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March 31, 2005

new suit

img_italI treated myself to a new suit for the first time in recent 5 years, in an urgent need for work. Improbably, I purchased it on the internet and above all, it cost only 10,000 yen (80 US doller), you believe it? I ordered it yesterday afternoon and received it this morning. No sooner did I get the suit than I tried it on. Its design was completely modern and its fabric was far better than that of the previous one. The previous suit cost 3 times as much as the new one.


By the way, today is the last day of March. The new fiscal year begins tomorrow. I wonder if something new happens.

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March 30, 2005

magnolia

magnoliaThe tree of magnolia is now in bloom in the yard. I like the modest appearance of those snowy flowers. It announces the end of protracted winter and the arrival of awaited spring to us. Meantime, the tiny flowers of violet are blooming on the ground. It didn't mean I had planted them but they have grown by themselves.

violetBeing in high altitude, my little land in Nagano prefecture was still in winter. During the stay, I had expected some edible wild plants like bracken or butterbur sprout there but it was a little early.

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March 29, 2005

quiet life

cottageNot being accompanied by the annoying dog, I stayed alone at my small cottage in Nagano prefecture for 3 days this time. It was rather easy trip without anything to take care of. During the stay, all I had to do was to dig the ground in order to make a parking space. I dug the area adjacent to the cottage desperately and managed to make the space that shown in the pic. But it was still not enough. I need to dig 30cm deeper.

digI read books in spare time and made meals for myself. The nearest inhabited village is about 500m away from my cottage. Besides, the village is only in the west, nobody lives in the other directions. In this season, no one passes in front of the cottage. It was a really quiet and easy life.

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March 28, 2005

hot spring

Takato01I just got back from my small cottage in Nagano. I did a lot of things there. but I'm going to tell about them afterwards.

While staying at the cottage I went to a hot spring called "Sakura no Yu" every day. I soaked in the public bath adjacent to the spring. Usually, there are very few people in the bath, but yesterday, being holiday, so many people were in there. Tens of naked people's bodies were seen through the steam coming off a hot water. It was a kind of spectacle. I felt as if I had been in the hot bath of the Edo Period, hundreds of years ago..

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March 25, 2005

Dog's nail

1As I wrote before, my dog got hurt in her forepaw and teared the mid nail off, a month ago. We took the dog to the hospital soon after that. The doctor said there was a possibility that the nail would never grow again. We were all disappointed to hear that. But, I found something solid in the tiptoe when I was touching her mid finger yesterday. It seemed to be the new nail. We all felt relieved to know that.

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March 24, 2005

going to extremes

nmiddletonI watched the documentary program "Going to More Extremes" on TV the night before. It was the sequel to "Going to Extremes" broadcasted in last November. This series is one of my favorites and we can watch it on NHK educational channel. As the name implies, in this series, Nick Middleton, a professor at Oxford University, journeys to various extreme places in the world. He visits the hottest, coldest, most rainy and driest inhabited regions. Having heard so, you might imagine a tough, brave adventurer, but Nick is the last person to be like that. In contrast with his brilliant title, he is just a common middleage guy. Even when he is at such extremes, he never go beyond the stereotype viewpoints of the people, living in developed countries. The only advantage of him is that he never hesitate to get along with the people living there. And the gap between his amateurishness and the hardest life in the wilderness was very interesting to me.

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March 23, 2005

fog

fogI got up early this morning and found that our house was wrapped in dense fog. I couldn't see even 5 meter ahead. I took a walk around. The people walking towards me suddenly appeared into my sight one after another, out of the white fog. That was interesting.

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March 22, 2005

彼岸過迄 Higansugimade

equinoxToday, I got the book "To the Spring Equinox and beyond (English Edition of 彼岸過迄)" by Soseki Natsume, which I had ordered from Amazon.com a month before. The moment I received the book, I browsed it and found it not so difficult to read. It was translated into English recently and written in easy American English. But being easy itself has a little problem. Here is an example.

Keitaro's friend Sunaga was a soldier's son (軍人の子) who nevertheless detested the military

In this case, I think the word "military official" should have been used instead of "soldier" because in Japan, military officials(軍人) were highly established bureaucrats in those days, not merely soldiers. So there is a possibility of misunderstanding. The author implied that Sunaga was born into a rich family.

Anyway, It's no exaggeration to say that I've read the original more than 100 times.. I'm looking forward to taking my time to read the English edtion.

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March 21, 2005

horse ranch

horseI took my dog to a horse ranch near here this afternoon and showed her the horses. There were about 10 horses in the fence and it was the first time for the dog to see horses. The horses were so curious about us that all at once gathered in front of us. The dog was so surprised at them and recoiled with fear. What a chicken!

After finishing the film, I'll show you the shameful pictures on which my dog is terriblly scared of the horses.

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March 20, 2005

anything happens, happens

d10I went to the barbershop yesterday and made my hair done. I always go to the same shop and choose the same hairstylist. The hairsylist I always ask for is very nice, has a great skill, works elaborately, tries to fit in with what I want and above all, has a good personality. So I completely trust him. The only thing embarrassing me is that he talks too much. I always get exhausted after hearing his long talk.

I seem to be in a long slump these days and can’t concentrate on learning English. I don’t know what happened to me at all. Even when I'm opening books or listening to the radio in English, my state of mind is somewhere else. Months ago, I always felt saturated when I learn English, but now, I don't.

Well, it's OK. maybe I only need to find the other way to study. Anything happens, happens !

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March 19, 2005

restaurant on the water

sukanjinabiaNot far from here, there is a restaurant by the sea. You might think it’s common for the restaurant to stand on the seashore, but it has a secret. The restaurant is in a big white ship, built more than 70 years ago in Sweden, and floating in the sea. But to my regret, the restaurant closes in a month due to the financial difficulties and the fate of the ship is still unknown. There is even a possibility of being scrapped. The ship has been moored there ever since I was a child, and has a luxurious interior of Art Deco style. It’d be sad if it is destructed. According to a local news, now the admission fee is free. I’ve got to go and see it.

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March 17, 2005

first shot with new camera

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allergy

kafunAt this time of year in Japan, everybody is talking about the allergy to cedar pollen. They say about 20% of Japanese suffer from this kind of allergy. It causes such symptoms, runny nose, itchy eyes, headaches, etc. There’s no effective treatment to the allergy so far, so the people who suffer can do nothing until the end of season.

Fortunately, I never suffered from such allergy so far, but my nose tickled a little yesterday. It might be the beginning. They say we get infected suddenly without any sign of symptoms. Very scary.

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March 16, 2005

mercury

tunasOn today’s news, they were saying that the number of cases caused by organic mercury is rapidly increasing in the US. Organic mercury is widely found in marine products and causes neurotic problems or reproductive dysfunctions, especially to the babies in pregnant women. Like other organic material or heavy metals, organic mercury accumulates in human bodies. Once we take it, it’s almost impossible to eliminate. The amount of mercury in our bodies increases year by year.

As a matter of fact, only the tunas are removed from the mercury regulation in Japan due to the strong oppositions by the fisheries industry. To ascend the food chain is associate with the increased risk of accumulation called "bioaccumulation", and the tunas are placed on top of the chain. You have to know such heavy metals and chemicals accumulate mainly in fat.

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March 15, 2005

sometimes

006such days happen, on which I have nothing special to write about.

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March 14, 2005

plan for house

draftI happened to find a draft for a house at Yahoo Auctions. I've never thought I can get such a stuff at auction! The small house on the draft was almost exactly what I had been wanting for my country house. The only thing different from what I had been thinking was its slightly short length. But, to revise the draft is as easy as pie to me. I was planning to make all the draft by myself with CAD (Computer aided design system), but now, there's no need to do so.

02This house can be built with two-by-four method, the same as the previous cottage. Almost all the building materials are available at do-it-yourself stores. Moreover, I can select the materials of my choice on the net, the wall, the roof, the floor, the windows, the door and so on. The house in this pic seems perfect!

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March 13, 2005

train keeps running ( part 2)

harvard_markIIWhat I wrote yesterday might have given a wrong impression that I criticized civilization. But it’s not my intention. In my opinion, the human race itself goes fundamentally against the environment, just as the cancer cells to humans that erode human bodies and kill us in the end.

What I won’t stand for is that we are being dominated by something unknown. We are apt to think that some new situation has been brought by the personal computers or the Internet. But this, computer and communication-information dominant society has already been predicted almost accurately by Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian sociologist of 50 years ago. So it's anything but a new situation. Mcluhan placed this kind of society in the current of modernization that had started with the invention of typographic printing by Gutenberg. Incessantly, it generates new information and brainwashes us to chase it. It’s the society dominated by the possessive instinct, and very similar to the world depicted on the movie “The Matrix”.

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March 12, 2005

train keeps running

5300typeSoseki Natsume, a Japanese novelist of more than 100 years ago, used the train as a metaphor for the modernization.
“Hundreds of people are packed in the same box, which runs at the same speed to the same direction. There’s no mercy. The people aren’t using the train but are being carried with it. Their individualities are completely trampled on there and they cannot run away from it. Moreover, none of the people knows where they’re going to.”
- Kusamakura -

Since Gutenberg invented the typographic printing, this stream has never stopped. Starting with the national education, the newspapers, the representative democracy, the mass production, the transportation, they are all in the same stream. Having been given the new products one after another, forced to chase them, we don’t know what we are really seeking for. Nothing has changed since the days of Soseki.

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March 11, 2005

dream part2

d26The dream I'm today going to tell about is a different kind from the one that yesterday I told about. It's the dream in night's sleep. Have you ever experienced the dream of this kind ? In that dream, you visit a city where you feel you lived a long time ago, but after getting up, you notice that you've never known such city. A false memory. It was the one I dreamt last night.

In the dream, my younger sister and I were visiting a city that was familiar to me because I had lived there years ago. I remembered the place in every detail. So, I showed my sister around the city. I explained the things around "This is the Cafe where I often took a break." or "This old building is the one of Art Deco style. I'm glad to know that it's still remaining." and so on. Although, after getting up, I noticed that I'd never visited such unknown city.

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March 10, 2005

dream

007It's warm enough today. I had a good sleep without being disturbed by coldness in early morning. Good! I started something, but can't tell you what it is at this point. I'm going to tell everything afterwards. One of my dreams might come true.

I just finished reading a novel of Soseki Natsume. I've got to find another book to read. Usually, I read some easy book and some tough book alternately, since to keep reading a tough book is very exhausting to me. I'm reading the book "Orientalism" by Edward Said now, as the tough one. I must look for some easy book..

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March 09, 2005

taking care of lawn

aeratorTo grow lawn grass in the yard is a laborious thing. First of all, we must take care of its roots. If we do nothing to the roots, they'll get so dense that they cannot take breath. So, we must cut the roots and make countless small holes in the ground by using a specific tool called "aerator" in order to open pathways for air. Secondly, we must replenish the lost soil absorbed by the lawn. Lastly, we must spread fertilizer on the ground. I know that to spread fertilizer damages the environment, but basically the lawn is a artificial thing, not natural. It needs fertilizer. Years ago, I didn't spread fertilizer and the lawn didn't grow at all. Now, I'm trying to reduce the amount of fertilizer as much as possible.

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March 08, 2005

ordinary days

d32I frequently wrote about Sake(Japanese rice wine) on this blog, so you might have thought I drank everyday. As a matter of fact I haven't drunk any alcohol for more than a month. I'm on the wagon now. It seems that my younger brother who lives away from home started drinking beers almost everyday, instead. I guess he would be a heavy drinker.

I haven't had room for music in my heart in these days. I wish I had time to sit in front of the piano or to listen to one CD at least. I know Ryuichi Sakamoto's new piano score has already been published and should purchase it. But to try new tune with piano is a hard job. Anyway, It seems that I need some vacation.

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March 07, 2005

Bai Juyi

bai_juyiI gave a wrong description of the word, "Setsugekka" yesterday. The origin of the word can be traced back to a Chinese poetry of 1300 years ago. It is a part of a poem by Bai Juyi (白楽天). Bai Juyi is one of the four greatest poets in Chinese history, and his poetries was preferred by the Japanese aristocrats in the Heian period (794-1191). This is why I mistook this word for Japanese. He is also known as a booze artist. Anyway, the word, Setsugekka is widely used to depict the typical beauties of winter in Japan.

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March 06, 2005

雪月花 -Setsugekka

tsubakiLast night, I was soaking in a hot bath and opened the window. My bathroom faces a small yard and there lies a cliff across the yard. So there's no need to worry about peeping toms. The yard was covered with thick, white snow and a tree of camellia was silently in bloom. I thought it would have been perfect if I had got the moon. In Japan, we have the word 「雪月花(Setsugekka)」, which is applied to the assortment of the three -snow, the moon and flowers. The ancient Japanese thought that those three were the representatives of the beauties in wintertime. In this case, the flowers ought to be of camellia, since many Japanese think camellia is the typical winter flower. I personally feel like adding Sake( rice wine) to those three. There's nothing better than Sake in cold winter.

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March 05, 2005

scholars

freudI started reading the later studies of Sigmund Freud, A German psychologist and was surprised to know that his attitude towards studies had been very similar to that of Kant. In my views, the scholars are clearly divided into two types. The former type is the one who's fanatic about defeating other scholars or authenticity by theories. The latter type is the one who's not interested in other people but in only his own studies. Kant and Freud are of course categorized into the later.

Today's reading
Soseki Natsume "Ten Nights of Dream " 5 pages

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March 04, 2005

Kei truck

003"Kei car" is a Japanese domestic category and regulation for vehicles. "Kei" means "light weight" in Japanese. This kind of vehicles are qualified for tax reductions. Their sizes are limited to 148cm(4'10") in width, 340cm(11ft) in length, and the engine displacement is only 660cc(0.66l). Compared with the average US car, for example Ford Taurus, it is 1.6m shorter in length and 5 times smaller in engine capacity. You can readily imagine how small the Kei cars are.

What's unique about the Kei car is that any shape or type is acceptable as far as it keeps the size rule. So there are variety of types of vehicles, sports car, sedan, minivan, truck. Among them, I'm much interested in the Kei truck. I need some transportation to carry the building material for the new house. Besides, Some Kei trucks are 4WD, I can get the transportation in snowbound winter at the same time. The secondhand Kei truck costs $3k or something.


Today's reading
Soseki Natsume "Ten Nights of Dream " 5 pages

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March 03, 2005

'round midnight

round20midnightI stayed up late last night and saw a movie of a fictional jazz player on late night TV. The movie, 'Round Midnight itself was merely a typical sentimental drama, and I was not very impressed with the story. A Legendary, but alcoholic Sax player recovers from his despair during Paris tour, through the warm friendship with a young French jazz fan. It was only acceptable in terms of an introduction to jazz history.

Since 1940s, the music theory of jazz, especially its harmonics, had made a significant leap forward in a short time. It is said that jazz achieved an amazing development in only 20 years -it had taken more than 200 years in the field of classical music. There are two reasons. First, jazz preliminarily took over the great heritage of classical music, for example highly sophisticated music theories of Debussy or Ravel. Secondly, at that time, the most jazz musicians depended on using drugs. Drugs make their harmonic sensitivities sharp and they used drugs in order to get some imagination. This movie had depicted this morbid, dark side of jazz well.


Today's reading
Immanuel Kant "To Perpetual Peace " 2 pages
Soseki Natsume "Ten Nights of Dream " 10 pages

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March 02, 2005

to read in English

kant-colorAs I wrote before, one of my main purposes of learning English is to acquire adequate skills of debating and writing, necessary to study German philosophy at some foreign University. My skill is far from that purpose so far. A few days ago, I started reading a book of Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher, in English and found it not so difficult to read. I felt it was much easier than that of Japanese edition. It was because the original edition had been written in German, and in terms of linguistics, English and German are similar to each other since they have the same root. So, German has less difficulty in translating into English than into Japanese.

Today's reading
Soseki Natsume "Ten Nights of Dream " 10 pages

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March 01, 2005

Shaker-Style House

Wyeth-WeathersideI'm thinking of building a new house on my small land in Nagano. Last year, I built a small cottage by myself and I had chosen a do-it-yourself kit for that. Although I had almost everything I needed in the kit, the stuffs that had been enclosed in it were merely unprocessed lumber, wood boards and nails. So I built it almost from scratch. I'm going to do the whole things from design to finish this time. I think I will build the Shaker-Style House. It would be perfect if I can build the one like this.

As the name implies, Shaker-Style is the design or the lifestyle of the Shakers, believers of Shakerism, who had been persecuted in England and migrated to the New World in 16th century. They had developed everything from soup to nuts, which are useful in people's daily life. Starting with houses, furniture, utensils, houseware, kitchenware, cloths, fabrics and so on. As a matter of fact, many of the things called "Early American Style" in Japan are this Shaker-Style.

Today's reading
Immanuel Kant "To Perpetual Peace " 2 pages
Soseki Natsume "Ten Nights of Dream " 10 pages

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