Saturday, September 24, 2011

Those Days in Kalamazoo + Lakeshore Limited

I am kinda emotional, remembering those days I spent in Kalamazoo, MI. And also my lone trip through the Lakeshore Limited of Amtrak to Boston via Tanglewood, Lenox, MA. Definitely, the documentary, "Ozawa," is bringing about this feeling. I was so young then... and full of hope.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thanks to My Old PC + Country A

On 7th, I purchased a new PC out of necessity. The old PC started acting odd many months ago, turning itself off while I was typing. I noticed it would become so hot. I got a cooling fan to be placed below the PC, but it was probably not much help. It seemed it was refusing to work for me and it loved to go off. For the past two and half years, it has worked so much for me. Time to say "thanks" and to move one, I thought. I still don't know what the problem is, but it was too risky to continue using the old one as it might totally break down at any moment. If I had decided to send it for a repair work, I would have needed a substitute computer for the days required to repair it.

I found the following passage in a book I have recently finished reading: "I negotiated with (country A) for more than 20 years but none of the outstanding issues between us were resolved. (Country A) always delays, withholds agreement, and demands outrageous concessions in exchange for consenting to what is rightly ours." Country A: Israel or Singapore?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Super Etcetra: Stroy of Past Weeks

Last month, I exchanged a few e-mails with a man whom I have known for so many years. Reading those e-mails from him, I had that some feeling stronger than friendship was emanating. To a man, I would not write things like "I admire you" or "I enjoy reading your messages. Please write me on any subject when you are free." To me, these passages seem to be reserved for someone I love. On 18th, though I am not a fan of karaoke lounges, I decided to visit one of those places managed by another friend of mine, especially because she was my friend from days before she started managing there and she had told me about her plan to sell out the place. When I entered the lounge, I found a young woman apparently from the Philippines was manning the place alone. I started talking to her in a rather friendly manner. I opened a bottle of shochu as she could not find any bottle with my name labelled on it (or I really did not have any). After a while, she mentioned that the ownership had changed recently, which was news to me. I believed that it was still managed by my friend when I started small conversation with the woman. As it happens in such occasions, I hid my surprise and continued talking to her. Afterward, the mama-san came in and joined us. With kind help from the young lady, the bottle got empty. I do not know how many glasses she had from the bottle (I know the mama-san had one). She must have had many as I think I could not have kept standing if I had finished most of it alone. When the bill came, it stated S$389.40. This should be my first and last time to drink there. A person, another customer, I met there wondered if I am a Chinese American. On 25th, when I was reading "A Doctor in the House" by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a Coffee Bean outlet in the Orchard area, I received a message to my mobile phone from this friend, who used to manage the lounge and whom I had not seen for a few months, asking me if I would go to CC that night. As I was thinking it was about time to visit CC after more than a month and I was already in downtown, I replied yes. We set the time at around 7:00. I arrived 15 minutes earlier and she appeared perhaps half an hour later. After updating each other (she had already found a job after the closing of her lounge business), she started talking about her two boyfriends, one overseas and another here who shares the nationality with me and is married. Once again, I was calm perhaps unnecessarily. But I did not forget to caution my friend that if his wife found out the relationship, she may decide to sue her, demanding money, a common practice. She also mentioned the "big one" of this married boyfriend and I pretended not to understand what she was referring to. After a few glasses, she asked me to follow her to another place and I, being nice, obliged. The place she brought me was a karaoke lounge that I had not visited for many years (practically I stopped visiting those places. I do only when I am with someone from my client company but not always). She seemed to be a regular there and I hoped that the mama-san there did not recognize me. When I told to her, she said, "She asked your name." Too late. With some Chivas Regal consumed, my friend began singing karaoke. And some of the songs she selected were clearly sex-themed. And when I turned my face toward her, who was sitting to the right of me, I noticed that her legs were opened toward me. I do not know if she might have discovered the pleasure of sex only recently and wanted to perform some experiment with another man. She has asked me to go out with her twice since then. I declined both times. I had not much work to do during the second and third weeks of August and suddenly it became a flood. On 31st of that month, I worked as an interpreter at MBS again, surprisingly this time for a media company I was working for some years previously. I guess the two people who came for this interview did not need me. But in any case I did my job. On 24th, I receive an e-mail from the producer of a film company to inquire my availability for another visit here by the man about whom the production company made a film. I have met him and his wife in January last year as his interpreter and exchanged a few e-mails since then. With no hesitation, I accepted this occasion offered to be his interpreter. It was in October 2008 when I learned about the project and met the film director. I was booked to work as the interpreter for two film producers from my country, who came to talk about financing issues for their project, a film which was based on a real wartime story. Aside from the talk about this Japanese project, the director started talking about his own project. He showed us a few short stories by the man he adopted as his material. I remember saying at the meeting that the stories reminded me of "Hanato Kobako" and TV dramas created based on his works. It turned out that they were written/drawn around 30 years ago, thus this atmosphere reminiscent of Hanato Kobako. I watched the completed film on 27 May at a premier/charity event. Partly because of my small involvement in this project and more because of his straight way of life, which was reaffirmed in this form of artistic expression produced by the director, it left a strong impact on me. Obviously, another reason for this impact is the fact that, as his interpreter, I played him, making part of me become him. He is not the first person with whom I have worked on more than one occasion. But I know I am feeling that the person of him is seeping into me definitely because it was his life and personality he, through me, was talking about. It was so profound. At the reception held before the second premier on 9 September, I talked with an actor, the director's favourite, who played the role of the brother in a film who was so exact and strict toward his younger sister's behaviour. I instantly recognised him and he went like, "Oh no..." It was a great pleasure too. On 11th, 15th and today (16th), I went out for interpretation. A business meeting on a possible 3-way merger, a presentation meeting on Japanese roof tiles and a stage appearance and interview of the two lead actresses for a musical to be opened here in December. Tomorrow, I will have another... Watched: - Karajan: Or Beauty as I See It - Gershwin Night - Seiji Ozawa: Half a Century of Struggle with Western Music (Seiyo Ongaku to Kakutoshita Hanseiki) - Also Sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss) and Symphony No. 1 in C Minor (Johannes Brahms), Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa (I am in the audience.) - Dvorak in Prague: A Celebration - Ozawa (Watched this documentary for the first time in at least in a dozen years)