Saturday, March 31, 2007

Manipulation by the "Princess Masako" Author? Styron and Okinawa Books

Late afternoon yesterday, I went to the clinic by “Bus 123” as I needed to replenish tablets. Getting off, I noticed my “ezlink” value was negative. “How can I go home?” The nearest value-adding machine is only at Orchard Station. There was no choice but to walk all the way there…

On my way to the station, I dropped by Borders. The atmosphere of bookstores is always nice. There is something that make me calm, even uplifting my mood.

First, I browsed “Princess Masako” by an Australian author, Ben Hills, whose publication of a Japanese version was scrapped. The book mentions in Page 117 a rumoured “fling” between her and Oku Katsuhiko, a foreign ministry official killed near Tikrit, Iraq, in November 2003, along with another official and their local driver. This rumour was first reported by the Sunday Times of the UK, citing anonymous sources (below). Her depression is said to have been triggered by his death.

Land of the rising daughter
The Sunday Times, June 4, 2006
By Michael Sheridan
… According to three authoritative sources in Tokyo, [Oku] became a close friend of Masako while she was in the foreign ministry, and later supported her vision as crown princess. There were even murmurings in Japanese high society of a romance between the two, before they met their future spouses…
The news reached Tokyo on a quiet Sunday morning…
The funerals, on December 6, 2003, were attended by Japan’s prime minister. However, protocol bars members of the imperial family from attending funerals apart from those of its members, so Masako remained inside the Tobu palace compound a mile or two away. The allied investigation concluded that the murders were the result of a terrorist conspiracy. If so, it had unintended consequences. Later that month, Masako fell into a deep depression. It was as if, after a decade of frustration and conflict, something had broken. One by one, her engagements were cancelled. She would vanish from sight for almost two years…
Wait a second. The Hills book does mention this article, but the impression one would perhaps get by finding the word “fling” is that she, a single woman, and a married man, Oku, were involved in a romance when both were working at the Foreign Ministry. If I remember my browsing of the page correctly, Hills conveniently omitted the part, “before they met their future spouses.” And what does Sheridan mean by “Japanese high society”? Also, the “Tobu” palace must be the “Togu” (東宮) palace.

I checked what titles of William Styron Borders got and found “Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Maness.” It was so irresistible for me. Price: $21.95. I found that “Crime and Punishment,” which has far more pages, was priced less than $30. Strange pricing. Saying, “Sorry, I know you don’t have money, but I really wanna read this book” to myself, I brought “Darkness Visible” to a counter and paid. Only after leaving Borders did I realise that it could have been cheaper at Kinokuniya using my discount card… Too late.

But then, at Kinokuniya, I would have spent far longer, walking around its Japanese book area and I might buy another book or two, making the total amount go higher, especially when I have a shopping list of a few Japanese books in my head. I’m keen on a book (「密約」) by Sawachi Hisae (澤地久枝) that chronicled the saga of a newspaper reporter and his foreign ministry “girlfriend” (this was a fling) over the leak of an Okinawa secret agreement between Japan and the US. And another book on Okinawa (「集団自決の真実」). This one is authored by Sono Ayako (曽野綾子), who studied the role of the Imperial Army in mass suicide of local residents. Coupled with the book by Sono, I should read an Oe Kenzaburo (大江健三郎) book (「沖縄ノート」), whose study Sono rebutted.

Friday, March 30, 2007

This Couple: Another Factor

I had another major bout of depression while working as the chief editor of a weekly newspaper. When offered this position in early 2004, I was really excited, thinking that finally I could create something original, which a translator can’t and shouldn’t do. There is no other job even now that I started with this level of enthusiasm. During about two months before the first issue was out, we had a few hiccups. But I took them in stride. The first issue was printed and we saw people reading our creation, we were elated.

For each issue, we needed advertisers. We also needed contributors, that is, information providers such as lawyer’s offices, property agents, travel agents, clinics, restaurants and so and so forth. There was an advertiser who was also happy to provide information on the services she provided. She was really pushy and even tried to supersede me, the chief editor.

After we successfully published a few issues, I noticed that our young boss mentioned this woman’s name quite often. “This idea is from her.” “She proposed this plan.” I was so irritated by her insistent attitude (and what she wrote was quite uninteresting), I told him as directly as I could that I did not want her writing published because I saw no interest in it. Nevertheless, he continued to push her ideas. It was around this point of time that I started suspecting something fishy was going on. They were even seen together at a pub, apparently dating. They chose the wrong pub. It was the place I regularly went to for drink. But no hard evidence. And the boss would hold meetings when I was absent. Was it intentional?

As time went by, my suspicion about them grew and grew although my love for the paper never waned. Working in such a condition should be tough for a non-depressive person. If you are depressive, an ordeal. In February 2005, I prepared a resignation letter. I couldn’t submit it.

The next morning, February 15, I blacked out at home. Clearly, an SOS signal. Now depression fully developed. I decided to quit.

One mistake that depressives tend to make is blame themselves too severely, perhaps even for things they have little to do with. Notifying my decision to the young boss, I blamed myself and asked him to find a new chief editor. On the night of March 8, I found an e-mail from him that accepted my resignation and what the attached file told me was tantamount to saying, “You are judged crazy medically, thus unable and incompetent to perform your work. You’re fired.” I was truly shocked and furious, and asked him very sharply if the attached document was produced with 19-century knowledge about depression.

I demanded that he void the document and he refused. I guess that he really didn’t understand what horrifying things it said. I and this young man had a few meetings to talk over the contents of the document. I remember his explanation was inconsistent with what the document said and I insisted that he provide a clear reason of his sacking me. Each of these meetings was energy consuming. I would have chosen to be calm at home. In a sense, I did great service to him because I never brought up the topic of that woman in our meetings!

Since then, I have accidentally seen her several times. At one time, she seemed apologetic. She told me that she had some knowledge of mental health but was in no position to talk to him. No position to talk to him!! Outrageous!! By then, it was clear that she and the young man were having some sort of inappropriate relationship and by doing so, they broke a very important business rule.

When they broke up, she approached the government media agency to let it know that his publication was “translating” articles of local newspapers without authorisation. At another time, she was sitting a few metres from me at a restaurant. I noticed her but ignored. Then, she passed her business card to me through the restaurant manager. The card said, “I have something to consult with you.” With my anger towards her still boiling, I didn’t treat this message seriously. The third occasion was at the same restaurant. I very reluctantly shared a table with her. She said, “All woman advertisers are now his girlfriends.” So? Shouldn't I say both of them are equally stupid and immoral?

There is a side story about this company. It was my old acquaintance who came to me with this idea of starting a paper. It was she who introduced me to the young man. She was saying to me, “It has been my dream to work with friends.” She left the company before the first issue was published.

There is a third man. But the story is still too recent. I shall write about him when I deem appropriate to do so.

Depressive Factors on One Degree North

Given the amount of time I wastefully spent for sleeping yesterday, it is not surprising at all that I couldn’t sleep. I’m going to take a nap on the sofa later. My mistake yesterday was I went back to bed. On the sofa, it shouldn’t be as comfortable. Or so I hope…

Dreaming yesterday, I said to myself, “Oh… this is not Japan.” It was a dream all set in Japan, and I realised this place, where I am in reality, was not Japan. How can I explain this? I have experienced a half-awake-half-asleep state so many times. But yesterday it should have been more like a 2/3-awake-1/3-asleep state. I reminded my dreaming self of the reality. How strange.

If you have unresolved grief over past humiliation, disappointment, anger and anxiety for insecurity about the present and future and roll all into one, what you get is clinical depression or unipolar disorder.

Prejudice persists about unipolar and bipolar (manic depressive) disorders as Andrew Solomon clearly shows us in his narrative about a friend who underwent electro convulsive therapy (ECT). When people learned that someone has cancer, they automatically understand the severity of the matter even though they possess no knowledge of mechanisms of cancer cells. These days, celebrities even convene press conferences to announce the diagnoses. People sympathise and never say, “Hmmm, you have cancer. Don’t worry. Why don’t you cheer up?”

Say, “Cheer up and be happy” to a depressive. He or she certainly and instantly knows you don’t know at all how debilitating depression can be. Or worse, say, “you’re just making excuses for your laziness and irresponsibility.” I’m sure the unlucky patient goes down even further, feeling humiliated. Some say that the death rate from depression is as high as 15-20%. With no exception, they die a despairing death.

I really don’t have many things to write here because Solomon and, in the case of bipolar, Kay Redfield Jamison are so eloquent. However, looking back at my own recent past, a type of feeling that has greatly affected me is one of betrayal. Another is huge disappointment and disgust I feel when the authority of those whom I respect broke into pieces especially right before my own eyes.

Depressives naturally find it hard to confide their conditions to others. I guess their stories are often long, starting from their childhood. They find few, if any, people with whom they are comfortable enough to broach their stories. In any case, one wouldn’t start a conversation with saying, “My father was a murderer and mother was a whore.” If one can do this, it demonstrates iron trust existing between them. Well, even a depressive sometimes finds a confidant. For a depressive whose family life started, contributed or is still contributing to their condition, family members cannot be a confidant. For these depressives, a confidant is a person whom they love “romantically.” The warmth one can feel in love is an important ameliorating element. At first, depressives may be quiet even to their lovers. But once intimate with someone, a depressive breaks his or her own dam and water gushes out. At the same time, I must say that depressives, especially women, can be love-hoppers, constantly seeking intimacy even though this intimacy may be of a false kind and in turn they often regret unwise moves later, exacerbating their condition further.

With all due respect to my ex-girlfriend and appreciation to every kind of help that she, who is also the owner of my current apartment, has provided me to this day, I must say the following. Sometime after I started counselling and medication, I brought her, who was my girlfriend then and to whom I had already gushed out, to the clinic because the doctor suggested it and I agreed it would help. When I asked her days later what she learned by meeting her, she said, “Nothing.” And she also said to me many months later, “I can’t cope (with your depression).” My feeling of betrayal was profound. My attitude towards her changed at the very moment and I stopped explaining my condition to her. I found out that she has no willingness to learn about depression even as a general idea.

When I stayed home, benighted night and day, to her I was just “relaxing.” Sure, at home with no work to get done, I had a lot of time. However, she missed the point far and wide when she said, “Since you have time now, why don’t you do this or that?” If I could be so active doing this or that, I would not have depression. Simply being with someone who is caring and understanding makes things much easier. Is it that the problem with her is her lack of vocabulary or her direct and fierce, bordering on being rude, way of speech? Is it that she doesn’t know how to talk to people in a considerate manner? Does she talk to others in the same way? Or only to me?

On his website, a Japanese doctor posted his answer to a question sent from a man whose girlfriend is depressive. In sum, the doctor’s answer was; Leave it to her family. If her family is dysfunctional? If her family is the cause of her depression? If she doesn’t have any family member? Where or whom should she turn to?

And authority in shatters. (The following story is mostly a recap of what I wrote in Japanese in August last year.) This is the man who originally asked me to come to this country. By then I had known him for about ten years. Despite the age difference between us, we got along with each other. We shared interests. He asked me to come to fill a vacant position, of course. However, he had his own motive. He was scheming to steal business from the company. To make it easy, he needed my cooperation.

Alas, working with him was not so easy. He didn’t listen to any sort of criticism. Of course he didn’t accept complaints from clients. As a translator, he was very careless. It became my job to pick up what he dropped. One day, a client, a world-famous news agency, complained about his work, saying it was “unreadable.” Our sales guy criticised him because this old man even didn’t try to be nice to the client. Obviously his pride was hurt. This man, over 50 then, even shed some tears over this incident. Tears of remorse? No, tears for his cheap pride. On the spot, he decided to return to Japan. I also learned that he had clashed with my predecessor and effectively pushed her out. I sympathised with her.

After he decided to leave, we started a large scale project for a US investment bank. We needed many translators to complete the job. What he did was to collect about 15 translators he knew back in Japan. The boss was so grateful and asked me to help him. Help him? This was not the first time the boss said that to me. Why should I help such a careless translator with a shameless attitude?

Very unfortunately, with an exception or two, the people he gathered here had no experience of working as translators! They were just his “students”! Correcting their “negative contribution” to the project, once again I found myself a garbage picker. Meanwhile, he was so happy surrounded by his students, almost all of them young women. I felt the kind of loathing I had never had toward anyone before.

Much later, I met someone who told me about a hapless interpreter who attended a large event held at a Sentosa hotel. The interpreter simply couldn’t follow the first speaker and was replaced by an attendee who knew far more about the topic. I know it was him… And he kept quiet about what happened.

On the home front. When I came here, he was renting a small room from a colleague. His idea was to pass it to me and find a new place for himself. I’m not renowned for tidiness, but the room was impossible! And the smell! It was that smell of a human being without proper bathing. I, determined not to live in the room, didn’t unpack my suitcase.

Within a week after I arrived, and with our friendship still intact, we found a nice enough place. In the transition period of moving, we visited the new place for no important reason. On the bus to return to the smelly room, he said, “I left documents in the new place!” No choice, we got off the bus at the next stop and returned. On another bus to go back, he said, “I left the key in the office…” Because we were not sure whether we could enter the building at such a late hour, we went ahead to our colleague’s apartment. No way to enter. I kept knocking the door quietly hoping that the colleague, his wife or little daughter would notice. After a few hours, he came to the door for rescue. I almost had to spend the night outside in a residential area of this almost-developed country. Such a nice way to start my new life here.

We started living together. I didn’t care about his own room. But, I would mop the living room every weekend. Nor surprisingly at all, he didn’t care what crumb he dropped while eating or how dirty the living room became. I gave up and stopped the mopping routine. Why should I pick up his garbage, on work and off work? I began to ignore him.

There was an arrangement over mail collection between the apartment owner and him, the contract counterpart. The mailboxes were located on the ground floor. The owner asked him to leave all mail sent to her and her family in the box, so it would be unnecessary for her to come up for collection to the seventh floor where we stayed. It was a very reasonable request. One day, her daughter, who acted as our main contact, came to collect mail as her mother was expecting something important. She found the box was empty. Unable to find the old man, she called me but I knew nothing about the arrangement.

It was the New Year’s Day in 2001. As soon as I opened the apartment front door, coming back from Japan, he appeared before me and said, “I almost had an accident…” I thought “Poor man, maybe he got almost hit by a car or something…” Nothing of the kind! He started a fire in the kitchen and permanently damaged the cabinet. He clumsily tried to paint the damaged cabinet, which created an ugly sight. “I almost had an accident”? It could have happened much earlier. Before then, at least two occasions, I turned off the gas with a pan with water, boiling and evaporating, above the fire. He left the apartment, having completely forgotten about the water. This old man never says “sorry,” and anything inconvenient he hides. For some time after the “accident,” he was trying to prevent the owner or her daughter from visiting, fearing they would find the damage. Appalling shamelessness. The owner understandably decided to kick him out. And with him, me also. A child of around 4-years old starts the art of cheating and still needs parents’ supervision, just like this old man. While we were preparing to empty the apartment, he seemed to decide to clean the living room. One year too late. He watered the floor. With a lot of dust in the room, it was all muddy.

When he left for Japan, there was absolutely no word to me from him.

The company retained him as an outside translator. He yet again infuriated me over a large volume of work from a Japanese telco, and because of this, my depression worsened. It became very hard for me to show up to work. It was 200% obvious that he passed at least part of the work to one or more of his “students.” We already know what sort of students he is producing. However, it is just unbelievable any Japanese adult with decent knowledge does not know how to render the word, “Delhi” in his or her mother tongue. The quality of the work was such that I had to go over it word by word. I worked at home when it was so difficult to go out, even for work. I believe that the boss doesn’t know how I was working then.

In late 2002 or early 2003, I came across an internet message board the topic of which was him! There, many were attacking his “theory” on English grammar that he “created” for his “students” and uploaded to his website. Oh, he, with his wrong pride in the wrong place, was responding to them in the way fitting to him. His cheap pride was stained and torn to pieces again and he couldn’t put up with it. He was totally losing his temper. He is quite an example not follow and a big disappointment for me personally.

I almost forgot to add this fine episode. When we were still sharing his smelly room, he said, “Laundry detergent sold here is really no good.” I only replied, “Is that so?” After we moved to the new place, I found this word in large print on his “detergent” container: BLEACH. Are you really a translator?

And another… I had considered myself “locally hired,” thus accepting a so-called local package of employment. But then I was not looking for a position here. It is the company that approached me through the old baby. Talking on the phone before I came, he was saying, “Lunch costs only three dollars, and such and such amount of money for salary should be enough. And you, a single man, can even save money!” More precisely, I was headhunted in Japan and therefore should have been treated as such. This old baby is totally impossible.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Down Day


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"One Please" and Thoughts on Language



「ワン・プリーズ(One please)」



若い頃、Kalamazoo でやった要約や言い換えの訓練は、語彙を増やすだけではなく、今から思えば文章作成能力を高めるきっかけになったと思う。







Oh No! Planet Earth Will Fall Down!



質問1 長寿者の食生活はどうなっているのでしょうか。
通訳 長寿者のみなさんはたっぷりと栄養をとっております。
質問2 では長寿者のみなさんは普段どんな生活、どんな仕事をしておられるんでしょうか。
通訳 はい、長寿者のみなさんは、毎日元気に働いております。

日本側参加者 ……(絶句)。

Tuesday, March 27, 2007




従軍慰安婦の徴集命令に関する旧日本軍の資料は「処分されていたと推定もできる」と指摘。「(談話を出した)責任を逃げたり避けたりするつもりは全くない。談話を取り消すつもりも全くない」と強調している。 ……


沖縄密約訴訟、西山さんの請求を棄却 東京地裁(朝日新聞)2007年03月27日19時25分

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Soft Lenses, Too Soft. Come out, Mr. Miyazawa!


そして“Reflections on ASEAN” を読了。スピーチ集なので、格段おもしろい内容はなし。強いて言えば、後半は米国の反対で頓挫した東アジア経済グループ(EAEG)推進への意欲や、具体的にジョージ・ソロスの名前は挙げていないが97年の通貨危機につながった投機への批判が目立つ。また、東京で行った日経新聞主催のフォーラムでの中国に関するスピーチでは台湾問題に触れていない。

“Power and Interdependence” と平行して、“Between Peace and War: The Nature of International Crisis” (Richard Ned Lebow)読むことにした。Lebow は数年前に読んだ“We All Lost the Cold War” の共著者。この本は確か大阪~福岡の新幹線で読んでいた。

Shinzo Abe's Double Talk (Washington Post)
He's passionate about Japanese victims of North Korea -- and blind to Japan's own war crimes.Saturday, March 24, 2007; Page A16
THE TOUGHEST player in the "six-party" talks on North Korea this week was not the Bush administration -- which was engaged in an unseemly scramble to deliver $25 million in bank funds demanded by the regime of Kim Jong Il -- but Japan. Tokyo is insisting that North Korea supply information about 17 Japanese citizens allegedly kidnapped by the North decades ago, refusing to discuss any improvement in relations until it receives answers. This single-note policy is portrayed as a matter of high moral principle by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has used Japan's victims -- including a girl said to have been abducted when she was 13 -- to rally his wilting domestic support.

Mr. Abe has a right to complain about Pyongyang's stonewalling. What's odd -- and offensive -- is his parallel campaign to roll back Japan's acceptance of responsibility for the abduction, rape and sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of women during World War II. Responding to a pending resolution in the U.S. Congress calling for an official apology, Mr. Abe has twice this month issued statements claiming there is no documentation proving that the Japanese military participated in abducting the women. A written statement endorsed by his cabinet last week weakened a 1993 government declaration that acknowledged Japan's brutal treatment of the so-called comfort women.


慰安婦問題が表面化した宮沢内閣の時代だったと思うけど、The Economist の投書欄にはフィリピンから「日本人将校の相手ができて誇りに思った女性もいた」とあった。残念ながら同誌サイトは97年以降の記事しか検索できない。

金曜日の午後、“Albert Court” の“Golden Wall Centre” で隣人だったDから電話をもらった。何年かぶりに話した。仕事を探していることを話したら、「前の会社は?」と言う。まったく思いつきもしなかったが……。

1週間前に地震の夢、そしたら能登半島地震。ARN の夢でDからの電話。何これ?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Scary Temple of Cult

“Ousted!” には索引さえついていない。回想録だとしても、索引ぐらい付けないと……。昨日の夜は、SUNYの教科書の1冊だった“Power and Interdependence”(Robert O. Keohane/Joseph S. Nye)を始めた。あ~、読みにくい。眠るにはちょうどいいか。「ソフトパワー」論のナイはカーター政権で国務次官補佐、クリントン政権で国防次官補を務めた。






Friday, March 23, 2007

Bangalore, Chennai. Errr... Mumbai??




Sleep... Such a Great Task for Me

すっかり朝になるまで眠れなかった。眠ろうとしてダメで“Ousted!” に戻り、また眠ろうとしてダメで“Ousted!” に戻り……を繰り返し、朝にはこの1冊を終えてしまった。



リーの手法は強引すぎる。正論をぶって相手を論破しても微妙な政治問題の解決には逆効果となる場合もある。「双頭蛇」と呼ばれても仕方ない印象だ。彼の手法は以後も何ら変わっていないようだ。シンガポール国民に「タイやフィリピンのようになりたいのか?」と訴えても、タイやフィリピンが「シンガポールのようになりたい」と思っているかは、昨年、Eの投書にあったように疑問だ。 皮肉なのは、「マレーシア国民のためのマレーシア」を目指したリーが、独立後の国軍創設に当たって「(イスラエル国民のためではなく)ユダヤ人のため」を掲げて恥じないイスラエルの支援を受けたことだ。


すっかり寝入ってしまった昼すぎの電話2件に応えられなかった。1件はインド。もう1件はコンタクトレンズ入荷の知らせだっただろう。 夢では、かなり機嫌が悪かった。怒りの寝言だった。数日前は「全部壊してもたやないか!」と叫んでいた。

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Instant Noodle


Singapore, Get Outta Here!

昨夜、“The Joy of Music” を終えた。

今日はまたJBへの旅。今回はどちらの入国でも質問なし。 行きのMRTで、“Ousted!”(Patrick Keith)を始めた。著者はKL生まれの豪州人。新聞(マレー・メール、ストレーツ・タイムズ)、放送(ラジオ・マラヤ)で報道に関わった後、マレーシア政府の情報省などで勤務した。本当なら、“A Moment of Anguish”(Andrew Lau)と対にしながら読むのがよい……。“A Moment of Anguish” は、ずいぶんシンガポール寄り、つまりパパ・リー擁護の内容だったと記憶する。

City Square のCBにいるときにチャンギ空港で帰国便を待つAから電話をもらう。世話になってばっかり。


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Going Soft



Monday, March 19, 2007

Sleep Is Never Refreshing


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Disappointment with Fellow Japanese

“The Infinite Variety of Music” も終えた。“Findings” とともに「交響曲は(20世紀に)死んでしまったのか」がテーマだが、シカゴ大学で行った講演(57年2月19日)で述べている覚醒と睡眠の間に位置する「トランス状態」の話は、自分の状態と少し重ねることができた。大きな違いは、創造活動に利用しようとするか、それからむしろ脱出したいと思っているか。今日から“The Joy of Music” を始めるつもり。ずっと前に読み出したけど、おもしろくないので放り出した“Reflections on ASEAN” も進めている。途中で止めたくないので。






Saturday, March 17, 2007

Milk, Hospital, Injection, River, Snow, Sea... What Do They Tell about My Mental Condition?


羊飼いがいそうな牧場のような景色。3~4歳の男の子が輝く笑顔で家の中に入ってきた。母親が冷蔵庫を開ける。ここでなぜか自分の頭には「いっき」という言葉が浮かぶ。この(どの?)国の言葉、“Ikki” は「一気」と同義で「一気ミルク」という名称を思いつく。母親が冷蔵庫から取り出したのはミルクだったか?子供の後ろに、大人の男性がいたが、姿ははっきりしなかった。

病院。案内板が英語表記だけやったから日本やないな。病室にいる自分の母親をほんの数分だけ見舞う。すぐ後に自分が肺炎と診断され、女性看護士が右腕に採血で使うような太い針で注射しようとする。すでに左腕には注射の跡があって、赤く腫れ上がっている。2度目の注射を拒もうと必死。“No!! It’s gonna be very painful!! Painful!! Look at the needle!!” と叫んでいた。付き添ってくれた人がいたが誰かわからない。

同じ病院内でARN のボスと偶然出会う。「TB」と言って、腫れた注射の跡を見せた。TB?肺炎やなかったんか?




彼らは自分ひとり置いて神戸に行ってしまった。電話があって女性と話す。須磨の海岸にいるらしい。自分は、“It takes me some time to reach you. Is it west or east of Kobe?” と言っていた。



Adventure to India?? Kono Defends Himself

What’s this huge hesitation on going to India??? Wouldn’t it be a new adventure?? I, who often thought about going to Palestine and standing firmly and resolutely to protect someone from a bullet. Why hesitate? I think I’m getting old.

河野洋平衆院議長は15日、従軍慰安婦問題に関する自らの官房長官談話(93年)の見直し論が自民党内に出ていることについて、国会内で記者団に 「談話は信念をもって発表した。あれはあの通り受け止めてほしい」と述べ、不快感を示した。同談話は従軍慰安婦問題について旧日本軍の関与を認めて謝罪する内容。

ここ数年間、“Beautifully expressed” とか、”Actually you are a beautiful writer” と言ってくれる人がいたことが、文章に携わってきた者としてはうれしいな。んで、“TODAY” に掲載された投書も、この国なりに評価されたんだろう。あんまり、思い残しちゃいかんのかも。

Friday, March 16, 2007

You, Also Asian? Taboo Subject Here??


Every time I read or hear about "Asian values" or a "we are Asian" argument, I feel amused, if not baffled. A recent example is a letter, "Game promotes idea of Western colonisation." I would like to try to present a few perspectives.

When they say "Asia," what do they really mean? Asia is a vast area stretching from the Far East perhaps to the Middle East. Just remember the participants of the recent Asia Games. By "Asia," do they mean "Singapore" or "Singaporeans of Chinese origin"? Values and cultures are ideas that have nebulous shapes and are hard to be defined. Don't they notice Western or Caucasian culture are deeply integrated into their everyday life? Just look at how you wear. A T-shirt and a pair of jeans? A business suit with a tie? You even sometimes enjoy listening to rock music, Brahms or Tchaikovsky? Part of you are already Westernised. I myself prefer Italian food to local dishes. It is nothing to be ashamed of and should not be criticised. (In the meantime, one of my Singaporean friends said, "If we were still under British rule, my English would be better." So sad.)

There is no point to emphasise how different you are from others. Rather it is far more enlightened to try to find how similar "we" and "they" are. To "Asian valuers," I would say, don't worry. Whatever passport you are holding, you don't forget where you are from. It may be your preference of food or some other details. Many years ago, in Boston, an American said to me, "the way you hold a strap on train is very Japanese." I didn't (still don't) quite understand what she meant. But I believe that culture is something like this. It reveals itself in intangible ways.

As for the letter that mentions unequal treaties imposed by Western countries on Asian ones, I'd like to point out one such victim was Japan, which tried to rectify it by becoming a "power." Would "Asian valuers" consider Japan, a coloniser, part of Asia then? Or a quasi Asian nation that only mimicked Western colonisers? And we should not forget there have been Asian people who tried to conquer Europe. What would they say about Genghis Khan and his grandson, Kublai Khan, whose empire is said to have touched parts of Poland and Hungary.

By the way, I'm always confused by how Singaporeans use the word, "Caucasian." Caucasians are of and from people in the Caucasus region, for example, Ukraine. Would you call a French or Italian person a Caucasian?

Hypocritical Media, and "Skin Color"





肌色の不思議。日本の色鉛筆やクレヨンには、必ず「肌色」が含まれている。誰があの色を肌色と名付けたのだろうか。日本人の肌色とはずいぶん違うというのに。子供は人を描けば、まず間違いなく「肌色」を使う。色彩としても正しくないし、「肌色差別」を心に植え付ける要因にもなる。英語名の付いた色鉛筆セットに“skin color” なんて色はない。あの色は、“salmon pink” と呼ばれている。色に関する日本語の語彙は他言語に比べてかなり多いはずなのに、「肌色」と大雑把な名前にしたのはどうしてだろう。あれ、この話、前に書いたかな。

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Where are Like-minded People? Do You Hear Me?



“Findings: Fifty Years of Meditations on Music” を終えた。読み始めるまでに長い時間があったが、それでよかったかもしれない。買った当時に読んでもわからないことが多くあったように思う。音楽についても、今なら聴く幅も広がったし。ただ、楽譜はまったく読めなくなっていた……。同書には何度も「ヒロシマ」に触れた個所がある。「ヒロシマ以前の世代と以後の世代」というふうに。最後に収録されている80年5月30日のジョンズ・ホプキンス大学卒業式でのスピーチは、当時の米ソ対立を記憶から蘇らせる。ソ連という国は消滅した。軍備競争がソ連の経済破綻につながったと言う人もあるが、遅かれ早かれ20世紀最大の政治実験は失敗に終わる運命だったとも言える。それまでに両国がとんでもなく金額を投入して地球を何度破壊してもまだ余る核兵器を生産したことは、人間の理性を超えた行動だ。

読み終えてすぐに、“The Infinite Variety of Music” を始めた。

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Indian Enigma and Reading Habit Summary


インドの不思議:ITブームはいいけど、その前にどうして基本インフラを整備しないんだろう。 本当にインドに行っていいんだろうか??エージェントがリストした3社のうち、ひとつは“over qualified” でダメ。「よすぎる」ってこと。残念なような、誇っていいような、ホッとするような、複雑な気分。

20代は、目は米国に向いていた。日本の新聞の国際面を読んで、「X日発売の米誌XXによると」などと書かれているから、「じゃぁ、その米誌XXをそのまま読めばいいじゃないか」となった。 偶然買った“TIME” だったが、何が書かれてるのやらさっぱりわからない。言語の問題は当然あったが、米国と世界の制度、組織、人についての知識がどうしようもなく欠如していた。ただ、掲載されている写真を眺めて、きっと知りたいことが書かれているに違いないと思った。 2年だったか、3年だったか経つと、医学記事であろうと科学記事であろうと、芸能記事であろうと、「カバー・トゥ・カバー」で読んでいた。“Madonna” も“Sade (Adu)” も“TIME” で知った。

重要ニュースは他の雑誌にも記事になっているから、“Newsweek” も読むようにした。1週間に2冊読むようになると、3冊目。“U.S. News & World Report” も追加し、外交専門季刊誌“Foreign Affairs” の購読も始めた。90年にイラクがクウェートに侵攻すると、英国の“The Economist” を追加した。

92年に米国に行って、“The Nation” と”National Review” という両極と言ってもいい雑誌も読み始め、帰国してからも購読を続ける。“TIME” と“Newsweek” はアジア太平洋版では飽き足らず、米国の国内版も読んでいた。

これだけ読むことに時間を割いていて、まともに仕事ができるわけがない。雑誌や新聞で書評を読んだりすると、その本が読みたくなったりする。読んでみたい本が増える一方で、台湾、韓国に行く機会を得て、目線は欧米一辺倒からアジアへも向かうようになる。そして、雑誌をひとつ、ふたつと落としていった。シンガポールに来た2000年には、米誌の購読は全部止めていて、主張に同意するという意味では必ずしもないが、最も「総合的に」情報の得られる“The Economist” だけにしていた。

それでよかったと思う。雑誌を減らした分、Maugham やGreene に、Dostoevsky など、それまであまり手を出さなかった小説も読むようになった。うつ病の治療を始めてからは、Key Redfield Jamison やAndrew Solomon にも出会えた。


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lenny Bernstein

“The Noonday Demon” を終えて、どうしようかと考えた。大阪梅田の紀伊國屋で、多分バーンスタインが亡くなった頃に買ったから、もう15年以上(!)も読まずに本棚に寝ていた“Findings: Fifty Years of Meditations on Music” を読むことにした。「語彙が少なすぎる」というのは、この本が理由でもある。バーンスタインとウィーン・フィルのブラームス2番。最初に聴いたのはLPだったけど、あんまり「やさしくて」、いつも涙が流れた。指揮して、演奏して、文章書いて、たばこ吸って、「うに」食べて、政治に関わって……。何かが違う。テレビで見たのかどうか覚えてないが、「ずっと起きてることもあるし、ずっと寝てることもある」と言っていたような気がする。

Bad Sleep and Old Photos

よく眠れなかった。昨日の夜、夕食が遅れて、薬を飲むまでの時間差があまりなかったからだろうか。いつでも目を開けられるような浅い眠りで、覚醒しているのと変わらなかった。場面が早変わりするような短い夢を続けて見た。無理やり眠ろうとしたが、時間だけが過ぎていった。 西宮スタジアムのスタンド下にある室内練習場。練習場前の通路に関係者や報道の人に混じって、そこから出ようとする太平洋クラブの選手の中からビュフォードを探していた。そんな練習場が本当にあったのかどうか知らないが……。阪急梅田駅周辺で道に迷って、たどり着いたのはそれほど広くないがVIP用のような劇場で、お金持ちそうな人たちが着席していた。正面に備えてある画面に阪急戦が映されるのかと思ったら、阪神戦だった。あ、今は阪急も阪神もいっしょか。



それで、日本からここに持ってきた写真を全部ひっくり返して、ネガを探したがやっぱりない。後片付けがタイヘン。色褪せていくカラー写真を見るのは悲しい。思い出したくない記憶を連想させる写真は破棄した。スキャナーが欲しいな。 南海球団旗を洗濯した。シミは少し残ったが、ずいぶんきれいになった。

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Please Blunt My Isolation!!

One would like to demarcate clearly the boundary of the self. In fact, no essential self lies pure as a vein of gold under the chaos of experience and chemistry. The human organism is a sequence of selves that succumb to or choose one another. We are each the some of certain choices and circumstances; the self exists in the narrow space where the world and our choices come together… Would it be possible to go into a doctor’s office and have treatments and emerge capable of such generosity and love? Generosity and love demand great expenditure of energy and effort and will. Do we imagine that someday these qualities will be available for free, that we will be getting injections of character, to make each of us effortlessly into so many Gandhis and Mother Teresas? Do remarkable people have a right to their own splendour, or splendour too just a random chemical construction? (p. 432)

It is arguably the case that depressed people have more accurate view of the world around themselves than nondepressed people. Those who perceive themselves to be not much liked are probably closer to the mark than those who believe that they enjoy universal love. A depressive may have better judgment than a healthy person. Studies have shown that depressed and nondepressed people are equally good at answering abstract questions. When asked, however, about their control over an event, nondepressed people invariably believe themselves to have more control than they really have, and depressed people give an accurate assessment… (p. 433)


Major depression is far too stern a teacher: you needn’t go to the Sahara to avoid frostbite. Most of the psychological pain in the world is unnecessary; and certainly people with depression experience pain that would be better kept in check… To put an end to grief would be to licence monstrous behaviour: if we never regretted the consequences of our actions, we would soon destroy one another and the world… To give up the essential conflict between what we feel like doing and what we do, to end the dark moods that reflect that conflict and its difficulties – this is to give up what it is to be human, of what is good in being human. There are probably people who don’t have enough anxiety and sadness to keep them out of trouble, and it seems likely that they don’t do well. They are too cheerful, too fearless, and they are not kind. What need have such souls of kindness? (p. 434)

People who have been through a depression and are stabilized often have a heightened awareness of the joyfulness of everyday existence. They have a capacity for a kind of ready ecstasy and for an intense appreciation of all that is good in their life. If they are decent people in the first place, they may well have become remarkably generous… (p. 434)


Depression at its worst is the most horrifying loneliness, and from it I learned the value of intimacy… What can you do when you see someone else trapped in his mind? You cannot draw a depressed person out of his misery with love… Sometimes the way to be close is to be silent, or even distant. It is not up to you, from the outside, to decide; it is up to you to discern. Depression is lonely above all else, but it can breed the opposite of loneliness… So many people have asked me what to do for depressed friends and relatives, my answer is actually simple: blunt their isolation. Do it with cups of tea or with long talks or by sitting in a room nearby and staying silent or in whatever way suits the circumstances, but do that. And do it willingly. (pp. 436-437)

Maggie Robbins, who has had such struggles with manic-depressive illness, said, “… I started volunteering at an AIDS residence… I remember one day early on I sat down with some people and tried to kick off a conversation… [T]hey just weren’t keeping up their end of the conversation at all. I thought, this is not very friendly or helpful to them. And then it hit me: these guys aren’t going to make small talks… But they didn’t want me to leave. So I decided, I’m here with them and I’m going to be with them… The loving is that you are there, simply paying attention, unconditionally… (p. 437)

よくわかってほしい。ただでさえ話すことがつらいのに、大声で突き刺すように話しかけられたら黙り込んでしまうだけだ。自己の存在を疑問に思うほどなのに、くだらん話に関心が及ぶわけがない。ただ、話せば話すほど言い訳めいて聞こえはしないかと懸念が大きくなる。何度も言うけど、“Leave me alone but stay with me!”

When I had the third breakdown, the mini breakdown, I was in the late stage of writing this book. Since I could not cope with communication of any kind during that period, I put an auto-response message to my E-mail that said I was temporarily unreachable, and a similar message on my answering machine. Acquaintances who had suffered depression knew what to make of these outgoing messages. They wasted no time. I had dozens and dozens of calls from people offering whatever they could offer and doing is glowingly. “I will come to stay the minute you call,” wrote Laura Anderson, who also sent a wild profusion of orchids, “and I’ll stay as long as it takes you to get better. If you’d prefer, you are of course always welcome here; if you need to move in for a year, I’ll be here for you. I hope you know that I will always be here for you.” Claudia Weaver wrote with questions: “Is it better for you to have someone check in with you every day or are the messages too much of a burden? If they are a burden, you needn’t answer this one, but whatever you need – just call me, anytime, day or night.” Angel Starkey called often from the pay phone at her hospital to see if I was okay. “I don’t know what you need,” she said, “but I’m worrying about you all the time. Please take care of yourself. Come and see me if you’re feeling really bad, anytime. I’d really like to see you. If you need anything, I’ll try to get it for you. Promise me you won’t hurt yourself.” Frank Rusakoff wrote me a remarkable letter and reminded me about the precious quality of hope. “I long for news that you are well and off on another adventure,” he wrote, and signed the letter, “Your friend, Frank.” I had felt committed in many ways to all these people, but the spontaneous outpouring astounded me. Tina Sonego said she’d call in sick for work if I needed her – or that she’d buy me a ticket and take me to someplace relaxing. “I’m a good cook too,” she told me. Janet Benshoof dropped by the house with daffodils and optimistic lines from favourite poems written in her clear hand and a bag so that she could come and sleep on my sofa, just so I wouldn’t be alone. It was an astonishing responsiveness. (p. 438)

何と幸せな人か!!うつ病人口は多いはずなのに、心を分かち合える人に出会ったことがない。Where are they???

The opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality, and my life, as I write this, is vital, even when sad. I may wake up sometime next year without my mind again; it is not likely to stick around all the time. Meanwhile, however, I have discovered what I would have to a soul, a part of myself I could never have imagined until one day, seven years ago, when hell came to pay me a surprise visit. It’s a precious discovery. Almost every day I feel momentary flashes of hopelessness and wonder every time whether I am slipping. For a petrifying instant here and there, a lighting-quick flash, I want a car to run me over and I have to grit my teeth to stay on the pavement until the light turns green; or I imagine how easily I might cut my wrists; or I taste hungrily the metal tip of a gun in my mouth; or I picture going to sleep and never waking up again. I hate those feelings, but I know that they have driven me to look deeper at life, to find and cling to reasons for living. I cannot find it in me to regret entirely the course my life has taken. Every day, I choose, sometimes gamely and sometimes against the moment’s reason, to be alive. Is that not a rare joy? (p. 443)

“The Noonday Demon: An Anatomy of Depression” (Andrew Solomon, Vintage edition 2002, first published in 2001 by Chatto & Windus)


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Confused... Memories Never to Be Erased

Divide Healey, former secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, has questioned the approval process for depression treatments. In his view, the industry has used the term selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to suggest a false simplicity of function. Healey writes, “… [T]here is a strong suggestion that in severe cases of depression, some of the older compounds that act on multiple systems may be more effective than the newer compounds. ECT is almost certainly the treatment that is least specific to a particular neurotransmitter system, but it is believed by many clinicians to be the fastest and most effective of current treatments. What this suggests is about depression is not that it is a disorder of one neurotransmitter or a particular receptor, but rather that in depressive disorders a number of physiological systems are compromised or shut down or desynchronized in some way.” This suggests that the very traits that many pharmaceutical companies advertise for their drugs are in fact not particularly useful to consumers of those drugs… (pp. 396-397)


… In an era in which we are increasingly alienated from our feeling, we might be comforted by the idea that a doctor could take a blood test or a brain scan and tell us whether we had depression and what kind we had. But depression is an emotion that exists in all people, fluctuating in and out of control; depression the illness is an excess of something common, not the introduction of something exotic. It is different from one person to the next. What makes people depressed? You might as well ask what makes people content. (p. 398)

The evolutionary psychologist Edward Hagen sees depression as a power play: it involves the withdrawal of one’s services to others until they accommodate one’s needs. I disagree. The depressed make lots of demands on people around them, but then – if they weren’t depressed, they wouldn’t need to make all those demands. The chances of those demands being fully met are relatively slender. Depression can be a useful blackmail, but it is generally too unpleasant for the blackmailer and too inconsistent in its results to be a well-selected way of achieving specific ends. Though it can be gratifying to get support when you are feeling dreadful, can indeed help to build a depth of love that would otherwise unimaginable, it is much better not feel so dreadful and not to need so much support. No – I believe that low mood serves certain behaviours because of unpleasant consequences, but the voguish idea that depression is a means to accomplish being social goals makes little sense to me. If major depression is nature’s strategy for making independent being seek help, it’s a risky strategy at best. Though some respond to a display of depression with increased sympathy and altruism, more respond with revulsion and disgust. It is not unusual to discover in a depression that people you had believed were reliable are actually unreliable – a valuable piece of information you might have preferred not to have… (p. 411)


… It is known that antidepressants alter levels of neurotransmitters. It is possible that neurotransmitters control blood flow to various areas of the brain. Whatever the mechanisms, [Richard J.] Davidson [of University of Wisconsin at Madison] explains, “activation asymmetries” – differences in left-side and right-side activity – “in the prefrontal cortex are related to disposition, mood, and the symptoms of anxiety and depression. People with more right-side activation are more likely to have depression and anxiety.”… (p. 417)

… The majority of people have higher left-side activation. People with higher right-side activation tend to experience more negative emotion than people with higher left-side activation. Right-side activation also predicts how easily someone’s immune system will become depressed. The right-brain activation is also correlated with high baseline levels of cortisol, the stress hormone… (p. 418)

赤ん坊の時の寝かされ方が悪かったようで、自分は頭蓋骨の左右非対称度が大きい。右側が圧倒的に大きい。99 年だったけど、CTスキャンの写真を見てびっくりした。外科的な原因を疑いさえする。

… When I am asked, as I am constantly, about how best to treat depression, I tell people to talk about it – not work themselves up into hysteria about it, but simply to keep articulating their feelings. Talk about it with family if they’ll listen. Talk about it with friends. Talk about it with a therapist. It may well be that Davidson and [Oxford’s Timothy] Crow are onto the mechanisms through which talk helps: it may well be that certain kinds of talking activate the same areas of the left brain whose underperformance is implicated in metal illness… (p. 419)












Klaus Tennstedt/London Philharmonic Orchestra のResurrection を聴こうと思ったら、レシートがCDケースに残してあった。

“RECORD TOWN STORE #113 BOSTON, MA, 08/25/87 12:42”


Tell Me the Truth (and Have You Paged the Emperor?)

「従軍慰安婦」にしても「南京」にしても、わずか60 年ほど前の出来事なのに、どうして真実が明らかにできないんだろう。今も「いわゆる」を枕詞にしないと語ることができない。 最近、米紙LAタイムズが「天皇による謝罪」を求める社説を掲載した(以下)が、憲法上、天皇にそんな政治発言ができるわけなく、その憲法にしたのは、他でもない米国ではないか。唖然とさせる不勉強ぶり。

Paging the emperor
As Japan struggles to come to grips with wartime atrocities, its monarch could lead the way.
March 7, 2007

PRIME MINISTER Shinzo Abe's attempt to finesse the Japanese government's role in forcing about 200,000 Asian women to work as sex slaves during World War II is worse than unfortunate. It is counterproductive — and the best person to repair the damage is Emperor Akihito himself.

Abe took office trying to improve relations with China and South Korea, but he has now torpedoed them by pandering to the Japanese right wing's most disgusting tendencies toward historical revisionism. With Asia in an uproar, Abe insisted there was no backtracking on the nation's remorse. No one will be mollified. The incident sets back regional peace and security — not to mention the national interests of the United States, which lie in fostering far closer Asian cooperation to deal with issues such as North Korean nuclear disarmament.

The insistence by Japan's extreme nationalists that their country has "apologized enough" for its wartime atrocities, while its politicians and ersatz historians regularly attempt to downplay or simply falsify historical fact, is supremely self-defeating. Moreover, it plays into the insatiable appetite of some Chinese and South Korean leaders to exploit wartime grievances for their own political purposes. Matters have been made worse inside Japan by intimidation against politicians and others who have dared to speak out against official visits to Yasukuni Shrine, a memorial to the nation's war dead, including several war criminals.

Japan is a peace-loving democracy, and its heightened self-assurance on the global stage is a welcome development — at least when its historical obstinacy doesn't get in the way. The awful truth is that nearly 62 years after the end of World War II, true amends have not been made with South Korea and China. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's failure to discipline its World War II- atrocity minimizers has damaged Japan's international reputation by undermining the 1995 apology of (Socialist) Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama. And because it erodes Tokyo's ability to be an effective partner in Asia, Japan's reluctance to fully acknowledge its wartime behavior has hampered the potential of the U.S.-Japanese alliance.

The person who could do the most to reconcile the people of Japan and their neighbors with the past is Akihito, the son of wartime emperor Hirohito. He is also the one person who could lift this issue above the political fray. In 1992 in Beijing, he spoke eloquently about his nation's tainted past. "There was an unfortunate period during which our country inflicted severe suffering upon the Chinese people," he said. "This is a deep sorrow to me. When the war ended, our people, in deep self-reproach that this kind of war should never occur again, firmly resolved to tread the road of peace."

The emperor could now go one step further and offer a more forceful apology for all crimes committed in his family's name. Such a gesture would be far more definitive and meaningful than any statement issued by a Japanese politician. It's time for both Japan and its neighbors to move on.


<慰安婦と政府のかかわりを示す資料はあったのか>  国外、国内、ワシントンの公文書館も調べたし、沖縄の図書館にも行って調べた。それこそ関係省庁、厚生省、警察庁、防衛庁とか本当に八方手をつくして調べた。当然といえば当然だが、日本側の公文書では、慰安婦といわれるような女性を強制的に募集するような文書はない。八方手をつくしたがそんなものはない。日本政府が政府の意思として韓国の女性、韓国以外も含めて、強制的に集めて慰安婦にするようなことは当然(なく)、そういうことを裏付けるデータも出てこなかった。(慰安婦の)移送・管理、いろんな現地の衛生状態をどうしなさいとかの文書は出てきたが、本人の意に反してでも強制的に集めなさいという文書は出てこなかった。当たり前で、国家意思としてそういうことはありえない。(中略)少なくとも、政府の意思として動いた人にそういうことはなかったと思う。文書にないんですから。ただし、戦争が厳しくなってから「(軍が人数を)割り当てした」「軍の方からぜひ何人そろえてくれと要請があった」と、そういう要請はある。それは、従来であれば、業者の人たちが納得ずくで話し合いで本人 の同意のもとに数をそろえた。ところが、戦争が厳しくなってからどうも、ノルマを達成するだめに、現地判断で無理をしたのが想定された。(中略)(韓国女性に)ヒアリングした中には、意に反して(慰安婦)にされたと涙ながらに話した人がいた。

<意に反するといっても、親が本人に黙って業者に売ったケースもありうる> そこはああいう戦時下のことだから。しかも個人の問題だから、親との話がどうだとかはこれは追究しようがない。(中略)裏づけ、本人の親と会うとか、当時の関係者と会うとかそういう手段はない。もっぱら本人の話を聞くだけだ。

<これで日韓間の騒動が収まるとの政治判断によって、かえって問題は大きくなった。訴訟を起こした韓国女性のいう自らの経歴も二転三転している> 我々はできるだけ客観的事実を聞き取るための条件設定努力を続けたけど、それは限界がある。こっちに捜査権があるわけじゃない。誰がどうだったか、金銭関係はどうだったかとか調べることはできない。それは不可能だ。そこは日本政府の意を受けて強制したかどうかは分からない。(中略)我々は、当時の関係者として、いかなる意味でも日本政府の意を体して日本政府の指揮命令のもとに強制したということは認めたわけじゃない。

<河野談話からは、甘言、強圧の主体が誰かが欠落している> 普通の談話であれば、物的証拠に基づく手法ではああいうものはできない。だから、論者によっては当然、そこまでいかないのになぜ強制を認めたのかという批判はあるでしょう。あの当時、「絶対強制なんかなかった」「とんでもない話だ」と反対意見もあったし。だけども、本人の意思に反して慰安婦にされた人がいるのは認めざるをえないというのが河野談話の考え方、当時の宮沢内閣の方針なんですよ。それについてはいろいろとご批判はあるでしょう。当時からあったが。

<石原さんは反対しなかったのか> 私は補佐役だから、弁解なんかしない。過程はいろいろあるが、政府として内閣として補佐にあたった以上は私は全責任を負わないといけない。個人的にどうだとか言ってはいけない、組織の人間としては。まとまるまでは中で議論があったが、まとめた以上はそこにいた人間は逃げられない。

<河野談話が出された結果、国連人権委員会などでも「セックススレイブ」という言葉が使われるようになった> それはもちろん、そういうことに利用される可能性は当然ある。限られた状況の中で意に反した人がいたと認めれば、やはり訴訟している人たちは一事が万事、すべてが強制だと主張しているが、それを認めることになるというリスクは当然、あの談話にはあるわけだ。それは覚悟した。そういう風に言われるだろうと。 だから出すべきでないという意見も中にはあった。だけど、政府として決めたんだから、我々関係者は少なくとも弁解がましいことはいえない。

<宮沢首相の政治判断か> それはそうですよ。それは内閣だから。官房長官談話だけど、これは総理の意を受けて発表したわけだから、宮沢内閣の責任ですよ、もちろん。

<国家賠償請求につながるとは思わなかったのか> 全く想定していない。それはもちろん、あの談話をまとめるにあたっては外務、財務、法務省すべて関係者は承知している。われわれはあの談話によって、国家賠償の問題が出てくるとは全く想定していなかった。当然、当時の韓国側も、あの談話をもとに政府として要求するということはまったくありえなかった。(中略)慰安婦問題はすべて強制だとか、日本政府として強制したことを認めたとか、誇大に宣伝して使われるのはまことに苦々しくて仕方ない。もちろん、こういうものをいったん出すと悪用される危険はある。外交関係とはそういうものだから。だけど、あまりにもひどいと思う。(中略)それが(韓国は)今日まで、いろんな国際会議で日本政府が政府の意図で韓国女性を強制的に慰安婦にしたと言っているが、全く心外そのものだ。(後略、おわり)

Friday, March 09, 2007

Repressed Sadism and Disappointment in Love

The first coherent psychoanalytic description of melancholy came not from Freud but from Karl Abraham, whose 1911 essay on the subject remain authoritative. Abraham began by stating categorically that anxiety and depression were “related to each other in the same way as are fear and grief. We fear a coming evil; we grieve over one that has occurred.” So anxiety is distress over what will happen, and melancholy is distress over what has happened. For Abraham, on e condition entailed the other; to locate neurotic distress exclusively in the past or future was impossible… Depression, Abraham says, occurs when hate interferes with the individual’s capacity to love. People who se love is rejected perceive, paranoiacally, that they world has turned against them and so they hate the world. Not wishing to acknowledge such hatred to themselves, they develop an “imperfectly repressed sadism.” (pp. 323-324)


“Where there is a great deal of repressed sadism,” according to Abraham, “there will be a correspondingly severity in the depressed affect.” The patient, often without realizing it, gets a certain pleasure from his depression as a result of his sadistic attitude… In the end, Abraham admitted that the kind of trauma that leads to depression can also lead to other symptoms, and “we have not the least idea why at this point one group of individuals should take one path and the other group another.” This, in his words, is “the impasse of therapeutic nihilism.” (p. 324)

Six years later, Freud wrote his brief, seminal essay “Mourning and Melancholia,” which has probably had more effect on contemporary understanding of depression than any other single piece of written material. Freud questioned the coherence of what is called melancholia; the definition of depression “fluctuates even in descriptive psychology.” And what, asks Freud, are we to make of the fact that many of the symptoms of melancholia, which we are so anxious to alleviate, occur also in grief?... “In grief,” Freud wrote, “the world becomes poor and empty; in melancholia, it is the ego itself [which becomes poor and empty].” The mourner is distressed by an actual death; the melancholiac, by the ambivalent experience of imperfect love. (pp. 324-325)

Abraham, responding to “Mourning and Melancholia,” proposed that depression has two phases: the loss of the love-object, and the resuscitation of the lobe-object through internalization. He describes the disorder as the result of a hereditary factor, a fixation of the libido on that lost breast of the mother, an early injury to self-love because of a real or perceived rejection by the mother, and a pattern of repetition of that primary disappointment. “An attack of melancholic depression is ushered in by a disappointment in love,” he wrote; and the melancholic becomes “insatiable” for attention. (p. 325)


With the publication of his book, I forsake an expedient privacy. I would have to say, however, that talking about my depression has made it easier to bear illness and easier to forestall its return. I’d recommend coming out about depression. Having secrets is burdensome and exhausting, and deciding exactly when to convey the information you’ve kept in check is really troublesome. (p. 365)

It is also astonishing but true that no matter what you say about your depression, people don’t believe you unless you seem acutely depressed as they look at and talk to you… No one ever told my grandmother that she didn’t really have heart disease. No one says that increasing rates of skin cancer are in the public imagination. But depression is so scary and unpleasant that many people would just as soon deny the disease and repudiate its sufferers. (pp. 365-366)


Prejudice, rooted largely in insecurity, still exists. Driving some acquaintances recently, I passed a well-known hospital. "Oh, look," said one of them. "That's where Isabel got herself electrocuted." And he moved his left index finger around his ear in a sign for crazy. All my activist impulses rising towards the surface, I asked what exactly happened to Isabel and found, as I'd anticipated, that she had received ECT at the hospital in question. "She must have had a hard time," I said, attempting to defend the poor girl without being too earnest. "Think how shocking having shock must be." He burst out laughingly. "I nearly gave myself electroshock treatment the other day when I was trying to fix my wife's hair dryer," he said. I am a great believer of sense of humour and I was not really offended, but I did try -- and fail -- to imagine our going past a hospital at which Isabel might have had chemotherapy and making similar jokes. (p. 366)


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Trip to JB

滞在ビザの切れる日。JBに行ってきた。入国の際、「観光者扱いだから日本行きの航空券を見せろ」と文句を言われる。買い物に行くだけのシンガポール人だって、観光者だろうが。彼らにも航空券を見せろと言うのか!去年も違法入国だと言われたことがある。菊の紋章のパスポート、なめんなよ!気分悪い。シンガポールへの再入国は問題なし。“Last time, working yah?” とやさしく言われただけ。


… Cervantes wrote a novella, The Glass Licentiate, about a man who believed himself to be made of glass. Indeed such a misappropriation was so common that it is referred to by some doctors of the time simply as “the glass delusion.” It occurs as a phenomenon in the popular literature of every Western country at about this time. A number of Dutchmen were persuaded that they have glass buttocks and were at great pains to avoid sitting down lest they break… Ludovicus a Casanova wrote a long description of a baker who believed himself to be made of butter and terrified of melting… (p. 305)


I can remember, in my own depression, being unable to do ordinary things. “I can’t sit in a movie theatre,” I said at one stage when someone tried to cheer me up by inviting me out to a film. “I can’t go outside,” I said later. I didn’t have a specific rationale for these feelings, didn’t expect to melt at the movies or to be turned to stone by the breeze outside, and I knew in principle that there was no reason why I couldn’t go outside; but I knew that I couldn’t do it as surely as I now know that I can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. I could (and did) blame my serotonin. I do not think that there has been any convincing account of why the delusion of depression took on such concrete form in the seventeenth century, but it would seem that until scientific explanations and treatments for depression began to emerge, people devised explanatory armatures for their fears… (pp. 305-306)


The great transformer of seventeenth-century medicine, at least from the philosophical standpoint, was René Descartes… In effect, a Cartesian biology came to dominate thinking; and that biology was largely wrong. Cartesian biology caused considerable reversal in the fate of the depressed. The endless hairsplitting about what is body and what is mind – whether depression is “a chemical imbalance” or “a human weakness” – is our legacy from Descartes… (p. 306)

Scientific explanations of the body and of the mind developed at a vastly accelerated pace throughout the eighteenth century. But in an Age of Reason, those without reason were at a severe social disadvantage, and while science made great leaps forward, the social position of the depressed made great leaps backward… So the melancholic would be now not a demonic but a self-indulgent figure, refusing the accessible self-discipline of mental health… (p. 308)

Among philosophers, Søren Kierkegaard is depression’s poster boy. Free of Hegel’s commitment to resisting despair, Kierkegaard followed every truth to its illogical final point, striving to eschew compromise. He took curious comfort from his pain because he believed in its honesty and reality. “My sorrow is my castle,” he wrote, “In my great melancholy, I loved life, for I loved my melancholy.” It is as though Kierkegaard believed that happiness would enfeeble him… While earlier philosophers and poets had spoken of the melancholic man, Kierkegaard saw mankind as melancholic. “What is rare,” he wrote, “is not that someone should be in despair; no, what is rare, the great rarity is that one should truly not be in despair.” (p. 316)

Arthur Schopenhauer was an even greater pessimist than Kierkegaard because he did not believe that pain is ennobling him in any way; and yet he was also an ironist and an epigrammatist for whom the continuity of life and history was more absurd than tragic… The depressive, in Schopenhauer’s view, lives simply because he has a basic instinct to do so “which is first and unconditioned, the premise of all premises.” (p. 316)

It was Friedrich Nietzsche who actually attempted to bring these views back to the specific question of illness an insight. “I have asked myself if all the supreme values of previous philosophy, morality, and religion could not be compared to the values of the weakened, the mentally ill, and neurasthenics; in a milder form, they represent the same ills. Health and sickness are not essentially different, as the ancient physicians and some practitioners even today suppose. In fact, there are only differences in degrees between these kinds of existence: the exaggeration, the disproportion, the nonharmony of the normal phenomena constitute the pathological state.” (p. 317)





Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Agent of Destruction

… Joel P. Smith, a man in Wisconsin who has survived multiple suicide attempts, wrote to me, “I am alone. A large proportion of depressed people I know are more or less alone, having lost their jobs and used up their families and friends. I become suicidal. I ultimate guardian – namely myself – has not gone off duty, but so much more dangerously, has become the advocate, the agent of destruction.” (p. 268)

… If I had truly believed when I was ill that my situation is permanent, I would have killed myself. Even if I had believed that it was cyclical, as Virginia Woolf knew her complaint to be, I would have killed myself if the cycles seemed too much weighted towards despair. Woolf knew that whatever pain she was feeling would pass, but she didn’t want to live through it and wait for it to pass; she’d had enough of waiting and time and it was time to go… (p. 274)

I would say of suicide not that it is always a tragedy for the person who dies, but that it always comes to soon and too suddenly for those left behind. Those who condemn the right to die are committing a disservice. We all want more control over life than we have, and dictating the terms of other people’s lives makes us feel safe. That is no reason to forbid people their most primitive freedom. Nonetheless, I believe that those who, in supporting the right to die, distinguish some suicides absolutely from others are telling a lie to accomplish a political objective. It is up to each man to set limits on his own tortures. Fortunately, the limits most people set for themselves are high… The thought of suicide makes it possible to get through depression. I expect that I’ll go on living so long as I can give and receive anything better than pain, but I do not promise that I will never kill myself. Nothing horrifies me more than the thought that I might at some stage lose the capacity for suicide. (p. 283)




彼が腎臓を病んで早世したのかどうか知らないが、腎臓の具合をたずねた。やっぱり彼が何を話しているのかわからなかった。 彼の家と自分の家の間あたりのある場所を探していた。どんな場所なのか、探している理由はわからない。「ここから下って、JRの線路を越えて、うちとの間となら……西福寺あたりだね」と言うと、彼も妹も「そうだ」と口を揃えた。

現実には高校生になってから彼と知り合ったのだが、西福寺が経営していた同じ幼稚園に通っていた。 それから、「“(シンガポール)領事館”に行ったとき、そこで働いている同級生のYさんに会った」と伝えると、2人とも驚いた様子だった。



Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Not to Japan. You Do Not Fit in There


すぐに、“Maybe, Hong Kong is the place you are looking for in your third option? Don't go back to Japan, because Japan would remain the same, while you have already changed! Going back will only remind you how much you do not fit in the society anymore. That's what happened to me, as well as WILL (from Los Angeles); he tried to settle back the 'homeland', he left 10 years ago. It was impossible.” との返信が来た。同意せざるを得ない。

「同意せざるを得ない」とこちらから送ると、“FORGET INDIA” と返ってきた。インドと香港の給与差は大きい。香港での仕事、ネットでちょっと探してみた。日本の商社の求人があったけど、日本企業で働く魅力はひじょ~~に薄い。

Nice Talk and Good Laugh

たった今、インドのエージェントと電話で話した。“I’m not discouraging you to come…” と言いながら、「水と食べ物に注意すれば大丈夫だけど、病気になって去っていく人もいる」「時間を守らないなど、“free working style” で、日本人からの不満が多い」「あまりにも異なる環境で仕事をすることに問題ないのか?主な交通手段はトライショウだし、きっとカルチャーショックを受けるよ」。仕事を紹介する立場なのに、正直なのか何なのか……。 「インドにはガンディー、ボース、ネルーのような人がいると思ったのに」とまったくの冗談で言うと、「そんな人はもういない」だって。人と話して久しぶりに笑った。

Sumatra Quake, Anxiety/Depression, "Kono Statement"

久しぶりに明け方まで眠れなかった。その後も眠っていたのかどうかわからない。数時間、ベッドであっち向いたり、こっち向いたり。11時頃やっとベッドから抜け出した。 いすに座っていると、数秒間、弱い揺れを感じた。新たな症状の発現かと思ったら、スマトラ地震だった。ここで地震を感じたのは初めて。午後1時、銀行に行って兄に送金した。

Of the significantly disabling substances of abuse, the most common is alcohol, which can do an excellent job of drowning out pain. While drinking during depression is not unusual, some people drink less when they are depressed, often because they recognize that alcohol is a depressant and that excessive drinking during a depression can severely exacerbate the depression… The problem is that the same alcohol that takes the edge of anxiety tends to exacerbate depression, so that you go from feeling tense and frightened to feeling desolate and worthless. This is not an improvement. I’ve gone for the bottle under these circumstances and have survived to tell the truth: it does not help. (p. 225)


The benzodiazepines (benzos) – Valium, Xanax, Klonopin – and their cousins Ambien and Sonata are perhaps the most confusing drugs of all: they are addictive and they are useful for psychiatric complaints. They are very effective against anxiety, but because there is a lot of cross-tolerance between them and barbiturates or alcohol, they should not be prescribed for people likely to abuse those substances… To take the benzos daily long-term is ill-advised and dangerous… Covering up symptoms with benzos is like taking antacid for stomach cancer. (pp. 233-234)

… It is important to use the benzos only for their primary purpose, which is to allay anxiety; this they will do fairly consistently at fairly consistent levels… The withdrawal symptoms from Xanax – which I had been taking on doctor’s advice for several months at a rate of, on average, two milligrams a day – were horrible… My eyes hurt and I had an upset stomach. At night, when I was not really asleep, I had unrelenting, terrifying half-waking nightmares, and I kept sitting up with my heart pounding. (p. 234)

1日に2ミリグラム。自分が処方されているのは、朝1錠(0.25 ミリグラム)と夜1錠(0.25 ミリグラム)で、その4分の1。中毒を自覚したことはない。悪夢はあるが、Xanax の禁断症状が理由かどうか疑わしい。

Depression enables addiction. Resisting desires takes so much energy and will, and when you are depressed, it is too hard just to say no – to food, to alcohol, to drugs. It’s really simple. Why should you say no when no will lead you only to more intolerable misery? (p. 242)


… We no longer treat alcoholism as a side effect of depression: we treat it as a problem that occurs simultaneously with depression. Suicidality is at least as independent of the depression with which it often coincides as is substance abuse… (p. 243)

… Suicide is not the result of passivity; it is the result of an action taken. It requires a great deal of energy and a strong will in addition to a belief in the permanence of the present bad moment and at least a touch of impulsivity. (p. 244)

… Karl Menninger, who has written extensively on suicide, said that suicide requires the coincidence of “the wish to kill, the wish to be killed, and the wish to die.” G.K. Chesterton, following in this mode, wrote:
The man who kills a man kills a man
The man who kills himself kills all men
As far as he is concerned, he wipes out the world. (p. 252)

… So a stressed male with a genetic predisposition to low serotonin who has had a deprived upbringing, abuses substances, and has low cholesterol would fit the profile of a likely suicide… (p. 254)





Monday, March 05, 2007

"Cheer Up" Is the Way the World Sees It

… [A] recent feature on depression in a Singapore magazine described the full range of medications, then ended by saying definitively, “Seek professional help if you need it, but in the meantime, cheer up.” (p. 200)


I have often described myself as bisexual, and have been in three long-term relationships with women… (p. 207)


… For the Inuit, depression is so minor in the scale of things and so evident a part of everyone’s life that, except in severe cases of vegetative illness, they simply ignore it. Between their silence and our intensely verbalized self-awareness lie a multitude of ways of speaking of psychic pain, of knowing the pain. Context, gender, tradition, nation – all conspire to determine what is to be said and what is to be unsaid – and to some extent they thereby determine what is to be alleviate, what exacerbated, what endured, what forsworn. The depression – its urgency, its symptoms, and the ways out of it – is all determined by forces quite outside of our individual biochemistry, by who we are, where we were born, what we believe, and how we live. (p. 215)

知人に症状のことを漏らすと、上記にあるように、“Cheer up!” という助言をいただくか、さもなければ、“C’mon! Everybody has ups and downs. I, for one, have gone through this and that and right now have such and such trouble… You’re not the only one who is suffering…” と返ってくる。誰かに話してしまうというのは、自分の「望む返答」を期待している証拠だ。However, it is not the way the world works… 期待なければ、落胆なし。と、わかっていても……。


"Pariah" Is a Tamil Word

YouTube で見たんだけど、西部邁さんが“pariah” はヒンディー語だと述べていた。英語化しているこの言葉はタミル語のはずだけどな。

昨日の夕方、“The Noonday Demon” を読んでると眠くなってきて、ソファーで寝た。我慢できない眠気になってきたのでベッドに移動すると、今日の正午まで起きられなかった。

How is one to choose among depression’s thousand therapies?... Psychiatry is as much subject to trend as is any other science, and one year’s revelation is the next year’s folly. (pp. 170-171)


… It is interesting that Jewish men, who are as a population particularly disinclined to violence, have a much higher rate of depression than non-Jewish men – in fact, studies show them having about the same rate of depression as Jewish women. (p. 180)


Saturday, March 03, 2007

How Do You Meet People? What Do You Talk About?

For the time being, we must accept that fate has given some of us a strong vulnerability to depression, and that among those who carry such a vulnerability, some have treatment-responsive brains and some have treatment-resistant brains. Those of us who can get substantially get better in any way must count ourselves among the lucky ones. We must, further, treat those for whom there can be no recovery with forbearance. Resilience is a frequent, but not a universal, gift, and no secret in this book or elsewhere can help the unluckiest ones of all. (p. 134)

[Claudia, suffering a truly acute depression] recalls… “I wanted a divorce or annulment. I felt I had no friends; I felt I had no future… I’ve nothing to say (to her husband) anymore. And he of course felt it was all his fault and had huge self-loathing… I was not nice to him and I know it. He was trying very hard and just had no idea what to do. Nothing he could have done would have been right to me, no matter what it was… I would tell him to go away, that I wanted to be alone; and then what I really wanted was for him to insist on being with me.” (p. 156)

自分の言う“leave me alone but stay with me” と同じだ。

There is so much that cannot be said during depression, that can be intuited only by others who know. “If I were on crutches, they wouldn’t ask me to dance,” said one woman [at a support group session] about her family’s relentless efforts to get her to go out and have fun. There is so much pain in the world, and most of these people keep theirs secret, rolling through agonizing lives in invisible wheelchairs, dressed in invisible bodycasts. We held each other up with what we said. Sue, one night, in anguish, crying through her thick mascara, said, “I need to know if any of you have felt like this and made it. Someone tell me that, I came all this way to hear it, is it true, please tell me that it is.” Another night someone said, “My soul hurts so much; I just need to interface with other people.” (p. 161)


One time someone was talking about trying to explain things to friends. A longtime MDSG (Mental Disorder Support Groups of New York) man, Stephen, asked the group, “Do you have friends outside?” Only one other person and I said that we did. Stephen said, “I try to make new friends, but I don’t know how it works. I was such a recluse for so long. I took Prozac, and it worked for a year, and then it stopped. I think I did more that year, but I lost it.” He looked at me curiously. He was sad and sweet-natured and intelligent – clearly a lovely person, as someone said to him that evening – but he was gone. “How do you meet people, besides here?” And before I could answer, he added, “And once you’ve met them, what do you talk about?” (p. 162)


I wonder how some people can be so judgmental about who I am, especially when they know I’m depressive. Or do they act that way because they know I’m depressive? It is insulting as well as humiliating to be accused of irresponsibility, laziness and blah blah blah... How much of me do they know? What about me do they know? How much of my history do they know? All those horrifying memories and nightmares. And panicky faints.

It’s not easy to make me furious but there are some who manage to do just that. I’m very impatient toward those people who “lecture” me about life. I believe that I’ve gone through more crises. They are totally incapable to understand that there are different kinds of people, who suffer in silence or joke, with a forced smile, about their suffering to avoid embarrassment.

I want to drink – a lot – to put myself to sleep, fully aware that it doesn’t solve anything and only exacerbates my condition. Ideally, I’d like to find myself dead when I woke up.

Some of those judgmental assholes understand what really goes on in my mind only if I “succeed’ to kill myself. “You talk about suicide but you are still here, alive. You’re afraid of dying.” Perhaps I should prove myself by being successful.

"Good Enough Marriage"? Then My Case is Hopeless

“The Noonday Demon”

The more episodes you have, the more likely you are to have more episodes, over a life time, get worse and closer together. This acceleration is a clue to how the disease works. The initial onset of depression is usually connected either to kindling events or to tragedy; people with a genetic predisposition to develop depression are, as Kay Jamison… has observed, “like dry and brittle pyres, unshielded against the inevitable sparks thrown off by living.” (p. 56)

According to studies done in Pittsburgh, the first episode of major depression is usually closely tied to events; the second, somewhat less; by the fourth and fifth episodes life events seem to play no part at all… It is clear that stress drives up rates of depression. The biggest stress is humiliation; the second is loss. The best defence, for people with biological vulnerability, is a “good enough” marriage, which absorbs external humiliations and minimizes them. (p. 63)


… the decision to behave with such a hunger to be rid of the self was typical of agitated depression. All I had to do was to get sick, and that would give me permission. The wish for a more visible illness was, I would later learn, a commonplace among depressives, who often engage in forms of self-mutilation to bring the physical state in line with the mental. I know that my suicide would be devastating for my family and sad for my friends, but I felt they would all understand that I had had no choice. (p. 71)


Robert post, of the [National Institute of Mental Health], concurs: “People worry about side effects from staying on medication for a life time, but the side effects of doing that appears to be insubstantial, very insubstantial compared to the lethality of undertreated depression…” The side effects of these drugs are for most people much healthier than the illness they address. (p. 80)

In an ideal world, one would not take any drugs and one’s body would regulate itself adequately; who wants to take drugs? But the ludicrous assertions made in such stringently foolish books as Prozac Backlash cannot be taken for more than pandering to the cheapest fears of an apprehensive audience. I deplore the cynics who keep suffering patients from the essentially benign cures that might give them back their lives. (p. 81)

I have done pretty well with for side effects. My current psychopharmacologist is expert in side-effect management. I have had some sexual side effects from my medications – a slightly decreased libido ad the universal problem of much-delayed orgasm. A few years ago, I added Willbutrin to my regimen; it seemed to get my libido running again, though thing have never come up to old standards. My psychopharmacologist has also given me Viagra, just in case I get that side effect, and has since added dexamphetamine, which is supposed to increase sexual drive. (p. 91)

For many years, talking about depression was considered the best cure for it. It is still a cure. “Take notes,” wrote Virginia Woolf in The Years, “and the pain goes away.” That is the underlying process of most psychotherapy. The role of the doctor is to listen closely and attentively while the client gets in touch with his true motivations, so that he can understand why he acts as he does… Depression is often occasioned by isolation. A good therapist can help a depressed person to connect with the people around him and to set up structures of support that mitigate the severity of depression. (p. 103)

セラピストと話すと確かに気分がす~っと楽になる。ただ、問題はセラピストは家族じゃなく、“good enough” marriage を与えてはくれないこと。

The sexual side effects are often brushed aside as insignificant compared to a severe depression, and by that standard they are insignificant. Nonetheless, they are unacceptable… When you’re first recovering from depressive episode, when you’ve got other things on your mind, sexual deficiency is not so bothersome, but then to get over unbearable pain at the cost of erotic pleasure -- well, it sure struck me as a bum deal. (p. 115)


In may case, Xanax made the horror disappear as a magician makes a rabbit vanish… For people who are not inclined towards abuse, [benzodiazepines] save lives… Though benzos can help anxiety, they do not, by themselves, alleviate depression. They can affect short-term memory. Over the long term, they can have depressant qualities and long-term sustained use should be closely monitored. (p. 119)

“Depression these days is curable,” people told me. “You take antidepressants like people take aspirin for a headache.” This is not true. Depression these days is treatable; you take antidepressants like you take radiation for cancer. They sometimes do miraculous things, but none of it is easy and results are inconsistent (p. 119)