Oct 12, 2010

New Yorkerに始まり、モントリオール映画祭に終わる

In a library located in the next town where I live, I picked up the latest issue of the New Yorker and flipped through into the book review page. To my surprise, the first book introduced on that section was a work of a Japanese author called Yoshida Shuuichi. I rarely read Japanese novels, so I have no idea who the author was and what the theme of the introduced book was about.
Villain: A Novel
Villain: A Novel
Expecting the least, I shoved up my kindle3 from my bag and connected to the Amazon shop to see if the book is available with a kindle format. I had not expected to find one, but my hunch luckily failed to be true and the kindle version is already there. As you can guess, it didn't take me a long before I started to download the free file.

I won't be making an entry especially about this book if my story ends here, but downloading the free version was the beginning of an appallingly pleasing story for me, who once lived in Kyushu area, the Southeast part of Japan.

I started to read the first several sentences, then What a coincidence!, there came so many familiar names of cities or roads in Fukuoka and Saga prefecture, Mitsuse, Sefuri, Sawara, Omura, Takeo, you name it. I was terribly excited to read them because, up until four years ago, I was living close to that very area. I passed through the area where the book talks about almost every month and enjoyed playing at parks and soaking myself in hot springs with my family. Good old days~

The free pages are packed with so many familiar things and kept me reminding of the happy days. That inevitably temped me into reading the reviews and I found the book was highly promising. One reviewer even went so far as to compare the author to some big names in Japanese literature such as Mishima Yukio and Abe Koubou. I didn't take it into much consideration about the relatively high price of the book on kindle version and clicked the buy button soon after I reached the final page of the free material.

Now, I started to wonder if I should read the original Japanese story and see how successfully the translation conveys the essence of the Japanese. I opened the public liberally page on the net and looked for the title, then I was greatly disappointed . I have to wait more than one hundred people waiting for the book before I can put my hand on the book. Anyway, the book turned to be a very popular one.

Next, I checked Amazon Japan and my pleasant journey of investigating the book abruptly came to an end and I ran into the very book which many people might be quite familiar these days. The book is the original of the movie, I think it's now on show, whose main actress was recently awarded the first prize at the Montreal Movie festival.
悪人(上) (朝日文庫) 悪人(下) (朝日文庫)
I've read about eight percent of the book yesterday and still I'm not sure it will turn out to be a splendid read or not.

So, this is the story about how the kindle successfully leads you into buying books one after another with almost non-hesitation... But I'm willingly ready to be a victim for my kindle by now...


Paul said...

Hello Nori!
It's been a long time since I checked your blog - I am beginning to participate more often in Facebook now.

I am going to begin attempting to translate the Japanese language used on your blog to help me with my study - so thanks for some such posts!

I am writing you really to ask about your Kindle 3 - do you like it? I am considering buying an ereader since they appear to be so convenient. Several months ago I purchased an iPod Touch and now I read books on it very often as well as surf the web. I find the text is very readable, both in size and clarity and the Touch is so small that it conveniently slips into my pocket.

Anyhow, it's good to read your blog again.


Mrs. Malone said...

Hi Paul-san, How are you doing?
Did you go somewhere nice these days? I think Autumn is the best season in your place too. The beauty of colorful trees and serene air might intrigue you to make one or two Haiku, right? ^^

Yes, kindle is so good! I can't imagine myself anymore buying thick heavy books when I want to read just stories. I know some people read e-books on other devices such as Touch, but I think the kindle screen is much less harmful for your eyes. I don't get tired no matter how long I read with my kindle.

My kindle weights only 240g, so it's a bit bigger than Touch, but still it's easy to take wherever you go, even to the top of the mountains. ^^

BTW, I have a favor to ask you. Next month, my friends, who are interested in Tadoku, reading easy and many kinds of English materials to master and enjoy English, are going to hold a small festival in a conference room at Univ. where Mr. Sakai, he is one of the big advocates of Tadoku.
We'd like to show people how you can not only study hard but also enjoy English in many ways. There will be flea market of English books, a mini-lecture by Mr. Sakai and some displays such as poems, sample translations, original short stories in English by my friends.

And now I started to wonder if you're willing to join our festival by posting your Haiga and Haiku. It might be a big surprise for us Japanese to know there are some people overseas enjoying Haiga and Haiku.

I'll explain more about festival in Facebook and I'd love to hear your opinion.

Nice day!

Do you know Gogyohka? It's like Haiku and your comment gave me an inspiration to make one. ^^

a small gentle voice
from a far away country
lit my blur mind
fuels me pleasantly


Paul said...

Hi Nori!
I would love to participate in your festival; I just wish I could be there. Please let me know how I can contribute. You can show anything I have in the blog of course. I really should update the book list as well and maybe I can begin thinking about some additional blog posts to write. The Tadoku festival sounds like so much fun - the community is very fortunate to have you involved in such an activity.

I am reading and enjoying so much waka and haiku written by the masters that it is sometimes overwhelming! I am now reading a series of 15th century Japanese Nō plays (the English translations of course). They are so very beautiful, so poetic; I could never have imagined such elegance. I have many favorite passages. The book I am reading is free to download on google books so you can read it on a Kindle too - I read it on my Touch now. Here is a link:


I am seriously considering getting a Kindle 3 to read Kindle books and pdf type books. Also, our libraries are beginning to loan ebooks for 3-week periods and some can be read in amazon format on a Kindle.

Gogyohka? Now I remember Gogyohka. Chico commented about that style a long time ago and told me of a website devoted to it. Is she still interested in poetry? I have not thought about it until now, but the style seems very appealing, a style free of many rules can provide even more avenues for artistic expression.

Thank you for your poem! It is very touching and it inspires me. I am so fortunate you have written such nice verse.

Can you tell me what is the meaning of おそまつさま ? I tried to translate but could not find the meaning other than "an expression of humility". I think maybe I should be using this expression :-).

I have for you an autumn poem was written by Zenchiku Ujinobu (1414 - 1499)

"To match the scarlet
Of the autumn leaves
Red sunlight glitters
On the flowing stream"

You have a really wonderful day and I hope to hear from you soon,


PS - I wrote this on your Facebook page too.

Mrs. Malone said...

Hi Paul!
It's a good question! (I have been wanting to use this expressions since I often encounter it while I'm watching some interview American TV programs such as Larry King show.)

I think "Osomatusama" will be used only among older people or formal situations nowadays, but if you use it properly, you can add politeness, sincerity or gratefulness.

However, it might be a very difficult expression to use correctly for someone from Western culture, I'm afraid.

In this case, I used it because I made a Gogyohka and I wanted to let you read, but I don't know you're willing to read or you have time to read.
So by adding "Osomatsusama," I express this feeling; I'm not trying to impose you to read my poem, but if you feel like it, please read. I'll be really delighted.

Humility is crucial to swin peacefully in Japanese society, but if you use it too often then you sounds awkward and people judge you lacking confidence.
On the other hand, if your words or acts have no sence of humility, then you maybe be judged arrogant...

It's hard for to explain Japanese culture...

Paul said...

Hi Nori.
My goodness, you encounter such a word while watching Larry King! I am so surprised. Of course, Larry is pretty old I must say :-).

I really did think that おそまつさま meant what you intended it to mean, but I wasn't sure until now. It's such a wonderful expression and conveys so many nice emotions in just 6 characters.

Again, I thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful poem with me. I will always have time to enjoy such things and I am keeping the Gogyohka in my files so it won't become lost.

ども ありがとうございます