Hedda Gabler – ヘッダ ガブラー

Saw yesterday the play Hedda Gabler at Bunkamura Cocoon theater.

It has been a while since I went to see a play, especially in Japanese.

Obviously missed a few words here and there, but luckily (?!) actors speak clearly, so it was not that difficult for me to understand.

Terajima Shinobu was great, but also enjoyed the stage design, the See-Through Mirror which is used twice in the play. First Scene and last Suicide Scene. The colors and light coming from the windows.

It is good to remember how a good play is much better than a movie.

Less important to mention, I was the only foreigner in the theater, many people watched me, none approached.

 

 

Skin in the Game – last

Previous posts:

Skin in the Game Part 2

Skin in the Game

 

Last post and a summary (?)

It was an interesting book, but I did not enjoy the way it was written. I am guessing I will be holding my breath for the next book by Nassim Taleb.

Collected some notes and quotes:

people need to be equal, at least for the purpose of the conversation, otherwise it fails. It has to be hierarchy-free and equal in contribution.

I fully support this, and also relates to my experience in Japan. While in Israel the hierarchy is there but less strong, it is maybe too strong in Japan. Going to drink or eat with a customer and the conversation feels superficial. That unless there is a strong and long relationship between the members.  I am lucky enough to be a foreigner and able to break these walls of hierarchy.

People who are bred, selected, and compensated to find complicated solutions do not have an incentive to implement simplified ones.

Maybe not directly related, but I am almost allergic to the use of the word “elite” in Japan, the branding of people according to their education. It means nothing to me and it does feel sometimes like “smart” people are acting the act and trying to talk or act in a complex way.

Traders, when they make profits, have short communications; when they lose they drown you in details, theories, and charts.

Same goes for Sales. If all goes well, nobody cares. If not, the excuses, finger pointing and theories prevail:  “Political instability”, “Competition is doing this or that” and more

Emails to a fictional Character

Several years ago, while reading “Bad Girl” by Mario Vargas Llosa,  I opened a gmail account with the name of one of the characters.

Not quite remember why I did it, not sure I remember the password to that account, but the emails there are forwarded to my standard account.

There was no activity until a few weeks back when I started getting emails. Surprisingly, these do not appear like SPAM, but actual emails sent to the wrong address.

Now I have a dilemma, do I let the senders know it is a mistake, thus risking getting on a Spammer list, or just wait quietly till the sender figures out the mistake.

 

I think I will risk the Spam, I just need to figure out the password first.

 

Kafka – short stories

Reading again Kafka short stories translated to Hebrew.
One of my favorite stories is still “A report for An Academy” . 

Hebrew translation is obviously slightly different, but the discussion on Freedom is the part I like best

 

Incidentally, among human beings people all too often are deceived by freedom. And since freedom is reckoned among the most sublime feelings, the corresponding disappointment is also among the most sublime.

No, I didn’t want freedom. Only a way out—to the right or left or anywhere at all. I made no other demands, even if the way out should also be only an illusion. The demand was small; the disappointment would not be any greater—to move on further, to move on further! Only not to stand still with arms raised, pressed against a crate wall.

 

And a reminder that the cover uses Yosel Bergner painting that were commissioned for the series.

Albert Camus , Tuxedmoon , The Stranger

Definitely not a new song, but a song that accompanies me for many years.

One of the best books I have read (multiple times) and one of the best songs I know.

The song actually starts from bullying and being a stranger, with a clear reference to Albert Camus at the end.

MOTHER died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure.

But then it cuts off to

At the funeral they expected me to cry
Well I didn’t

Trying to bring the conclusion or more “strangeness” into the song.

 

Suspense book – Grasshopper by Isaka Kotaro

His new book AX is in the best selling list, so I thought I might as well try reading Japanese suspense books.

Started with Grasshopper (グラスホッパー) which tells the story of Suzuki, Semi (蝉, Cicada) and Kujira (鯨, Whale).

Kujira kills people by “convincing” them to commit suicide, Semi kills people with a knife and Suzuki entered this world to avenge the murder of his wife.

As expected, story and literary value is not satisfying, but I keep on reading. Partially to learn words and situations I am still not familiar with (crime and police), partially because I keep waiting for something to happen

 

 

Dorothy Parker quote on a Tote bag

A girl in the train was carrying a tote bag with the quote:

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.   – Dorothy Parker

At first I was thinking if Dorothy Parker would have approved this quote to be used commercially on Tote bag, but then I found out that the quote is attributed to Dorothy Parker, but not confirmed. See also in the Quote investigator .

I obviously doubt Wikipedia and the Internet, but I also doubt Tote Bags

Stories

I enjoy hearing people telling their stories. In Cafe, restaurants, Bar.

Even during business travel, one can have a chance to meet people and hear the stories.

Everyone have a story. Some are standard, some boring, some interesting and some exciting. It is many times not about the story, but how people tell their own story. Humbly, boastful, facts or spicing it with fiction.

A few stories I heard recently.

  1. A girl who lived one year in Vancouver, had to go back home and have two jobs to help support her family. One standard marketing day job (a bit boring), another working in a bar.
    Story told in English, humbly, facts, not from pain or frustration, not apologizing , a strong woman
  2. The owner of the bar (in Korea), which can speak Japanese, proudly explained why she can speak Japanese (but cannot speak English), story told in a boastful over the top manner, proud face.
  3. Woman during lunch talking with a man, explaining how she ended up working in a translation section of a big foreign company. How she has always been a “freelance” employee, never a formal employee a company. She taught English and then scouted to work as translator. Was this a date ? Were they work colleagues? Could not figure it out. Her story was humble, facts with hidden pride. “I am different”; “I look Japanese, but not really”.  Green shirt, magnificent colorful nails (with green again).

 

 

 

 

Donald Keene

Recently watched an NHK documentary about Donald Keene . Putting aside the usual Japanese dramatisation of his story, I was really moved by the person, his efforts and translations.

What really interested me is his translation of Japanese literature and conversations with the writers.  I struggle reading Dazai Osamu and Kawabata Yasunari books, which is not only about the Japanese language, but also the Japanese culture.

Hope it will not take me long to be able to read Japanese classics.

 

Matayoshi Naoki won Akutagawa prize

Japanese comedian, Matayoshi Naoki, won the Akutagawa prize.

He won it jointly with another writer, but this story is making waves as it is the first time a comedian wins the award.

Akutagawa prize is the most respected literally prize in Japan, awarded twice a year to the best “serious” literary work. By “serious” meaning a literary work which is usually less accessible to the wide audience. The Japanese language, its beauty and complexity is one of the goals of this prize.

As a side note, Naoki prize is also coveted and it is more “readable” or easier (language wise) than Akutagawa prize.

 

I am currently reading his book, “Spark”, (Japanese “火花”)but did not form my opinion on it. One thing is for sure, it is not easy for me to read it.