Monday, December 31, 2007

Books of This Year

Books, 2007:
“The Secret Language of Feelings” (Calvin D. Banyan)
“Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar” (Simon Sebag Montefiore)
“Nehru: A Political Life” (Judith M. Brown)
“Uncovering Clinton” (Michael Isikoff)
“The Noonday Demon: An Anatomy of Depression” (Andrew Solomon)*
“Findings: Fifty Years of Meditations on Music” (Leonard Bernstein)
“The Infinite Variety of Music” (Leonard Bernstein)
“The Joy of Music” (Leonard Bernstein)
“Ousted!” (Patrick Keith)
“Reflections on ASEAN” (Mahathir Mohamad)
“Darkness Visible” (William Styron)
“Between Peace and War” (Richard Ned Lebow)
“Power and Interdependence” (Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye)
“The Human Factor” (Graham Greene)
“Sophie’s Choice” (William Styron)
“Shared Responsibility and Unshared Power” (Ho Khai Leong)
“The Ministry of Fear” (Graham Greene)*
“Travels with My Aunt” (Graham Greene)*
“The Heart of the Matter” (Graham Greene)
“The Power and the Glory” (Graham Greene)
“The Comedians” (Graham Greene)
“At Canaan’s Edge” (Taylor Branch)
“A Burnt-Out Case” (Graham Greene)*
“Stamboul Train” (Graham Greene)
“Woodward and Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate” (Alicia C. Shepard)
“All the President’s Men” (Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein)
“The Final Days” (Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein)
“Orientalism” (Edward W. Said)
“Milosevic: A Biography” (Adam LeBor)






Sunday, December 30, 2007

"The Singapore Story"

Two nights ago, I stared “The Singapore Story,” which I bought rather many years ago but toward which I had not felt very strong, to say the least. Only after a few pages of the book, we can look into the man’s mindset.

“We played with fighting kites, tops, marbles and even fighting fish. These games nurtured a fighting spirit and the will to win. I do not know whether they prepared me for the fight I was to have later in politics.” (p. 32)

“Had [his mother] been born one generation later and continued her education beyond secondary school, she could easily have become an effective business executive.” (p. 34)

A fighting spirit learned from those boys’ games and its connection to his later political struggle and an allusion to a “business executive”… It demonstrates how radically different he is from me and vice versa. My own life has no place for fight or competition and a strong drive toward business, i.e. creating material wealth.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Photo Processing Continues




I’ve finally managed to book a hotel room in HCM City. It is quite cheap (US$15 per night) but the amenities include Wi-Fi internet connection at the lobby. Sounds good enough.

I processed and stored in my PC the photos of “Tanglewood” (August 1987) and Hawks ballgames (double-header, May 1976).

Friday, December 28, 2007

Digitizing My History

I’ve spent hours and hours since this morning to digitize my old photos using COOLPIX. Only half way through, I needed to charge the battery. Photos of my childhood and baseball games, but there are still so many more to go. Those taken in the US, Korea and Taiwan, and of my working days in Japan also should be processed. While the macro mode is a very useful function, I realized, with this mode, some photos become blurry even if they are originally well-focused. I believe that an image scanner will do a better job. And I recognized (once again) my father’s nice skill in photography, looking at those he had taken. After all, he was a man who was developing photos he had taken in the darkroom, though it was before I was born. In his days, cameras didn’t have an autofocus function. My Olympus OM1, which I got when I was thirteen, didn’t have it either. It was your own skill that counted.

I think about creating a website exclusively committed to the Hawks photos and memorabilia. As far as I know, the sites that now exist are mostly (or all?) about the post-Nomura era. I would upload the photos I’m still keeping alive. Perhaps one reason why the existing sites are about the last few years of the club is that people who created and are managing the sites are quite young. And those folks who still remember the Nomura-era seem too old even to imagine creating a website. (Hahaha! I’m too young to know the Tsuruoka-era.)





I received an invoice from Mt. E Hospital. Why? I’d already paid directly to the doctor…

Camera Arrived!!

The camera arrived tonight. It is so much smaller than I expected!! And I found out that I needed an outlet adaptor for battery charge as its specifications are all according to the Japanese standard, making me run to TB Plaza to get the adaptor. Coming back home, I immediately started charging the battery or so I thought. The indicator began flashing, which means it is being charged. The manual says that it takes about 100 minutes to complete the charging. After three hours, the indicator was still flashing and I referred to the thicker manual and it says, if it is rapidly flashing, the battery is having trouble. BOOOOO!! I removed it from the charger and reinserted it into it. Then steady flashing, which I needed to find… NOW IT IS FULLY CHARGED.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Killed in Suicide Bomb!!!

Bhutto killed in suicide attack (Al Jazeera)

Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister, has been killed in a suicide bomb attack on an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi

At least 15 others were also killed in the attack with another report saying at least 20 bodies were seen at the rally site after the explosion.

"It was a suicide attack. We don't know the number of casualties as yet. It happened just outside the venue. The attacker blew himself up when people were dispersing after the rally," an interior ministry spokesman said

Al Jazeera's Sohail Rahman reporting from Islamabad said several hundred people had attended the rally.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Milosevic, Butcher or Victim

I’ve reached the end of “Milosevic.” It seems that Slobodan Milosevic’s life was at least in part controlled by his wife, Mira. However, considering that his religious father left his family when he is still young and his mother was protective and dogmatic and also both of them committed suicide, it may be little wonder that, for him, Mira, another dogmatic woman, was the only person he could completely trust.

And was he “the butcher of the Balkans”? He displayed strong hatred toward the Bosnian Serb leaders, Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic. Was it Milosevic’s tactical maneuvering just to stay in power? I do not know. But more prominent to me is the hypocrisy of some of the leaders of the West.

After Milosevic signed the Dayton agreement 0f 1995, which ended the Bosnian war, Douglas Hurd, a former British foreign secretary, approached him for a deal to privatize Serbian state companies, along with Pauline Neville-Jones, who had acted as the head of the British delegation at Dayton. And Bill Clinton’s phone call to chitchat with him?

At the time of the publishing of this paperback edition (2003), Slobodan Milosevic was still in the dock at The Hague. He would die there in March 2006. The Yugoslav leadership had produced a statement, signed by Federal President, Vojislav Kostunica, Serbian President, Milan Milutinovic and Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, that said, “The criminal proceedings before the Belgrade Distric Court against Slobodan Milosevic, former President of the Republic of Serbia, FRY, and President of the Socialist Party of Serbia, were not undertaken in response to the demand of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia…” And another brief document made it clear that “Slobodan Milosevic will not be handed over to any judicial or other institution outside the country.” See what happened to him…

Incoherent Short Stories

Xmas holiday is over. Nothing to do with me though a few people very kindly sent me well-wishing messages to my phone.

In bed for more than 20 hours. A few incoherent short stories.

A scene of downtown Kyoto seen from a high building or airplane. The meteorologist was saying, “Now in Kyoto, the visibility is only one meter.” The city was covered with fog, but it seemed to me the visibility was not so bad.

I found many not-so-large cardboard boxes and a few tin containers in front of the family’s Kyoto house. Tin containers for storing off-season clothes people were using before plastic ones appeared. Apparently the day of moving. Mother and brother were ready to go. But I had not been told about moving at all…

And music was sounding in my head… one of the pieces my neighbor often practices.


A cheap Ho Chi Minh hotel I tried to book though a website is full during my visit. Not convinced, I tried another website and am now waiting the reply. An interesting thing is that different websites list different rates for the same one hotel.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I'm That Beautiful Mt. Fuji


Monday, December 24, 2007

Let Me Sleep!! (Round Trip Booked...)



Sunday, December 23, 2007

Confused over Where I am



この先の計画は、滞在延長の如何次第ということもあるが、ESLコースの受講は決心した。これから先への投資だと理解しよう。やはり「fly out」しないといけないようだと、二重にカネがかかることになるが、これは避けられないこと。

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Overhead Full Moon Night


Friday, December 21, 2007

I Have Almost Made up My Mind to Take the Course

Late afternoon, I made a call to the course manager to talk about my visa issue. She told me that she would produce a letter to be presented at the immigration office. As this course does not require a student pass, which is fine in itself, my status as a tourist won’t change. I don’t know if there is any participant from overseas except me. If there is any, I believe that he or she is also entitled to stay only for 30 days. Even if I get an extension with the letter, it won't be enough. I need a further extension to complete the course because the final assignment is in April. I’ve already made rather too many land-crossings. The Woodlands checkpoint is suspicious.

With the certificate, what would I intend to do? Having been a city dweller since I was born, my desire to live in a more humanly natural or fundamental, if materially inconvenient, environment is still strong. If I feel overwhelmed in some negative way in such an environment, that should also be fine. I believe that is something I need to go through. In fact, that is what I should have experienced when I was so much younger. Once certified, I may seek a position in a developing country.

When I was around 30, I thought about working at an Israeli kibbutz, to make my hands dirty. But I never took any action to make it a reality. In hindsight, it seems a wise no-action. I don’t want to extend my hand to help colonizers to further their occupation work.

Also today, I deposited the total amount for the camera. It was successfully done, even though it took me more than half an hour because of a $5 note, which the two deposit machines, located at TB Plaza, repeatedly rejected.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Student Again? And Mother and Daughter

My feeling is inclining to take up a course to become a certified TESOL instructor. There are issues to be resolved, e.g. my visa which expires just when the course starts. And when I have to be active in searching a job, this costs me a substantial amount of $$. However, this certification would protect me in the future to an extent, if not guarantee, in terms of employment. There are always people who want to learn the language. I should talk to the course director to be sure of what she can do to extend my visa without my flying out of the country. This time’s trip plans, whether to Myanmar or Vietnam, are forced upon me, and I don’t think I have enough time to prepare “psychologically,” even though those countries are just “over there.” I’m an old chicken.


Butoh -- Byakko-sha


「e-bay」でNikon Coolpix S510(コンパクトデジカメ)を落札した。と言っても入札したのは自分だけだったが。購入の理由は、長くなった髪の自分を撮っておきたかったのがひとつ。あとは、シンガポールにしても、ビルマにしても、ベトナムにしても、自分の歴史を記録しておきたいから。髪は歳をとる程に「クルクル」が激しくなる。引力に反して、今はまつ毛も上向き。

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In Bed for a Day and Half


What is my métier?? There has been no real satisfaction or serene uplifting of mind in what I’ve done in my career so far. The teaching job I had back home was so money-oriented, and I didn’t not consider it as anything educational or even remotely serious. Many students expected to be spoon-fed and “learning English” was just a faddish phenomenon influenced by the irresponsible commercial media of Japan. The company went bankrupt eventually. A writing job was really inspiring and made me feel that I was doing something, but then when the lunch break was not a break and dinner had to be delayed until 10 pm or later, it was not a mystery at all that it took a toll on my physical and mental health.

Yangon? Ho Chi Minh? Hanoi? And then??

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Want More about Milosevic's Childhood, and My Trip Destinations

I’m reading “Milosevic” at a steady pace. Especially after “Orientalism,” which in many parts is recondite, it is a big relief that I don’t have to read the same one sentence several times to understand. When one writes about him, it may be natural to devote many pages to his rapid rise through the Communist hierarchy ladder and of course the 3-way war in the former Yugoslavia. However, my interest in his life is to learn more about how his childhood and relatively young days affected his later career as both his parents committed suicide. It seems that as a person, he found the absolute security in his wife, Mira. No matter whatever I do, Mira is always with me, defends me and never betrays me.

By the way, his daughter, Marija, was quite a glamorous beauty, judging from the one photo in the book! She, still while a teenager, married a diplomat and went to Japan along with him. She, a very much pampered kid, didn’t like the life in Japan and got bored, left there and divorced him. Her recent photos show a complete auntie, though. She was reported to have had a “nervous breakdown” after Milosevic was removed from power.

Because the immigration officer at Woodlands was not very clear what “fly out” really means (must it be to Japan? Or anywhere?), I’m now thinking about destinations excluding Japan. Myanmar is an obvious candidate but visiting there requires a visa. Another is Vietnam, which I’ve also been interested in visiting because of the books I’ve read about the war and the movies, “THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA” and “Full Metal Jacket.” To enter Vietnam, it is not required to obtain a visa, as far as the stay is within 15 days. As the year end, when embassies will be closed, is approaching and I can’t still make up my mind, a trip that requires no visa seems attractive.

2 Familiar Names Gone




The poor fellow at the shop called me, and said my membership is now ready. After my complaint, the shop made it ready in a day. If they can do it in such a short period, why couldn't they have done so much earlier??

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Active Day


A day of action (by my standard): I settled the phone bill, mailed a postcard to my mother, placed a complaint to a computer shop at TB Plaza and went to Tanjong Pagar to retrieve a letter from the tax office.

This computer shop told me at the time of my application on November 23 that it would sent an e-mail to me for confirmation. I’ve never received such an e-mail. A young man working at the shop’s customer service was apologetic. I heard him say “Many customers claim…” when he was talking to another office. Hmmm… It seems I’m not alone. Apparently, they are having some computer system trouble. System trouble at a computer shop? Quite a joke. I demanded my membership $$ back. He pleaded me to give him another week. So I relented, but not satisfied, made this young staff write a short letter (in his unsteady English) to guarantee the refund if I don’t get the e-mail within a week.

A letter from the tax office arrived at the current address of my former employer. After I resigned, the employer moved to Tanjong Pagar to become a company under a group in need of capital injection.

The poor fellow at the shop called me this evening, and said my membership is now ready

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tablets on Their Way



Jean, who works at the clinic, contacted me today and said she would send tablets by post. Thanks.

Yesterday at Gleneagles, right after I finished “Orientalism,” I started “Milosevic: A Biography” by Adam LeBor. 30 pages are behind me at this moment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Hiking Trip

Yes, I’m really tired. This morning, I called the clinic six or seven times. Though there was no answer, the busy tone I heard in two of my calls made me optimistic to think the clinic was open today. I decided to try my luck.

I took Bus 16 to Paterson Road and then, from Orchard Boulevard, 174 to go to Bukit Timah Road. Because I wasn’t sure at which stop I should get off, I did so after the 174 passed a supermarket in my very old neighborhood. From the bus stop, there was quite a distance to the clinic. When I finally reached there, it was only to find a “closed” sign. I wrote a message and slipped it inside from under the door, requesting to inform me when it would reopen.

I thought that my first neighborhood doctor and the one, who originally referred me to the clinic, Dr. Goh, might be available and somehow could help me. Then I decided to walk back the way I came from, but at the same time I was thinking that I would be too late for his morning consultation. There I was, standing in front of the door of his clinic, which was shut. But it was the disappointment I had expected. With my head down, I was leaving the place to cross Farrer Road when I found myself between the shuttered door and the doctor sitting on a bench, talking on his phone.


I explained all about the closed clinic and told him I had run out of pills. He asked, “Oh, maybe she went on a holiday. But why are you here? You think I…” He opened the shutter and quickly made a prescription note for Cymbalta so I could bring it to a pharmacy.

A relatively near and large medical institution where I might get it is Gleneagles. I tried two pharmacies in the hospital and neither had it. I asked for an equivalent or even something “similar.” But they said, “No. It must be this particular one.” Exhausted, I rested myself on a sofa at the hospital (and finished “Orientalism” there). Or they had. Dr. Goh spelled “Cymbalta” as “Simbalta.” And the spelling I thought might be correct was “Symbalta.” Should I try tomorrow again or just hope that the clinic opens very soon?

From Gleneagles, I walked to Isetan to get rice, which also ran out a few days ago, and some other food stuff and then the Orchard MRT station to add value to my EZLink Card because the value was below $0. I finally took Bus 123 at the Lucky Plaza to come home. What a hiking all through drizzle, from Bukit Timah Road to the Lucky Plaza!

My pace to read “Orientalism” greatly quickened once the book entered the final chapter, “Orientalism Now,” which discusses the more recent decades. For some like me, who pathetically lacks the required knowledge of, for example, Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt, it would be better for better comprehension to jump from “Preface” to “Afterward” and then start reading the first chapter.

[O]ne of the great advances in modern cultural theory is the realization, almost universally acknowledged, that cultures are hybrid and heterogeneous and, as I argued in Culture and Imperialism, that cultures and civilizations are so intertwined and interdependent as to beggar any unitary or simply delineated description of their individuality. (p. 347)

Much of the most compelling work on the new political and economic order has concerned what, in a recent article, Harry Magdoff has described as “globalization,” a system by which a small financial elite expanded its power over the whole globe, inflating commodity and service prices, redistributing wealth from lower income sectors (usually in the non-Western world) to the higher-income ones. (p. 349)

I have quoted a few parts from the work almost randomly. I’m hearing now the voice of Said that says “explain why you quoted this part but not that part.”

Psychiatrist Kills Himself...

According to the Sankei Shimbun website, a psychiatrist working at a Hyogo hospital killed himself for having been prescribing antidepressant pills to a unipolar patient without consultation for two years. The Hyogo prefecture had investigated the hospital for his non-consultation prescription. The doctor’s suicide must be shocking to the patient herself… But without consulting with her, how could the doctor have diagnosed the woman as a unipolar disorder sufferer?

I feel tired, very tired… No drive to take action and move "forward."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Said's Sharp Pen, and Info on Myanmar Wanted

When I woke up, it was still all dark outside. I thought the time was still in the midst of the night, but looking at the clock beside the bed, I realized it was almost dawn. Here, morning comes late. The sun is not really up there until 7am, and these days because of rain, it seems even darker at dawn. I went back to sleep after a few pages of “Orientalism,” and when I woke up again, it was already past 4pm. One missed call from a number I don’t recognize. And it was too late to visit the clinic…

The top page of the website of the Myanmar Embassy here is blank. So I decided to send an e-mail to inquire about the tourist visa information. And rare for me now, I did so quite fast. Soon after I sent the e-mail, I found that, without the top page, the inside of the site could be read and I managed to obtain the information.

Reading works by Edward W. Said makes me realize, with no exception at all, that how I am sloppy in using words, in writing and talking. His knowledge is deep, his observation insightful, and his pen unbelievably sharp.

… In 1973, during the anxious days of the October Arab-Israeli war, the New York Times Magazine commissioned two articles, one representing the Israeli and on the Arab side of the conflict. The Israeli side was presented by an Israeli layer; the Arab side, by an American former ambassador to an Arab country who had no formal training in Oriental studies. Lest we jump immediately to the simple conclusion that the Arabs were believed incapable of representing themselves, we would do well to remember that both Arabs and Jews in this instance were Semites (in the broad cultural designation I have been discussing) and that both were being made to be represented for a Western audience… (p. 293)

… When Louis Gardet treats [in The Cambridge History of Islam, first published in 1970] “Religion and Culture,” we are told summarily that only the first five centuries of Islam are to be discussed; does this mean that religion and culture in “modern times” cannot be “synthesized,” or does it mean that Islam achieved its final form in the twelfth century? Is there really such a thing as “Islamic geography,” which seems to include the “planned anarchy” of Muslim cities, or is it mainly an invented subject to demonstrate a rigid theory of geographical-racial determinism? As a hint we are reminded of “the Ramadan fast with its active nights,” from which we are expected to conclude that Islam is a religion “designed for town dwellers.” This is explanation in need of explanation. (p. 305)

In its February 1974 issue Commentary gave its readers an article by Professor Gil Carl Alroy entitled “Do the Arabs Want Peace?” Alroy is a professor of political science and is the author of two works, Attitudes Towards Jewish Statehood in the Arab World and Images of Middle East Conflict; he is a man who professes to “know” the Arabs, and is obviously an expert of image making. His argument is quite predictable: that the Arabs want to destroy Israel, that the Arabs really say what they mean (and Alroy makes ostentatious use of his ability to cite evidence from Egyptian newspapers, evidence he everywhere identifies with “Arabs” as if the two, Arabs and Egyptian newspapers, were one), and so on and on, with unflagging, one-eyed zeal… (pp. 307-308)


Monday, December 10, 2007

Orientalism Dogmas

Said explains the dogmas of Orientalism laconically in the pages 300-301;

1. the absolute difference between the West, which is rational, developed, humane, superior, and the Orient, which is aberrant, undeveloped, inferior.
2. the abstractions about the Orient, particularly those based on texts representing a “classical” Oriental civilization, are always preferable to direct evidence drawn from modern Orient realities.
3. the Orient is eternal, uniform, and incapable of defining itself; therefore it is assumed that a highly generalized and systematic vocabulary for describing the Orient from a Western standpoint is inevitable and even scientifically “objective.”
4. the Orient is at bottom something either to be feared (the Yellow Peril, the Mongol hordes, the brown dominions) or to be controlled (by pacification, research and development, outright occupation whenever possible).

Apparently, the clinic is closed today. I made four calls, three in the morning and another in the afternoon, but nobody answered.

Sleep Only to Feel Tired











Sunday, December 09, 2007

Another Anniversary of December 8



The BIG time bomb is ticking inside me.


The old “stray” dog has been identified!! YOU ARE THE DOG OF THE YEAR!!!


Old dog saves life of missing senile woman
The Yomiuri Shimbun

MITO--An old dog saved the life of a 73-year-old woman with senile dementia who is believed to have wandered from her home to a park about five kilometers away in temperatures that fell below freezing, police said.

The woman, who went missing from her home in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Wednesday morning, was found safe by a passerby about 30 hours later, snuggled up with the male mongrel in a park in Hitachinaka in the prefecture.

It is believed she spent the night outside in subzero temperatures.

"She may have avoided hypothermia by hugging the dog to keep warm," a Hitachinaka-Nishi Police Station officer said.

According to the police, the woman slipped out of her house and away from the supervision of her family just after 7 a.m. Wednesday, wearing only a thin jacket over her sweater. (Dec. 8, 2007)


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Absolute Determination So Easily Broken

My absolute determination was to stay awake so that I could go to the clinic. Just at the right moment, I foolishly closed my eyes, and then when I opened them, it was already too late for today’s consultation hours. Ashamed, and electric sensation is again appearing, a very clear sign of my life-supporting SNRI is losing its power. Resigned, I went into another long dream.









“Just mentally challenged”… Comments or thoughts like this so deeply hurt every human who suffers a mental illness. To my ear, it sounds “You are physically healthy. You are only a lazy person.” “I just can’t imagine what sort of condition you have” is what I was told by a friend. Well, you don’t have to try to imagine. Nor do you have to try to understand. But you have to recognize that people like me exist all over the world and are crying for help.

Cymbalta Effects Wearing off

No refill today (Friday) either.

I spent around 20 hours in bed. Last night, I was quite agitated emotionally after what happened at the checkpoint and far more because I thought and talked about my family. Even tears were flowing out of my eyes. I know the Cymbalta effects are wearing off. I must to get pills today (Saturday), no matter what.

I had, as usual in such conditions, a long dream, or a dream of a few seemingly continuous but totally unconnected stories.










How about this cartoon, published by "Today" on December 4?

"Just mentally challenged"?

Andrew Solomon, citing "Suicide and affective disorders" by S. B. Guze and E. Robbins, published in "British Journal of Psychiatry 117" in 1970 and "Manic-Depressive Illness" of 1990 by Frederick Goodwin and Kay Redfield Jamison, wrote in "The Noonday Demon: An Anatomy of Depression," "The statistic traditionally given is that 15 percent of depressed people will eventually commit suicide; this figure still holds for those with extreme illness. Recent studies that include milder depression show that 2 to 4 percent of depressives will die by their own hand as a direct consequence of the illness." (p. 25)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

30-Day Grace Period

No medication refill today.

I expected no problem at all at the checkpoint on this side. When my turn came after standing in a long line of visitors, I was “invited” by the young officer into his box and asked to sit on the chair next to him and wait. After about five minutes, an Indian officer came and escorted me into that room I know well of.

A Malay female officer explained that I could not continue entry by land “forever. And next time, you must fly out to Japan once.” “But officer, I don’t have a family to go back to in Japan.” “Even distant relatives?” “Distant relatives are all distant. Does it have to be Japan (I must fly to)?” She didn’t give me a clear answer. This time, she gave me a 30-day stamp anyway. I may have chosen the wrong line… My home country is not home. But they don’t understand it and consider individual cases. A grace period of 30 days. What shall I do?

The only thing that was nice today was that I managed to advance “Orientalism” to as far as page 288.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Rainy Season Has Come?



Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Japan Baseball Team Goes to Beijing



Some days ago, I decided to write on my life about from 1995 (Korea to Osaka, Taiwan, back to Osaka and Singapore) completely from my own perspective, and I am adding a few lines almost everyday. In a sense, this is to leave a record mainly of my career and unipolar disorder. Partly because my diary for a few years from the summer of 1999 became unrecoverable together with my old PC, I believe this is a good attempt. At this point still with about 9,000 characters, my days especially in Singapore seem full of frustration and stress and it is no wonder that my depression (the Black Cat) sneakily appeared in the dark room.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Sign of Ageing

For a start, I’ve cursorily checked a few universities in Taiwan that have a language course for foreigners. In terms of tuition fees, they are so much cheaper than NUS, which charges more than twice.

I feel my age… Seven years ago, it was a hard but quick decision to come here. And I used to think “If you are really interested in something, you should have already taken action to make it happen.”

Sunday, December 02, 2007

"The Sting of Death"


Motorola announced that its CEO, Ed Zander, would leave on January 1st. This is the man who said to my question at a press conference, “I don’t know what you are referring to.” I asked for his response to Nokia CEO’s comment that Nokia was not a mere phone maker and he did not consider Motorola as a competitor. I had found this comment in an article of the Economist.

When I was reading “Crime and Punishment,” I thought about visiting St. Petersburg and Moscow. And suddenly Burma. And remembering my happy days in Taiwan, my interest in the Chinese language and its traditional characters is now growing… I like to understand what A-Mei sings about. My mind can be so simply influenced…

I have been largely autodidactic, as in the case of my English learning. For Chinese, I can probably combine the pinyin system, which is a creation of the communist China, and traditional characters.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


買う必要もなかったんやけど、HMVまで行って「♫ ごめんね」のCD(「我可以抱你嗎?愛人」)を買った。曲名は「会いたい(好想見你)」やった。中国語版はの曲名は「不在乎他」。歌詞の内容は違う。それから、やっぱり買う必要はなかったんやけど、「死の棘」(小栗康平監督)のDVDも19ドルやったんで買ってしまった。

I should have read “Orientalism” first among the works by Said. However, I, at this age, still have a great difficulty to follow this powerful book of his. It is perhaps because of my total lack of knowledge of English and French scholars on and travelers to the Orient. Learning continues… until I decide to quit all.

Five killed in Israeli Gaza raids (BBC)
Gazans bury dead after Israeli raid (Al Jazeera)
Six Palestinians, including militants, killed in Gaza (Reuters)

Trying to achieve peace by killing people… while the leaders are talking in the U.S.

With puke out comes the mental tumor.

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Gomen Ne" CD by A-Mei

張恵妹の「♫ ごめんね」(曲名忘れた)が収録されているCDを買うつもりで、近くの「That CD Shop」に行った。彼女のCDを1枚も見つけられんと、何にも買わんと帰ってきた。ただ、なぜか「西城秀樹」「近藤真彦」「五輪真弓」のCDが並んでた。売れるんかいな。

Last night, I received a call from ANL, and met him at the nearby food court for some beer. I was wearing my “Nishitetsu Lions” T-shirt. Remarkably, he recognized the team!!

Some beer… But I was drunk enough, and today I didn’t even remember that I had already uploaded yesterday’s diary to my blog site after midnight.

Reading Said or Chomsky always makes me realize my lamentably insufficient aptitude of structuring sentences and vocabulary. Insufficient aptitude… If it’s insufficient, it cannot be called aptitude… More appropriate words are “Bodoh” and “笨笨(gong gong or ben ben).”





This thought of mine to visit Myanmar is growing… But searching work for a cheap air ticket between Singapore and there really saps my energy.

Japanese Translation of "Orientalism"

A Japanese translation version of “Orientalism” is available. Who is this translator? To translate this magnificent book, it requires not only a tremendous amount of knowledge of colonial history, East and West, but linguistics, philology, epistemology, etc. This book cannot be translated without recognizing the difference between linguistics and philology and what kind of academic subject epistemology is…

I don’t intend to read the Japanese version of “Orienalism.” Never. While translation work can be simple word replacement (though it must not be so), this book is so deep, a mere translator cannot and should not handle this work by Said.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Second Trip to the End of the Land

My second trip to P. Ris, the end of the land. Soon after I left home, I realized that I had forgotten to bring “Orientalism (now page 222).” On bus and train, I can read with concentration. There was no time to go back to home. Moreover, at the entrance gate of the station, the value of my EZLink card was already negative… And I found that the machine system to add value to cards changed and took more than a few minutes to complete a simple transaction.

However, every time I spend a nice time with her, and today was not an exception. I hope I’m not trying to go too fast. I just wish that she continue her learning with or without me. My role is to introduce basic matters to her so that she becomes willing to apply them to further her learning.

Remembering my days in Taiwan (2000), I started listening Zhang Hui Mei (A-Mei) again.

According to the “Epoch Times – Singapore (1-7 November 2006),” Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew “stressed” in the speech he made in Dallas that “no problem with Falun Gong in Singapore; it enjoys freedom” and wished its practitioners “success in their efforts to gain freedom in mediation [in China].” I don’t know why such an old edition came today. But the content is of significant importance.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Matter of Surprise. Good Sign?

A matter of some surprise is that for more than a week, my sleeping pattern is ok. The medication is the same, and when I drink, I do so quite a lot. Whilst stress from working may have disappeared, stress from not working should be felt. I don’t spend in bed for 16, 20 or 30 hours… Not only about my sleep have I been eating regularly, even three meals a day, when I used to manage a light meal. What is happening to me? I don’t know this is thanks to what, but I want to believe this is a good sign.


The Official Frank Zappa Website is having trouble???? Accessing it, it’s all dark gray…

Monday, November 26, 2007

Miscellaneous Yatata










Another Middle East peace talks begin tomorrow in Annapolis, Maryland. If any compromise is to be established, it will be something favorable to Israel. And the Palestinians will be deeply disappointed yet again. It should be clearly undeniable that the U.S. cannot be a neutral and honest broker to Arab-Israeli negotiations.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Early Xmas Gift to Myself

With no prospect of steady income, I know I should not spend. However, staying home day after day, because going out means spending, is becoming too much. Late afternoon yesterday, I had a message from AZ and we decided to meet for dinner. I enjoyed my second encounter with her. Her proposal of Japanese lessons is, I believe, an unexpected positive happening to maintain my tie to the world.

And today, the last day of a 20%-off weekend at Kinokuniya, I bought “Milosevic” by Adam LeBor, “The Temperance Dairy (「さかだち日記」)” by 中島らも and some Japanese learning materials.

Kinokuniya used to have no book about Milosevic as far as I can remember, but today I found three about him and a few about Gorbachev. Fidel Castro’s autobiography was also on sale. It was over $70. I didn’t buy it.

So, yesterday and today, it was quite a case of big spending by my present standard. But let me consider all as an early Christmas gift to myself…

But as happened many times before, I feel kinda miserable on the next day after a pleasant night. It is like “reverse correction” of mental condition.

Friday, November 23, 2007

My Printer Given by the Late Mr. F

I went to the computer shop at TB Plaza to buy ink cartridges for my EPSON printer and a 2GB memory stick. To prepare materials for Japanese lessons, I decided to set up the printer, which has been sleeping in the storeroom since I moved to this KTP flat. The printer was given by the late Mr. F some years back.

Basically, it takes only a USB cable to set up the printer, but to print a page, an error message appeared again and again and again… It took me more than a few hours to solve the problem. It was a problem of the port the printer is connected to.

By teaching or simply talking about the Japanese language, I can relearn it and it surely reminds me that I’m Japanese.




More than 200 pages of “Orientalism” are behind me. It may still take another month to read the last page of it…

Thursday, November 22, 2007

US Nuclear Weapons in Okinawa



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Early Bird (in a Way)

Almost same on Monday. Yesterday I believe I went to bed only at 2 am and woke up 4:30 am and woke up again at 7:30. I don’t know whether or not I was sleeping for the three hours. But anyway, I left bed at 8:30 am.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Party within Party" to be Excluded, Ozawa Suggests

Almost everyday at night, I go to a nearby store. I feel glad when any of them working there say “Hello” to me with a smile.

2007.11.19 20:37


Waking up Early after Nice Sleep

Again I took two Epilims (sodium valproate) and a Valium (diazepam) together. And again it was nice sleep, except I woke up at 4:30 am. For the following four hours, I don’t know if I was sleeping or merely closing my eyes. Miraculously I got out and up from bed at 8:00 am. Strictly speaking, I’m not observing instructions by the doctor. I’d like to be sure there is no adverse interaction caused by taking the two different types of drugs at the same time. It this a faint sign that my condition is improving?

Then this afternoon, trying to proceed with “Orientalim,” I had a peaceful nap for more than a few hours.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Naked Lunch" is not Available

I don’t remember exactly at what time I went to bed, but it didn’t take long for me to fall asleep, maybe thanks to two Epilims and a Valium. Valium is not supposed to be taken so late. The doctor’s instruction is take it at 10:00 pm…

When I opened my eyes, it was still before dawn. So I, in an unreasonable mind, took two more Epilims and another Valium. Well it was nice sleep. But when I finally got up, I was feeling drowsy…

Right after finishing “Tonight, at the All the Bars in Town (「今夜、すべてのバーで」),” I went to Kinokuniya (Ngee Ann City) to buy “Naked Lunch” by William Burroughs, which was mentioned in Ramo’s book, but the bookstore didn’t have it. Instead, I got some basic Japanese learning materials.

“Tonight, at the All the Bars in Town” is not a joke story. The scenes where Ramo and another patient and then his doctor have ethyl alcohol used to clean dead bodies at the hospital’s mortuary are even shocking…

Perhaps, the he studied this much about addiction is from a similar motivation that makes me learn more about depression.


I don’t know what Chinese religious sect it is, but to me, it often sounds very strange to bring a live band to let it play Chinese popular songs. I understand Chinese funerals are very loud (from the movie “Year of the Dragon”). Though I am very generous and understanding about a Chinese clarinet, then a saxophone, an electric guitar and drums? .

When I die, I don’t want to have that sort of ceremony. And definitely, I don’t want the Soka-style ceremony. I would want my friends to say “Good bye for now” to me and to be cremated and scatter the ashes to the sea so that I could go anywhere in the world.

Who's Crazy? You or Me?

I have almost finished “Tonight, at the All the Bars in Town (「今夜、すべてのバーで」)” by Nakajima Ramo (中島らも). He knew a lot about addiction, alcohol or drugs. In the book, he even talks about Karl Menninger, who, according to Andrew Solomon’s “The Noonday Demon,” said that suicide requires the coincidence of “the wish to kill, the wish to be killed, and the wish to die.”

And he cites diazepam, nitrazepam, opioid, methaqualone, ethinamate, ethchlovynol, amobarbital, pentobarbital, meperidine, Brovarin (bromovelerylurea), Elavil (amitriptyline), Aventyl (nortriptyline hydrochloride) and others. As he of course writes names in “katakana,” I cannot figure all out.

And I have taken the followings over years:
Zoloft (SSRI)
Zopiclone (cyclopyrrolone)
Lexapro (SSRI)
Ativan (lorazepam)
Epilim (Sodium valproate)
Valparin (valproic acid)
Effexor (SNRI)
Xanax (benzodiazepine)
Valium (diazepam)
Cymbalta (SNRI)

Hahaha!! What am I doing here??? I’m not going to be any kind of addict!!! But one interesting thing is he advocated the monopoly of controlled drugs by the government. It pretty much sounds like the view of the E.

At times, I feel quite ok or very “normal” and those who think I’m crazy are in truth “abnormal.”

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Funny Pattern of Sleep Continues

It was 10:30 pm when I got out of bed. Following the funeral music of a few days ago, big noises coming from a construction site irritated me very much, making disappear any energy or willingness to do something constructive from my mind. A construction site destroyed my constructive mind. I, not surprisingly at all, stayed in bed in a petulant fit of pique with earplugs on. And Q came for house cleaning, which disturbed and thus prolonged my sleeping. Anyway, there seems nothing that I should do or enjoy only during the daytime. Eating? I’m not so interested in food in the first place. Sleeping takes precedence over eating, certainly. I cannot think of things I cannot do productively in the night. While feeling that I should alter this funny pattern of sleep, I like the sereneness of the night.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My First Nakajima Ramo Book

Liang Courtまで行った。うちからやったので、今日は195番のバスで。中島らもの「今夜、すべてのバーで」を買ってきた。自らのアル中体験を小説化したもの。「……リアリティに対してもともと抗性のない人間が、アル中なり薬物中毒になるのかもしれない」と書いてるけど、「私の人生はフィクションです」と言うてみたい気がしないわけでもない。


「中島らも」という名前に初めて出会たんは、「啓蒙かまぼこ新聞」か「明るい悩み相談室」のどっちかやった。「明るい悩み相談室」は、KalamazooのWaldo Libraryに置いてあった数日遅れの朝日新聞で読んでた。1987年のこと。その後、テレビで見るようになったけど、(酔ってるせいでか)早口言葉はでけへんやろなぁと思わせる話し方とめがねでいっぺん見たら忘れんかった。なぜか、中島らもを思うと、「ひさうちみちお」もいっしょに頭に出てきてしまう。しゃべりがちょっと似てるからか。

連載で笑わしてくれんのは、「米朝 口まかせ」(朝日)と「京の噺家桂米二でございます」(日経)。育った日本語で話すことが減ってしもたさかい、文章でもええから接したいと思うんやろな。あぁ、落語が聞きたい。ウェブサイト「なにわテレビ」の「落語チャンネル」がさっぱり更新されへんので、困ったもんや。

Sooooo Irritated

Very high irritability. Went to bed at 5 am and woke up at 8 am. Then funeral music started outside. A live band was playing very loudly. Extremely irritated though I have no grudge toward the dead person. Stayed in bed till midnight.

The autographed baseballs are missing together with the wooden box in which I was keeping them! Among them was one of major Hawks players of 1976, including Nomura (野村), Enatsu (江夏), Fujiwara (藤原) and Kadota (門田)… I got the ball from the Hawks program the Radio Osaka was broadcasting then.

Asked Q where they are. “In the store room.” A huge sigh of relief…


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Junior High Friend






Tuesday, November 13, 2007

1st Person Singular

It appears it’s always “first person singular.” I do want to use “first person plural.”

♫ “I’m the best of all the worst
The torture never stops
That’s the deal I’m dealing in
Who is that person that he's locked away down there
Is he crazy?
Is he sainted?
Is he a zero someone painted?”

I now know (to some extent) what E.W. Said is talking about in his “Orientalism.” Hahaha!! Still around page 135.

Trying to Cling to Imagined Hopes

No doubt about it. I’m feeling a debilitating sense of insecurity and also absurdness. And this feeling of insecurity makes me attempt to hold on to any kind of hope, offline or online, that I have come across. The result is ironically more insecurity because so far hopes, presumably real, have been all creation of my imagination. It is not anybody’s betrayal, but my own fault. I should blame myself for thinking that I have found something I can grab and retain to myself. How silly.

In my mind, I cannot depict my future, even a day ahead. Or the only sort of future I see these days is all dark. I try to sleep so I can avoid meeting my Black Cat while awake. Daytime, when people are active, is the worst. I do not want to look at this inert person in broad daylight.

"Iron Arm" Inao Kazuhisa is Dead at 70



Sunday, November 11, 2007

No from YouTube "Rakugo"


Saturday, November 10, 2007

More Than 30000 Kill Themselves a Year in Japan



Got out of bed at 9:30 pm… Alamak, something seems still very wrong.

Convenience Store Talk

Carlsberg Beer, probably the best beer in the world. In what way? Its combination of the alcohol degree and taste?

Almost everyday, I go to the nearby convenience store to buy some beer. And I sometimes see a friendly old man there, who today said to me, “Coming to Singapore and work and enjoy!!” “I’ve got retrenched recently and I need a job. Find me one” I said. He told me to check the “Straits Times.” He is also the one who mentioned the year of the Japanese invasion (wrongly) sometime ago. Because I got many cans today, I excused (I mean lied) “No lah, with my friend.” He asked, even though I said “my friend,” “how many?” I said “two of us.” He and a young girl working with him still seemed surprised.

Upside down Sleeping Time

After reading some (not many) pages of “Orientalism,” I finally fell into sleep around noon and woke up at 5 pm. I believe that I have a few more Said and Chomsky books to read. I shouldn’t stop here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Another No Sleep Night


No Concentration

Trying to read “Orientalism” but not able to concentrate. Trying to listen to music, Zappa or otherwise, but not able to really enjoy it. (If you have to try to listen, you shouldn’t listen to that music.)

More than anything else, I stopped reading the E. It was something that I had continued almost obsessively.

To Meidi-Ya on Tuesday, I walked from Clarke Quay station. From Exit C, it was like a boot camp training. No escalator. Walking steps up and up and up… I got muscle pain in my calves.

I learned also on Tuesday that CH had left the company. She is the one who asked me “what do you think about the culture here?”

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Dewali Holiday

This morning, I heard voices of kids and a sound of explosion of what seemed like crackers. It’s Dewali. Sometime later, I also heard the voice of a man though I couldn’t figure out what the voice was saying. A cop, maybe?

I like to talk and I like to be silent. I miss people and I like to be alone.

Good or Confusing?

Has it been a good day or confusing day?

Q came and mentioned that she might move to M. Parade. Then what shall I do, if it really happens? Why move so often??

I collected my passport. Arrived at the company more than two hours late.

I had a short talk with the HR manager and she was extremely nice to me to the last moment. She said, “Keep in touch. There is a team in Japan translating financial news. Let me know if you go back to Japan…” Japan… Japan… At this moment, I really don’t know…

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

End of It

I managed to visit DJ to pass my passport and EP card this morning after I stayed up overnight. I wanted to see the HR manager, but then the receptionist said, “I am the one who does it.” So I didn’t insist on seeing her, though I said to the receptionist that she knew I would come. No smile, it all took three minutes.

Coming back home, I emailed the HR manager to let her know that I had left my passport and card at the reception and I would visit the company again tomorrow to collect my passport, and she kindly replied. I will see her probably for the last time.

On the way home, I accidentally met my former colleague at the exit of “Meidi-Ya.” And I learned that that the chief editor had left the company. Oh……… Such a competent editor... Surely a big loss for the company.

I Wanna Stay in Bed Forever

I had to cancel today’s 10:30 am visit though I think I could have gone out if I pushed myself hard enough. Right after I emailed to notify my no-show, I went back to bed, and stayed there until 2 am.

With mother and brother, I was walking down a well-tended road with a white center line newly painted. To our right, there was quiet sea. They may have proceeded without me. I don’t know… But suddenly I found myself alone. Across the road, there was a large group of people, men and women, young and old, celebrating the day with some ritual performances. I joined them. The structures were all rusty low tin-roofed and it was a messy place. Nothing was clean. I even found two human-sized brown rabbits that were talking to each other in a language I didn’t understand. It was rather a scary scene.

I wanted to leave this bizarre place but didn’t know the way at all. Then, I saw a man in the crowd, whose presence definitely changed my mind. He was Fujita Manabu (藤田学). The rookie of the year in 1976. I approached him and asked him if he remembered an enveloped containing a 500 yen bill I had sent to him in 77. “Oh, it was you!” he said. We took a few group photos with him in the center. He was a celebrity in town.

In (half) sleep, I was really confused about where I was, Japan or here. Maybe I was a bit hungry (whole day, no meal), seriously thinking about get some instant noodle or something from a kitchen cabinet. There is no such cabinet here. The image I was seeing was definitely of my old home in Japan…

Monday, November 05, 2007

FZ's Laughing Voice

You listen to Mahler? FZ must have been laughing.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Vivid Childhood Memories

Thunder storm!!

Because in my mother’s stories, my father seemed always the worst man who could be found in the whole world, I as a small kid rather seriously worried he might kill her one day. A wife-beater, womanizer and alcoholic.

And the maternal relatives (my mother’s sisters) used to say, with me around, “He is just like his father.” My mother would say, “You even walk like Daddy.” I knew what their comments meant. “I’m such a bad boy… I may steal. I may even kill.” My mother was, and still is, over-protective even when she is not able to provide any practical help to me. Never have I placed my parents in my mind picture toghther.

Pull the Plug of Crying

When still staying at BC with Q, during a major bout of depression, I was listening to the 3rd with a headphone and I started crying… Q, already in bed and perhaps asleep, heard my crying voice. What she did was pull the plug and said to me, “!@#$%^&* sleep!”

Osaka, Kitashinchi, Torijin and G. Mahler


Compact discs were not available yet. I don’t remember why I chose Mahler’s 1st symphony (Bruno Walter, CBS Symphony). It was when I was 17 or 18 years old. The last movement that starts with a cymbal was shocking and as it progresses, its sound strongly moved my emotion.

I understand I am one of those people who can be easily touched by andante, adagio, adagietto or Langsam--Ruhevoll--Empfunden (Slowly, tranquil, deeply felt) movements. The 3rd’s last, 6th’s 3rd and the 9th’s last… And all of the 2nd and 9th.

Mahler’s symphonies are one long series. They shouldn’t be listened to separately. And his music, I believe, contributed negatively to my psyche.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Fujinami Takao -- Scapegoat

毎日新聞のコラム「近聞遠見」に、未公開株譲渡が問題となった「リクルート事件」で1審無罪、2審、3審で有罪が確定し、先月28日に74歳で亡くなった藤波孝生元官房長官のことが書かれている。コラムの執筆者で、議員辞職勧告決議案が否決された日に「小鳥来る 藤波孝生述」との書簡を受け取った岩見隆夫は藤波のことを「一人の折り目正しい政治家」と表現し、その「述懐には鬼気迫るものがあった。同時に胸を打つ。検察の捜査をめぐって、“その時に私がスケープゴートに立つことに決まったようだ”」という藤波の文章を紹介している。俳人でもあったこの政治家は、一体誰のためにスケープゴートになったのだろうか?

What's Wrong with being Drunk?


Friday, November 02, 2007

Triple-Death Year Starts

44: double death and 11+2=4=triple death

I planed to go to the IRAS to file my income tax today, but woke up too late. Then, I’ve decided to choose the online filing.

ニューヨーク・ヤンキースの監督が退任した。ロサンゼルス・ドジャースの監督就任が伝えられている。さて、この監督の名前のカタカナ表記だが、ヨギ・ベラ(Yogi Berra)が監督だった74年、ニューヨーク・メッツの選手としてシーバー(Tom Seaver)、キングマン(Dave Kingman)、後に大洋ホエールズに入団することになるミヤーン(Félix Millán)などと来日した際は、どのメディアも「ジョー・トーレ(Joe Torre)」で統一していた。それがヤンキース監督になった頃から「ジョー・トーリ」と表記されるようになった。最近気付いたが、「スポーツ報知」は「トーレ」と表記を戻したようだ。


Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Friend's Friend is an Al-Queda Member



Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chinese Madame Butterfly

Madame Butterfly… Puccini’s opera heroine, and also the name of a shop that sells China-themed accessories and interior goods. China-themed? Why? The Madame is a Japanese woman of Nagasaki (蝶々夫人) who falls in love with Pinkerton of the US Navy.



♫ Honey honey hey, don’t you wanna man like me??

Earth Wind Fire... No, Wind Rain Thunder


Nobody is living for me, I know, but I seriously wonder why the situation becomes even more difficult for me or makes me more unwilling to go back home… I have absolutely nobody to smile at or laugh with there.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sisyphean Life

Bad sleep yet again. Sisyphean, Sisyphean, Sisyphean… That’s my life.


I know I’m irrational, but in my mind, the US is becoming attractive again, may be because I was remembering my adventure there last night. However, it must be an adventure to the very last day wherever I may be.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Yatata about Young Days

Kalamazoo and Boston, spring/summer in 1987:

Very first flight for me. Shinkansen from Kyoto to Tokyo. And to the Narita airport. Security check was heavy because on the same day, Prime Minister Nakasone was leaving for Washington. Boarded a Korean Air flight and stopped over at Honolulu, where I saw military aircraft for the first time in my life. Then, United to Chicago. Finally, a propeller flight to Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo life. Mornings were almost always cool, crisp. Walk some distance from the dorm (Hoekje Hall) to the classroom. Lunch after two classes. Burrito, macaroni & cheese, sukiyaki rice… all yuck!! The only nice thing seemed orange juice. Two more classes in the afternoon, and go back to the dorm room for Budweiser and some nap. There were days when I went to the library to do finish homework. At the entrance of the Waldo Library, there was a framed copy of the surrender document signed by Shigemitsu Mamoru (重光葵).

In the last month in Kalamazoo, I was there quite often to read the microfilms of the report by Commodore Perry’s expedition to Japan. A young Japanese girl (I was young too) would call me for assistance with her homework. The point for me was to get used to the American environment, though now I know Kalamazoo doesn’t represent America. Classes, especially grammar class, were too easy for me. Dinner… burrito, macaroni & cheese, sukiyaki rice, all yuck again! After dinner, it was still bright outside. Time for volleyball!! Before going to sleep, Budweiser again. Cigarettes were “Merit.” Woooo! I was who I wanted to be!! I was me!

Those are the days and I never imagined years later I would suffer this way… My roommate, Hassan, who would say to me, “Don’t drink too much. Don’t think too much,” and his friend, Dawood, both from Dubai, the UAE. How are they doing now??

When the course end was approaching, I decided to go east alone by Amtrak. All the way to Boston. One of the teachers said, when I told him about my plan, “Crazy.” I took a train at Kalamazoo late afternoon. Detroit Station was all dark and I saw the old Tiger Stadium ahead. Then if I remember correctly, I changed to the Lake Shore Limited at Toledo, OH, and passing Cleveland I found another ballpark on the left. I got off the train at Pittsfield, MA, to board a bus to Lenox. There I spent two nights at a B&B to attend the Tanglewood Music Festival.

Back to Pittsfield by bus. But I didn’t know how to pay for the ride… The driver gave me a free ride. At Pittsfield Station, a girl came over to me to ask how long there would be before the train came. We talked some and she wondered whether I had dreams in English or Japanese. Incidentally, she was going back to Boston and learning that I had no hotel reserved, offered me lodging! She had a housemate, who was half-Japanese. They lent me a sleeping bag.

I walked and walked in Boston. The fried rice I had in the Chinatown was yucky!

The day I was supposed to go back to Kalamazoo, I missed the train. (I confess here that I arrived at South Bay Station well in advance, and I saw the train leave because I wanted to stay another night in Boston.)

On the Lake Shore Limited the other way, tears came to my eyes, thinking that my days in the US would be over very soon. My tuba-playing teacher sent me over to the Chicago Airport from Kalamazoo…

Portland, Atlanta, Topeka, Princeton and New York, fall in 1989:

I arrived at Portland, Oregon, on my way to Atlanta, Georgia. Stopped at the immigration counter because I had only a one-way ticket. I told the officer that my boss had given me only this ticket as he didn’t want me to come back until I finished my work… The officer called up a Japanese staff, saying, “He speaks some English, but…” The Japanese staff tentatively gave me two weeks to stay in the US. At the Atlanta airport, an airport man helped me get a taxi, saying, “You don’t know where you are going.” The hotel (Holiday Inn) was located rather far from the city center. I remember the man who carried my luggage to the room was talking about Japanese cars. (Sorry, I’m almost ignorant about cars.)

As soon as I settled in the hotel room, I turned on the TV and saw Dick Cheney on screen. The Berlin Wall was being torn down!

Next morning, I devoured the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to get information about what was happening in Berlin. But then I had to do some work and asked the front desk staff how I could go to Decatur (I even couldn’t pronounce the place name). It was a day too hot for wearing a jacket. Tried to find the bus stop but after some time what I found was something like a “michishirube (道標).” On bus, I was the only one who was wearing a suit and a tie… Having managed to reach the Decatur company, the boss told me that there was no statistics I needed. He probably lied but I had no way to enquire more. For the second half of the week, my boss joined me in Atlanta.

We flew to Topeka, Kansas, to do… I don’t remember what business we had there. The only thing I remember was to visit a primary school there to mingle with kids. And it was perhaps there where the boss said, observing the electrical work, “See, this looks like a ‘Heian Hakubutsukan (平安博物館).’”

From Topeka, we flew back to Atlanta during a thunder storm. It was a really scary flight. I saw purple thunder bolts down to the plane… In Atlanta, “I think” we met a Japanese man who was working at the commerce department of the state and another man who was perhaps a Japanese consulate staff.

After days in Atlanta, Topeka and again Atlanta, the boss and I went to Princeton, New Jersey, to see a business associate. Funnily, I really don’t remember anything about the business… We stayed at a lodge and went a nearby Japanese restaurant managed by a Taiwan man where no alcohol drink was available. We ordered the most expensive dinner set (funny sushi) and I went out to get some beer. Told it was only ten minutes to the nearest liquor store, I walked and walked… It was ten minutes by car!

We took a train at Trenton to go to NYC. Of course, we had no hotel reservation. My boss told me to try a hotel, near Penn Station, that looked like under renovation. There were vacancies and we stayed there. But it was the most interesting hotel! People staying there seemed all homeless and the shower room was like rubbles of concrete.

I really should have a digital camera to record the rest of my life.

Help Me Sleep!

After a few days of somewhat refreshed sleep, I couldn’t sleep until morning again. Hours I spend turning and rolling in bed are the worst moment, a big source of irritation. Images and thoughts that come out of the brain are all negative and scary.

Those people I'd Like to Work with Again

Well… There may be some people who think that I don’t like to work (i.e. lazy)… They are wrong. I even have met a few people with whom I’d like to work again. Working with them, I believe that I could learn things of so many different kinds (writing, music, history, etc.) and contribute some. One is Mr. Dali and another is Mr. H. There is no better environment than where you can be inspired by new ideas.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cheerful Me

Friday night, Q bought me a conveyor sushi dinner. Tai (鯛) was completely dry and not even presentable. But I ate them anyway. I’m usually happy as far as I can have anago (穴子). Then you don’t have to spend so much to make me happy!

After we left the restaurant, she asked me where I was going. I said “Kinokuniya bookstore and then go home.” Well, I did go to the bookstore but didn’t go straight home. (Unintentionally I lied to her.) I dropped by CC for the first time in a few weeks. I found two different groups with rather many familiar faces there. I first joined one of the two (because there was no chair for me in the other group) while shouting, “Happily retrenched!!”

There were four or five women in the group too whom I didn’t recognize. But then one of them, looking at me, called my name. “Ha? Have we met before?” She said yes. She also said, “He is cheerful.” Me, cheerful??? I must have been drunk when I met her. I’m still not sure who she is. She is probably the only person who calls me cheerful in the whole world.

Later I joined the second group and had a nice time with them. A man in the first group came over to me when he was leaving and said, “Better things will happen to you.” I really appreciate it.

The only thing I want to hear is: “don’t worry.” (Even better if “I love you” is added.) My history is one of worries. My back has been to the wall and the wall doesn’t have any cushion. This is certainly an interesting life, if seen by a spectator.

Oddly Refreshed


Friday, October 26, 2007

Out of Bed



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Only Need a Functioning Family

I’m feeling better today. Or it seems like so… (It can never be certain.) After a few days of no Cymbalta, it may be that it has started kicking in.

My understanding why the symptoms recur is that, when I must be doing nothing even remotely stressful, I have to worry about work and income. I can’t afford to think “Don’t worry, just enjoy your time.” Or probably more important, I only need a functioning family.

But don’t you see that I’ve persevered for so many years with this shitty condition, trying to look and be “normal”?

Listening to Zappa’s “YOU CAN’T DO THAT ON STAGE ANYMORE VOL. 6”… It can tell something about my mental condition today because depressed people can’t stand Zappa. Isn't that so???

It was a new fact that I’ve learned by reading “The Final Days” that Spokesman Ron Ziegler’s assistant, Diane Sawyer, is that Diane Sawyer of CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Considering the work done by Al Haig, as Chief of Staff, to see the end of the Nixon presidency, I think it was quite understanding or even appropriate for him to decide to run for presidency himself.

However, for the past few weeks, I’ve had three instances of mental deterioration.
Amo Kenji (天羽賢治): suicide succeeded
Yasuda Tadao (安田忠夫): suicide attempted and survived
Richard Nixon: those around him, especially Haig, worried he might kill himself.

毎日報道ノ対象ニナッテイタノニ、スッカリ忘レラレテシマッタ人。ソビエト崩壊後スグニ「Pizza Hut」ノテレビCMニ、マタ最近ハ「Louis Vuitton」ノ雑誌広告ニ登場。Mikhail Gorbachev. 当地書店デハ、出版後数カ月シカ経ッテイナイハズノ、“Seven Years that Changed the World: Perestroika in Perspective (Archie Brown)”ハ全ク見アタラナイ。「ペレストロイカ」「グラスノスチ」ハ死語カ。

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

So She "Confessed" Her Parents are Korean?

アル女優ガ日本ノテレビ番組デ、「両親ガ韓国人デアルコトヲ告白シタ」ト書カレテイルノヲ、日本語版「Wikipedia」デ偶然見ツケタ。「告白スル」ニハ、ソノ事実ヲ秘密ニシテオクベキト言ウ示唆ガアリ、アタカモ両親ガ韓国人デアルコトヲ秘匿シテ当然ト言ワンバカリ。欧米メディアデハ、「She confessed that she is homosexual」ナドト言ウ文章ハアリ得ナイ。タダ、「She said that she is homosexual」ト書クダケ。

Finally… I managed to visit the clinic and also settled the bill for the Mt. E. sessions there.

After “The Final Days,” I immediately started “Orientalism” by Edward W. Said. Ahhhh… this is a hard one to read. I don’t remember if I have ever encountered words like “jejune” and “veridic” (=veridical) before. Both are very nice words!!

Nixon Decides to Resign

Late afternoon on August 8, 1974…

The [Nixon] family had gathered [in the solarium]. Rose Mary Woods had come in a few minutes before [Nixon’s] arrival. “Your father has decided to resign,” she said, looking at the President’s two daughters….

The President stepped into the room. “We’re going back to California,” he said, and indicated that there would be no discussion. (p. 421, “The Final Days”)


Monday, October 22, 2007

Never Refreshed after Sleep

I failed to visit the clinic again…

Last night, I somehow managed to sleep at around midnight and but then woke up at 2 am.

Unable to go back to sleep, I moved to the living room and laid a tatami mat on the floor to get some coolness. Yet even armed with an eye mask, I had pathetic trouble sleeping. Doubly armed with sleeping pills, I finally fell asleep (I have no idea at what time). The next moment I came back to the world, it was 8 pm.

I was having, almost as usual, a long dream. I was at the house of my high school day’s girlfriend. A house… but it was actually a large building perhaps in some place in Osaka. There were lots of people who gathered for this occasion. I even found a few of my former American and Australian colleagues I had had in Japan.

Many times, people seemed to start preparing to leave the place. Whenever I followed them to leave and started collecting my barang barang, they came back with beer and shochu. And the party went on. They are nice enough to share drinks with me.

Some people were helping me get a flight (to where?). It appears that I lied to them by saying that I had a plan to fly.





Sunday, October 21, 2007

Late Afternoon Dream





Tired Really...

Yesterday, I didn’t go to the clinic… Instead, I spent the whole day in bed, half dreaming. I’ve run out of Cymbalta and am now feeling a bit of that familiar electro-sensation, caused by the lack of Cymbalta in the brain. Moreover, I need to see Dr. to rearrange or cancel the remaining one session at Mt. E. Hospital. Of course, I haven’t settled the bill yet.

A bit of appetite is back. But nothing I have with me here is attractive. Ohhhhh, it doesn’t have to be anything expensive. I just wanna have some decent Japanese cuisine. Maybe I would be happy even with local conveyor sushi.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Dishonest Man That I am

It takes more than five hours for me to fall asleep, with three tablets of Epilim. Should I divert my attention from all or try to face it straight? I NEED HELP! It is the saddest thing that I can’t be honest with my family about what is happening to me. But so what? It has been this way for so so many years…

Tomorrow, I need to refill Cymbalta and Xanax and to talk to the doctor to rearrange or cancel the remaining ECT session.

In August 1974, Richard M. Nixon was having trouble to accept the inevitable, impeachment by the House and probable conviction by the Senate. With a tape recorded in June 23 1972 (only a week after the Watergate break-in) that strongly implies that Nixon was involved in the cover-up of Watergate from the very early stage, those close to him, perhaps the only exception of his daughter, Julie, were aware that his presidency was over.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Let Me Say This Again...

Let me say this again, if I haven’t said this before, I DID NOT CHOOSE THIS MYSELF, PROBABLY I WAS BORN WITH THIS.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007



Sunday, October 14, 2007

Guide Wanted

When I’m alone thinking, I’m not sure if my way of judgment is reasonable or rational. I really need a guide, whom I’ve never had before.


Sleepless Night



Saturday, October 13, 2007

It's Dangerous to Live Alone


The U.S. Supreme Court headed by Warren Burger unanimously decides to bypass the Court of Appeals (against President Nixon) and subpoenaed the 64 tapes requested by the special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski. Larry Speakes, later R. Reagan’s spokesman, appears as the press aide of the Special Counsel to the President for Watergate, James St. Clair. ("The Final Days")

Friday, October 12, 2007


Devastated and cursed. Abyss… I deeply question my personality. There must be something fundamentally wrong about myself… 悩乱。けさ、病院へ行く準備をしようとして、またもや昏倒。「誰かが」悪いのではなく、「自分が」悪いとしか言いようがない。


Al Gore won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I underwent the first session of ECT. It was quite painful when the IV needle went into my vein. There was a mask over my nose and mouth, something I don’t remember from the last time. Being only half conscious, when I wondered why it had not yet started, it was already over but I didn’t realize it because I was still under the effect of general anesthesia. When I did realize it, I felt pain in my temples, the evidence that electro-shock was administered.






Thursday, October 04, 2007

Katsuo and Atsuko

This morning, I went to see the doc one more time. Three times starting from next Monday, I will undergo ECT again. I LIKE THE SHOT as it takes two seconds for me to sleep.




ちょっと言いたいけど、面接の時に言われた“American culture”の会社って何やねん。自分にはソビエトか中共のように感じられるけど。自分が経験したアメリカとは全く違う。Kalamazooをもう一度の思いは全く裏切られた。

Tonight, I talked a lot about many things with a friend over beer. How nice.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Father and Son




Kenji and Tadashi



Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Black Cat Whispers

The Black Cat, that has never been and never can be my friend, is whispering to me…

There are to be more friends to meet, more to learn, more things to enjoy… Whenever I endeavor, the Black Cat stands in my way.


Angry Man Here


Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm a Dog Lover. I Do Not Need Any Cat, Especially Black Ones

Before anybody told me, it is already October.

Whatever was happening to me, I’d managed to finish The E every week even if I had to sacrifice my sleep, except a confusing period right after I arrived at Albany. However, I have no energy to do so this past week. I left The E open only after I finished the few sections.

Last Saturday, I talked a lot and enjoyed the night. Sunday morning (I don’t know what time it was), I found myself lying on the sofa. Having moved to the bed, next time I woke up, it was 9 pm.

Some years ago, when I almost did it was after a nice party. My mood swings drastically, even violently, to and fro. It even makes this trusting man suspicious of certain people. It is like a big shear I saw in 1996 at the Kwangyang (Gwangyang) steel plant. If I should not have some happy moments, what shall I do then???

Cans of beer and two movies did nothing to make me relaxed. I want to believe there is still a way to get out of this. But it is certainly tough and uncomfortable to work in a monastery-like environment. I NEED HELP. Really… The Black Cat is looking at me.

As I’m proceeding with “Futatsu no Sokoku (「二つの祖国」)” and “Daichi no Ko (「大地の子」),” I’m delaying “The Final Days” again. It will take a few weeks to reach the final day.






Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Shiroi Kyoto'o"