Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Caltex Gas Stand in Japan

ちょっと無理して、「花ざかりの森・憂国」を終わらせた。3人の芸者、小弓、満佐子、かな子が陰暦8月15日の夜、女中を連れて願事(ねぎごと)のために7つの橋を渡ろうとする「橋ずくし」(昭和32年4月)に、「橋が明るく浮き上がってみえるのは、向う岸のカルテックスのガソリン・スタンドが、抑揚のない明るい燈火を、ひろいコンクリートいっぱいにぶちまけている反映のためであるらしい」とあった。昭和30年代の日本には「カルテックス」があったんだ。

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“The Singapore Story” (Lee Kuan Yew)
“The Practice of English Language Teaching” (Jeremy Hammer)
“The Alchemist” (Paulo Coelho)
“From Third World to First” (Lee Kuan Yew)
「パンツの面目ふんどしの沽券」(米原万里)
「甲子園への遺言:伝説のコーチ高畠導宏の生涯」(門田隆将)
“The Mahathir Administration: Performance and Crisis in Governance” (edited by Ho Khai Leong and James Chin)
「実録北朝鮮の性」(鄭成山、訳者・洪英義)
「うちのパパが言うことには」 (重松清)
「華麗なる一族」(上) (山崎豊子)
「華麗なる一族」(中) (山崎豊子)
“The Bolivian Diary” (Ernesto Che Guevara)
「華麗なる一族」(下) (山崎豊子)
“Making It Right for Singapore” (J.B. Jeyaretnam)
“Chomsky on Anarchism” (Noam Chomsky)
「クライマーズ・ハイ」(横山秀夫)
「沈まぬ太陽」(1・アフリカ篇・上) (山崎豊子)
「他諺の空似」(米原万里)
「サイゴンのいちばん長い日」(近藤紘一)
「サイゴンから来た妻と娘」(近藤紘一)
「沈まぬ太陽」(2・アフリカ篇・下) (山崎豊子)
「沈まぬ太陽」(3・御巣鷹山篇) (山崎豊子)
「沈まぬ太陽」(4・会長室篇・上) (山崎豊子)
「沈まぬ太陽」(5・会長室篇・下) (山崎豊子)
「不毛地帯」(1) (山崎豊子)
「不毛地帯」(2) (山崎豊子)
「不毛地帯」(3) (山崎豊子)
「不毛地帯」(4) (山崎豊子)
「二軍監督」(安國輪)
「文学部但野教授」(筒井康隆)
「沈黙のファイル:『瀬島龍三』とは何だったのか」(共同通信社会部編)*
“Language and Politics” (Noam Chomsky)
「花ざかりの森・憂国」(三島由紀夫)

*Repeat

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Abashiri Jail, "See You Again, Alive" & No Salary This Month

TBプラザの「NTUCフェアプライス」で、背に縦書きで日本語がプリントされたTシャツを着た人を見つけた。「網走刑務所」。「北の果て」で始まる説明文も細かくプリントされていて、「網走といえば刑務所」で終わっていた。誰が作ってんだろう。どこで売ってんだろう。網走の人たちは知ってるんだろうか?

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朝日新聞(電子版)によると、名古屋駅前で行われたホームレス集会で使われた旗に、「生き残って再び会おう」とあったという。何年も前、京都四条通りの阪急線に沿う地下通路が多くのホームレスの住居になっているのを見て、おどろいたことがあるが、今は「生き残って再び会おう」という戦時下のような雰囲気まで落ちたということか。

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1冊を中断して別の1冊を始めてしまうことがよくある。“All Art Is Propaganda”を休めて、数年間ほったらかしの三島由紀夫の「花ざかりの森・憂国」を始めてしまった。どちらも今年中に読み終えられない。短編集だが、昭和16年、16歳だった三島が書いた「花ざかりの森」の読みにくさは何だろう。偶然にして、“All Art Is Propaganda”に収録されているエッセイと同時代の作品だというのに、「花ざかりの森」の主題を判別することもむずかしい。その他、生卵を飲む習慣のある大学生5人が卵から死刑判決を受ける「卵」はSF風。

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スポーツ紙が掲載する芸能人の結婚報道で、最近ときどき見るのは、「XXXは妊娠していない」という一文。どうでもええやん、そんなこと。

Today’s reply from StarHub says that “Our engineers… found the signal to be normal… If the issue persists on a different PC, we would appreciate it if you could give us a convenient date and preferred time slot to arrange for our technicians to go to your premises and troubleshoot the issue.”
The time slots given are 11 am to 1 pm, 2 pm to 4 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm. Thanks. First of all, I won’t bother to connect another PC to conduct the test. And in any case, during those time slots, the connection is usually smooth. It becomes almost static after around 10 pm. Waiting and waiting only to see the message like “Network Timeout” or “Connection Interrupted”… Such a waste of time.

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今月は、社名変更に伴う銀行口座の手続きが終わってから請求書を発行したので、それぞれ支払いが遅れて、自分への給料なし。仕方ない。来月初旬に数件の入金があるはず。

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It’s been two years since the execution of Saddam Hussein. And the killing continues in the Gaza Strip.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Abbas Blames Hamas for Israeli Raids

There are many funny things. And this can be definitely counted as one. The whole Arab world and Iran are once again in flame with anger for Israel’s massive bombing raids on the Gaza Strip. The only exception is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He is blaming Hamas for its refusal to extend the truce, as the Sankei website reports.

In its air raids that started on Saturday, Israel has killed nearly 300 people so far. Israel bombed the Islamic University and is now threatening a ground assault.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sleeping Problem Yet Again

ここ数日、眠りに問題あり。寝つきが悪いし、自分のグーズーといういびきを聞きながら眠っているような状態。

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ずっと気になってるんやけど、「素と健」って何?んで、このバランスの悪いフォントはなんで?

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Mr. [T.S.] Eliot describes [Rudyard] Kipling’s metrical work as “verse” and not “poetry,” but adds that it is “great verse,” and further qualifies this by saying that a writer can only be described as a “great verse-writer” if there is some of his work “of which we cannot say whether it is verse of poetry.” Apparently Kipling was a versifier who occasionally wrote poems… (“Rudyard Kipling” by George Orwell)

Hmmm… What is the difference between “verse” and “poetry”?

So far as writing goes, all one can attempt is a process of simplification. The first step… is to find out which of the abstract words habitually used by politicians are understood by large numbers of people. If phrases like “unprincipled violation of declared pledges” or “insidious threat to the basic principles of democracy” don’t mean anything to the average man, then it is stupid to use them. Secondly, in writing one can keep the spoken word constantly in mind… [if] you habitually say to yourself, “Could I simplify this? Could I make it more like speech,” you are not likely to produce sentences like the one quoted from Professor [Harold] Laski above: nor are you likely to say “eliminate” when you mean kill, or “static water” when you mean fire tank.

(Professor Laski: “As a whole, our system was a compromise between democracy in the political realm – itself a very recent development in our history – and an economic power oligarchically organised which was in its turn related to a certain aristocratic vestigial still able to influence profoundly the habits of our society.”)

The “educated” accent, of which the accent of the B.B.C. announcers is a sort of parody, has no asset except its intelligibility to English-speaking foreigners. In England the minority to whom it is natural don’t particularly like it, while in the other three quarters of the population it arouses an immediate class antagonism. (“Propaganda and Demotic Speech” by George Orwell)

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EVEN MORE PALESTINIANS BEING KILLED IN GAZA!

From the BBC website: [Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni told a meeting of her Kadima party that she would topple Hamas if she became prime minister after the general election on 10 February.
“The state of Israel, and a government under me, will make it a strategic objective to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza,” she said. “The means for doing this should be military, economic and diplomatic.
“Israel must react when it is fired upon, must re-establish its force of dissuasion and stop the rockets,” she added. “This is what has to be done and this is what I will do.”
[Benjamin] Netanyahu, whose right-wing Likud party is currently ahead in the polls, meanwhile called for a more “active policy of attack”, accusing the current government of being too “passive”.
"In the long-term, the toppling of the Hamas regime is inevitable," he said while visiting Sderot on Sunday.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"I'm Waving at You, My Folks"

天皇誕生日だった23日の産経新聞(電子版)の見出しには、「陛下、笑顔でお手振り」とあった。「お手振り」……。以前にも見たように思う。そんな日本語があるのか?日本語を知らぬ記者か皇室フリークによる造語か?手を振るという単純な行為を皇族が行うと特別な意味をもち、「お」を冠するべき行為とみなしているのか?少なくとも、全国紙が見出しに使う用語やないやろ。

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読売新聞(電子版)が以下のように報じている。
「政府は24日の閣議で、衆院予算委員会での宮崎礼壹内閣法制局長官の政教分離に関する答弁を撤回する答弁書を決定した。公明党の山口那津男参院議員の質問主意書に答えたもので、憲法や法律に関する政府解釈を行う内閣法制局が国会答弁を撤回するのは異例だ。民主党の菅代表代行は10月7日の同委員会で、宗教団体による政治権力の行使に関し、オウム真理教教祖が党首だった『真理党』を例に引いて、 『(国会などで)多数を占め、権力を使ってオウム真理教の教えを広めようとした場合、憲法の政教分離の原則に反するか』と質問した。これに対し、宮崎長官は『違憲になる』と答えた。この答弁に関し、山口氏は質問主意書で、『事実関係を仮定しての質問に、法令を当てはめて答弁したことは不適当だ』と指摘した。答弁書では、宗教団体が支援する政党に属する者が国政を担当しても、団体が政治権力を行使することにならない、という政府見解を改めて示し、『見解を変更したと受け取られかねないことは指摘の通りで、内閣法制局として撤回したい』とした。菅氏は24日の記者会見で、『(公明党の支持母体の)創価学会という宗教組織に有利になるよう閣議決定が左右されている』と批判した。」

またこの答弁撤回について毎日新聞(電子版)は、「民主党:菅氏『言論弾圧』と批判」で、「政府は24日の閣議で、宮崎礼壹内閣法制局長官の政教分離をめぐる国会答弁を撤回する答弁書を決定した。10月7日の衆院予算委で、民主党の菅直人代表代行の『政治権力を握り、教えを広めたら憲法の政教分離に反するか』との質問に『違憲』と認めた答弁。公明党の山口那津男政調会長が『誤解を与える』と質問主意書を提出していた。これを受け、菅氏は25日の会見で『創価学会が公明党を使って撤回させた。言論弾圧だ』と批判。来年1月召集の通常国会で証人喚問も視野に追及する考えを示した」と伝えている。

以下は、10月7日の衆院予算委員会でのやりとり(衆議院ウェブサイトからの抜粋):

菅直人委員(民主党代表代行):憲法二十条には、「いかなる宗教団体も、国から特権を受け、又は政治上の権力を行使してはならない。」とありますね。宗教が政治権力を握って特定の宗教団体のために政治権力を使うことも、この二十条、政教の分離に反すると考えますが、きょうは法制局長官、来ていますか。まず法制局長官に見解を聞きます。

宮崎礼壹内閣法制局長官:例えば、宗教団体が国や地方公共団体から統治的権力の一部を授けられてこれを行使するようなこと、これを禁止している趣旨というふうに今まで考えてきており、また表明をしております。
ところで、宗教団体が支援している政党が政権に参加するというのは、宗教団体が推薦しまたは支持している公職の候補者が、公職に就任して国政を担当するに至ることを指すものと考えられますが、そのような状態が生じたとしても、当該宗教団体と国政を担当することとなった者とは法律的に別個の存在でありますし、宗教団体が政治上の権力を行使しているということにはならないというふうに考えられますので、憲法第二十条第一項後段違反の問題を生ずることはないと考えられてきております。

菅委員:統治的な権力を使うことはだめだということは、今の見解からも明らかになりました。一九九〇年に、オウム真理教の麻原彰晃氏を党首とする真理党が結成されまして、東京を中心に二十五名の衆議院候補が立候補いたしました。幸いにして、有権者、国民は一人も当選者を出さなかった、全員を落選させました。
もし、こういった真理党が大きな多数を占めて権力を握って、政治権力を使ってオウムの教えを広めようとしたような場合、これは当然、憲法二十条の政教分離の原則に反すると考えますが、総理、いかがですか。

宮崎法制局長官:先ほど答弁申し上げましたように、今お尋ねのようなことは、まさに宗教団体が統治的権力を行使するということに当たるだろうと思いますので、それは違憲になるだろうと思います。

麻生太郎内閣総理大臣:仮定の質問というのはなかなかお答えできないんですが、今の場合はちょっとあり得そうもないような感じがしますが、いずれにしても、今法制局長官が答弁をされたのが基本的な考え方だと私も思います。

菅委員:非常にはっきりしたと思いますね。つまりは、今の法制局長官の答弁は、今私が後半で申し上げたような場合には、これは政教分離の原則に反するというように考えると言われましたので。つまり、形態なり中身によってそういうこともあり得るということを、これはオウム真理教、真理党というのは別に架空のものではありませんからね。
この真理党の場合については、もしそれが大きな力を持って、私が申し上げたようなことをやった場合は、それは憲法二十条に反するという見解、これは非常にはっきりしてよかったと思っております。

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Other Element of Man

A dirty joke is not, of course, a serious attack upon morality, but it is a sort of mental rebellion, a momentary wish that things were otherwise… Society has always to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice. It has to demand faultless discipline and self-sacrifice, it must expect its subjects to work hard, pay their taxes, and be faithful to their wives… It is only that the other element in man, the lazy, cowardly, debt-bilking adulterer who is inside all of us, can never be suppressed altogether and needs a hearing occasionally. (“The Art of Donald McGill,” pp.166-167, “All Art Is Propaganda” by George Orwell)

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超特急仕事を終えて、全部「はけた」。 この仕事は、「ご本人」がやるべきもの。昨日書いたことと関係するけど、能力以上の仕事を請け負ってしまったということかな。

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「南海ブログ」に追加した。写真はアップロードできなかった。最近の接続状態を考えるとおどろくべきことではない。StarHub指定のテストを行って結果を送った。

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Language Work Taken So Lightly

Interpretation work is not something that one should take up so lightly. Even now, after at least some years in language business, I feel quite nervous with every assignment, especially on its first day. This year, I even turned down two interpretation offers because I thought I would not be good enough to provide quality services.

Also this year, I had chances to see other people do interpretation. Some of them were obviously substandard. It may not be considered a big issue when an interpreter, or someone who acts as such, omits tiny details as far as the person get secure hold of the major points. However, it seems that people understand the “main” points differently. For some, they seem to mean what they remember. All others are tiny details. When you are required to make the brain work between two languages verbally, your language proficiency really shows. Interpretation work gives you only a moment of time lag. Even it is a successive interpretation work, you cannot check your dictionary or bring issues that you are not sure of to your home. Clearly, what counts is what you have already stored in the brain. It reveals how insufficient your language proficiency is. And your language does include your mother tongue.

Having looked at others work, I am feeling once again that I should be even more careful in choosing assignments and performing the work if I decide to take it up.

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昨日の報道だったか、「橋本聖子外務副大臣がイラクを電撃訪問」というのがあった。これってニュース?どっちかって言うと、「イラクを電撃訪問」ではなくて、彼女が外務副大臣であることの方がニュースのように思うけど。みんな知ってるのかなぁ、橋本聖子が外務副大臣だってことを。

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「南海ブログ」をもうちょっと書き足さなければいかん。今年中にもう1本アップしたい。

Ahhhh So Frustrating

ほんまに勘弁してほしいわ。Hotmailにファイルが添付でけへんし、カネ払って作ったドメインからも、おそらく時間切れが原因でサーバーにつながらんことが多い。仕事ができへんやないか!これでもブロードバンドか!StarHubに苦情を送っといた。それともVistaのせいか?それともタダでついてきたMotorolaのモデムのせいか?どっちゃにしても、こんなんではどもならんやないか!正味な話、大事なんは接続速度より、必ず接続できるっちゅうことやないか。怒るで、ホンマっ!

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けさもヘンな夢やった。イヌ2匹登場の「家族もの」で、きっぶん悪かった。なめとったら承知せんぞっ!

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自民党の拓さんが、解散総選挙を条件に民主党と話し合って予算を成立させてはと、また無責任発言。加藤さんといっしょに新党作るか、民主党に移ったら?かつては「YKK」で大胆で先進的と思わせたけど、2人とも最近は老害に近づいてるな。どうでもいい立場だから勝手なことが言える。

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Such Weird Dreams

寝付きがいいなどど書いてしまったせいか、昨日は寝入るまで時間がかかった。 おまけにヘンな夢も見た。

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数十人いた。西洋人も多かったけど、国籍は不明。同僚のようだった。あるビルから、みんな逃げようとしていた。高層ではなかったが、数棟あったかもしれない。

建物の裏にある駐車スペースは1台しか止めることができない小さなものだったが、そこに止めてある大型車に乗った。しかし、追っ手はお見通しで、見つかった。

そこからどうやって逃げおおせたのかはわからない。二度目に逃げようとしていた時、同じ車に乗っていた人たちに「そこはダメだ」と言ってから、自分は他の手段を見つけるべく走り去った。かなりの恐怖だった。

どの場面が先だったか、時間的にはまったく混乱しているが、鉄道の駅にいた。「鶴橋」までたどり着けばいいと思って、乗車券を買おうと窓口に行くと、「もうちょっと早よ言うてもらえばよかったのに(列車は三重県か岐阜県か、雪の多いあの辺りまで)」と。残念。

おそらく駐車場を走り去って、野原を横切ったようだ。追っ手から逃れようとする人が大勢いた。野原を越えると道路わきに人の列。シンガポールによくある屋根付きのタクシースタンドのような場所。その内側へ入りさえすれば安全でほっとした。そこに並んだ人たちは、順番に呼ばれて飛行場へと進んでいった。しかし、ツアー・グループの人たちも同じ列に並んでいて、仲間の人数によっては先に進まないグループもある。自分は、Kalamazooでいっしょだった「いしかわゆうこ」ちゃん(歌手の(歌手だった?)石川優子ではない)と並んでいて、警備員がまだ乗れると手招きしたので、急いでエスカレーターを上がった。一瞬遅く、搭乗ゲートのシャッターが目の前で下ろされた。

窓の外を一機が飛び立って行くのが見えた。主翼があるべき場所には、タクシーが屋根に乗せてのを見ることがある企業広告看板の背を少し高くしたものが取り付けてあり、機体の後部はむき出しのコンテナのように四角張っていた。

次に到着した飛行機に、いしかわゆうこちゃんと乗ろうとして通路を進んでいる時、ダークグリーンの南海帽子が他の落とし物といっしょに通路の壁にひっかけてあるのを見つけた。自分のやないか!大事にかぶって通路を進んでいたら、目が覚めた。電話がかかってきたので。

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また別の夢も見た。どっちかが先だったのか、場面が分割されて、時間的に交差しているのか、やっぱりわからない。通路を進んでいた時に電話で目が覚めたことは確か。

1年に何度も見るエレベーターボーイ時代の夢だった。どういうわけか、運転するエレベーターのあるビルがいつもと異なっていて、京都の河原町ではなく、「福知山」まで行った。いちばん大きな仕事は、エレベーターの操作と清掃手順を指導すること。しかし、何年も操作していないし、いつもの場所とも違うのでずいぶん戸惑った。さらに、その日のうちに自宅に戻れない距離なので、どこに宿泊すればいいのか、はたまた地下の窓のない部屋で夜を明かさなければならないのか不安だった。

まったく操作を知らない数人に混じって、河原町でいっしょに仕事をした高校生の連中もいた。実際、職場の雰囲気は、留年しながらも読書をかかさない大学生だけの時代から高校生が混じってから変わった。それを反映してか、この夢での自分の態度は不満いっぱいのものだった。ん、お世話になった「保安長」も、どっかに出てきたな。

「福知山」には雪が積もり、タクシーで自宅に帰ることは不可能のようだった。(自宅が京都にあるのか、大阪にあるのか不明。)なぜか、ローラーコースターに乗っていて、レールが切れたところからコースターごと投げ出された。うまく着地した。

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I managed to upload the image to my “Hawks” blog, but the connection remains troublesome as simple file attachments to Hotmail sometimes fail.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dream Speak

So frustrated as I was unable to upload just an image to one of my blogs.

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So nice that it doesn’t take many minutes to fall asleep these days, but something wakes me up before dawn. Often, it is I myself who does so by uttering while dreaming a word, phrase, sentence or just exclamation.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Power Outage

Last night, I went to bed at about 11 pm and read for half an hour. When I woke up next, it was still before 3 am. Though I managed to go back to sleep, I was woken up again by the noise of a brush rubbing the outside floor. It was yet dark… It was not happy sleep. Finally, I went out of bed at 10 am, and at 11 am electricity went out. I checked the circuit breaker unit here and all were on. Stepped out, I realized that the elevators were not working. I didn’t know there would be a “power disruption” today for the whole block. The power cut continued for about an hour.

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Why do I feel unbelievably sleepy while having coffee and reading, and why am I able to read after a 6-pack?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Frustrating Connection Speed

Tonight, the net connection slowed down considerably. REAL WASTE OF TIME. And it recovered its somewhat faster speed with the power turned off and then on. Hmmm… funny.

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On Thursday, I finished the remaining two pages of “Language and Politics” and opened “All Art Is Propaganda” by George Orwell.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Net Connection Contract

I, with Miss Q, visited the nearby StarHub shop where the original connection contract had been signed. The purpose was to transfer the contract to me from her (she signed the original because my EP would expire in less than six months, which was the minimum length required) and to get a faster connection. The woman tending the place told us the place was now only for mobile phones and suggested that we go to Plaza Singapura or Vivo City.

She preferred Plaza Singapura while insisting that it should be nearer by using the free shuttle bus. But I thought Habourfront is nearer as it is only two MRT stations away. Her point seemed more about the “free” shuttle than the time or distance. I didn’t want to wait for the shuttle that would come in no time or never. In half an hour, we would already be at Vivo.

There, we found out that the “tied-up” contract period was already over. Also, the girl at the counter told me that a slower speed might be because of my 5-year old modem. Miss Q said, “Why didn’t you suspect the modem?” I decided to ask her to terminate the original contract and sign a new contract under my name.

This presumably faster, and cheaper, connection with this new contract is showing only a small improvement so far. “Connection Interrupted” still appears. I doubt it gets any better.

Meanwhile, Miss Q asked and pushed me about my apartment hunt with her usual accusatory tone. I had to say to her, “Why do you talk to me all in CAPITAL LETTERS?” She made me feel like a very small and lazy person.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

E-mail Trips, Furure Housemate & Beria Searcher

I made two trips to Coffee Bean today, in the afternoon and evening, to send a few e-mails. At home, if the file is medium-sized, Hotmail fails to complete uploading it or takes longer than forever to do so. The performance’s been noticeably slow for the past few weeks, with the message, “Connection Interrupted,” appearing on the screen too many times, and my feeling is that StarHub’s server capacity is not large enough.

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Supposing that I really have to move out here next month, there are a few issues I have to consider seriously. As it is unlikely for me to find an apartment that I can afford to rent in whole, I need someone to share the unit with. From my own horrifying experience, there is strong resistance in me for sharing in the first place. Secondly, even if I can force myself to accept the inevitability of shareing, the person who shares it with me must understand my working from home. Practically, how could we divide the payments for the utilities fairly when I would stay home for far more hours than my futute housemate? I would not want to share it with a friend too close. Neither do I want a total stranger.

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For many months, a recurring item that has been searched on the net by someone or some people is the sadistic torturer during the Stalin era, Beria. Who is it that’s so interested in his life and behavior?

Monday, December 08, 2008

General Election?

1日中、雨と曇りで「寒かった」。本格的な雨季の始まりか。

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内閣支持率の急落は読売でも同様。麻生首相はどうするかな?これ以上下がる前に解散して総選挙か?上昇するまで待つか?離党者がまとめて出て、追い詰められてしまって総辞職か?景気の悪化はアメリカのサブプライムが発端で、言わば「もらい事故」。いきなり景気対策、雇用対策を迫られていることに同情したい気もある。

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「ユニクロ」オンラインで買い物しようとしたら、発送は日本国内だけだった。

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The online connection by StarHub is often stuck, especially with Hotmail. It becomes frustratingly slow so much so that it impedes my work. Is this their way of inducing consumers to upgrade and pay more for their services? Or, is this an retribution by Microsoft on those who are not using their Internet Explorer as the default browser?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Small Differences Coming out of a Black Box as a Radical Difference

… If you were to talk Finish, I wouldn’t understand a word of what you’re saying. But nevertheless, the more we understand languages, the more we discover that they’re really cast pretty much to the same mold, that the differences among them are pretty narrowly circumscribed. Now narrowly circumscribed and minor differences in quite intricate systems can lead to an output that looks very different. You make small changes in the internal workings of an intricate system, and what comes out may look like a radical difference. But the more we understand, the more it does appear to turn out that those differences are small. And, in fact, we know that this must be the case. I mean, it’s by something almost close to logic, with very few facts.
… [In] languages like, say, English and French, questions are formed by taking the question word and putting it at the beginning of the sentence; in Chinese and Japanese, it sits there. But by now, there’s very strong reason to believe that Chinese and Japanese are doing exactly the same thing. It’s just that it happens in mental computation without any overt expression. One of the ways in which languages differ is what comes up the mouth, what parts of the mental computation actually are manifested. But the mental computations themselves seem remarkably identical. I mean, not remarkably, because they have to be. If they weren’t near identical, we couldn’t learn language in the first place. (p. 732, “After the Fall,” 22 November 1991)

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[Suppose] that the drug pretext were legitimate [in Colombia by the United States]. Suppose that the U.S. really is trying to get rid of drugs in Colombia. Does Colombia then have the right to fumigate tobacco farms in Kentucky? They are producing a lethal substance far more dangerous than cocaine (more Colombians die from tobacco-related illnesses than Americans die from cocaine). Of course, Colombia has no right to do that. (p. 738, “From ‘Communism’ to ‘Terrorism’ and the ‘Drug War,’” 21 February 2002)

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朝日、毎日の調査によると、内閣支持率が急落している。前回11月の調査で37%だった支持率は22%に、また不支持率は41%から64%ということだ。また、首相に「ふさわしい」のは、麻生首相が30%(前回49%)で、民主党の小沢代表が35%(同23%)と、小沢代表が初めて逆転した。一方、毎日新聞の調査は、内閣支持率を21%(10月36%)、不支持率を58%(同41%)。また、首相に「ふさわしい人」は、首相が19%(同40%)で、小沢代表が21%(同18%)だった。

公明党の固い組織票を目当てにして同党と組んでいる自民党を強く支持するわけにはいかないが、自分には「小沢、鳩山、管」というチグハグな組み合わせが、横路氏のように旧社会党出身者から小沢氏のように旧自由党出身者までが構成する、この民主党という政党のご都合主義を象徴しているように見えて仕方がない。しかし、この支持率では選挙は不可能。

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Wrong Japanese Usage & Language Signals

「復刻Tシャツ」が昨日届いた。うれしいので、昨日も今日も「1」を着てた。「19」を着ることをためらってしまう。「1」の字体が違うやないか、と思って調べたら、ツルオカさん時代はこの字体を使っていた。それを調べてると、別冊週刊ベースボールの「さらば!南海ホークス」に「ブラッシンゲームことブレイザー」とあった。これって「猪木寛至ことアントニオ猪木」と書くのと同じ。情けない。

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One of the interesting things about helping someone learn Japanese is that I am able to notice the way how the brain tries to pass “language signals” back and forth between the two languages. I know that his language signals originate in English and his brain tries to convert them into Japanese. I believe I went through the same process, which is probably inevitable at the beginning and slowly disappear as a signal channel for each language is constructed within the brain. After this process, signals for different languages learn how to live together so managing to handle signals from different sources become somewhat easier. It is like a marriage that is going smoothly even with occasional arguments.

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数日前、自民党の加藤元幹事長が「自民党の歴史的使命は終わった」と言っていた。そう思うなら、「なんでまだ自民党にいるの?」ときいてみたい。

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Chores Done, But...

This afternoon, I collected the company stamp I had ordered on Monday and solved why it was so cheap. It requires an ink pad. Well, ok… it’s a tiny nuisance. I got a pad at “Popular” of T.B. Plaza.

I also mailed the documents requested by the bank, signed and stamped, and sent $$ to my Japanese account to pay for credit card expenses. Chores done, I escaped a high humidity after an afternoon passing shower to Coffee Bean for some work, only to realize I didn't have the work materials with me.

Human Relations... Enigma

摩訶不思議。ついさっき緊急電話あり。人との関係はむずかしいとまたもや知らされる。自分の与り知らないところで何かが起こることがある。狭いこの国で、仕事(=カネ)や信義に関係することなら一層むずかしい。はぁ~……、さて、午後にはハンコ屋へ行って、おじさんから会社のスタンプを受け取ることにしよう。

Monday, December 01, 2008

Cheap Rubber Company Stamp and Nice Mature Lady

I ordered a rubber company stamp this afternoon. I was going to a shop which I had found on the web and where a stamp would cost around S$20 and more. In the same complex (Tanjong Pagar Plaza), I saw a tiny stamp shop. Not bothering to move around to find the S$20-shop, I entered the tiny one and ordered a rubber stamp. S$7.50. A nice deal.

Back in T. Bahru, I decided to work at C.B. as I was with my PC. I had to take a seat outside as the air-conditioned inside was fully packed. And outside there was a lady who looked like Kym Ng… She was exuding a more mature atmosphere and the lady totally distracted me. I went home to work…

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Barak Obama will nominate Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State. Does she have any diplomatic experience, as a former First Lady or whatever else? I don’t think so.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ozawa Expecting Next PM from LDP

昨日、麻生首相と小沢代表の初めての党首討論が行われた。小沢代表は冒頭、自らの代表就任以来、新首相就任は3度目で、「このままだと、近いうちに4回目のお祝いを申し上げる状況になりかねない」と挑発した。ん?政権交代を目指す民主党ではあるが、次の首相も自民党からだとすでに思っているようだ。奇怪である。

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The name and registered address of the company changed successfully. Now I need a new company stamp.

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On Friday and yesterday, I made absolutely zero progress with my translation… because Photoshop work is so much fun!! But a BIG problem is scanning with the printer makes other PC operations almost IMPOSSIBLE.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rushing Day & Scanning Work

Monday morning, I went to Cecil Street for an appointment at a lawyer’s office to help some people explain their business plans and ask the lawyer to write up contract and application documents. I also had a cursory look at a thick document that the other party had prepared for a court case they are involved in. Then I rushed to Tai Sen to return a security card that I had forgotten to bring there on the last day of my interpretation work. Back in Tiong Bahru, I had a quick lunch at BK and arranged sofas for an appointment at 2:30 with the visitors from SMBC, who came here to set up a software program for managing the company account. The program looks straightforward but I know I will make errors.

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I made scanning faster by lowering the dpi level so I could manage it more easily and started replacing photos that I took with my camera months ago and should have been scanned in the first place.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Noisy Printer/Scanner & Mistaken Identities

After a few days of consideration, I got a new printer. An all-in-one Epson partly to appreciate Mr. F. But… printing creates loud mechanical noise and scanning a small color photo takes about 20 minutes! I almost called him in heaven to complain!

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Late last night, I thought I found someone I know when drinking shochu at CC. She was looking at me at some distance. We greeted each other by lightly bowing. She said, “Have you changed your hairstyle?” I replied, “It’s been this way for long.” It seems we were mistaking each other as someone else.

End of a Work & State Indoctrination

The interpretation work that lasted for three weeks ended yesterday (on Friday). It was eventful three weeks with them, on and off work. I truly hope that those happenings, good and not so good, will become memories they will miss for whatever reason. I also wish to see all of them again in Singapore, Taiwan or even in Japan.

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Lectures and QA sessions Noam Chomsky gave at the University of California in 1988 are so incisive, even harsh. “The Economist” used to be a very good source of information, but I’m losing interest in reading all news magazines. What a significant difference he is making to my life! PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, WAKE UP! Those in power always try to indoctrinate you to suit their way of thinking. So be careful.

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Browsing through the Borders bookstore this afternoon (on Saturday), I got a collection of essays by George Orwell, “All Arts are Propaganda.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wishing for a Reunion, Stifling Tropical Island & the Old Braves

The 3-week interpretation work is coming to its end. Yet again, I’ve seen and learned many things. Just as was the case with the NTT engineers, I will miss them and hope to have a “reunion” someday somewhere.

During this period, I went to “Vivo City” for the first time (after its completion) and returned to “Junction 8” in Bishan after so many years.

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Today’s “Today” printed two letters on the one-party system in its “Voices” section. One of them, from a Gerald Glam, says, “If the PAP ever becomes corrupt, there will be absolutely no time for a viable alternative party to suddenly “spring up,” since political organisations take years to build up credibility… [A] corrupt government with a firm control on the levers of power will tend to use that power to entrench itself, stifling any potential opposition from arising…

Another, a Yak Chin Hua, writes that “[the] very preaching in favour of a one-party system contradicts the basic principles and the real beauty of democracy – that such a decision should be left to a politically mature electrate to decide…

Quite true. But, a government will stifle any potential opposition from emerging? It’s not “will.” It’s been this way here for so many years by manipulating the drawing of constituencies, including the introduction of package-deal ones, and forcing serious and ernest but disobedient guys to bankruptcy. Being corrupt or not is not a fundamental issue. At the same time, those elite people seem to deplore a lack of talent. Why? That’s exactly because they, clean or corrupt, are stifling spontenious creativity and different perspectives. This lack of talent, imaginary or real, is their own creation. Nurturing of talent requires a “politically mature” electrate. This is just a “kintaro-ame” nation.

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昨日の夕方、仕事の帰り。「阪急ブレーブス」最後の帽子をかぶった駅からプラザへと向かう男性を発見した。シンガポールに来てまだ間もない頃には、阪急のビジター用ユニフォームを着た人も見た。背番号14。背中に「YAMAGUCHI」とあった。「山口高志」やないかぁ!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So Much to Do, and This is the 1000th Entry

Very much tired. I needed three more days than I’d originally thought to finish a translation job due to the PC condition and my own health. PC settings seem okay now. December should be rather quiet, which is not so desirable for my finance but welcoming for me to allow time to settle a few things about the company. Tonight, I prepared two cheques to make “legacy payments.” I can do only so much by myself. My “Hawks blog” is becoming dormant.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sayonara to My Old Buddy

November 6 (Thursday): Deeply frustrated with my PC, I decided to buy a new one and acted on it quickly. The previous day, I couldn’t proceed with my work at all as the PC was totally crazy. The browser and Word had no problem starting up, but they were not responding to my requests. Or rather the PC seemed even hostile to me. A virus and spyware check detected nothing. But I truly appreciate the continuous hard work my old PC did for me for more than five years.

And this new PC with Vista… Oh so hard to handle. Real shit. It appears that heavy security burdens are being passed to consumers in the form of poor operability. I can’t even change the name of a “User” now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two Impossible Taxi Drivers

October 31 (Friday): From Centennial Tower to Lippo Center by taxi. For this short distance, the driver went on the expressway. Wondering where he would take me… Saw Lippo through the window. No way to stop until the next exit. He was taking me to “Vivo Center” at Harbor Front! “Vivo Center”? There is no such place.

November 3 (Monday): It was already past midnight, so November 4, actually.
“Tiong Bahru, Jalan Membina.”
“Geylang?”
“I said Jalan Membina!”
“I thought you said Geylang… From which way? Orchard and Tanglin?”
“River Valley (and fuck you)!”

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Help Wanted

I had four appointments last Friday from late afternoon to evening, including one with a banker. One of the nice things about my work is that I don’t usually have to see people at meetings. Then, this time, there were some remaining things I got to finish regarding the company and I needed some more work to survive the rest of the year.

The latter two appointments involved drinking. Though I was still very much okay when I arrived for the third one, at the end I couldn’t tell a person from a dog, a dog from a cat for that matter. I was not talking straight. Nor was I walking straight. There are still a few issues… and I wouldn’t complain if I got help. A 3-week interpretation work starts tomorrow.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Let Me Sleep

はあぁ~……。眠れんかった。またあとで昼寝することにしよう。すぐ近所に最近戻ってきた「ジャングル鳥」の叫びが明け方にうるさくて、昨日もよく眠れず、夢を見ているのか、考えているのかわからない状態で、時間だけは長くベッドで過ごした。

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Morality Will Progress: Are You a Wage Slave?

As far as moral judgments are concerned, I think we’re on pretty shaky ground. However, given what indications we have from anthropology and history and intuition and so on, it seems to me that there is reason to believe that there are biologically rooted principles entering into moral judgments. Those principles are not obvious to us; we learn them through experience. Our moral and ethical judgements, to a certain extent, grow out of those principles, although they are obviously heavily conditioned by various doctrinal systems with social and historical roots, and by perceived choices and available interpretations that are socially and historically conditioned… It seems to me that, throughout history, it is quite common to find things that were regarded as entirely reasonable, ethical, and acceptable in earlier periods regarded with great contempt and disgust in later periods… If you read the Bible, say, you find that it is one of the most genocidal texts in our literature. It’s God who orders his chose people to wipe out the Amaledites down to the last man, woman and child.

… [A] little over a century ago, slavery was widely regarded as not only not wrong but even as highly ethical… If history goes on for another hundred years, which is dubious, I imagine that people will be looking back to practices that we accept and condone and will regard them as morally monstrous. In fact, it is not difficult to point to some of them. For example, we now regard it as a moral monstrosity for one person to enslave another, but we regard it as proper and just for people to be compelled to rent themselves to others to be able to survive – what was once called “wage slavery.” Someday we may come to appreciate that this too is an infringement on fundamental human rights – as, in fact, has long been argued in the libertarian socialist tradition. Similarly, the state system is based on principles of control, domination, and coercion that will, I hope, be regarded as morally intolerable… (“Aspects of a Theory of Mind (December 1984)”)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Russian Night

Who fails to watch “Waldbühne Berlin (Russian Night) 1993, Berliner Philharmoniker with Seiji Ozawa” without smiling? Tonight I watched this concert DVD for the 10th time (or more?). As far as the conductor keeps his long hair, I will keep mine. 「料理酒」のボトル1本、飲んでしまった……。

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fuck!

What have I done? What called up those images? Emotionally heavy and apparently overlapping images that I saw in dreams this morning and afternoon made a terrible day and bound me to the bed until 7 pm. Isolation, condemnation… Any real bad news in store for me?

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At least eight people died in the eastern Syria by an alleged U.S. attack. An unnamed U.S. military official told the Associated Press that the raid by U.S. special forces targeted al-Qaeda-linked foreign fighters who were moving through Syria into Iraq. Al Jazeera reports that the Syrian government is considering a “response.”

Hmmmmm… People should ask how and why organizations like al-Qaeda and Hamas came into being in the first place.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Princess Grace & Chomsky's Lectures

I woke up only at 3 pm. My eyes opened at an early hour once but I simply went back to sleep. I didn’t feel bad when I woke up but the Soka chant was still sounding in my head. I’m not sure at all if the chant was coming from outside or it was a matter that was occurring only in my head.

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Late last night, I watched “Rear Window,” a Hitchcock classic. In “The Deer Hunter,” there is a scene where Steve, now wheelchair-bound because of the injuries he suffered in Vietnam, mentions a visit of “Princess Grace.” Princess Grace of Monaco appears as the super-beauty actress Grace Kelly playing the role of a rich girl in “Rear Window.” A pure coincidence.

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I finally crossed the mid-point of “Language and Politics.” Professor Chomsky explains his biological and psychological theory toward language and universal grammar (UG) in a far more accessible way in Interviews, “Language as a Key to Human Nature and Society (24 September 1983)” and “Things No Amount of Learning Can Teach (November 1983).”

… The assumption is that physical structures are genetically inherited and intellectual structures are learned.
I think that this assumption is wrong. None of these structures is learned. They all grow, they grow in comparable ways…

… [The] basic structures for our behaviour are innate. The specific details of how they grow would depend on interaction with the environment.

… I don’t think that there is any scientific evidence about the question whether we think only in language or not. But introspection indicates pretty clearly that we don’t think only in language necessarily. We also think in terms of visual images, we think in terms of situations and events, and so on, and many times we can’t even begin to express it in words, it is a common experience to say something and then to recognize that it is not what we meant, that it is something else.

I think that a very important aspect of language has to do with the establishing of social relations and interactions. Often, this is described as communication. But that is very misleading, I think. There is a narrow class of uses of language where you intend to communicate. Communication refers to an effort to get people to understand what one means. And that, certainly, is one use of language and a social use of it. But I don’t think that is the only social use of language. Nor are social uses the only uses of language. For example, language can be used to express or clarify one’s thoughts with little regard for the social context, if any.

[We] are only one species. You can imagine a different world in which a number of species developed with different genetically determined linguistic systems. It hasn’t happened in evolution. What has happened is that one species has developed, and the genetic structure of this species happens to involve a variety of intricate abstract principles of linguistic organization which, therefore, necessarily constrain every language, and, in fact, create the basis for learning language as a way of organizing experience rather than constituting something learned from experience.

I don’t think [human behaviors and languages] differ so much. I think that as human beings we quite naturally take for granted what is similar among human beings and they pay attention to what differentiates us. That makes perfect sense for us as human beings. I suppose that frogs pay no attention to being a frog. They take it for granted. What interests a frog are differences among frogs. From our point of view they are all more of less the same, from their point of view they are all radically different.

… Imagine an extrahuman observer looking at us. Such an extrahuman observer would be struck by the uniformity of human languages, by the very slight variation from one language to another. And by the remarkable respects in which all languages are the same. And then he would notice observing us that we do not pay attention to that because for the purpose of human life it is quite natural and appropriate just to take for granted that is common. We don’t concern ourselves with that, all we worry about are differences.

… Let’s imagine again an observer looking at us without any preconceptions. I think he would be struck by the fact that although human beings have the capacity to develop scientific knowledge, it must be a very limited capacity because it is done only in very narrow and specific domains. There are huge areas where the human mind is apparently incapable of forming sciences or at least has not done so… (“Language as a Key to Human Nature and Society (24 September 1983)”)

Consider something that everyone agrees to is due to heredity – the fact that humans develop arms rather than wings… [We] assume that heredity must be responsible. In fact, if someone came along and said that a bird embryo is somehow “trained” to grow wings, people would just laugh…

… You have to laugh at claims that heredity plays no significant role in language learning, because exactly the same kinds of genetic arguments hold for language learning as hold for embryological development.
… In fact, language development really ought to be called “language growth” because the language organ grows like any other body organ.

… If someone came along and said, “Kids are trained to undergo puberty because they see other people,” once again everybody would laugh… [We] all assume that puberty is genetically determined.

… Look, all through an organism’s existence, from birth to death, it passes through a series of genetically programmed changes. Plainly language growth is simply one of those predetermined changes. Language depends upon genetic endowment that’s on a par with the ones that specify the structure of our visual or circulatory systems, or determine that we have arms instead of wings.

The best evidence involves those aspects of a language’s grammar that are so obvious, so intuitively self-evident to everyone, that they are quite rightly never mentioned in traditional grammars.

… Some of the oddities of English pronoun behavior illustrate what I mean. Take the sentence, “John believes he is intelligent.” Okay, we all know that “he” can refer to either John or to someone else; so the sentence is ambiguous. It can mean either that John thinks he, John, is intelligent, or that someone else is intelligent. In contrast, consider the sentence, “John believes him to be intelligent.” Here the pronoun “him” can’t refer to John; it can refer only to someone else.
Now, did anyone teach us this peculiarity about English pronouns when we were children? It would be hard to even imagine a training procedure that would convey such information to a person. Nevertheless, everybody knows it – knows it without experience, without training, and at quite an early age…

… [Let] me give you another example. English contains grammatical constructions that are called parasitic gaps. In these constructions, you can drop a pronoun and still understand the sentence in the same way as when the sentence contains a pronoun. Consider the sentence, “Which article did you file without reading it?” Notice that you can drop the pronoun “it” without changing meaning or grammaticality. You can say, “Which file did you file without reading?” But you can’t say, “John was killed by a rock falling on,” when you mean, “John was killed by a rock falling on him.” This time omitting the pronoun destroys both meaning and grammaticality.

Constructions of this type – where you can or cannot drop the pronoun – are very rare. In fact, they are so rare that it is quite likely that during the period a child masters his native language (the first five or six years of life), he never hears any of these constructions, or he hears them very sporadically. Nonetheless, every native speaker of English knows flawlessly when you can and can’t drop pronouns in these kinds of sentences.

… We now know that universal grammar consists of a collection of preprogrammed subsystems that include, for example, on responsible meaning, another responsible for stringing together phrases in a sentence, a third one that deals, among other things, with the kinds of relationships between nouns and pronouns that I discussed earlier. And there are a number of others.

These subsystems are not genetically preprogrammed down to the last detail. If they are, there would be only one human language. But heredity does set rather narrow limits on the possible ways that the rules governing each subsystem’s function can vary. Languages like English and Italian, for example, differ in their choice of genetically permitted variations that exist as options in the universal grammar. You can think of these options as a kind of linguistic menu containing mutually exclusive grammatical possibilities.

For example, languages like Italian have chosen the “null subject” option from the universal grammar menu: in Italian you can say “left” when you mean “he left” or “she left.” English and French have passed up this option and chosen instead the rule that requires explicit mention of the subject.

In English the most important element in every major grammatical category comes first in its phrase. In simple sentences, for example, we say “John hit Bill,” not “John Bill hit.” With adjectives we say “proud of John” not “John of proud”; with nouns we say “habit of drinking wine,” not “drinking wine of habit”; and with prepositions we say “to John,” not “John to.” Because heads of grammatical categories always come first, English is called a head-initial language.

Japanese is a head-final language. In Japanese you say “John Bill hit.” And instead of prepositions, there are postpositions that follow nouns: “John to,” rather than “to John.” So here’s another parameter the child’s got to learn from experience: Is the language head-initial or head-final?

… A slight change in just one of the universal grammar’s parameters can have enormous repercussions throughout the language. It can produce an entirely different language. (“Things No Amount of Learning Can Teach (November 1983)”)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Plunged Concentration

A day of low concentration. Woke up after only a few hours of sleep. Checked online papers and watched a DVD, “The Deer Hunter.” The main character, Michael (Robert De Niro) is a tough guy a bit too perfect from beginning to end. Took a nap after the movie. Very much irritated by the chant of a weekly Soka gathering at the next block.

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For quite some time, a person (or persons) has been looking for information of Stalin’s Soviet Union. I hope my quotes from a book by Montefiore help.

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I haven’t reached the mid point of “Language and Politics.”

Friday, October 24, 2008

October 23... a Special Day?

日付が変わってしまったけど、10月23日は親父の命日かな。「かな」って、しっかり覚えていないんだな。1993年だったことはさすがに記憶してるけど。ここには、ろうそくも線香もなく、供養することもできなくて申し訳ない。でも、あんたが親父であったことに間違いはない。

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Eと回転すし屋に行った。ちょっと早いけど、お互いの誕生日記念。ゆっくりがんばれ~。応援してるよ。

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

US "Human Rights" Government, Subservient Media & East Timor

[In] December 1975 Indonesia invaded East Timor, surely with the collusion of the United States. The invasion took place a few hours after President Ford and Henry Kissinger left Jakarta. The Indonesian army was 90 percent armed with American arms… The United States has been in fact the primary force in both providing the armaments required for the invasion and also providing diplomatic cover and trying to prevent – successfully in this case – any knowledge of the consequences from spreading throughout the world. (p. 247, “Ideological Reconstruction after Vietnam (7 June 1979)”)

… It is known in small Third World countries, and they take it very seriously. And there are occasional exceptions in the West. But it has been extremely difficult against the concentrated opposition of the Western powers, and especially in the face of the almost total refusal of the mass media in the West to provide any information whatsoever, except the State Department propaganda, about these ongoing massacres. In fact, it is one of the most extreme examples that I know of that demonstrates the fundamentally totalitarian character of the Western mass media and their subservience to the power of the major imperialist states. (p. 249, “Ideological Reconstruction after Vietnam (7 June 1979)”)

Right now, the part of the population that’s still alive [in East Timor] is mostly starving to death under conditions that American aid officials privately say are quite comparable to what exists in Cambodia. And the media refuse to publish a word about this. A few of them have published what is for the most part Indonesian government propaganda, but the majority of them haven’t said anything at all. Now in this case, the American media are behaving precisely in the manner of a totalitarian state-controlled press. But they’re doing if for their own interests. (p. 256, “On Human Rights and Ideology (October 1979)”)

… Indonesia has been a valued ally [of the United States] since the military regime demonstrated its anti-communist credentials by presiding over the massacres of many hundreds of thousands of people in 1965-66, then turning the country into a “paradise for investors,” who are impeded in their plunder of the country’s wealth only by the rapacity and corruption of the leadership. For this reason, the great crusade for “human rights” must ignore the misery of Timor – or more accurately, must lend its constant and increasing support to abetting the Indonesian atrocities and vastly extending their scale, while the press searches for evidence of Communist crimes. (p. 263, “An American View of the Ideological Confrontation of Out Time (3 February 1980)”)

… I don’t agree that the Carter administration has any concern for human rights. I think it has a human rights rhetoric that is perfectly consistent with supplying armaments for some of the world. On the other hand, it was from a propaganda point of view very effective to suddenly raise the human rights banner in 1976, at a time when there had been a great deal of revulsion over the obvious American role in repressing human rights throughout the world.
… Now as far as I know, no great power in the world in history has ever followed a human-rights policy – certainly not this administration. (pp. 253 – 254, “On Human Rights and Ideology (October 1979)”)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

1st Prez Debate & Meat Processing Plant

I feel I didn’t sleep even for a moment. I feel so possibly because I really didn’t sleep even for a moment. I was thinking about the YouTube video of the first presidential debate I watched late last night (more than three weeks late).

Obama’s voice was strong and his diction clear while McCain was speaking like through a denture. McCain seems to me someone in the Reagan-Bush mold, and he is firmly pro-Israel. Obama said that America was “less respected” in the world but offered no explanation as to why. The U.S. is less respected because it is ready and willing to invade other countries and kill people to secure its energy resources, disregarding cultural and religious sentiments. The U.S. is less respected because it has been providing the most advanced killing machines to Israel, which is safeguarding the region for the U.S. During the debate, there was absolutely no mention of Saddam Hussein. Nor was there any mention of Japan either.

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And suddenly the following scenes of the dream I had the morning before came back to me.

数人(5人?10人?)といっしょで、場所は、「ここ、と畜場、えぇ、食肉加工場でしょ」。中にいた人が「そうですよ」と答えた。覗き見ると、加工作業中の人たちがいた。「You got very dirty areas and those that have to be very clean」と言うと、「そうですよ」と答えた人がうなずいた。

加工場は孤立したコミュニティーのようで、そこで働く人たちは強く結束しているようだった。部外者も迎え入れるが、仲間にすることはないという排他的な雰囲気が漂っていた。「いかいさん」がそこで働いていた。エレベーターボーイだった時の先輩だった「いかいさん」。言葉を交わすことはなかった。長年経っているのに、自分はまだエレベーターボーイのままで、気分が沈んだ。

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dream of Snowy Mountains

すっかり雪化粧した京都市内北部の山々が昨日の朝の夢だった。その雪景色をうちの縁側から眺めていた。見えるはずないのに。そして場面は御薗橋辺りか。さらに北の山は雪に覆われていたが、賀茂川沿いの「舟形」周辺は紅葉で彩られていた。

けさの夢。いずれの雑誌かわからないが、とにかく米誌を読んでいた。場所は京都のうちのようだった。数冊あって、また同誌の日本語版もあり、掲載記事を比較していた。記事のひとつは大リーグの話で、ピッチャーは「江夏豊」だった。掲載されていた試合の写真には、一塁側フェンスの電光板に登板している投手の名が表示されていて、相手チームの投手とともに「Enatsu」とあった。自分のそばには日本語の新聞もあって、兄が「それを渡してくれ」と口か目で言った。自分でとればええやないか、と思いながら渡した。

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Back to "Language and Politics"

After several Japanese novels and non-fictions, I once again came back to “Language and Politics.” I do hope to finish this big book by the end of the year. (It is certainly regrettable that the book has a few typos, which distracts my concentration.)

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According to the Asahi Shimbun website, Prime Minister Aso visited a supermarket in Tokyo today to feel how ordinary people’s day-to-day lives are affected by price rises only to end the day with a dinner at the Imperial Hotel.

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Hmmm… The sudden increase of one-day page views (to 60) of a week ago seems an aberration. But why did it increase so dramatically?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yasukuni Reportage: Irresponsible Papers

産経新聞(電子版):(昭和26年10月18日の日米安保特別)委員会終了後のこの日夕、吉田首相は靖国神社に向かっている。秋の例大祭に合わせて参拝するためだった。
各紙とも1面トップで伝えた条約論戦とはちがって参拝報道は落ち着いていた。朝日新聞は事実を短く伝えただけ。本紙と読売新聞は写真付き2段見出しで「吉田首相も参拝」。一方、毎日新聞は「吉田さん、靖国神社へ」の見出しと写真付きで社会面トップ。「参拝はわずか十分で終ったが、遺族たちは終戦以来初めて参拝した首相の姿を満足そうにいつまでも見送っていた」と結んでいる。
隔世の感、である。

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「沈黙のファイル」を読了した。ウラジオストクの北に位置するジャリコーワで関東軍が正式に降伏した同軍の秦彦三郎総参謀長とワシレフスキー元帥との会談に同席し、その後抑留された将兵向けの「日本新聞」に編集長として携わったイワン・コワレンコとのインタビューが巻末に掲載されている。「ちぎり投げ型」「投げ捨て型」の訳文が多く読みにくい。

「不毛地帯」に描かれている菊の紋章の「踏み絵」は、「沈黙のファイル」も「シベリアの寒村ムーリー」の収容所での出来事として触れている。

抑留将校と商社マンという葛藤が描かれた「不毛地帯の壱岐正」と大本営作戦参謀としての反省が感じられない「沈黙のファイルの瀬島龍三」。乖離がある。

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民主党の石井一副代表が2003年に「マルチ商法業界」から450万円の献金を受けていたと報じられている。石井参院議員は公明党と創価学会との関係を予算委員会で追及したばかり。どうも計画された反撃のような気がする。

毎日新聞(電子版):公明党の漆原良夫国対委員長も18日、金沢市で講演し、「今日の新聞を見たら、国会は今、(歌手の)山本リンダ状況になっていると、いいことを書いていた。どんどん走っており、『どうにもとまらない』ということだ」と述べ、新聞記事を紹介する形で、早期解散に向け与党が準備を加速しているとの認識を示した。【仙石恭】

こんなもん記事にするな!くだらん。仙石某は学会員か?学会員のリンダは「噂を信じちゃいけないよ」とも歌っていた。

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Know You Have Something to HIde

読売新聞(電子版):15日の参院予算委員会で、民主党の石井一副代表が公明党と支持母体の創価学会の関係を取り上げ、「宗教と政治が一体となっている」などと批判し、一時騒然となる場面があった。
石井氏は、政治と宗教に関する集中審議の必要性に言及、池田大作・創価学会名誉会長らの参考人招致を求める考えも示唆した。公明党を揺さぶり、早期の衆院解散・総選挙につなげる狙いがあったと見られる。

「騒然となった」って、その場面を見てないけど、隠しておきたいことのある公明党議員が騒いだんじゃないの。解散や選挙といった目先の問題とは次元が違うと思うけど。

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「沈黙のファイル」は、戦後賠償に絡んだインドネシアと韓国との商売の闇、そしてシベリア抑留生活や辻正信ら参謀たちの戦後、また次期主力戦闘機を巡る商戦へと話を広げていく。

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Prof. Tadano & Sejima Ryuzo

「文学部但野教授」読了。教授の文芸批評論はわかりやすく語られているが、それでも十分難解だ。批評家、文学者、文芸界に論争が沸き起こったもの無理はない。

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続いて、「沈黙のファイル:『瀬島龍三』とは何だったのか」の再読を始めた。「瀬島龍三風」の人物が登場する「沈まぬ太陽」と「不毛地帯」を終えた今、新しい見方ができると思う。「沈黙のファイル「では、「不毛地帯」では触れられていない「ひも付き」の戦後賠償ビジネスを巡る政財界の暗闇が見えてくるだろう。

Monday, October 13, 2008

"Professor Tadano"

「文学部但野教授」の後半には、筒井作品に欠かせないドタバタが出現する。何かちょっと懐かしい。25年ぶりぐらいかな。

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創価学会徳島文化会館に爆発物?自分じゃないよ~。「文化会館」。何かちょっと懐かしい。あ、あれは「大阪スタヂアム文化会館」か。

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Page Views Suddenly Increased

平均11だったのが、先月の更新がわずかだったこともあってか6まで減っていた「page view」がこの日曜日は60になっている。なぜか?公明党・創価学会について少し書いたので、会員のみなさまが訪問してくださっているのでしょうか?そうだとしたら、ご批判の前によ~くご自分の胸に手をあててみることですな。

小生はガキだった頃、近所に選挙応援に来た山本リンダを見にも行ったし、小学生時代は選挙投票日の翌日に学校で「公明党、全員当選」と誇っていました。当然、それが何なのかわからずに。担任の先生は困ってただろうな。

高校生になってから同級生に会員がいた。仲のいい友人だったが、彼は自分の過去を知らないようだった。おそらく、子供の頃の「勤行会」で顔を合わせていたかも知れない。お互い30歳を超えていた時期に「聖教新聞をとってくれ。嫁もお前なら読んでくれるよと言っている」。はっきりお断りした。「もっといいものを毎日読んでるから」と。

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I spent a lazy weekend. Reading marched on, but two things I should’ve done was not done, namely, to check the “Straits Times” classified ads to find services that give me a corporate address and visit the “ACRA” website to see the business particulars currently registered.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Peace Pot Microdot

「二軍監督」を読了した。新発見は、広瀬監督時代に南海球団が、「ドン・ブレイザーを81年のシーズンから監督に就任させるという条件で、再びヘッドコーチに招聘する計画をたてていた」こと。この計画通り彼は81年から2年間監督だったが、77年に退団して翌年から広島カープに移っていたブレイザーが、なぜヘッドコーチとして南海に戻って来なかったのかについては説明されていない。広瀬の泥まみれ野球とブレイザーの頭脳野球が馴染む訳はなく、広瀬監督と組みたくなかったのだろうと推測する。

ハイディ古賀が監督に就任したカリフォルニア・リーグの1Aチーム、「サリナス・スパーズ」にはダイエーとヤクルトの若い選手が参加していた。共同経営者にはダン野村がいた。ヤクルトもカネを出していた。監督になって2年目に、ヤクルト監督のノムラさんの嫁ハンから「もっとヤクルトの選手を優先して試合に使いなさい」と国際電話でお叱りを受けたという。

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「三浦元社長、あの帽子の言葉の意味は何だったのでしょうか」と産経新聞(電子版)が掲載したのと同日、三浦元社長はロサンゼルスで自殺してしまった。サイパンから移送される時にかぶっていた帽子には「Peace Pot Microdot」と別れの言葉が書かれていた。銃撃事件後はテレビ番組で涙を流し、そして東京のホテル駐車場で彼が殺人未遂容疑で逮捕された時は、夜遅い時間だったが特番が生中継した。

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産経(電子版)はまた、連合赤軍元幹部の永田洋子死刑囚が危篤状態にあると伝えている。彼女が総括のために書き記した著書を読もうと思ったことがある。数ページを立ち読みしたが、リンチ場面の再現ページに耐えられそうになかったので、あきらめた。

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民主党の小沢代表の「静養」……。本当は重病なんじゃないのか?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sleeping Day & "Nigun Kantoku"

なぜか早起きした。先週金曜日に最後の1錠がなくなってから、やっと昨日の夜になって手に入れた「Cymbalta」を5日振りに飲んだら、たまらなく眠くなった。「二軍監督」を読んでは寝て、起きては読むの繰り返し。

「二軍監督」は3分の2以上を終え、「77年から就任した根本陸夫監督」という誤りを発見した。根本は西武ライオンズの初代監督だから、監督になったのは78年だろう。

アメリカ、ベネズエラ、プエルトリコ、ドミニカ、日本(「東京ドラゴンズ」)のチームで構成したものの、さっさと崩壊した「グローバルリーグ」の話は自分にとって新味でおもしろい。「東京ドラゴンズ」の森徹監督については中日ドラゴンズでの現役時代は記憶になく、森や荒川尭など、集めた元プロ選手が芸能人チームと試合をするフジテレビ番組でしか知らなかったから。

ただ、「不毛地帯」と同様、英語での会話を日本語にした部分の文章は「ユー」だの「ミー」だのとあって「ユーはミーをイライラさせるネ」。

ストーリーはこれから、古賀がドン・ブレイザー監督の南海ホークスで仕事をする時代の話になる。

I'm Behind the Times...

For some change of view, I visited Holland Village last night and Clark Quay tonight. I haven’t been to either place for rather many years. Especially, the changes that Clark Quay, the very first area where I had beer in Singapore eight years ago, showed me were almost shocking. Or I am not catching up with the times at all.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Even More ??? about "Fumo-Chitai"

主人公「壱岐正」の息子が結婚したのはインドネシア女性。彼女は「回教という宗教上の戒律と大家族制から、親の選んだ結婚相手以外、一切められないため、一族から義絶され」た。結婚式は「青山の(キリスト)教会」で行われた。イスラム教徒がキリスト教会で結婚式?あり得ない。義絶されている事情があれば、なおさら考えられない。「ボイルドエッグ」に「スーベニヤ・ショップ」。カタカナ表記の必要ありや?「不毛地帯」読了。

Appeal to Conscientious Parliamentarians

朝日新聞(電子版):(国民新党の)亀井(静香)氏が「自民党の最大の支持母体は創価学会。免税措置を受けている宗教施設が、そういう形で使われることはあってはならない」と述べると、緊張感が漂った。

「緊張感が漂った」って、組織票を恐れているのか。公明党と創価学会は表裏一体の関係にある。国益を考えるのが国会議員の仕事だろう。追求せよ。公明党+創価学会(「そうかがっかい」とタイプして「創価学会」に即変換されることがむなしい)が、これまで以上に政権の中心に近づくことが国益に沿うのかしっかり考えてほしい。現連立与党が下野することがあっても、公明党に国会でのキャスティングボートを握らせてはならない。そして、メディアや警察・公安に公明・創価の影響が広がらないようにしなければならない。創価学会が「戦い」とか「勝利」とか言うのは、すなわち公明党の選挙戦と議席増と同義だ。うちの家には、「聖教新聞」「公明新聞」「聖教グラフ」がいつも置いてあった。

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Actor Ogata Ken, Nobel Laureate & More ??? about "Fumo-Chitai"

緒形拳死去。演技なのか「本物」なのかわからないほど怖かった「復讐するは我にあり」での殺人鬼「榎津巌」を思い出す。

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ノーベル物理学賞を受賞した3人の研究者のうちひとりは、母校の教授だった。びっくり。

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「不毛地帯」の疑問、さらに。第3巻では「曾根」だった通産大臣の名前が、第4巻では「中根」になっている。同一人物のはずだが。著者は実在する政治家の名前に気をとられ、変えてしまったことに気がつかなかったのではないだろうか。編集者もどうかしている。

「売子が兵頭のところにやって来、新聞紙を三角形に折った袋入りの向日葵の種を売りに来た」。
「来」がダブリ。

「この新聞名と日付は?」……
「フィナンシャル・タイムス……」
海外駐在、それもテヘラン駐在の商社マンが、ひまわりの種を入れた小さな三角形の紙袋であろうと、どんな形になっていようと、あのオレンジ紙面の「FT」を一目見てわからないなんて。「タイムズ」って書いてほしいな。

「アルメニア系ロシア人」。
ロシアが国家でないと成立しない表現。当時はソビエト連邦で、「ロシア人」は余計だろう。「アルメニア系(ソビエト人)」だろうよ。

その他、「気どってフランス語を喋っている」とか、「夫に負けぬきれいな英語」とか。「キングス・イングリッシュ」とか「アメリカン・イングリッシュ」とか。日本人の外国語偏見を助長する表現も多い。「キングズ」って書いてほしいな。

Monday, October 06, 2008

??? about "Fumo-Chitai"

巨匠の文章にケチをつけて申し訳ないが、「不毛地帯」のページに、リビア革命当時、駐在していた商社マンが日本外務省に宛てた電報に「We are safety.(私たちは安全である)」と書いたとある。「We are safety」って……。情けない英語。そしてカッコでくくられた日本語が「私たちは安全である」。高校の英語の授業を思い出す。英語での会話を日本語にして書かれている個所は「直訳調」の文章が多く、読みにくいことはなはだしい。どうして「日本語で」書かなかったのだろう。そして、「建設用地のサイト・ブリパレーション(土地造成)」とも。「ブリパレーション」って何?「プリパレーション(preparation)」のことか?

さらにシンガポールの場面では、日英の激戦地でイギリス軍が降伏文書に署名した「ブキテマ台地」にある自動車メーカー・フォード(作中では「フォーク」))の工場が登場する。「そこからはシンガポール海峡を隔てて、対岸のマレーシアが一望のもとに見渡せ」と書かれているが、「ジョホール海峡」の誤りでは?さらにさらに、「眼下のジョホール海峡を、赤白青のマレー連邦の国旗をはためかせた巡航船が横切って行った」。コーズウェイのあるジョホール海峡をどうやって船が横切れるのか?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Get 4 and Lose 6

読売新聞(電子版):民主党の石井一副代表は5日午後のテレビ朝日の番組で、衆院選後の公明党との連携について、「一切ない。選挙前だから、(民主党の)中には、向こうから票やると言ってきたら、もらえるのかなと思う人間もいるだろうが、そんな雑音は聞かない」と否定した。その上で、公明党について、「ばい菌みたいなものだ。公明党の票を4もらったら、浮動票は6逃げていく」と語った。
これに対し、公明党の太田代表は5日夜、千葉県松戸市での街頭演説で「公党の副代表たるものが、公党に対してそのような不見識極まる言葉を使うとはとんでもない話だ。即刻、撤回、謝罪を求めたい」と述べた。

「4票もらったら、6票逃げていく」って、同意する。党員増加が報道されている共産党に比べて、この「そうか党」への拒否反応は薄れることはないだろう。同様の記事は産経と毎日(電子版)も掲載している。

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「不毛地帯」に「搭乗券をおさえます」「搭乗券の手配を致しましょう」とある。航空券がないのに、どうやって搭乗券を手に入れるんや。で、「まだニューヨークを経ってから二時間しか経っていなかった」とも。「ニューヨークを発ってから」やろ。「~なのだ」調のセリフもやっぱり不自然。

う~ん。そして英語コンプレックスが散見されてイヤな感じ。この意識は今の世の中にも受け継がれているし、それなり以上に外国語能力を発達させ得た人には、情けない気分で奇異に感じている人もいるだろう。特に英語能力を何とか得たうえで、さらに別の言語の習得を考える人にとっては、逆に他言語への関心が低いことが理解できないことでもあるだろう。米原万里さんはすでに指摘しているが、世界で母語としている人が多いヒンディ語、中国語(北京語)、あるいはロシア語への関心がなぜ薄いのだろうか。

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(新)時津風親方(元時津海)の断髪式を伝える毎日新聞(電子版):また年寄襲名を祝う相撲甚句の歌詞にも、「これから三役というときに/突然起こった大変事/十字架背負って引退も/やむなし涙の決断は/男気あふれたいばら道」と、部屋継承のために引退せざるを得なかった無念さが盛り込まれた。

相撲甚句に「十字架背負って」?何か巨大な違和感がある。相撲の国際化の証拠か。いずれにせよ、法廷での八百長証言で土俵際に立つ日本相撲協会。

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訂正:「二軍監督」の著者はハイディ古賀ではなかった。著者は國安輪。

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横浜ベイスターズの工藤公康が現役続行を明らかにした。自分より年とったのはキミしかおらん。長くやってほしい。

Saturday, October 04, 2008

「。」

山崎豊子の文章に「。」が少ないと以前書いた。どうやら、セリフ中には「。」を使わない主義らしい。それから、当事者同士の会話なら、口に出すまでもない内容がセリフで語られることがある。読者への情報提供が目的なのだろうか?ちょっと不自然に思える。「不毛地帯」を終えたら、数年前に読んだ「沈黙のファイル:“瀬島龍三”とは何だったのか」を読み返すつもりでいる。

昨日、「不毛地帯」の残り2冊の他、「二軍監督」(ハイディ古賀)と「文学部但野教授」(筒井康隆)を買ってきた。

Thursday, October 02, 2008

3D Dream

飛行機に乗っているやけに立体的な夢。友人との団体旅行のようだったが、誰といっしょだったかはわからない。途中、眼下に競技場が見えた。野球場ではなく、サッカー場のような四角いフィールドでシートは水色で統一されていた。周辺にもいくつか別競技用のスタジアムがあって、神戸の「運動公園」のようでもあった。飛行方向右側に、機首を真下にしたもう1機が見えたが、しばらくして水平の姿勢に戻った。この周辺(おそらく高緯度のどこか)では、重力の関係で機体が垂直になるのだと、納得していた。乗っていた飛行機は、そのうち降下を始め、着陸すると翼を機体に収納して高速で列車のようにしばらく走った。

機内では、半透明のビニール製簡易ズボンを受け取ってはいていた。簡易レインコートと同じ素材。ズボンの前後がわかるように男性の乗務員が、前側正面のベルト位置に小さく黒い丸を書き込んでくれた。

ヨーロッパのどこかの空港に乗り継ぎのため到着した。乗り継ぎ用ロビーにあるシート脇に日本やドイツの国旗が飾られていた。少しだけ食事がしたかったので、階段で1階下に行き、レストランのメニューを見た。US20ドルの食事では量が多すぎると伝えると、隣の店の「シシカバブ」をすすめられた。現金を十分持っていなかったのか、支払いに困っていた。TCで支払ったが、財布が小さくてつり銭やレシートを収めきれない。レシートはジーンズのポケットに押し込んだ。(あれ、ビニールズボンは?)

目的地だったのかどうかわからないが、日本の風景(と納得していた)。それも京都市内で、右方向に線路やビルが見えた。「あっ、東福寺!」「桃山城!」と叫んだ。すぐにビル影に隠れた「桃山城」は、どっちかというと大阪城のようだった。

「不毛地帯」で次期戦闘機「FX」を巡る商社の争いを読んだからか。国防に何で商社の思惑がからまんといかんのか。

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Singapore Icon Dies

Hari Raya Puasa

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Last night, I learned of the death of JBJ, an icon in Singapore politics.

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What a month it’s been for me! Starting with another faint, September ended with a hectic tone. This month and onward, I hope that things will be more evened out.

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けさは5時半ごろまで「不毛地帯」を読んでいた。そして、「濃い夢」を見ていた。大学時代にしばらく所属していた「法律問題研究会」の主幹で、黄色の「三菱ランサー」に乗っていた先輩などが登場してきた。しかし、その先輩の名前が思い出せない。その他の人は誰も判別できなかったが、何棟かある大学寮の建物はどれも古い団地のようで、雨漏りしている廊下もあった。数十人が参加している「法問研」では、次期幹部が選任され、自分は主幹に「手伝ってやるから、次回用のレジュメを準備しろ」と言われていた。

そう言えば、ここ数カ月の間に大学にいる夢は何度も見てきたようだ。どれも自分が知る大学の風景ではなかったけど。さすがに、単位を取らないと卒業できない「商法」の試験に出席している夢は見なくなったが。

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オリックス清原、現役最終戦。

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Koizumi's Retirement and "Wife and Daughter from Saigon"

Reports say that former Prime Minister Koizumi made his intention to retire from active politics known to his supporters in his constituency. According to the reports, he will not run for his Parliament seat in the next general election, which is now expected in early November. He will officially announce his retirement on Saturday.

Love him or hate him, he symbolized Japan when he was prime minister. One of my Singaporean friends, a Japanophile (where is she now?), was so excited when he visited here in 2002. I saw a motorcade with the Japanese flag sped away Bras Basah Rd to the direction of the airport.

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「サイゴンから来た妻と娘」から:

とにかくベトナムの家庭のしつけは日本よりもはるかに厳しいようだった。
子供にたいしては、徹底した性悪説でのぞむ。大多数の親は、子供は動物と同じ、と割り切っている。「子供には自分で物事の善し悪しを判断する能力などない。だから外側からそれをたたき込んでいくのが親の仕事」というのが、この国の子育てのひとつの基本らしかった。

……しつけの悪さはなによりも親の恥なのだ。親はメンツを失いたくないから、子供が泣き出しそうな気配を見てとると先手を打って張り飛ばす。びっくりして泣きだしたら、また二、三発張り飛ばす。何回かこの調子でくり返せば、しまいには子供の方があきれ、次からは泣きべそをかきたくても我慢するようになる。
日本に来た頃、妻は、街路や乗り物の中で泣く子のごきげんを取っている母親の姿を見るたびに、ショックを受けた。「親の恥も知らない」と、彼女は憤慨した。

長い間、彼女は、自分が小娘だと思っていた。サイゴンで日本語の単語を習いはじめた頃、私が「コン・ガイ(女の子)は日本語ではコムスメというんだよ」と教え込んでおいたからだ。
日本に来てからも、人に紹介されると、
「わたしは、コンドウのコムスメです」と名乗っていた。
ときどき、「そう、君、小娘なの?」とおかしそうに聞き返す相手もいたが、それでも大真面目に、
「はい、コムスメです」と答えた。……
ある日、リセから戻ると、
「パパ、ひどいよ。コムスメっていうのは悪い言い方じゃないか」
と抗議した。……
「お前、パパの日本語、信用しないのか。パパは新聞記者なんだよ」
ユンは困った顔をした。しばらく疑わしそうに私を見たあとで、
「やっぱり、コムスメって呼ばないでください」
ちょっとあらたまって念を押した。
そこへいくと、妻は他愛がない。彼女は、ユンにくらべ日本語と接触する機会がずっと少ない。だから、最初に教えられた知識を律義に守り続けている。
日本に来た頃、私は、夫は「旦那さま」、妻は「奥さん」というのだ、と教えておいた。だから、いまでも、
「わたし、コンドウのオクサンです。わたしのダンナサマ、いますか」
などと、社に電話をかけてくる。

日本の食べ物の中で、どうしても妻の手に負えないものも幾つかある。
根がカラリとした南国気質のせいか、執念深い相手は苦手らしい。モチと納豆はいずれも一回試しただけで、以後「こわい」といって手を出さない。
……テレビに電気モチつき器のコマーシャルが登場すると、軽蔑しきった顔で見ている。
生卵にも手を出そうとしない。……私は……夜中に腹が減ると納豆と生卵で一杯かき込むことがよくある。妻は身震いしながら見ている。そして、
「ああ、とんでもない野蛮人と結婚してしまった」と、嘆く。
そのくせ、彼女自身は、「ビトロン」と称する、途方もない食べ物が大好物なのだ。孵化一週間ぐらい前のアヒルの卵を殻ごとセイロで蒸したものである。はじめてサイゴンですすめられたとき、半熟卵ぐらいかと思って何気なくサジで割った固形化し、なかばドロドロのヒナがニュット顔を出したので、椅子から転げ落ちんばかりに驚いた。

Bush, UN and Iraq Invasion

BBC reports: George W Bush has accused Russia of violating the UN's charter by invading Georgia, in his final speech to the world body as US president.

"The United Nations charter sets forth the equal rights of nations large and small. Russia's invasion of Georgia was a violation of those words."

Remember how he started his invasion of Iraq, anyone???????

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shizumanu Taiyo (The Sun That Never Sets)

「沈まぬ太陽」はあと1冊を残すだけになった。読み進めるほどに、違和感が増す。「ナショナルフラッグ・キャリア」の「国民航空」といえども、たかが会社。しかし、労組があるほどの巨大企業で仕事をすれば、会社の一員という意識が強くなるものなのだろうか?カラチ(パキスタン)、テヘラン(イラン)、ナイロビ(ケニア)を「僻地」と呼び、そこでの勤務を左遷扱いし、誰もができるわけでないことを経験している事実に対する感謝も興奮も感じられない。企業内での「栄転」と「左遷」を生き方の基礎にするからこんな話が成立するのだろう。また、「アフリカ篇」から「御巣鷹山篇」への流れがあまりに急で、同じストーリーだという感覚が薄れてしまった。

戦争の傷を残しながらもそのままを受け入れ、ほのぼのささえ感じさせる「サイゴンのいちばん長い日」「サイゴンから来た妻と娘」と大きな違いだ。

Review of the Month (3): the Show Was Over

Real work started in the afternoon. I was assigned to the lighting staff. Lighting was expected to be the biggest trouble spot and it was proved right.

I have no idea how many lights there were on and off stage. Each one of them should be adjusted or focused, or programmed by the computer. Several were connected to the wrong addresses, and others were changed to new ones. Those lights had to be checked individually. A few young guys climbed up to the trusses above the stage with no helmet. My work of 11th ended at 7:00 am of the following day.

On 12th, I reached the site at 2:00 pm. The same kind of work. Very strangely, the lights installed at the same locations were having problems, and an entire row went off. It seemed to me, almost totally ignorant about engineering, that there were some problems not with individual lights but possibly cables. It was up to the local engineers to investigate and find a solution, but they kept changing the lights.

The singer came for a late-afternoon rehearsal. Her voice was powerful. Some of the guys assigned to the floor spots disappeared during the rehearsal. Through a headset, I heard them say, “Go makan first. Go makan first.” It’s the midst of their Ramadan…

The Japanese lighting chief called it a day at 1:00 am leaving the local staff behind. When I was leaving, even Bitch said, “Thank you” to me.

On 13th, the day of the show. Work started at 9:00 am. Lighting kept having trouble. A few were connected wrongly and a few other were changed. One hour before the show time, people were still on stage. The Japanese chief declared, “No more change even if it is having problems.”

During the show, I was in the control box set up at the rear part of the venue. It was definitely some kind of experience.

After it was all over, the man from Taiwan organizer said to me, “Thank you for your help. You’re the best of all.” Later I had a high-five with him. “If you visit Taipei, I buy you drink” was what he told me. Not bad. And the local chief of production, who I believe had a tough time pressed so hard, said to me, “You’re a good translator and also an assistant.” The stage that consumed so much energy and hours from the people to set up quickly came down.

Some of the interpreters may object to the idea that they are part of the production team and they should be apart from the engineers. I disagree. The joyful moments when working on site are those when I can feel part of the whole team. We, the interpreters, sent off the Japanese production team. It was all over. Time for beer. It was 2:30 am.

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ソフトバンクの王貞治監督が退任を表明した。産経新聞(電子版)によると、楽天のノムラさんは、「球界にとって大きな損失」と言いながら、「彼はわたしの値打ちを半減させた男。彼がいなければ、わたしが(通算本塁打や打点で)一番だった」だって。ひと言、多い。

Monday, September 22, 2008

Review of the Month (2): Bitch and Me

On 10th, an 8:00 pm meeting of the production staff for a Japanese singer’s concert. Though there was a sufficient amount of time for the organizer to introduce me to the staff who had come from Japan, she did not do so, and the meeting started with me no knowing which persons were Japanese. Soon after the meeting began, it was apparent that the Singapore production chief was not well prepared and he started presenting half-cooked ideas frustrating the Japanese staff. Moreover, he began speaking in Chinese. Luckily for the meeting and unluckily for me, there was a lady from Taiwan, who was very fluent in Japanese and had experience with the singer’s concerts. I had nothing but standing idly. The meeting was scheduled to end at 11 pm, but there was no sign for it to close at 11:30.

My schedule for the following day was to be decided by the result of the meeting. As the people were deep in discussion in Chinese, I asked the organizer’s boss about my schedule by pointing the schedule sheet that said my day would start at 12:30 or 6:00 pm.

She looked at me and said, “9:00 am (changed to 9:30 am later).” I pointed at the schedule sheet that said my day would start at 12:30 or 6:00 pm. She looked at me again and her answer was, “Are you listening to me or are you listening to the paper?” How rude!! By then, I had not uttered any word for 30 minutes. I decided to leave the venue. Bullshit! What a bitch!!

On 11th, I arrived at the site at 9:30. Another argument between the Japanese staff and the production chief of Singapore. It seemed to me that they were going around the same thing. Around and around. I myself got a bit frustrated with the responses of the chief and got louder. The bitch shouted, “XXXX (my name)!!” “Don’t be aggressive to my staff! You must be neutral. Just translate what is going on. Don’t change the (emotional) tone.” Bitch then convened another interpreter too and said to both of us, “Report to me (when you arrived at the site, idiots). Report to me even if I’m busy.” One of those company bosses who doesn’t know how to talk.

Review of the Month (1)

Review of this month so far: in the morning of 1st, the very first day I was to go to an onsite interpretation work, I fainted. I thought, “Oh… it’s happening again.” I lost control of my own body completely and there was no way to stop the sweat flowing down from my scalp. I managed to send an SMS to Miss Q, as has been in the previous faint cases. She contacted the agent for me. A terrible start of a new assignment by a new client.

On 2nd, I visited the Ministry of Manpower to present the in-principle approval letter for an Employment Pass and a blood test report. It was already too late to get my EP on the same day. Because my stay pass would expire the next day, I asked S to go over to MOM to get it for me. There was no other way. I passed my passport and the queue card to him.

On 3rd, I finally started the onsite interpretation. Profusely apologetic to the client about what happened on Monday. But always nice to work with engineers. After work, I arranged to meet S to get my passport and EP. And…

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not Enough TIme

I haven’t had a sufficient time to review my days since the start of this month. Ah, so hectic, and frustrating especially this evening. Then, I need to work when there is work available to me anticipating worse days. I shouldn’t think this rapid flow of work continues.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saigon...

近藤紘一は「サイゴン陥落十年目の春」に書いた「サイゴンのいちばん長い日」の「文庫版のためのあとがき」で、
「今後、ベトナムは立ち直れるのか。あるいは半永久的に東南アジアの最もだらしがない国の地位に自らを置き続けるざるを得ないのか。
国内的にみれば、再生のとりあえずのステップは、南北民族の真の和解の達成であろう。サイゴン陥落のあの朝あらためて感じた北と南の人びとを隔てるミゾは、十年後の今日、さして埋まっていないように見える。むしろ、南の民心は一九七五年四月三十日のあの解放の時点より、さらに北指導部から離反してのではあるまいか」と分析する。

この文章が書かれて間もなく、ゴルバチョフ登場と時期を同じくして、ベトナム政府は「ドイモイ(刷新)」政策を開始し、経済の開放を進めることになる。現時点でのインフレと物価上昇は暮らす人たちを苦しめてはいるが、それも企業進出や不動産開発という開放政策のひとつの結果だ。ドイモイが全体的な生活水準を押し上げたことは確かのようだ。しかし、急速に経済発展する国に共通の「カネカネカネ」思考がはびこり、弱肉強食が広がっているようにも見える。「コーヒー代」の土壌がある土地のこと、この風潮も不思議ではない。

表面的には落ち着いているホーチミン市。また、訪れたくなった。日本の援助を得て改築されたタンソンニェット空港は、そう遠くない昔、戦場の一部だったのだ。(市内の目抜き通り「ツゾー通り」はいつ「ドンコイ通り」と名を変えたのだろうか。)

No More Saigon

1975年4月30日。

「ようすがおかしくなりはじめたのは午前八時ごろからだ。
人びとがどんどんサイゴン川の河岸に集まり始めた。最初は、大通りにそれと気づかないうちにどこからどもなく人の流れが生じた。ついでにこの流れに吸い出されるように、あちこちの路地から住民がゾロゾロと姿を現した。みんな、手に手に、いっぱいつまったスーツケースや合切袋をぶら下げ、河岸へ河岸へとやってくる。……
三十分後、通りの景観はもうすっかり変わった。辻々の屋台は姿を消し、車やモーターバイクの往来もほとんど途絶えた。河岸の遊歩道路はすでに何万人という人、人、人……。まだ、あとからあとからやってくる。街中が文字通り、サイゴン川の水際まで追いつめられ始めた感じだ。」(「サイゴンのいちばん長い日」)

「河岸の遊歩道路」。自分が歩いた場所だ。改修中で長い遊歩道路ではなかったけど、今ではのどかに遊覧船が停泊している。衝突事故を起こした海上自衛隊の艦船はかなり離れて落ち着いていた。著者の妻(「黄色いアオザイの美人」)の実家は、フォングーラオ(Pham Ngu Lao)通りにあって、そこは自分が宿泊していたゲストハウスからすぐ近くだ。

本書は南ベトナム消滅に至る瞬間を追っていく。政治史や外交史を冷たく記録する歴史書とはまったく異なり、その時、その場に生きた人間の物語だ。

Friday, August 29, 2008

Those Who Totally Lost Ethical Sense

NPO法人の「消費者支援機構関西」が、英会話スクール「グローバルトリニティー」の運営会社フォートレスジャパンに対し、不当勧誘行為を止めるよう求めて大阪地裁に提訴した。昨日のスポーツニッポン(電子版)によると、「大学生らに“大人なんだから自分の意思で決断できるでしょ”“この場で決断しなさい”などと契約を迫り、事務所から帰さないといった不当な勧誘をしているという」。どっかで経験したことのある勧誘方法。あの業界、まだこんなことやってるのか?スクールなのに学習能力なし。残党がいるんだな。一度失ってしまった倫理観、輩に取り戻せと言ってもムリか。

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Three New Books

昨日、「他諺の空似」(米原万里)「サイゴンのいちばん長い日」(近藤紘一)「沈まぬ太陽」(2・アフリカ篇・下:山崎豊子)を買ってきた。そして、「沈まぬ太陽」の第1巻を終えて、「他諺の空似」を始めた。万里さんは期待を裏切らず、シモネタで笑わせてから、世界の状況、日本の姿勢を遠慮なく批判する。その主張は、Chomskyのそれと通じるものがある。日本語をひとつ学んだ。「膾炙」……。読めなかった、意味の類推さえできなかった。

「サイゴンのいちばん長い日」も待ち遠しい。今年1月に初めて訪れたサイゴン(ホーチミン市)。その後2回の訪問で、合計1カ月以上をあの地で過ごしている。はっきりとした戦争のキズは見当たらないが、年老いた物乞いや宝くじを売り歩く幼子を抱きかかえた若い母親、また5~6歳かと思われる花売りたちを見ると、発展の止まないような都市で格差が広がっていることが窺われた。インフレを逆手にして儲けている輩も多いことだろう。

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これまでのところ、「沈まぬ太陽」にあんまり共感しない。東京オリンピック以前から始まる話で、当時のカラチ、ナイロビでの勤務や生活に、今の基準を当てはめるのは間違いだろう。だが、海外駐在員からプンプン漂う「現地に日本を期待する」姿勢に大きな差があるとも思えない。会社組織内部の政治や枠や序列を基本に物事を考えるから、そんな傲慢とも言える態度が発生すると言っては言いすぎだろうか。「世界を見たい、その地を知りたい、楽しみたい」という態度が欠落している。会社の辞令だからイヤとは言えないなんて自立した個人とは思えない。「日本村」がそんなに恋しいか。

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Party-Chief Election? Look at Your Coalition Partner

朝日と産経の電子版が報じているが、民主党の鳩山由紀夫幹事長が、
「麻生さんや古賀さんは(小沢代表の無投票3選が確実な)『民主党は開かれていない』と批判するが、公明党だって代表の続投を決めている。あの政党はこれまで選挙をやったことがない。ご自身が連立を組んでいる相手に言ったらどうか」と言ったらしい。まったくの正論だ。「あの政党」の「支持母体」とやらが発行している新聞には自画自賛と「裏切り者」への罵詈雑言に満ちている。

I'm Still Alive Thanks to Her Help

My face became very much distorted with tears coming up. I’d be long dead without the help of the doctor. Profound appreciation to her.

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Japanese Style" Restaurant, "Kyo Momoyama" at The Central

Clark Quayのショッピングモール「The Central」に行った。初めて行ったわけではないが、中をウロウロしたことはなかった。「和風料理・京桃山」という名の店を発見した。時間が早かったせいか、客の姿は見えなかった。繁盛してほしいと少し思った。「京桃山」だから。しかし「和風料理」ってどんな料理?

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「あの頃の南海ホークス」ブログで画像ばかりを検索している人がいる。最近、「復刻ユニフォームばやり」で、資料にされている可能性あり。Yahoo!オークションにも、今まではほとんど考えられなかった76年、77年の南海ユニフォームが出品されている。でも、どれもデザインがちょっと甘い。

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I ran out of Cymbalta a few days ago and only today got a new prescription from the doctor, who has been very nice to me. I tried the two pharmacies at T.B. Plaza and they didn’t have it as I expected. At both places, I was told “It is expensive…” I deposited S$20 at one of them, where it may cost less. That funny electrical sensation to my limbs is appearing but it seems I got used to it because by now I know it’s not something I should be worried about.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Climbers High"

どういうわけか、徹夜して「クライマーズ・ハイ」を読みきった。1985年8月12日に発生した日航ジャンボ機墜落事故の取材と報道を巡って、群馬県の地方紙「北関東新聞(北関)」の事件全権デスクに任命された悠木和雅が考え抜く葛藤を描いた作品。かなり「濃い」。

北関にとって、東京から大阪に向かっていた日航123便が航路をはずれて群馬と長野の県境付近に墜落した事故はいわゆる「もらい事故」だ。もし、長野県側に墜落していれば、北関の対応はずいぶん違ったものになっていたはず。悠木は、販売局、広告局との衝突や編集局内での派閥、また「大久保連赤」時代を知る幹部、さらに群馬3区を二分する福田と中曽根の各支持者への対応を迫られる。潰された現場レポート。幻に終わった「隔壁」スクープ。

県内の御巣鷹山で発生した未曾有の航空機事故の真っ只中で、地方紙の役割は「詳報すること」にあると決心する。社内の汚れた仕事を引き受けた「山屋」の安西や息子・淳などとのかかわりが、それに絡む。

記者と呼ばれた時期をもつ自分としては、自らの小ささを実感させられた。当時も感じていたものだが、取材対象を深く追求して記事を書くという姿勢は実現不可能な状況で、編集局整理部が行うべき紙面割りまでやっていたのでは、「記者の心構え」などというものが成立しなくても当然だろう。お決まりの文章構成でありきたり極まりない文章を書く。それが、現地発行紙の役割なのだろうか。この国の風土では、それもまた仕方のないことなのだろうか。

しかし、悠木は懲罰人事を甘んじて受け、書き続けるためにサラリーマン記者であることをやめなかった。解雇が現実のものになりそうな状況で、
「自分を嘲笑った。
もう四十だというのに……。
悠木は無為に重ねた年齢を呪い……」とある。既婚。子供が2人。

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「クライマーズ・ハイ」の後、“Language and Politics”に戻らず、「沈まぬ太陽」(アフリカ篇・上)の導入部分を読んだ。こちらも主人公の恩地元は40歳。既婚で子供が2人も同じだ。

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beijing Olympics Baseball Over...

北京五輪の野球で日本がメダル取れずに終わった。勝った方がよかったに決まっているが、負けたからといって大きな思いはない。勝ったり負けたりするのが、試合だから。それより、ジム・ラフィーバー(元ロッテ)が中国監督で、米国監督がデーブ・ジョンソン(元巨人)だったことがなつかしく、うれしかった。今回は違ったけど、歴代の台湾監督には李来發(元南海)や郭泰源(元西武)がいたなぁ。李来發時代にはドン・ブレイザー監督の南海で同僚の高英傑がコーチだったなぁ。李も高も育て方がよければ日本で大成したかもしれないのに、残念だった。

Friday, August 22, 2008

US Imperialistic Mindset, and Japan's Double-Track Diplomacy toward N. Korea

Beijing Olympics baseball: Japan 2-6 Korea (final)

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Do those NATO aspirants, Ukraine and Georgia, belong to the North Atlantic region?

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You have made many very persuasive and moving indictments of American imperialism in Vietnam. Could you spell out the reasons why the United States went into Vietnam?

… If you read the State Department’s propaganda of 1950/1951, you will find that their intention then was to give sufficient support to the French to enable them to re-constitute French colonial rule and to eradicate Communists (in Vietnam).

When the French proved incapable of carrying this out, the United States imply took over. Dean Acheson made it clear that when China was “lost,” the United States would not tolerate any further disturbance to the integrated world system it was attempting to construct and revolution in Vietnam was seen as an erosion of that system. Now it is perfectly true, as many people point out, that the United States can survive without Vietnam as a colony, that the United States does not need Vietnamese rubber or anything like that. But I think the very fact that Vietnam is so unimportant in this respect show how desperately necessary it is felt to maintain an integrated world system. They are willing to make this great commitment even to hold a marginal, peripheral piece of their empire.

If one looks into it even more deeply then one discerns other things going on. For example, the United States fought the Second World War, in the Pacific theatre, primarily in order to prevent Japan from constructing its own independent, integrated imperial system which would be closed to America. That was the basic issue which lay behind the Japanese-American war. Well, the United States won. The result is that now it must develop a system in which Japan can function effectively as a junior partner. That means the United States has to grant Japan what it needs as a partner, namely markets and access to raw materials, which for Japan, unlike the United States, are desperate necessities. Now the United States can very well survive without Southeast Asia. But Japan cannot. So of the United States wants to keep Japan securely embedded within the American system, then it has to preserve Southeast Asia for Japan. Otherwise Japan has other alternatives. It would turn to China or to Siberia, but that would mean the United States had lost the Second World War, in its Pacific phase. Once again a substantial industrial power would be carving itself out an independent space which, taken to its logical conclusion, would be separate and partially scaled off from the American world system. (P. 106, “Linguistics and Politics (spring 1969),” “Language and Politics,” Noam Chomsky)

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朝日新聞(電子版)によると、自民党の山崎拓議員(福岡)が北京市で行った北朝鮮関係者との会談(19日)について、「先般の日朝実務者協議を踏まえ、(日朝交渉を)確実に前進させるために話し合った」「現在停滞している核申告の検証問題が打開されれば、一気に進展する」と述べたらしい。こんな二元外交がどうして放置されているのだろうか。

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"JC" & "JK," "Saku-Saku," "Bari-Bari" & "Pari-Pari" and How His Mind Works

最近、ネットのスポーツ紙で見つけた略語に「JC」「JK」がある。それぞれ「女子中学生」と「女子高校生」。日本では当たり前に使われている略語なのだろうか?

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「パリパリ」「バリバリ」「サクサク」の違いは?

サクサク:大量の粒状のものが踏まれたり混ぜ合わされたりする連続音。野菜や布などを大まかに粗く切る音。粗く大ざっぱに織ったり編んだりするさま。
バリバリ:薄くて固いものが砕けたり、裂けたり、はがれたりする連続音。布などの糊づけが強かったり、凍ったりしてこわばっているさま。
パリパリ:歯切れよくものをかむ音。(衣服などが)まあたらしいさま。

以上、広辞苑から。

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Can you tell us something about your technique? Is it a matter of plugging at a problem?

No, I’m usually working on quite a number of different things at the same time, and I guess that during most of my adult life I’ve been spending quite a lot of time reading in areas where I’m not working at all. I seem to be able, without too much trouble, to work pretty intensively at my own scientific work at scattered intervals. Most of the reasonably defined problems have grown out of something accomplished at in an early stage.

How does a new problem arise for you?

… While I’m reading about politics or anything else, some examples come to my mind that relate to the problems that I’ve been working on in linguistics, and I go and work on my problems in the latter area. Everything is going on at once in my mind, and I’m unaware of anything except the sudden appearance of possibly interesting ideas at some odd moment or the emergence of something that is relevant.

Would it be fair to say, then, that you have the problems you’re working on in the back of your mind all the time?

All the time, yes, I dream about them. But I wouldn’t call dreaming very different from really working.

Do you literally mean dreaming?

Yes, I mean it literally. Examples and problems are sort of floating through my mind very often at night. Sometimes, when I am sleeping fitfully, the problems that I’ve working on are often passing through my mind.

Do they pass through your mind in a dream in the same form in which you were working on them?

Well, as far as I know, in exactly the same form. The dream life doesn’t seem to have a different framework or to involve a different approach. So it’s just a sort of slightly less concentrated and conscious version of the same thing as during the day.

How did you ever become interested in linguistics as a scientific field?

… [When] I got to college, I was much more interested in radical politics than anything else. I became involved with Zellig Harris in connection with left-wing Zionism (more accurately, radical alternatives to Zionism). He was the professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, and I had a lot of personal contact with him. I was really a kind of college dropout, having no interest in college at all because my interest in a particular subject was generally killed as soon as I took a course in it. And that includes psychology, incidentally.
I went to college with great enthusiasm, and I was interested in everything. But as soon as I took a course in some subject, that took care of that area. By the time I was a junior, I was perfectly willing to quit college and go to a kibbutz of something of that sort. Then I ran into Harris. He was the first person I’d met in college who was in any sense intellectually challenging, and we became very good friends afterward…

What do you mean that you were getting somewhere?

I was able to explain about things about the language. For example, if you look at English, there are some funny curiosities. Take the formation of questions. When you form a question from “John will come tomorrow,” the corresponding question is, “Will John come tomorrow?” On the other hand, when you form a question from “John reads a book” it is “Does John read a book?”, not “Reads John a book.” On the other hand, you say, “Is John here?” not “Does John be here?” which would look like the analogue of “Does John read the book?” Now you can look at this as some crazy fact, but I was able to show that if you formulate certain fairly general principles, generative principles of language, then it had to be that way and exactly that way. In many areas it has been possible to show that we just know intuitively, as speakers of the language, the curious forms that sentences have because of some very general principles we have internalized and use quite unconsciously… (pp. 89-97, “The Creative Experience (winter 1969),” “Language and Politics”)

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公明党代表、無投票再選へ。この党でかつて代表選挙が実施されたことあるのかな?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

When You Can't Use Force, Control Beliefs by Other Means

Alongside the violence there is the rise of massive propaganda, the rise of the public relations industry, to try to control attitudes and beliefs. Apart from that, there is something quite simple: the disciplinary effects of the way life is organized… Part of the reasoning for arranging education so you come out with heavy debt is so you are disciplined. Take the last 20 years – the neo-liberal years roughly – a very striking part of what is called “globalization” is just aimed at discipline. It wants to eliminate freedom of choice and impose discipline. How do you do that? Well, if you are a couple in the U.S. now, each working 50 hours a week to put food on the table, you don’t have time to think about how to become a libertarian socialist. When what you are worried about is “how can I get food on the table?” or “I’ve got kids to take care of, and when they are sick I’ve got to go to work and what’s going to happen to them?” Those are very well-designed techniques of imposing discipline. And there are costs to trying to be independent. Take, say, trying to organize a labor union. If you are the organizer, there are gonna be costs to you. Maybe the work force will gain but there is a cost to you. We know there is, we know what that cost is – not just in energy and effort, but in punishment. People living in fragile circumstances make a reasonable calculation, they say “Why should I take the cost when I can just get by?” So there are many reasons why normal instincts and attitudes don’t come out although over time they often do. After all that’s how we have social change for the better. (pp. 232-233, “Interviews with Barry Pateman (2004),” “Chomsky on Anarchism”)

In theoretical political science we can analytically identify two main conceptions of anarchism – a so-called collective anarchism with Bakunin, Kropotkin and Makhno as main figures and which is limited to Europe, and, on the other hand, so-called individualistic anarchism which is limited to the U.S. Do you agree with this theoretical separation, and in this perspective, where do you see the historical origins of anarchism in the U.S.?

The individualistic anarchism that you are talking about, (Max) Stirner and others, is one of the roots of – among other things – the so-called “libertarian” movement of the U.S. This means dedication to free market capitalism, and has no connection with the rest of the international anarchist movement. In the European tradition, anarchist commonly called themselves libertarian socialists, in a very different sense of the term “libertarian.” As far as I can see, the workers’ movements, which didn’t call themselves anarchist, were closer to the main strain of European anarchism than many of the people in the U.S. who called themselves anarchists. If we go back to the labor activism from the early days of the industrial revolution, to the working class press in 1850s, and so on, it’s got a real anarchist strain to it. They never heard of European anarchism, never heard of Marx, or anything like that. It was spontaneous. They took for granted that wage labor is little different from slavery, that workers should own the mills, that the industrial system is destroying individual initiative, culture, and so on… [The] same is true of other popular movements – let’s take the New Left movements. Some strains related themselves to traditional collectivist anarchism, which always regarded itself as a branch of socialism. But U.S. and to some extent British libertarianism is quite a different thing and different development, in fact has no objection to tyranny as far as it is private tyranny. That is radically different from other forms of anarchism. (pp. 234-235, “Interview with Ziga Vodovnik (2004),” “Chomsky on Anarchism”)

Two Cheers to Myself, and Kiyohara Retires

On Saturday, I collected the two TESOL certificates I had been waiting for some time. And today (Monday), I received an E-mail that said my EP application had been approved. Soon after, I checked the MOM phone information service to find… well yes it was approved on 14th. Now I only have to wait for an approval letter from the Ministry. Two cheers.

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そして、清原引退発表の報あり。「あの頃」の西武ライオンズで現役は横浜にいる工藤だけ。その工藤ももしかすると……。

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武蔵野大学がアメリカの研究所との共同研究で、ターメリック(ウコン)に記憶力を高める効果があると発表した。(読売新聞電子版)

つい最近、カフェインに記憶力向上の効果があると、どっかで読んだような気がするけど……。コーヒー飲んで、カレーを食べる。これ、記憶力向上法。

Monday, August 18, 2008

Two Gold Medalists, and "Kill Them"?

ハンマー投げの室伏広治が5位に終わった。数年前、編集長だった頃、アテネで金メダルを獲得した彼とマラソンの野口みずきの会見にそれぞれ出席した。室伏選手はもともとの金メダリストが失格になって、繰り上げられたのだったが、そのことについて質問すると、「日本のマスコミはいつもそのことをきく」と笑った。会見の後、しばらく談笑する時間さえあって、「(読みが)おんなじ名前ですねぇ」と話し、「いっしょに写真を撮りましょうか」とも言ってくれたが、遠慮した。好青年。同日行われた野口選手の会見では、彼女の「小ささ」に驚いた。チッチャ~!イヤな顔を見せず、まぐろ好きなことを小生に聞かれて答える人だった。彼女は今回欠場してしまった。ただ、「NHKのど自慢」シンガポール大会で優勝したという通訳はトンデモなかった。4年間の調整が直前の故障となって現れ、欠場することになるなんて。悔やむべきか、納得すべきか。

バドミントン女子ペアの日本X中国の試合中に、中国ペアの応援で「殺!殺!」が聞こえたという。日本ペアを「殺せ」と言っていると誤解している日本人がいるらしい。シンガポール人の友人が指摘してくれた。バドミントンで「殺!」は中国語で「スマッシュしろ!」の意味だ。

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chomsky Books in This $$$$$ Country

Beijing Olympic baseball: Japan 3 – 5 Korea (final)

Olympic games… a rare occasion when one can be “nationalistic” rather openly and in a healthy manner.

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Another strange thing about this $$$$$ country is that books by and of Noam Chomsky are readily available.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Day of Meetings, and a Democrat or Aristocrat?

金曜日午後、地元の「芸能プロダクション」と打ち合わせ。来月、当地に日本から来る歌手のステージ組み立てに通訳としてお付き合いすることになった。熱くてホコリの多い「現場仕事」は製鉄所で経験済み。どちらかというとそんな環境が好きだし、 何とかなるだろう。夕方は、「牛肉」資料の質問について打ち合わせ。

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The (“tough love”) rollback campaign on the social, economic, political, and ideological fronts exploits opportunities afforded by significant shifts of power in the past 20 years, into the hands of the masters. The intellectual level of prevailing discourse is beneath contempt, and the moral level grotesque. But the assessment of prospects that lies behind them is not unrealistic. That is, I think, the situation in which we now find ourselves, as we consider goals and visions.

As always in the past, one can choose to be a democrat in Jefferson’s sense, or an aristocrat. The latter path offers rich rewards, given the locus of wealth, privilege and power, and the ends it naturally seeks. The other path is one of struggle, often defeat, but also rewards that cannot be imagined by those who succumb to “the New Spirit of the Age: Gain Wealth, forgetting all but Self (ideals depicted and denounced by the working class press of the mid-19th century).”

Today’s world is far from that of Thomas Jefferson or mid-19th century workers. The choices it offers, however, have not changed in any fundamental way. (p. 209, Goals and Visions (1996), “Chomsky on Anarchism”)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Castro's "Robbery" of a "Ripe Fruit"

… In the real world, Castro’s Cuba was a concern not because of a military threat, human rights abuse, or dictatorship. Rather, for reasons deeply rooted in American history. In the 1820s, as the takeover of the continent was proceeding apace, Cuba was regarded by the political and economic leadership as the next prize to be won. That is “an object of transcendent importance to the commercial and political interests of our Union,” the author of the Monroe Doctrine, John Quincy Adams, advised, agreeing with Jefferson and others that Spain should keep sovereignty until the British deterrent faded, and Cuba would fall into US hands by “the laws of political… gravitation,” a “ripe fruit” for harvest, as it did a century ago. By mid-twentieth century, the ripe fruit was highly valued by US agricultural and gambling interests, among others. Castro’s robbery of this US possession was not taken lightly. Worse still, there was a danger of a “domino effect” of development in terms that might be meaningful to suffering people elsewhere – the most successful health services in Latin America, for example. It was feared that Cuba might be one of those “rotten apples” that “spoil the barrel,” a “virus” that might “infect” others, in the terminology favored by planners, who care nothing about crimes, but a lot about demonstration effects. (p. 200)

[The] standard proof that the command economy was a catastrophic failure, demonstrating the superior merits of capitalism… The argument is scarcely more than an intellectual reflex, considered so obviously valid as to pass unnoticed, the presupposition of all further inquiry.

… [To] evaluate the Soviet command economy as compared with the capitalist alternative, we must compare Eastern European countries to others that were like them when the “experiment” with the two development models began. Obviously not the West; one has to go back half a millennium to find a time when it was similar to Eastern Europe. A proper comparison might be Russia and Brazil, or Bulgaria and Guatemala, though that would be unfair to the Communist model, which never had anything remotely like the advantages of the US satellite. If we undertake the rational comparison, we conclude, indeed, that the Communist economic model was a disaster; and the Western one an ever more catastrophic failure. There are nuances and complexities, but the basic conclusions are rather solid.

It is intriguing to see how such elementary points cannot be understood, and to observe the reaction to attempts to explore the issue, which also cannot be understood. The exercise offers some useful lesions about the ideological systems of the free societies. (pp. 201-202, “Goals and Visions” in “Chomsky on Anarchism”)

August 15..., State/Religion Separation Stressed by this Religiopolitico Party & Water Lady

敗戦記念日。

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公明党代表が閣僚は靖国神社参拝を控えるべきとの考えで、その理由のひとつが「政教分離の観点」(産経新聞電子版)だそうだ。何と大胆な意見。世の中にいろいろとフシギなことはある。しかし、公明党代表に「政教分離」を説く資格があるのか??あるわけない。チャンチャラおかしい。

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On Wednesday, I acted as the interpreter for an interview session with the “Water Queen (or Water Lady as she claimed)” of Singapore conducted by “Japan’s BBC.” It is of course hard to judge someone’s personality in an interview, but she seemed a very nice person.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Souka Folks! Keep away from Me!! & Anarchism as a Sociery Organized with Free Minds

向かいのブロックの「そうか」のみなさん、静かにしてもらえませんか?

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I was attracted to anarchism as a young teenager, as soon as I began to think about the world beyond a pretty narrow range, and haven’t seen much reason to revise those early attitudes since. I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom. That includes political power, ownership and management, relations among men and women, parents and children, our control over the fate of future generations (the basic imperative behind the environmental movement in my view), and much else. Naturally this means a challenge to the huge institutions of coercion and control: the state, the unaccountable private tyrannies that control most of the domestic and international economy, and so on. But not only these.

This is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met. (p. 178)

Is anarchism a philosophy for people’s power?

I’m reluctant to use fancy polysyllables like “philosophy” to refer to what seems ordinary common sense. I’m also uncomfortable with slogans. (p. 181)

One of the main achievements of the Spanish Revolution was the degree of grassroots democracy established… Is it a coincidence to your mind that anarchism, known for advocacy of individual freedom, succeeded in this area of collective administration?

No coincidence at all. The anarchism that I’ve always found most persuasive seek a highly organized society, integrating many different kinds of structures (workplace, community and manifold other forms of voluntary associations), but controlled by participants, not by those in a position to give orders (except, again, when authority can be justified, as is sometimes the case, in specific contingencies). (pp. 181-182, “Anarchism, Marxism and the Hope for the Future”)

(Photo: Singapore's "NEWater," recycled household effluent, "pure enough" for drinking)

Noisy & Clamorous Japanese Consumers

食の安全を「消費者がやかましいから」徹底していくという太田誠一農水相(福岡)の発言。この大臣の日本語能力が低いのだろう。そうでなければ、立場をわきまえる能力に欠けているのだろう。

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nagasaki Anniversary

長崎原爆投下の日(9日 and the 43rd birthday of the country here)。

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On the matter of common sense and freedom, there is a rich tradition that develops the idea that people have intrinsic rights. Accordingly, any authority that infringes upon these rights is illegitimate. These are natural rights, rooted in human nature, which is part of the natural world, so that we should be able to learn about it by rational inquiry. But social theory and action cannot be held abeyance while science takes its halting steps towards establishing truths about human nature, and philosophy seeks to explain the connection, which we all sense exists, between human nature and rights deriving from it. We therefore are compelled to take an intuitive leap, to make a posit as to what is essential to human nature, and on this basis to derive, however inadequately, a conception of a legitimate social order. Any judgment about social action (or inaction) relies upon reasoning of this sort. A person of any integrity will select a course of action on the grounds that the likely consequences will accord with human rights and needs, and will explore the validity of these grounds as well as one can.

(Note that Chomsky says “any authority.” It does not matter North or South, West or East, Americas, Europe, Africa or Asia. And am I a person of integrity? I have been a silent sufferer and protester.)

According to one traditional idea, it is a fundamental human need – and hence a fundamental human right – to inquire and to create, free of external compulsion. This is a basic doctrine of classical liberalism in its original 18th century version, for example, in the work of Wilhelm von Humboldt, who inspired Mill. Obvious consequences were immediately drawn. One is that whatever does not spring from free choice, but only from compulsion or guidance, remains alien to our true nature. If a worker labors under the threat of force or of need, or a student produces on demand, we may admire what they do, but we despise what they are. Institutional structures are legitimate insofar as they enhance the opportunity to freely inquire and create, out of inner need; otherwise they are not. (p. 173)

(Am I freely inquiring and creating out of inner need? Or am I one of many that should be despised?)

The more we investigate, the more we discover that basic elements of thought and language derive from an invariant intellectual endowment, a structure of concepts and principles that provides the framework for experience, interpretation, judgment and understanding. The more we learn about these matters, the more it seems that training is an irrelevance and learning an artefact, except at the margins. It seems that mental structures grow in the mind along their natural, intrinsically determined path, triggered by experience and partially modified by it, but apparently only in fairly superficial ways. This should not be a surprising conclusion. If true, it means that mental organs are like bodily organs – or more accurately, like other bodily organs, for these are organs of the body as well. Despite conventional empiricist and behaviorist dogmas, we should not be startled to discover that the mind and brain are like everything else in the natural world, and that it is a highly specific initial endowment that permits the mind to develop rich and articulate systems of knowledge, understanding and judgment, largely shared with others, vastly beyond the reach of any determining experience. (p. 175, “Containing the Threat of Democracy”)

(When one thinks about something, no matter how abstract the something is, he/she thinks about it in a language or a combination of languages. Without language, there is no intelligence.)

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I’ve been noticing that HMV, Heeren, has Mahler’s 8th with Georg Solti and Chicago Symphony. The same recording as what I bought more than 20 years ago (perhaps), a 2-CD set. The new remastering version has only one CD. Provided the sorry condition of my old CDs that the fucking humidity caused here, I got the new package tonight.