Thursday, April 29, 2010

May I Quit Being Her Son?

Yesterday was the last day of a 3-day customer-service training session for a cosmetics company. For the last few hours, I was crying for more oxygen. Exhausted, I came out of the venue only to be wholly covered with an unbearable level of humidity. Even more tired though, I walked to T.B. through my old neighborhood of Beo Crescent to take MRT to go home.
After two small cans of beer, I decided to fix a simple pasta dinner. When the pasta was almost al dente by my standard, a call came from Japan. Oh no, it depressed me. Though I have been extra careful for using this word, the story was worse than dismaying. I may have to appreciate her honesty, but it was too much. I don’t understand what sort of mind she has in expressing her deep prejudice. Does she think I should agree with her? I must not agree. It profoundly troubled me to find such a prejudice was still alive in the mind of a person to whom I am supposed to feel strong affection. May I quit being her son? And an established pattern is that she changes her heart and mind drastically to disassociate herself from people and organizations that she originally seems to have had favored. “Soka” is an example I will never forget.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Japanese Language, a la Hatoyama


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

“Bincud, Bincud. Inside Egg One”

Today at “Kopitiam” of SGH, a Malay couple was asking, “What kind of tofu?” The auntie answered, “Bincud, bincud. Inside egg one.” One egg or two eggs, I don’t care. I just hate this kind of tofu language.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Old Age Worries Give Me a Sleepless Night

Last night, I was looking for a date or a month of some years ago to fill out an application form. Because I could find no record especially as the original doc. files of my diary are no more, I decided to delve into the blog. It took me at least an hour to find it. And while searching it, I had to read some lines of the old entries. I felt ashamed of grammatical errors and bad syntax, but more than that, many of them were cries of desperation and cries for help. I was in the midst of another episode of depression. I don't know if those caused it, but in bed, worries overwhelmed me. Worries about old age. For how many more years can I work? How long can I sustain my business? And how can I save enough money? Saving enough money takes many years and how much of business can I get for how many years? And no amount of money can be enough, to be sure. My head was filled with many big $ signs. And I got out of bed to punch the calculator. How ridiculous. I managed to put myself to sleep after jungle birds started their morning calls.

スポニチ電子版「日めくりプロ野球」に4月13日掲載の「話 が違う…台湾球界の星・高英傑 すったもんだの末に残留」で、「クリス・メイ」の誤記を発見。「カルロス・メイ(Carlos May)」やろ!当時を知らん若者記者が物知り顔で書いたに違いない。 この欄、懐かしい写真が見られてよかったのに、最近は写真掲載がど~んと減ってしまった。

Friday, April 16, 2010

No Light at the Futemma Tunnel



公明・井上幹事長 たちあがれ日本は「参院選に全く影響なし」(産経電子版)



Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dreamy North Korean Movie in Singapore

I haven’t seen the boy, my crying neighbor, for some days now. He does not seem to be staying here anymore though его мама does. Have you abandoned him?

After four unhappy nights, I think I slept ok. But the dream of this morning was quite odd as most are. It was a hill over there, colored light green like a pastel drawing and I saw at least one house on the slope, part of which, roof or wall, was painted in the pastel pink. I also saw a railway track much closer to me, left to right or right to left. In this fictional Singapore, I knew there were three railway companies; SMRT (SBS Transit didn’t come to my sub-mind), Keihan Railway (京阪電鉄) and North Korea. Miss Shimizu and I decided to go for a North Korean movie. Who invited whom for what movie is not clear at all. Inside a lift at an old building, presumably owned by the North Korean government, Miss Shimizu pressed “60.” Oh it is a high-rise. I don’t think the dream showed any part of this film we went to see. In a moment, I was at a market, perhaps inside the cinema, that sells drinks and snacks for movie goers. The market was the type I visited in Phnom Penh but much smaller. I bought a cold drink (I asked for a specific type of drink in Korean) from an auntie who manned the shop. Later, I was with my former boss and colleagues who, among other things, was evaluating my performance. The performance card said in Japanese, “Able to handle 'TODAY'” is a plus. Unwilling to act on his own, blah blah blah.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Calm Down, Mr. Brain

Three days in a row, I had bad night’s sleep. First two nights, I saw similar dreams in which a few of long-lost friends appeared. Though many details evaporated, I remember that a disappeared couple was on a large and color notice board with their photo. And I exclaimed “I’ve just met them!” Last night, I barely slept as my active brain was revising the current work with help from “Sin and Syntax.” But it was not in any dream that I met Steven Pinker in the book. I have committed some of the Cardinal Sins, especially of Dangling Participle. I used to be quite strict about this rule, but it seems that at some point I started to be affected by bad writing by others. No more sins of this kind.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Sinful Syntax

Right after “Musicophilia,” last night in bed I started “Sin and Syntax” by Constance Hale. I intended to read it leisurely, but into about 30 pages now I found this book funny and dead serious. Corporate PR people who spew out sentences that contain too much sugar should read this to realize what sort of garbage they are producing every day. And the book reassures me that I’m on the right track to try to follow what George Orwell said about writing. Thesauruses are useful but more often than not, I refer to one, it’s like, “Oh no, this is not the one I’m looking for.”

Ok, I decided to place one of the boards under the subwoofer and I did so. However this subwoofer is far lighter than I believed. I didn’t feel much gravitational force when I lifted it up. It was so light that I almost lifted myself up!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Williams Syndrome

Though “Musicophilia” did not strike me as strongly as, say, “The Noonday Demon,” I read its last chapter, “Emotion, Identity, and Music” with great interest. Especially, the parts that describe Williams syndrome, which I had never heard of and is truly extraordinary, and what magic music can demonstrate with demented people perhaps at the subcortical level are informative and even emotional.

The corrective work of bookcase boards continues. Yesterday one of the five boards under supervision was considered good enough and I put it back to where it should be. But the four others are not in shape yet. I am thinking about placing them under the subwoofer that is probably the heaviest standalone object here.


One of the CDs is damaged. No matter how carefully I clean it, when I play it, the sound skips. I know the same title is still available but with a different jacket design. I want to stick to the original. I should get an “ointment’ that cures disk damages.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Cloudy Day in Winter


I went out tonight to buy “Russian Adjectives.” I couldn’t find it. I believe I’ve seen a book of this title, but now I’m not so sure. It seems Kinokuniya has more books on Russian than a week ago.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Those Minutes in Bed

The somnolent minutes that go by from the moment I first come to awake and I finally get out of bed are a mystery. It seems many thoughts, feelings and images pass through this half-conscious state. They are different from vivid dreams. Those minutes sometimes last more than an hour. Though those remind me of my depressive days, I let it happen believing they are some phenomenon the brain commands, with good will.

Somewhat related to this, I have about 80 pages to go with “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain” by Oliver Sacks. Almost all who appear in the book seem gifted, prominent musicians. Like his “The Man Who Mistook His Wife as a Hat,” this is rather an anecdotal collection of cases.


A few days ago at a supermarket checkout, I was called “ma’am.” It used to be “小姐”…

Monday, April 05, 2010

Suddenly No NHK

NHK disappeared tonight as suddenly as it came. What’s happening here?

Baseball Jerseys

I watched live the second half of the MLB opening game, Boston v. NY Yankees, and once again was delighted to see the simple beauty of their jerseys. Meanwhile, in Japan, the jerseys continue to become ugly. It seems that, with the sponsor logos and complicated designs, they are almost exclusively intended for TV not for the people in the bleachers. The home jersey of the Fighters looks like they are in mourning with one shoulder in black. And the black sides of the Tigers jersey are quite damaging for the otherwise nice stripes.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Call the Locksmith!

I did it again… Coming back from some shopping of grocery, I found out that my pocket didn’t have the room key. No panic any more. I knew how to get the help. Call the locksmith!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

This Is Gonna Be a Fabulous Film

Yesterday, I had an appointment with FC and EK at Holland Village about their film project that I first got to know last November and did my small part as an interpreter in January. (Ha… I started having beer at 3 pm.) I appreciate very deeply that they sought my opinion. I went through the voice recordings and I found that his speech was wonderful, actually so much better than I had expected. They could make it sound like a professional narrator did the job, better in a sense. But I told them that that would not be him. He is not the kind of person who expresses his emotions like fire, and those who have met him know how humbly he speaks. Yes, he keeps the fire to himself. Even with somewhat awkward a moment’s stops between words and phrases, it is him. I definitely believe that this film will awaken the Japanese public of my generation, and previous ones, and to make them rediscover those days and, of course, him, a man of great principles.

My new neighbors seem to have left their flat only after days, a funny place.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Bookcase Trouble

With the bookcase delivered, I immediately began assembling it. It was now a familiar process for me as I have done it with two other same bookcases a year ago. I found that at least five shelf boards are so bent as to require radical corrective works. They are under heavy things to let them remember the original shape. Though I got three extra shelves this time, those bent ones canceled them out. While my books, CDs and DVDs, which were already on the shelves, are more evenly and lightly distributed, the hope to place other things on any of the three bookcases is dashed. They remain where I put them on, that is, on the floor.