Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Big Discovery

Back from Johor Bahru and I got this big discovery.

At the Woodlands Checkpoint, I showed the officer the letter that DJ had produced for my smooth passages. I looked at the entry stamp and found it said “THIRTY DAYS.” Thinking that the officer chopped the wrong stamp, I went back to her and asked, “Is this 14 days or 30 days?” “Thirty. THREE-ZERO,” she said. This is the power of a letter from DJ, I thought.

Turning the pages of my passport backward, I found that every one of the entry stamps this year, since March 8 to be exact, says “THIRTY DAYS.” When did they change the rule? About half of my nine fortnightly trips to JB since March were unnecessary… Of course, it is better than breaking the law but I still feel something has been wasted. After all, short trips to JB are not to be enjoyed. (At the JB immigration when I was leaving there today, the Indian lady officer, a beauty, said with a pleasant smile, “You are welcome” to my “Thank you.” What a big and nice difference from the Singapore side where everybody seems to have suspicious eyes.)

Diarrhea doesn’t stop. On the way to Kranji, I stopped by at the Isetan pharmacy to buy “dried yeast” tablets, hoping that it gives me a respite, at least.

Miyazawa Kiichi (宮沢喜一), a former prime minister, has died at 87.

From the New York Times: A tentative accord on the editorial independence of The Wall Street Journal would leave Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation with the sole power to hire and fire The Journal’s top editors if it succeeds in buying the newspaper’s owner, Dow Jones & Company, people who have been briefed on the agreement said yesterday.

That is a far cry from the demands made by the Bancroft family, owners of a controlling interest in Dow Jones, and it remains to be seen how the Bancrofts — most of whom have not been told what was in the agreement — will react.

Rupert, do not mess with the WSJ!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Impossible "Q"uestion

Got Tiger Beer at the nearest 7 Eleven. Need to calm irritation. Q came to mop the floor today. Thanks to her. I went out for reading because at home, most likely I would fall asleep with a book in my hand and, with her around, I knew concentration would be impossible. However, as always, her harsh look and voice unbearably irritated me. She interrogated me by saying “Where did you go to hide?” Do I have to tell her where I go??? Do not throw words at me! Her good intentions are all canceled out by her way to talk to me… I may be prejudiced toward her but when I told her what is happening back home, she almost laughed it away. And weeks ago, a neighbor downstairs complained about the dripping of a wet mop, she almost went panicked. I don’t understand at all why she agonizes over such a small thing and is able to maintain aloofness over a life-death issue of my family. IMPOSSIBLE.

At the store, the man said, “Nineteen-fifty-five (dollars). Japanese war!” Gee, he knows I’m a Jap. “No, it was 1945. Totally defeated and paid the high price.”

Bye-Bye, Tony

Bye-bye, Tony Blair.

This afternoon, I saw “him” again. At the same BK outlet of TB Plaza, he was sitting at the same table as the one I saw him several weeks ago. He appears very much like a Japanese businessman wearing a long-sleeve shirt and a tie. Holding a palm-size gadget (mobile phone?) in his right hand, he was turning pages of a book. He didn’t look a happy man last time, and today it seemed to me he was in an even worse condition, looking bored and at the same time worried. He left the table twice and each time came back.

参院選:公明党がテレビCM発表 生活密着をアピール(毎日新聞から)


加藤・元自民幹事長:「リベラル保守結集を」 新著出版で会見(毎日新聞から)


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Offer Letter Signed and Stubborn Diarrhea

I visited the company yet again this time to sign the official offer letter. It took only 10 minutes. I wish that my EP application will be approved within two weeks. I’d like to start working before the commencement date stated in the letter, August 1, while this emotional momentum is maintained. Newspaper reports say that the takeover talks between the company and Rupert are near conclusion.

Diarrhea of unknown causes continues. It has been almost a week, or even longer. My digestion tract seems working so fast to get its job done that it has forgotten its most important part, that is, to digest… No pain, but I hope this is nothing serious. Indigestion med is powerless.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Day Wasted

My eyes opened when it was still dark, and after some time I decided to get up. It was 5:00 am. As soon as I begin to read the latest issue of E after having checked papers, I fell asleep – completely. Overwhelmingly powerful sleep came again at around 3:00 and I slept until 6:00 pm. A day has been wasted.



Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rushdie Changes His "Japanese" Name

A very hot day and I took a shower three times…

作家“Salman Rushdie” の日本語表記が変わった。著書“The Satanic Verses (悪魔の詩)” がイスラム教を冒涜しているとして、革命イランのホメイニ師が死刑を命じたのは、自分がまだ京都でサラリーマンだった頃。これまで「ラシディ」と表記していたのに、ここ数日、同氏に関連する記事で、朝日は「ルシュディ」と書き、読売、毎日、産経、日経は「ラシュディ」と表記している。見出しだけでは誰のことなのかわからなかった。何の説明もない。

外国人名の表記が突然変わることがある。”Ronald Reagan” は「リーガン」から「レーガン」に変わり、グルジア人の”Eduard Shevardnadze” の「シュワルドナゼ」は「シェワルナゼ」に変更された。(米原万里さんは「シェワルナーゼ」と表記している。)カタカナの限界でもあり、柔軟性でもあるが、「今後、表記を変更します」ぐらいの「お断り」があってもいい。1980年の米大統領選挙での共和党候補選びで、「リーガン」が「レーガン」に変わったとき、うちが購読していた毎日は表記の変更を紙面で告知していたと記憶する。



Friday, June 22, 2007

Trouble Is Getting Bigger on the Home Front

I talked to mother for about two hours with a few calls. She broke her wrist some days ago, but that is not the main thing she wanted to talk about… Her sobbing voice was tormenting. “If you were around, I would ask you to come.” It was like a voice of a small girl who doesn’t know what to do to deal with life while she is totally alone. While I don’t agree with her on many things, it is definitely true that she deserves better. All I could do was to try to console her with half-convincing words, especially when things are still murky because brother is still keeping his mouth shut. Mother, don't worry so much. He is already an old man.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Miasma Cleared

A HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF. The feeling of heavy, depressive, oppressive miasma-like air and tension suddenly cleared. Hallelujah! Please allow me a few days of real relaxation. I feel like punching and shouting to revenge the miasma.

I visited the company (DJ-F) again for the scheduled 10:00 am interview. The manager started by saying that my “test” result was very good. The explanation on the work seemed complicated, providing my head only nebulous ideas. But the talk went amiably and we even gossiped about Rupert Murdoch.

At 6:00 pm, the manager called to inform me that she had decided to hire me. After many months of ordeal, everything happened just in two days. Two eventful days. And it is a record that I wore a jacket and a tie for two consecutive days in Singapore.

Tomorrow, I should bring them the relevant documents, including my passport, for my employment pass application.

A funny thing is that this position is, I believe, very similar to what I applied for back in April and the company “F” never replied. That may be because they were in the midst of reorganization. F used to be a 50-50 JV of R and DJ. This triangle relationship of DJ, R and F. F was quiet when I applied, and R invited me for an interview and turned me down. And today, F, now 100% under DJ, offered me a position…

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hope Grows (from a Very Low Base)

I went to the company located in a very familiar building to take the “test.” The appointment was at 1:30 pm. Soon after I sat at the desk to start it, a guy, apparently another candidate, left the room, rather loudly saying something like, “Okay lah. Just too much. Three hours…”

Looking at the papers, I realized they were not headlines but leads of news articles, making my task greatly easier. And I had expected the topics would be mostly financial-related. A few were about markets but they were diverse. My practice for the past week was for nothing then, luckily. I had trouble with the name of the president of the People’s Bank of China, (周小川). I have seen his name in the English media, but I simply didn’t remember how he writes his name in alphabet. “Zhou Xiaochuan” is it. No choice, I had to leave his name blank. Another problem was with the original Japanese movie title for “Morning Forest.” I knew it was referring to one by Kawase Naomi (河瀬直美), but the name (「殯(もがり)の森」) didn’t come out of my memory. But nothing about Dow Jones-News Corp-Pearson-GE, Thomson-Reuters, Ford-Land Rover-Jaguar-Cerberus, Gaza, Lee’s Yasukuni visit… As I see it, these are the current happenings.

I finished the test and went through it again while amending a few places. Altogether, it took me less than an hour and half. When I passed my papers to the manager, she said, “So fast?” She told me that she would mark the papers tonight and call me by next week. I made sure to ask her to give me a call, regardless of the result.

On the way home, I was having a coffee at a “Mos Burger” joint at TB Plaza and received a call from her for arranging an interview. It was not yet an hour since I left the office. (So fast?) A tomorrow-morning interview has been arranged. I seem successfully to have jumped one hurdle and hope is growing, but it is way too soon for popping open a Champaign bottle... (Remember “R”?)

Yesterday, I got many tablets. J at the clinic gave me 45 Cymbalta tablets. I almost said, “I don’t need that many because it costs more.” However I paid the full amount as I needed them in any case. It was just a matter of “pay now or later.”

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Another Rainy Day

Another rainy day. I must visit the clinic tomorrow. It’s been two days since I ran out of Cymbalta, and the familiar funny electric sensation is coming back. Perhaps with connection with this, my appetite increased as Cymbalta is known to suppress it.

The Singlish debate continues and seems endless. As a non-Singaporean from an Asian country who learned English as a foreign language, I am quite tired of reading about it. Even though Singapore’s “unique English” can be enchanting and amusing in some cases, do not dumb down the language, for the sake of easy communication, period. With only a crude form of a language, how could you express, spoken or written, subtle feelings required for a decent human life. I believe that I do not have to elaborate about funny grammar and accent, as many people are aware of them.

Suppose that history dictated Singapore to adapt, say, Italian as an official language instead of English. Its rules are much more complicated than those of English, with male, female and neutral nouns, etc. Communications among citizens of different native languages would be all but impossible. Dear Singaporeans, you are very lucky to have English as one of your official languages. Treasure it. Don’t trash it.



Since Thursday, I’ve been feeling I lost three important people, and home with them. Well, I had lost home when I left my Osaka apartment to leave for Singapore. (“Well, I’ve rather burned my boats, haven’t I?”) However, that was by my own action and I was quite contented then. Things are different this time because I never expected anything like this to happen; one: guilty, two: innocent and three: irrational. In an environment where casualness is not allowed and there is no spontaneous smile, they are nonetheless important by blood and/or by law. I’ve been dancing quietly with those three people while maintaining a delicate distance from all of them. Now by a careless, sinful and simply stupid act, the dance is no more. I can’t contact any of them because I don’t know how. More than ever, I hesitate to answer international calls. The ultimate sacrifice on my part might awaken them out of this stupidity. But I shouldn’t count on it. The guilty would feel guiltier, the innocent would feel guilty and the irrational would continue to be irrational. This family has been collapsing for so many years. And now is this the final nail to the coffin? (I believe that there seem a few other people who need my ultimate sacrifice to understand what has been happening to me. But this is another story.)

Study for the test on Tuesday. There is not much I can do to prepare for it… The only thing I can do seems to read more and more deeply.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rainy Day

“A Burnt-Out Case” (Graham Greene): Marie Rycker follows Querry from Luc and causes a shocking scandal in the village by saying the baby she is carrying is his.

“Is it any use asking you to tell Father Thomas the truth?”
“Well, I’ve rather burned my boats, haven’t I?”
“You’ve burned the only house I have,” Querry said.
“I just had to escape,” she explained apologetically. For the first time he was confronted by an egoism as absolute as his own…

“I think [Rycker] wants to believe the worst. It makes him Querry’s equal, don’t you see, when they fight over the same girl.” [Parkinson] added with a somewhat surprising insight, “He can’t bear not being important.”

“It was my hope to end up in the same patch of ground as you and she. We would have made an atheist corner between us.”
“I wonder if you would have qualified for that.”
“Why not?”
“You’re too troubled by your lack of faith, Querry. You keep on fighting it like a sore you want to get rid of. I am content with the myth; you are not – you have to believe or disbelieve.”

“You spoke just now as though he had been cured.”
“I really think he was. He’d learned to serve people, you see, and to laugh. An odd laugh, but it was a laugh all the same. I’m frightened of people who don’t laugh.”
The Superior said shyly, “I thought perhaps you meant that he was beginning to find his faith again.”
“Oh no, not that. Only a reason for living. You try too hard to make a pattern, father.”
“But if the pattern’s there… you haven’t a cheroot have you?”
The Superior said, “We all analyse motives too much. I said that once to Father Thomas. You remember what Pascal said, that a man who starts looking for God has already found him. The same may be true of love – when we look for it, perhaps we’ve already found it.”





Folks, please watch (at least) “Mur (Wall),” “Divine Intervention” and “Paradise Now” and read Edward W. Said and Noam Chomsky. Don’t be deceived by the big media.

A miracle is happening. The “alt” key is working again!

This day started with rain and now it is raining again.

From “The Economist” (June 16): “Marriage is ‘a wealth-generating institution’? I can only assume you have not had the opportunity of meeting my wife.” – Ian Dane, Walton-on-Thames, Surry

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sheriff Clark Dead and Palestine Divided

I didn’t know Jim Clark, a former sheriff of Selma, Alabama, had died. He passed away on 4th of this month. He, one of the main characters in Taylor Branch’s King biography, stopped King’s march to Montgomery at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Fatah and Hamas are clashing in the Gaza Strip. Reports are saying that Hamas is now in full control of the area. Absolutely detrimental for bolstering the nationhood dream. And hypocrisy of those countries that originally supported Hamas, tacitly or otherwise, as a counterweight to the PLO is shameful. See who's laughing.

“A Burnt-Out Case” (Graham Greene): Querry, feeling contempt, tell the journalist, Parkinson, his story, and visits Rycker, a plantation man and the source of information to protest.

“I have never felt remorse. Never. You all dramatize too much. We can retire from feeling just as naturally as we retire from a job…”

“[A Christian marriage is] far better than a marriage of passion. But if you want to know the truth, my heart is always in my faith.”
“I begin to think we are not so different, you and I. We don’t know what love is. You pretend to love a god because you love no one else. But I won’t pretend. All I have left me is a certain regard for the truth. It was the best side of the small talent I had. You are inventing all the time, Rycker, aren’t you? There are men with a woman who talk about love to prostitutes – they daren’t even excuse them. You’ve even invented this idea of me to justify yourself. But I won’t play your game, Rycker.”

“When I look at you,” Rycker said, “I can see a man tormented.”
“Oh no you can’t. I haven’t felt any pain at all in twenty years. It needs something far bigger than you to cause me pain.”
“Whether you like or not, you have set an example to all of us.”
“An example of what?”
“Unselfishness and humanity,” Rycker said.

Querry takes Rycker’s very young and unhappy wife, Marie, to a Luc doctor to see if she is pregnant.



Thursday, June 14, 2007


A call from mother while in JB. Unusually long conversation of almost 50 minutes. She repeated a few points over and over again, which is not surprising at all. How unreasonable she often appeared is not an issue here. What disgusted me was the main topic she wanted to tell me. Ahhh… I’ve never thought something like this could happen to “them” (and to me by extension). Mother said she received a looooong express letter from my sister-in-low. How much of it mother understood, I don’t know. It seems I’m now losing someone who knows the family history and with whom there is no taboo subject. Always progressive-minded and understanding. I even told my doctor that she’s the one through whom I communicate with my brother. Easier to talk to her than to him. Since the start of the year, I’ve actually been wondering how she is doing and told so to the hypnotherapist. I can only guess how devastating it must be to her. Things are even more complicated now. There will be no one left I can consider in the “we” terms. Home is far away and becoming farther. Away from me. Mind mangled. (I received an international call last night and ignored it. Was it from her or mother?)

In the summer of 1994, she, I and a few other people went out to see the annual Kyoto bonfires. Having a close look at “Dai-monji (大文字),” she said to me, “Your father (who died in the previous year) is now going back (to the other side of the world).” My eyes were filled with tears.

At the Woodlands Checkpoint, Officer Piggy with an oily forehead and piercing small eyes behind glasses asked me, “Your green card canceled already?” I simply nodded. You don’t have to have a welcoming smile but, Miss Piggy, you shouldn’t look so grim.

A Long Way to Go, Honored Anyway

As I think “translating” only headlines without bodies is rather troublesome, I requested this company to provide me at least leads along with headlines. Translation and news writing are two different things. The reply, which soon came, says that this will be just a test to see my language proficiency. I can’t have specific ideas of what this is about, but then what I can do is mobilize what I already possess. Pre-interview test. There is a long way to go. In any case, the least I can say is that I certainly feel honored to be considered as a candidate by such a dream company. I felt the same when I went to the interview at R. These things would never happen to me if I were in Japan.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Got a Second Chance

Got a call from my current best hope to arrange a day for a “language test.” A confirmation e-mail I subsequently received says it is going to be “headline translation (Eng <-> Jpn).” Not afraid of it, but with only a headline, it can be a bit hard to decipher what the article is about. Well, maybe I should collect recent headlines and do some practice.






小学校での英語授業導入が論議されているらしい。数カ月前に東京都知事が定例会見で「日本語教育が先だろう」との主旨で発言していた。言語学的に子供の脳が複数言語をどう処理するのかよく知らないが、日本語も英語も半端な人間を生み出す結果になるなら、どの言語もまともにできない人の多い当地の二の舞だ。さて余談だが、知事はこの会見で「英語なんて“ピジョン・イングリッシュ”でいいんだ。“鳩の英語”だな」と言っていた。鳩の英語?シングリッシュのような「ピジン・イングリッシュ(pidgin English)」やろ。知事は図らずも知識の限界をさらしてしまったな。

Time to Laugh: From "Ananova"

Time for a little laugh

From “Ananova”:
A Bosnian man, Amir Vehabovic, 45, faked his own death just to see how many people would attend [at his burial ceremony].
He then watched from the bushes as only his elderly mum turned up for the burial in the north Bosnian town of Gradiska.
In the letter to the 45 people he invited to the burial he said: "I paid a lot of money to get a fake death certificate and bribe undertakers to deliver an empty coffin.
“I really thought a lot more of you, my so-called friends, would turn up to pay their last respects. It just goes to show who you can really count on.”

An Iowa woman called Butts faces up to two years in jail - for stealing toilet paper from a courthouse.
Because of prior convictions, Butts faces up to two years in prison.
Supervisor Gordie Johnson said: “We have three strikes and you're out and I consider each roll of toilet paper a strike.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just Give Me Peaceful Nights

Was able to sleep fairly well. Why so terrible on most days and only fair on others? Never feel refreshed.

A Burnt-Out Case (Graham Greene): A man arrives at a léproserie in Congo because “The boat goes no farther.” Seemingly totally aloof toward any subject, the man, Querry, only says he wants to be of use at the village of lepers. From a magazine cover, he is discovered to be a world-famous architect, but he, insisting that he has retired, does not tell much about his past work.

To a correspondent, Parkinson, who intrudes into his life for a scoop, Querry says, “Would you write the truth, Parkinson, even if I told it to you? I know you wouldn’t. You aren’t burnt-out after all. You are still infectious.”

Monday, June 11, 2007

Swearing Sleep Talks

A terrible night… Hard to sleep and I moved the tatami mattress to the kitchen where there was more breeze. Still unable to obtain comfortable sleep, but in the familiar trance of half asleep, I shouted bringing myself out of it. I swore at two people who are supposed be the most important ones in my life. This was not the first time I shouted at them in this trance state. Just a few days ago, I said with an angry tone, “you don’t have to come with me.” To whom: I forgot… Somniloquy (sleep talking) indicates an unstable state of mind, I believe. And dreaming is a strange experience. More often than not, vivid dreams disappear from memory as soon as one gets out of the trance.

Late afternoon, I went to the Bugis area for the first time in so many months. I found that the national museum and its surrounding buildings have really changed. Walking down Orchard Road toward Kinokuniya, my left lens (hard) came out when I was passing the DG station and I picked it from the eye lid and turned back to go to the station toilet to fit it back in. Then, what happened was truly stupid. My hand hit the other that was holding the lens and it dropped to the pavement. When I found it, I thought I have not yet abandoned completely and found a broken half… I rushed back to the home area to visit the shop to get a free substitute.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

So Much Done at 39 Years Old and Japan's Shameful People

After the march in support of sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis, Tennessee, which degenerated into a riot, King is back in the city for a second march in spite of a city injunction.

Closely watched by the city undercover police and the FBI, on his way to a dinner at the house of Billy and Gwen Kyles on April 4 1968, King was gunned down on the balcony of Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel by an escaped convict, James Earl Ray. King was 39 years old.

Thirty-nine years old! What was I doing at 39? What am I doing now?

And LBJ did not live to see the end of the Vietnam War.

Another book has been over. Every moment I finished a book, I miss it as if it has some sentimental tail like a comet.

From Sankei Shimbun:

The last point of his is very very important. There are some Japanese people, especially in the media, who are quite happy by inflaming and encouraging anti-Japan sentiment domestically and internationally. While we do not have to make excuses for the mistakes and actions that should rightly be considered as atrocities, those people’s attitude is completely shameful, all the same.

LBJ's Stunning Announcement

I went to bed very early yesterday. It was before 10 pm and only after a few pages did I fall asleep with my lenses on. The lights of the room and kitchen were also on. And I slept and slept like an anxiety-free child to afternoon today.

LBJ stuns the nation by announcing his decision not to seek the second term.

It was March 31, 1968. “The President met secretly after breakfast with a trusted former speech writer, Horace Busby… Johnson waved all that [about a bombing halt and offer of peace talks regarding Vietnam] aside to ask for Busby’s judgment about a more personal matter. If he closed that night’s speech with a second bombshell announcement, that he would not seek reelection, would he lose authority for the remaining ten months of his term? ‘Point Two,’ said the President. ‘Will this hurt of help in getting peace? Will Hanoi or Moscow or Peking – or Saigon, for that matter – think we are collapsing over here?’ Would American soldiers think Johnson reneged on his duty to protect them? Did he have a better chance to pass the tax increase as a candidate or noncandidate? … Busby hazarded a consistent reply that the dramatic surrender of power would enhance Johnson’s stature. Otherwise, for instance, he thought the peace initiative would be discounted as election year subterfuge… ‘Don’t let a soul know you’re over here, [Johnson] instructed. (p.747)

As the source, Taylor Branch cites Busby’s book “The Thirty-first of March: An Intimate Portrait of Lyndon Johnson's Final Days in Office.”

“Thirty-five minutes into the historic address… Johnson abruptly turned personal: ‘Finally, my fellow Americans, let me say this. Of those whom much is given, much is asked.’ He professed a philosophy he said sustained him since the ‘tragedy and trauma’ of the Kennedy assassination ‘fifty-two months and ten days ago… binding up our wounds, healing our history, moving forward in new unity to clear the American agenda and to keep the American commitment for all of our people.’ Now, faced with crippling divisions at home and abroad, Johnson declared his resolve not to ‘devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes’ in the election year. ‘Accordingly,’ he announced, ‘I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.’” (pp. 748-749)

The second and latest volume of Michael Beschloss’s trilogy on the Johnson presidency covers only until August 1965.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Abe's White Flag to China over Yasukuni: Lee

With or without a pillow, I couldn’t sleep.

AFP on Thursday: “On the Yasukuni issue, Prime Minister Abe may seem to have waved a white flag to China, but his real answer is, ‘This is none of your business.’ He has not accepted China’s interference in domestic affairs,” Lee [Teng-hui] told reporters.

I don’t know if he said this in English, Japanese or Chinese, but did any Japanese newspaper report this comment?

LBJ’s spirit visibly weakens: “[He] asked who would get the Democratic nomination if he decided not to run for another term. One aide said Kennedy, and braced for a Johnson’s tirade against the Harvard tormentor and snivelling runt (rant?), or worse, but the President asked benignly instead, ‘What’s wrong with Bobby?’ … ‘He doesn’t know how to deal with people on the Hill, and a lot of them don’t like him, but he’ll try.’” (p. 736)

Medicine Replenishment Secured

I got a small one-off translation job and have already finished it. Though not much $, it helps me pay for medicine, lenses and phone bill.

Mr Consultant did send an e-mail on Wednesday, it turned out. There seems some trouble receiving with my Hotmail account.

The UK-based MNC job cannot be the one I thought I was if I am to believe the posting because it says “Last Update: June 1.”

The tide must change someday to my favor. The issue is whether I still possess the energy to persevere. The feeling of despondence is overwhelming.

Last night, sleep was okay. I don’t why but it appears I’m able to sleep with less difficulty without a pillow. Dreams about high school band days. Cramped space to store instruments, cardboard boxes collapsing over my head. Attending an English lesson as a fake student for a demonstration purpose. Quite stupid, but not a nightmare. A nice girl, fond of me, was very frustrated with the way the class was conducted. So was I.

“At Canaan’s Edge”: Now in 1968. King insists on his plans an anti-poverty rally in Washington crossing the race line. The Tet offensive starts in Vietnam. Bobby Kennedy U-turns himself by announcing his candidacy against the incumbent President and Eugene McCarthy. No easy room for LBJ. No win assured in Vietnam by going ahead, no retreat allowed. Challenges from his own Democratic camp. Great Society not appreciated. Such a pathetic figure…

Friday, June 08, 2007

Funny Baseball Uniforms

日本プロ野球のユニフォームに異変。西武が2004年に「カッティング・デザイン」とやらを採用してからだと思うが、首から脇にかけて、また側面の色を変 えるユニフォームなどが出現している。もはや野球のユニフォームではない。著名デザイナー作だという阪神が交流戦で使用しているものは最悪だ。自分には派手さが美しく思えた70年代の太平洋クラブや日拓ホームのユニフォームを奇抜と批判する人が多いようだが、奇抜さなら阪神の交流戦用ユニフォームは当時を上回って、趣味が悪い。配色だけでなく、球団名ロゴの美しさがユニフォームの良し悪しを決めるが、交流戦用の「TIGERS」はほめられない。

米大リーグのユニフォームやチーム名ロゴを模倣してきた日本プロ野球がやっと独自のデザインを作り始めたとも言えるかもしれないが、どれも企業ロゴの感覚で生み出されたものに見え、美しさを全く感じない。(これまでの模倣例:阪急とアトランタ、近鉄とボストン(帽子)、西鉄とNYヤンキース(同)、オリック ス・バファローズとオークランド、読売とSF、中日とLA、広島とシンシナティ、大洋とワシントン)

ワシントン・ナショナルズが帽子に使っているマークはワシントン・セネターズのものであり、伝統維持をしっかり認識している。米国の球団はユニフォームのデザイン変更の際もこの意識をしっかり持ち、別チームかと思わせるような大胆な変更はしない。どのチームのユニフォームも美しい。親会社の宣伝部門として存在する日本野球との違いが明らかだ。野球の本場、米国は日本でユニフォームが扱われようと関心がないだろう。間違っても、日本チームのようなデザインを採用しないでほしい。柔道の本場、 日本は青色の柔道着に抗議してたな。

The “consultant” didn’t e-mail me for confirmation of today’s meeting, thus I even didn’t have the location of his office. Anyway, I was awake about until 9 am this morning and overslept for the meeting. I asked another consultant who first contacted me to rearrange it. (I don’t know the guy’s e-mail address.) No reply. Is he working? Or is he lazy? Or does he dislike me?

William Styron in “At Canaan’s Edge”;
“Photographers captured King carrying three books to jail under his arm: the Bible, an economics text, and The Confessions of Nat Turner. A rare, two-part review in the New York Times had just praised William Styron’s historical novel for bringing ‘coherent voice to a catastrophe we hardly knew had happened,’ but black critics faulted the author for projecting too glibly a writer’s hold on inner thoughts from the bloody 1831 slave rebellion. ‘I absorbed by osmosis,’ Styron maintained, ‘a knowledge of what it is to be a Negro.’” (p. 649)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

No Rain on June 6??

It is supposed to rain heavily on June 6, isn’t it? No rain today. Last night, I watched “The Quiet American” again. This is of course a movie based on Greene’s fiction, but I thought that this story of the CIA’s nascent involvement in the Vietnamese war for independence against the French should be appropriate to accompany “At Canaan’s Edge.”

After his effort for opening the Chicago housing, the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War increasingly intertwine for Martin Luther King. How can he, who preaches nonviolence, remain silent on the violence against “colored” Vietnamese people? He makes clear his stand against the war in his speech at NYC’s Riverside Church.

Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown, who succeeded Carmichael as SNCC chairman, get radicalized, deepening disputes in the organization. Brown talks about “America’s Gestapo tactics” designed “to destroy SNCC and to commit genocide against black people.” And he demands “full retaliation from the black community across America,” blaming President Johnson. Newark and then Detroit go up in flame.

Separately, Israel’s victory in the Six Day War threatens to divide King’s movement because of the Jews he has among his supporters. How is it possible to reconcile the result of the violent war and his nonviolent creed?

Also last night, subsequently I sent my CV to apply for two other positions. Both are positions that agencies posted on the net. One agency was quickly contacted me today. Learning more about the position, I feel it really doesn’t match my profile though the company itself is a huge US company. I will meet the agency’s “consultants” tomorrow afternoon. The other position at a “high-tech UK-based MNC” is probably the same position at the same “R,” which tuned me down. And this agency was quiet today. But who cares?

As I received a phone call from R for an interview only after about 10 days since I sent my CV, it shouldn’t be considered odd if there are days before the US-based company contact me, if it ever does. However, there is no doubt in my mind at all that, among the three, this is definitely the one that I want to grab.

If there is anything that I learned during this frustrating, unrewarding, financially devastating period, it is that I do not have to limit my options to translation jobs. For this, I should thank R for considering me for a position that is far wider than mere translation work.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Minuscule Luck but I Can't Stop

I’ve sent my CV to a US-based company. But is it the same position at the same company which I applied to a few months ago and not responded at all? The job description is somewhat different… Anyway, it’s always “they” who decide. Let me try luck again, no matter minuscule the luck may be.

Now Big Insomnia

Mix insomnia to long dreams, the sign is very clear. I went to bed at 9:30 pm last night after taking two tablets of Epilim, to give it enough time to kick in, but to no avail. Epilim is a serial betrayer. Or Epilim and I have become too chummy. Three more tablets in as many hours. Moved out of the bedroom in early morning and laid a “tatami” mattress on the living room floor for cooler air.

Former Yankees 3B Clete Boyer died at 70. He also played with the Taiyo Whales (大洋ホエールズ) from 1972 to 1975. He at 3B, John Sipin at 2B and Matsubara Makoto (松原誠) at 1B: that’s the Whales of the early 70s.

I finished “The Comedians” (Graham Greene) two days ago. This is not a story with a single major protagonist, like Henry Scobie and the whisky priest, while the story is narrated by “Brown.” By the end, the only person who “remains” in Haiti is “Major Jones,” a boastful liar who corners himself into committing (how willingly, I don’t know) to the insurgency against Papa Doc Duvalier. Smith, a former presidential candidate “against Truman” and his wife go back to the States via Santo Domingo. Brown, unable to go back to the hotel he owns, also goes there, to work with Fernandez as an undertaker.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Downhill Again?

Long dreams for two nights straight. A sign of downhill mood, but it should be understandable.