broiled it in the oven (at 220 centigrade degrees for 20 minutes). I prepared no heavy sauce. If you eat it hot from the oven, the white soft meat of the fish is so delicious. (My cardinalfish was not so delicate as sea bream. It tasted very close to Japanese broiled fish, alas!.) It was not so bad, anyway. It goes very well with light fried colorful bell peppers, egg plant, and zucchini. Here comes also a bowl of salad: thinly sliced celery, boiled asparagus, plus small peeled blocks of Chinese citron. If you have a few scallops, bake them and eat with the salad while they are hot. They go very well with each other. On my way back from the party, I bought ingredients for trial. Certainly the result was far from my friend's performance, but I successfully added new recipe. It's important to use olive oil generously. In spite of the simplicity, today's menu was rich and tasty. If you have good wine, cheese, and the freshly baked baguette, you can get a blissful time. Forget about calorie! Today's update: this note only.

April 30, 2008


Although it was a working day between holidays for many people, I had another day off fortunately. I knew I had to do household chores which I'm not doing satisfactorily usually, but it was so sunny that I couldn't resist the temptation for going out. I jumped on a local train. At the third stop, I changed for a small liner going though an amusement park and got off at a station famous for a domed baseball stadium. I climbed the hill and arrived at the bank of Lake Sayama. The sky was huge there and so was the lake. Because this is a water supply reservoir, there is not a single boat on the water. On my way in the woods, I heard Japanese bush warblers singing. Except for the occasional music slightly heard from the baseball stadium in a distance, it was peacefully quiet by the lake. The bank was rebuilt quake-resistant so that it looked brand new and stately. There were few people around. I enjoyed watching the glittering water and breathing in the scent of trees. I came home in 2 hours and a half. I made "a mini-mini trip. " Today's update: a photo in the index page (Lake Sayama) and the one here in this page (trees in Sayama Hills). Next time, I'll challenge "a mini trip."

April 29, 2008


We're at the beginning of the short but beautiful holidays. Why is it a holiday today, anyway? I nearly forgot it was once the birthday of the previous Japanese Emperor. While he was alive we were supposed to celebrate his birthday by taking a holiday. Since he was dead, this day was settled to be a holiday to commemorate the era "Showa" he reigned. "Showa" includes a Chinese character meaning "peace." One of my aunts has a name which includes this Chinese character. When I was a child she told me that she was named after the era. I was quite impressed to think that on the early days of the era, the name "Showa" sounded and looked very fresh to people. These days, however, "Showa" has the nuance of "retrospective" more than anything else. I wonder how many college students today know the origin of this holiday. It might perhaps be renamed someday again. (In that sense, it is not really a meaningful day indeed.) "Wa" also signifies "Japan" and "Japanese culture" when it is compared to foreign countries and cultures. I would rather think of lovely people with this name, like my aunt, than my country today. Today's update: this note only.

April 27, 2008


Hundreds of flowers are being in bloom. Green leaves are fresh. Azaleas are gorgeous now. I'm worried if it's all right to let spring go on like this, without doing anything particular. I'm completely occupied with daily duties. There is no way to stop time. My random reading goes on. After a few days, "The Golden Week" holidays will start. I wish I'll be able to get back to my pace of life. Let me write to you "I'm alive. I'm all right." Today's update: a photo in the index page (girls playing by a stream) and the one here (dogwood; Cornus florida).

April 13, 2008


In March I could update this page only three times. One of my readers asked me if I had been sick in bed. Sorry, I was not diligent enough. Although I didn't have any obligation to teach for a few months, I had so much else to do everyday, every week. I couldn't make my humble dream to go out to the beach, countryside, or to mountains. I didn't seem to be ready for that yet. However, I walked in my neighborhood energetically day after day. I was curious to turn corners without knowing where to go. Yes, it was refreshing to walk on and on. Now that the season is turning to be better and better, I'm not sure if I can stay home for ever. No matter whether I have classes or not, it doesn't matter. BTW, in a book which I'm reading now, I'm traveling between South America and Africa dynamically! (Wow!) Today's update: this note only. Let me breathe fresh air!

April 9, 2008

春の嵐が吹き荒れ、咲き誇っていた桜の花は散り果てた。三月の終わりから四月の始めは新学期の準備と学年始めの諸行事で忙殺される。かけずり回っているうちに授業が始まってしまった。今年の新入生は自分の娘より年下だ。若い人たちと接する日々はとてつもないエネルギーを要するものであると同時に、清新な息吹を与えられるものでもある。彼らの中に入っていける幸いを今年もありがたく享受しよう。さて、どんなことが待ちかまえているのやら。ところで、「本郷大横丁商店街マップ」を改訂し、テストサイトから大学のサーバに移植したところ、早速商店街のパン屋さんから「見ました」のメールをいただく。まだまだ埋めなくてはならない情報の空白だらけで申し訳ない状態なのだけれど。ぐずぐずしていられないことばかり。二人の姪がこの春、社会人となった。眩しく頼もしい。本日の更新は表紙の写真(清瀬中里保全地区にて、カタクリの花)とこのページの写真(同所、スミレの花)です。Spring ephemeralという美しい言葉を味わいながら。

All the cherry blossoms were blown away by a spring storm. I've been extremely busy doing this and that for the new semester since the end of March and at the beginning of April. Classes have begun already! Freshmen of this semester are younger than my daughter. It requires tons of energy to work with young people; at the same time, however, it inspires me tremendously. I'm grateful to be able to go into them as usual. I wonder what will happen this semester! BTW, I updated Hongo Oyokocho Shopping Street Map and uploaded it on the server of our university. Immediately the master of a bakery in the street emailed me to tell that he saw the map. He likes it. Good! Thanks! I know we need to fill in much more info in it. Oh, I've got to do a lot of things. Meantime, two of my nieces graduated from universities and started working for companies. They are really energetic. Today's update: the photo in the index page (Japanese dog's tooth violet, at Kiyose, Tokyo) and the one in this page (small violet). Spring ephemerals are beautiful.

March 25, 2008


All of a sudden, cherry blossoms are starting to bloom. This is just the natural cycle of the nature but I can't help going out to see them as if it's an exceptional happening. At this moment, buds are more than flowers in bull bloom. Here and there we can see haze of pink which makes the world in a spring color. It's the bigger news than any other serious world issues for now. In other words, we can put off other issues for the sake of sakura. Although I couldn't make the real outing, I wandered aimlessly in the suburbs running after cherry blossoms. Today's update: the photo in the index page (cherry blossoms and Metasequoia in Seki-machi Park in Nerima, Tokyo) and the one in this page (flowers and buds of sakura--Japanese cherry tree). The commencement ceremony and farewell parties are all over. I've got a very brief break before the beginning of the new semester in April. What can I do?

March 9, 2008


Time passes faster than usual in March. At the turning point between the old and the new academic years, we're having hectic schedule both on the stage and behind it. I received a mail from a student of mine who is complaining, "I should have done much better! My grades were terrible. How disappointing!" I read hilarious words of one of my colleagues full of hope for a new life starting very soon. I also feel lonely when I think of the coming departure of my old colleagues. It's March. In town and in the suburbs scenes are getting more and more colors. It will take half a month ahead before cherry blossoms paint the world in gorgeous pink. I love the subtle colors before that feast of flowers. I'm happy to be able to have a new spring again. Wherever you are, whatever you do, spring is a blessing. Today's update: the photo in the index page (Yushima Seido Temple viewed from Bridge "Hijiri" in Ochyanomizu, Tokyo) and the one up above in this page (Japanese plum tree in full bloom at Yushima Tenjin, Tokyo). How I wish to go out of town!

March 7, 2007

日ごとに暖かくなってくるのは嬉しい。学年末の仕事は山積みで、どこかへ出かけたいという周期的に襲ってくる願望を実現するのはなかなか難しいけれど、どんなに忙しい時にでもありがたいことに本は読める。ここ数週間、隙間の時間を縫って没頭していた本を読み終え、ごく短いエッセイにまとめた。本当は1000字足らずで何か言えるような作品ではない。それなのに、語らずにいられない作品というのはあるものだ。姜戎著『神なるオオカミ』(原題 『狼図騰』)。日本国内では一世紀も前に絶滅したオオカミに関心を持つのは、余程の動物学・生態学・歴史学の専門家か、ハンター、あるいはエコロジストくらいかも知れない。但し、この本を読んだ後では中学生だってオオカミのことを考えるようになるだろう。関東でも関西でも、黄砂に煙る高層ビルの風景が数日前に新聞紙面を飾った。中国大陸の砂漠は別世界ではないと信じるに足る現象が目の前にある。草原の生態系バランスを保つ、遊牧民にとって守護神のような存在だったオオカミの消滅は、砂漠化を促し、大陸の風土も文化も変えた。オオカミがこの国へも波及する激流のモメントだったと知ったら、誰も心穏やかではいられまい。もちろん『神なるオオカミ』は先ず読み物として面白い。オオカミとヒトとの関わりを詳述する部分がこの作品の白眉であることはいうまでもない。文化大革命当時に内モンゴルの草原に下放された「知識青年」の33年をかけた思索と行動の軌跡である。黄砂の生まれる世界への想像力をこれほど激しくかきたてる作品を他に知らない。物理的には現在「世界」に飛び立てなくても、旅する時空は無限と知った。本日の更新は「翻訳読書ノート 37 『オオカミが来た!』」です。まだ読後の高揚感の中にいる。

I'm happy to feel it's getting warmer and warmer day by day. Although it's so difficult for me to go out of my daily routine and make even a short trip to somewhere in reality, thanks I have time and passion for reading books. For weeks, I devoted myself to reading a voluminous novel entitled Wolf Totem written by Jiang Rong. (A very concise review of the book is available in English at "Arts & Artists" / Guangzhou University Town through A Lens.) In Japan where wolves have been exterminated for 100 years, none but scholars in zoology, environmental biology, history, hunters, or ecologists might be interested in wolves; however, after reading this work even junior high school students would be fascinated by wolves. It's really impossible to write a short review for such a huge book. But I couldn't help writing something on it particularly on a day when yellow sands came blowing over cities and towns both in the east and west of Japan. We actually see how we are connected to deserts inside of China. Since the extermination of wolves, which had kept the balance of environment of huge grassland, the speed of desertification has increased. Once we learn how wolves were respected and feared by nomadic people, it's inevitable for anyone to realize that wolves were the momentum of the drastic change of culture and society. Changes in China give us influence immediately. Certainly Wolf Totem is a very interesting book first of all. The best part of it is the relationship between wolves and men. An intelligent young man who was expelled to the inner Mongolian Plain for 11 years during the Great Cultural Revolution wrote this book. It took him 33 years to complete his work. It can't be a novel but the record of his thoughts and action. I've never known such a work that stirs up my imagination to the world beyond yellow sand. If I have no chance to travel abroad at this moment, I've found the inner world is indefinite, reading this book. I'm still in rapture of reading it. Today's update: a short review of Wolf Totem for a mail magazine. Sorry, it's only in Japanese.

March 3, 2008


March is the turning point of seasons. On this day, my mother-in-law cooks "chirashi-zushi" (vinegar flavored rice mixed with colorful bits of various fillings) every year. I had promised her that I would make golden egg threads to mix with the vinegar rice. I overslept a little. When I woke everything was ready. My mother-in-law starts working at 5:30 every morning. I hurriedly cooked eggs anyway. As a result the mixed rice was covered with yellow egg threads all over! I put a tiny dish of "chirashi-zushi" in front of dolls, Yes, this is the girl's festival of dolls. How we love this custom! On my way home in the evening I bought clams to make the soup for doll7s festival. Our tradition makes our daily life colorful and joyful. In the garden of my mother, "amur adonis"( Adonis amurensis) were in bloom. I imagine how they look in mountains. I kept watching the flowers like cups filled with liquor of light. Eventually we've come to March. Tomorrow is my father's memorial day. Today's update: a photo in the index page (the River Yanase in Kiyose City, Tokyo) and the one up above (amur adonis in my mother's garden.) Oh, let me forget all works which brings only headaches but let me write about the joy of early spring.

February 24, 2008


Fierce gale was blowing over the Kanto Plain. As it was freezing cold, I had thought it must be the return of the winter, but it was not; on the contrary, it was reported to be the first blow of the spring! The wind was so hard that I was afraid our old house might be blown away. Between the seasons, the weather is wild. So are the sky, the earth and people. A few days ago I had a chance to take a long walk after a considerable pause. I started walking from Akitsu, Higashimurayama, through Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, on to Kiyose City in Tokyo again. I walked along the River Yanase, which was joined by the River Karabori, down to Kanayama Green Park. As I read the news telling me that the narcissus is starting to bloom in the park, I couldn't help going there to see the flowers. Daffodils of Wordsworth are "golden," but ours were milky white. Tiny faces of the flowers were all towards the sun bravely. Touched by the small lives, I've decided to live sprightly in the early spring. Today's update:the photo in the index page (the River Yanase) and the one here above (narcissus in Kanayama Park, Kiyose, Tokyo).

February 15, 2008


I believe birds are clever. A few days ago I was walking along the River Sumida. It was sunny after dreary cold days and the world was shining brilliantly. The river was running in the fresh cold wind. I found seagulls were flying over a boat which came passing under Kachidoki Bridge. I wondered if there was some food around the boat. I kept taking photos of seagulls. As I went on the bridge, a seagull swiftly came down and perched on the parapet. "Oh, let me take your photo," I said in my mind slowly approaching it. Whenever I try to take photographs of birds they always fly away immediately; so I was not expecting much. But the gull was different. It stayed there while I took one, two, three photos. When I went around slowly in front of it, it still remained there. Suddenly it turned its neck as if posing for me. When I took a shot all right, it left swiftly again as if saying, "You've taken enough of my photos, haven't you?" My model was gone into the blue of the sky and the water. I never doubt it had watched me from far above before it came down in front of me. What a charming seagull it was! Today's update: photos of seagulls one in the index page (a gull turning its head) and the one here (a serious gull). I know a seagull is a seagull though.

February 11, 2008


Looking up at the pale sky, I let my heart soar like a balloon. Long time ago, when my daughter was a toddler, I bought her a balloon. As soon as I gave it to her, she lost the end of the thread and the balloon went swiftly up. Without crying nor trying to catch it, she just kept watching it going far up into the sky. So did I with her. Both of our hearts were absorbed by the sky with the balloon. If I don't find anything amusing on earth, I watch the sky. I adore the creation of branches of bare trees. Once I believed the endlessly cold season would end soon and something good would surely happen someday; so do I still now a little although the day of balloon s have gone for ever. Today's update: the photo in the index page (the River Karabori in sunshine) and the photo in this page (branches against the winter sky). My turtle didn't hibernate this winter nor does it eat anything either. Well, well,

February 3, 2008


I nearly forgot that today is the last day of winter in Japanese old calendar. We celebrate this day by throwing beans. It snowed so heavily today even in Kanto District that how could we believe the winter is coming to the end? However, right after noon, people started cleaning the fallen snow from the lane in front of their gateway. I couldn't help going out myself with a shovel and bamboo bloom. Already the snow was like sherbet. Certainly we had to prevent it from freezing during night. I found a tiny snowman in front of the house across ours. In the morning a Japanese plum tree looked so heavy covered with snow, but its dribbling branches were colored with small red flowers in bloom. In fact spring is next to winter today! Although I know cold days and warm days will reapeatedly switch their position again and again continuously for months from now on, I agreed that today is the beginning of the long way toward the season of hundreds of flowers. Today's update: the photo in the index page (Japanese plum tree in snow) and the one here in this page (Edgeworthia papyrifera).

February 1, 2008


Can you believe it's February already? As I was walking in a hurry to a station, I heard some animals moving over me and looked up. I found two white-eyes were hopping on the branches of a blooming Japanese plum tree. I passed them by before I could say, "Oh, you've arrived in our town! Welcome, birds!" My heart leaps up when I feel spring can't be far. I also found a gorgeous tree of wintersweet in full bloom, plump buds of Edgeworthia papyrifera, and numerous white buds of Magnolia praecocissima. What can they be but the heralds of spring? On a platform of a train station, I was watching the freight train passing like bullets. I wonder where it came and where it's going. Unclattering my irritation, I was saying to myself, "Perhaps very soon I 'll be able to travel somewhere." Actually I have no plan to do so, however. It's always like this: my heart begins to tremble when I feel the spring approaching. Today's update; a photo in the index page (field in Kodaira City, Tokyo) and the one up here (on the platform of Shinkodaira Station of JR Musashino LIne, Tokyo), The wind is freezing cold.

January 29, 2008


Yesterday it was so cold that I jumped in a noodle restaurant in the neighborhood of my work place in Hongo, Tokyo. This restaurant is famous for its hand-k kneaded noodle. The master always stands kneading and batting the udon-dough in the front show window. "Are you demonstrating your handicraft to passers-by? It must be the best way of appealing your specialty," I said. He smiled and said, "Oh, no, I'm not showing but I am watching passers-by. It's so interesting to watch people. If I don't like people, I will work in the kitchen far behind." (He is really a cool guy.) Usually I order a bowl of noodle with fried vegetables, but yesterday I treated myself with the noodle in a small pan boiling. The master told me that cooking materials are all sent from Miyazaki Prefecture, Kyushu; the taste of the soup is quite subtle. In old days, customers in Tokyo didn't know the Kansai taste so that they poured soy sauce in the clear soup to make it Kanto flavor. Wow, what a shame! "There used to be grand mansions in this area in the true meaning of the term although these days, so many large apartment houses are built everywhere in this town." I listened to him with awe and adoration. How I wish I could keep listening to the old stories of Hongo. I think I have to finish the second version of the town-map as soon as possible. Today's update: a test map of Hongo Oyokocho Street. It's just a work in progress. I wonder if it's clickable. Could you point out the noodle shop in it?

January 22, 2008


There were so many things happening at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 that I delayed writing a column for a mail magazine which was due by the 31 of December. While I knew I had to send it on the earliest occasion, I was alarmed this morning to receive a reminder saying the mail magazine is going to be issued tomorrow. Oh, today a new laundry machine will arrive. I had to clean up the corner for it; however, as soon as I started writing, the machine arrived! Alas, I had no time for cleaning at all! I flapped around with workers. After they left, I wrote up the draft immediately and sent it. Immediately a response came, saying, "Thanks! You were just in time!" I wish I could live more peacefully. BTW, I wrote about speeches of Hillary Clinton. Her constantly stable, low tone of the voice is very impressive. Recently I've been watching Hillary's official website for presidential campaign. It's amazing we can follow candidates' words so closely online. Now that I'm free from classroom, I'll do whatever I've been willing to. Today's update: this note only.

January 18, 2008


Again and again brochures of "kimono for rent" for coming-of-age ceremony are sent to my daughter who is going to be 20 in 2009. They are repeatedly inviting customers-to-be to take photos in kimono while they are 19. (It seems they believe younger women are more beautiful and fresh than those of 20. Isn't it an evident discrimination?) I'm greatly embarrassed with such a sales strategy; however, that seems to be the way majority of people take for granted recently. In Japan, majority of women wear kimono with long sleeves, which shows they are not married, wrapped up with a white furry shawl and get their portraits taken at a professional photo studio. Personally I'm not very comfortable with 20-year-old women unanimously in long-sleeved kimonos at the ceremony, but I can't complain of it when I remember the style clearly proves those women are 20 in today's world where it's extremely hard to say how old people are from their appearance. My nieces celebrated their coming-of age in kimono. They look so beautiful in the national costume. I'm always impressed with them so much that how could I be against the custom? When it comes to the case of my own daughter, however, I can't keep very calm. When I was young, I was foolishly rebellious to customs of all kinds. I did not wear kimono myself but should I recommend my daughter to be against trends? I don't think myself to be a well-balanced matured mother yet! Today's update: the photo in the index page (a riverside in winter, Nagareyama, Chiba) and the one in this page (a winter rose in town, Higashimurayama, Tokyo).

January 12, 2008


Since the end of the new year's holidays, work has come back all at once. I urge my lazy body to stand up, and I get on the commuter's trains. At the vivacious faces in classrooms, solemn faces in meeting rooms, and smiling faces of my colleagues, I feel myself relaxing again. While I make documents one after another, prepare for classes and for exams, I feel the weight of routines. It's a revelation that my life is supported by these tasks. Besides, I've been reading several books at the same time in rapture. Among the powerful and thrilling novels are the works by Kaoru Takamura, one of the contemporary Japanese female authors. I can hardly call her novels "mystery." They shouldn't be defined in one fixed category. She belongs to my generation. I wonder why had I not read her book before? It seems I was resisting spending time for entertainment novels. I'm ashamed of my dishonorable behavior. Today's update: this note only.

January 8, 2008

まったくどうでも良いようなことだけれど、ちょっと驚くことがたまにある。昨日大きな書店のカウンターで順番を待っているとき、妙なものに気付いた。メタリックなボールペンかシャープペンシルだと思ったのだが、違う。「二十一世紀の耳かき」と書いてある。思わず本と一緒に「これもお願いします」と買った。帰宅して早速開封してみると、なんと「耳かき部分」は金属製スパイラル構造になっている。柔らかく全方位に屈伸し、「獲物」を掻き出す。棒の反対側には専用ブラシが収納してあり、これでスパイラルを掃除する仕組み。非常に快適な使用感で、しかも高性能だ。「耳かき」の形状は永遠に伝統的なものひとつきりのような気がしていたが、こんな発想があったのかと耳垢ならず目からウロコ。海外四ヶ国でも特許申請中とか。生活の細部に関心を払い、工夫を重ねて「ものをつくる」人がいることを実感した。「たかが」耳かきに1344円は高いかどうか、書店カウンターで売るのは誰のアイディアか? ちなみにこの商品、「ミミダス」という。何かのパクリのような気もするが、絶妙なネーミングであるような気も。ご関心のある向きは発売元のホームページをのぞいてみてください。コンテンツはこの商品のみの、颯爽たる作りのユニークなサイトです。本日の更新は、短信のみにて。(蛇足: 「耳かき」は英語でなんという?ヒントは「楊枝」の親戚です。)

It' nothing to take seriously, but there is something which we notice with a little amazement. Yesterday while I was waiting at a counter of a large bookstore, I found something strange on it. It looked like a metallic ballpoint pen or a mechanical pencil, but it was not. It was introduced as "the ear pick of the 21st century." Without hesitation, I decided to buy one. As soon as I returned home, I opened the plastic case and found that the end of the ear pick was made of very thin metal in spiral. It is so delicate and flexible that you can clean inside of your ear with ease and comfort. There is a brush to clean the spiral is attached on the other end of the stick. It shuttered my fixed idea that the shape of an ear pick should always be the traditional one for ever. This one is really enlightening! They are applying for a patent in 4 countries abroad. I was impressed to know that there are people who pay attention to detail of daily life and create something useful and unique. I'm not very sure if \1344 is too expensive "just for an ear pick" or whether a counter of a book store is a right place to sell one. BTW, this good is named "MIMIDAS." (Literally meaning, "to scrape out earwax.") It sounds a sort of parody of something else but it's very well named! If by any chance you are interested in it, visit the website of the company selling it. The website is dedicated solely for this product. It's very well made. Today's update: this note only.

January 5, 2008


After a break, I've started exchanging job-related e-mails. Already nearly 20 days have passed since I left my work at the end of 2007. Because I was completely away from society, I feel the fresh wind coming into my room from outside. Now that I've got several documents to hand in by deadlines, I can hardly keep relaxing any longer. I was always like this; pressed by something urgent to do, I encouraged myself just to go on and on; however, how much can I do this year? I took a walk in my neighborhood after a long interval. I walked in the small forest with leafless trees, and on the promenade in the late afternoon. I walked at a half speed of my usual pace. I would do anything in this way this year. I appreciate the happiness of walking anyway. Today's update: this note only.

January 4, 2008


I began writing new-year's greeting cards only a few days ago. I'm very sorry for my delay but that's all I can do this year. (I should say I'm glad I can write cards at all.) In fact, I'm writing reply to those who gave me their cards. I read them carefully and think of what to write. There are a few cards which show where they traveled, abroad and in Japan; a few show family portraits; a few write the resume of their life in 2007; and others all show unique designs. All the cards are so artistic. I enjoy reading the short message in a few words most of which are just formal greeting but they all demonstrate the writer's personality. In this day of e-mails, we still appreciate the custom of exchanging greeting cards by sneaker's mail. It's enjoyable but sometimes burdensome as well particularly when we're not in the condition of writing. It's rather disturbing if we can't write even if we wish to write. Anyway, when I remember that new-year greeting cards prove we're alive, I feel every one of the cards so precious. Today's update: this note only.

January 1, 2008


In the suburbs of Kanto Area, there is the atmosphere that not so many people as usual are around. (People have gone home to every part of Japan.) The sky is clear and we can get the view of a blue mountain range of Chichibu from an open space. I know there are many places where people can't leave quietly or peacefully; however, at the beginning of a new year I would like to pray for peace of the world all the same. When a new year starts, to my amazement, I always feel somewhat solemn. I won't wish much. I earnestly hope that we'd be able to live healthily each day. Nothing is more valuable than that. Heartily, I wish you A HAPPY NEW YEAR! Today's update: A photo in the index page (a daybreak at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo) and the illustration above (a new-year message card drawn by ao). I hope I'll be able to meet you often here. Thanks for your visit!


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