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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.