📆 Hobonichi 2022・Translating a quote a day

I enjoyed trying to translate all the quotes in my 2021 Hobonichi, so I decided to do it again this year. This thread is mainly here to keep me honest, but I would also love to hear other people’s interpretations :grin:


January

January cover page

You are like a meteor, cutting up the night sky. Your run is like a cold silver stream. Ah, you are shining. I can see the path you ran glowing white.

January 1

I expressly want to make time to write in my notebook. Not just to write in my notebook, but also to write letters and to organise my thoughts. About 2 hours several times a week. I like that sort of ‘expressly’.

January 2

Both my planisphere and my binoculars are my accomplices when I am looking up at the stars. The Orion Nebula, the stars of the Milky Way, Comet Hale-Bopp that leaves a trail or the total solar eclipse I saw in Egypt. It was my binoculars that I looked through while moved to tears. It brought my eyes a little closer to the stars for me. As for my planisphere, you can look up constellations at an instant with a smartphone app these days, but it makes me excited to line up the time and date by spinning it around.

January 3

The word ‘self-affirmation’ is often talked about and I want to celebrate a newly arrived year with self-affirmation to begin with as well. I think it’s ok for everyone to have hopes. That is what the words “Happy new year!”, which people say in unison when the year is renewed, are about, right?

January 4

After thinking “I can’t run away anymore” one year after my debut, when I was 17, I, ‘the insider’, began producing. I felt something like “If I can’t run away anymore anyway, why not create the image of a girl I’ve never seen before” and I thought “Let’s create a girl who makes me feel reliefed”.

January 5

When we look at all living beings in various ways, there are two very mysterious questions:
Diversity = Why is there so much of it?
Adaptability = Why is it working so well?

January 6

I also think that feelings of love are there in order to watch over that person. I don’t just love the bright parts of that person; the fact that I am interested in the gloomy parts shows a feeling of “Of all the people I have met in this world, this person is an important person, so I should cherish them and thus I should watch over them.”

January 7

When I reject an idea that I have noted down, if it’s on my phone, it doesn’t leave a trace once I delete it, but if it’s handwritten, I cross it out on top with a pen, so some traces remain. [A sense of] “Hm? What did I reject again…?” is left behind. Actually, those [notes] sometimes end up becoming important in the future.

January 8

If the first stroke is wrong, it means there is a discrepancy between my own thoughts. It won’t develop well in the end. If I’m able to write well at the start, even there is some slight inconsistency midway, I am able to absorb those mistakes. Because calligraphy is like life, you can recover some mistakes afterward. But if you make a blunder at the start, it’s clumsy to keep on writing that way.

January 9

My friend said, looking happy: “The other day there was a lottery at the shops. My daughter won! Return tickets to Disneyland!” Return tickets…? After a moment’s silence I errupted in laughter. The right phrase was “pair tickets”.

January 10

People who don’t lose the key to the realm of their child’s heart, are able to continue visiting a certain place of eternity even when they have become adults. That key, so to speak, is the feeling of continuing to ask “what is important to me?”. If you have that, you can advance to an even deeper place in that world of value. Further ahead, every time you gain a year.

January 11

The feeling of “love” is an amazing thing. “Love” is each person’s most valuable treasure. I feel like even if you’ve lost every conceivable thing, if there is “love”, you can live from that. Don’t you think it would be nice to write about “love” in one’s notebook every day?

January 12

I think that when [people] tell me their worries, that’s the moment I receive their approval as a human being. People’s stories, worries, love advice, work advice… I also love listening to my friends’ life advice. I am very happy I can get the time to think about other people’s lives. While I am asking them about their worries, there are also times when I think “Ah, I wasn’t paying attention to that”, so it is a very good influence. It’s delightful to be able to be besides other people’s lives.

January 13

I am weaving words. Textile and adaptations seem like they overlap. You can’t weave only the vertical threads first, and you also can’t weave the horizontal threads later. The fact that it takes time is similar too.

January 14

In the Hyakunin Isshu there are words that occur often. Sea and river, and wind as well. Snow. Morning sun, evening sun. And the moon. The moon was awfully frequent. There mustn’t have been anything to do in the evenings, huh? Because, in an era where the things one saw were limited, everyone looked at the same things and composed poetry, you really needed talent. If you think of it like that, the Hyakunin Isshu is close to a 大喜利. “How good of an answer can you give to a common question?”

January 15

After all, “difficulty” is mostly a subjective impression, in my opinion.

January 16

If bugs or animals are living in the place where they are living now, they’ll probably have food and there are no unknown dangers, but for some reason there are certainly people people who fly far away, right? Even if 99.999% feel like they want to stay in their current place, just 0.001% go out into an unknown world for the purpose of hedging their bets for the survival of their breed.

January 17

How many people do I currently admire? And assuming I admire them, to what extent do I trace their outline in order for me to become like that as well? People stop growing when they stop admiring [others].

January 18

I feel like I calm myself down by drawing. Like I am resetting my feelings. By drawing, I am having a conversation with my other self. I am confronting my inner part, my feelings. Because I think that there are probably times when the thing I am drawing now is not something I am thinking of myself, or when it’s linked to some other person’s work.

January 19

I got a piece of the Berlin Wall from my mother, who said “When I was tidying the kitchen, this fell behind a shelf.” Why would such a thing fall in a kitchen?

January 20

After all, rugby is a sport that places the most importance on variety. If you stop with scrums and line-outs, almost all are athletes with a similar body type. It’s the sort of sport where variety is the main principle and that anyone can do without puting on defensive armour. The first established rule is that you can play freely regardless of nationality.

January 21

It’s something I learned from Tanosan. “It’s a lucky thing to have a place where you’re nervous”. Because you can’t be serious about a job you’re not nervous about and you won’t really prepare ahead of time.

January 22

If we assume a human life to be 100 years and a tree’s life to be 3000 years, trees live 30 times as long as humans. That means a tree’s time passes 1/30th as quickly as a human’s time. If that’s so, our 30 years are a tree’s 1 year. 1 year corresponds to 12 days, 1 month to 1 day, 1 day to 48 minutes, our 1 hour to a tree’s 2 minutes. If you think about it like that, you come to understand why humans hurriedly try to rush through their lives and why trees look to us to be relaxing.

January 23

There is no such thing as a “natural eye = ojective eye” that is not connected to anyone’s mind. Because seeing is already an activity of the mind.

January 24

In rakugo, it is said that one stage performance is more important than 100 practice runs. However, isn’t there another necessary thing besides practice and performances? I had a conversation with a senpai about whether there isn’t a need for meaningless dressing room talk and meaningless closing party talk. Rakugo story tellers do their work alone, but many of them lonely, aren’t they?

January 25

A confidential matter is a secret of yours alone, that you don’t tell to anyone and don’t show to anyone. When I say my lines, it would be nice if I could have such a ‘secret’ of mine alone. It would be pure joy when I perform.

January 26

For my first trip abroad I went to England and I saw an old teddy bear in some place like a museum. At the time, I thought “This is not the time for me to be doing such things!”. Since then I made up my mind, quit the company and started attending teddy bear classes while working part-time. I think that “love” has never changed, because of the sense that I continue to this day due to those days at teddy bear class.

January 27

I was working part-time at a book shop. I was asked by a customer “Do you have the first, middle and last volume of a book called such-and-such?” and when I had looked it up, I turned to the waiting customer, because it was in stock, and said with a loud voice: “Sir, the large, medium and small are all in stock!”

January 28

When I am thinking about something, I eliminate my own individuality and I think “What if I hurl question A at this response, make counterargument B and give a new response like C or D” like I’m in a debate. It feels like I am developing my answer. If I make A an absolute and only think of response A all the time, that’s where I stop, so I incorporate different perspectives as much as possible and don’t ever deny my individuality. That’s what it’s like.

January 29

If it becomes more fascinating, then it doesn’t necessarily need to be faithful to the original picture. The original picture is nothing more than a reference point; there is not really any need to make it like the original picture.

January 30

“A tes souhaits” means something like “May your wishes come true”. In France one says this phrase to someone when they have sneezed. “A tes souhaits” for people you are on familiar terms with; “A vos souhaits” for superiors and people you are not that familiar with. People who are told it respond with “Merci”.

January 31

“Maybe I should try singing for myself”. That’s how I felt. That’s right. It wasn’t for anyone else. I sang it for myself.

February

February cover page

It was raining. Big and heavy snowflakes were pouring down as if they were sinking into the cold air. Looking up to the heavens, the sky was white and in it innumerable faint silhouettes of grey were blurred.

February 1

If my future “me” were to be grateful to my current “me”, what would it say thank you for? That is “what I can do” now, let’s think of that.

February 2

I try to think of bad things once bad things have happened. It’s a competitive world, so given the circumstances both good things and bad things happen. Even if it turns out for the worse, there’s no use complaining about it. Because if it’s after the game has ended, or even if it’s during the game, it is in the past. Even if it’s 3 minutes ago, it’s in the past.

February 3

“Thinking” and “being biased” are two sides of the same coin. No, rather, they are equivalents. There’s this opinion, and there’s that opinion; if you put them all on equal footing, what would happen? You couldn’t call that “thinking”.

February 4

At the Sochi Olympics, due to my camera positioning, I couldn’t photograph Hanyuu’s performance from a camera position in the front. I was at the top of the audience seats and when I tried to take a picture from a distance of him unfurling the flag, Hanyuu came skating over with a smile, possibly because there was just someone he knew on the side of the audience seats. At that point he wasn’t very good at unfurling the flag yet, but for that mere moment where he came to our side, the Japanese flag was dancing in the wind and I managed to capture that instant.

February 5

If I were to speak figuratively, “literature” is in contradiction with “knowing a city that no one knows”. Even though no one has seen it yet, there are people walking around. There are people living there. It’s such a lie.

February 6

‘Stone rubbing’ means ‘applying paper to the characters that are engraved onto monuments and such, and making a duplicate by rubbing over the top with sumi’. It was my grandfather’s hobby and I thought that I, being his grandson, would one day have to take over. So finally, once I obtained some simple sumi for stone rubbing and started ‘rubbing’, whenever I discovered uneven signboards all over town, I started getting turned on profusely like “I wanna rub it”. I’m spending my daily life nonchalantly making sure with my finger whether characters that catch my eye are uneven.

February 7

When you try to turn on a snowboard, if you try to turn suddenly and forcefully, you’ll fall over, right? That’s why, that feeling where you arrive at your intended destination by slowly and widely changing your direction, like ‘ahh, I’m turning’, while looking into the distance, such a feeling is ideal for me.

February 8

The reality is that work is rapidly being mechanised and it won’t come round to me [anymore]. But, feeling that I had to do my best and change my outlook at a time like this, I wrote “opportunity is a pinch” in big letters with an ultra thick marker and put it in front of my work desk. Until I had my mistake pointed out to me by my daughter, I really hadn’t noticed… My determination to turn a pinch into an opportunity looks like it’s breaking.

February 9

I am sometimes told by people ‘you’re lucky’, but I don’t think so myself. But there’s something I’ve learned by looking at other people. Lucky people are without a doubt cheerful people. Cheerful people have a high likelihood of being treated kindly by people.

February 10

Eupatorium with yellowed leaves is written about in the Manyoushuu. There is a preface where empress Kouken [in classical Japanese] “plucked a stalk of Sawa-Araragi (Eupatorium) and wrote a poem” and “I wonder if there is always frost in this village. The grass I saw in the fields of summer had turned yellow like the leaves of autumn.” A poem like ‘Had there been frost in this village, I wondered. Even though it was summer, the grass I saw had a colour like autumn leaves.’ This has been determined to be the world’s oldest record of a virus.

Because that’s why the leaves are yellow: due to a viral infection.

February 11

There are people you ‘get along with’, even though your opinions might differ, your tastes might differ, or your values might differ. When I try to think what that means, it might be that our sense of embarrassment is alike?

February 12

People are not impressed by a sloppy 70 from a person who has the capacity for a 100. On the other hand, when a person who has the capacity for a 60 exerts themselves for their personal best of 60 and goes beyond oneself, with complete devotion, overcoming their limits, and approaches 61, his expression flourishes. The people who see it are deeply moved, as if their heart is shaken and their soul is being released. People don’t want to see something that’s “skillful”, but something that is “brave”. I think they want to see people having courage and blooming with a force that awakens them to their potential power.

February 13

Whether it’s in the middle of a deep, dark forest or the beach of an isolated island, floating on the ocean, there is always one person who is your supporter. Look out over your surroundings and around you. Your biggest support is that person who is looking around.

February 14

I believed that if I made good chocolate it would sell, but that’s not what the customers wanted. I wanted something that is easy to get to in Tokyo, on a stylish street corner, with a shop interior with a pleasant atmosphere, unexpected, delicious, with cute packaging, that also keeps a long time and that is gratefully accepted if you give it to friends. It’s not like I adopt all of these things, but I have come to put myself in my customers’ shoes instead of my own.

February 15

Really, everyone becomes someone else’s strength just by being alive, don’t they? It’s just that you don’t realise that just by being there you are supporting someone, isn’t it?

February 16

Usually, even if I thought “ah!”, I would move on and leave that thought as is, but [now] I stop in my tracks and think ‘ah, maybe this’ll be a poem’. Then, I look for the words. Such moments being created is what makes me think ‘writing tanka is the best’. I think that it, in short, ends up being ‘living life thoroughly’. That’s why creating tanka really is savouring life thoroughly, spending time thoroughly, that sort of pursuit.

February 17

I often lose things. The other day at the company my stamp was missing. Anywhere I looked, it wasn’t there. My junior colleague at the desk to me, who saw me looking troubled, is a mother of three. She gently said to me: “Did you pon pon your pocket?” She was very embarrassed.

February 18

Even if I recommend to someone to watch Kita No Kuni Kara, I really don’t think they would watch it. I get it [when I look at it] from the opposite perspective. Because I do that as well; I’ll actually think that something that came recommended on “Ametaaalk!” looks interesting, but forget about it the next day.

February 19

Speaking of a “good company”, you need to have the phrase “for someone” in your head. In short, no matter how “good” a company is said to be by people, if it isn’t “a good company for you”, that’s no good in my opinion.

February 20

It’s not like I went to the actual site wanting to shoot winning scenes. I’ve been going to the Olympics for a long time, but, you know, it’s a “desire to see it with my own eyes”. It’s not wanting to celebrate them winning together or mourn them losing, but a desire to see their prospects with my own eyes, not knowing what will happen next.

February 21

Though one might say “let’s have imagination”, there is no such thing as perfect imagination. While I don’t understand everything, I try to keep in mind that I want to remember that my world cuts out just a small part of the real world. Such a simple imagination is more necessary than a perfect imagination.

February 22

Dogs often come over when they see their owners, but cats aren’t like that. Cats have very good ears. Humans have a hearing range of up to about 20,000Hz, but cats can hear up to 100,000Hz. Cats read humans’ emotions. If they’re not there and you call their name with an anxious state of mind, cats also become anxious. They’ll be even less likely to come out. That’s why ‘how to be relaxed when you call them’ is important.

February 23

So at concerts I am already “memory lapse Nakajima”. Just as a I draw in a breath to start singing, I forget. Because the applause would come in, right, like “we’ve been waiting!”. Hahaha. Afterwards, the fans would share information among themselves: “she forgot this part today”.

February 24

If there is one thing makes me feel happy that I chose to go into design, it is that I can experience ‘the unknown’. Unknown movies, unknown novels, unknown art. I am sometimes able to feel like the world is still full of interesting things. It’s one after another, that kind of thing. So long as I don’t stop searching by myself, [I will] undoubtedly [be able to find them] until I die.

February 25

If it were only for my own sake, I wouldn’t be able to feel pain. However, when you think that there are 14 other teammates in front of and behind you, when you think that there are people in the audience who are cheering for you, [and] you put your body on the line against better judgment, that’s rugby.

February 26

In the movie After the Storm, Kirin Kiki featured in the role of an elderly lady. Kirin Kiki, when told that “I respect my grandmother”, responds with “If you’re going to respect someone anyway, make it Mother Teresa or so-and-so (なんちゃら) the astronaut or someone.” This なんちゃら is not even in the latest dictionaries.

February 27

Being able to do really interesting things was, honestly, because it had nothing to do with money. Whether it’s Tadanori Yokoo or Makoto Wada, the works that everyone thinks of as their most important work are the ones that have nothing to do with money.

February 28

There is something I understood once I started working with dog sleds. Bringing in our own methods and tools is an affront to the culture of the actual location. The methods that have been cultivated by the local nature are ultimately more suitable for local ventures. By using the products of that place, there is a feeling of acceptance by the people of that place.

March

March cover page

It is spring, when bracken by a waterfall that flows over rocks starts to sprout.

I found this modern Japanese rephrasing:

岩の上を激しく流れる滝のほとりでは、さわらびが芽を出す春になったことだなぁ。

March 1

I think it’s alright if my characters aren’t liked by everyone. So long as the people who like them like them. Because I think that both humans and characters each have good points and bad points, and it’s good if they match the people they meet.

March 2

In this current age, where we have smartphones and are connected by the internet, we can’t experience the solitude that I used to experience anymore. Because SNS and smartphones came out right after the end of that, that was really the last solitude on earth, I think. I am a bit envious of my solitude around that time.

March 3

When ‘people who love’ with imagination gather in an open ‘space where there is nothing’, ‘PLAY = theatre’ begins. That is the kind of theatre I want to do. I want to do it on the full scale of humankind. But the capacity of my heart is small, and my head, hands and feet are riddled with things I can’t do. Perhaps I am really bad at it, but I want to became a director of love. It might be difficult at first, but I want to change little by little.

March 4

I spritzed an orange-scented aroma spray in the genkan. I was happy that the genkan smelled nice, so I said to my husband who had come home: “The orange, it smells of genkan, right?!” … That’s not the kind of orange I like!

March 5

Progress in dance always stagnates a bit. When that happens, the person in question also starts getting fed up with it, but if they still continue to do their best, your substance will become ever more full during that time. Then, on a certain day it will suddenly flower and ‘boom’, you get better. That’s why [the question of] how to bear such a period of levelling off is important.

March 6

If you make a strong attack right from the start, your opponent will keep his distance and move away. When that happens, the fight itself will not take place. First, you get your opponent to think of you as ‘easy to get’. That is also one of the most important tactics.

March 7

I was asked by my wife “this job, will you be doing it forever? I can already see how it will turn out in 30 years.” I was told things like: “You’ll work hard until the retirement age and then that’s it.” “That’s no fun.” “Don’t you think a parent figure is important for a child’s growth?” “It is a father’s role to be able to act in various capacities”. So I quit my job and from 2010 onwards, at the age of 30, I started taking pictures.

Based on the original interview, it seems like it’s his wife saying all of these things to him, even though the punctuation might suggest it is a conversation. I also found 風を吹かす a challenging phrase to translate.

March 8

‘Doing nothing’ itself became a reward for me. It’s not about money; there are many things included within ‘doing nothing’ and I felt that all the things I experienced were the reward.

「なんもしない」こと自体が僕にとっては報酬になっていたんです。それはお金じゃなくて、何もしないことの中にいろいろ含まれていて、経験すること全部が報酬として感じられました。

March 9

I was apparently the worst at drawing at the company entrance exam. But they appreciated the fact that I had come from New York even though I had no place to go, and they hired me. In my impulsive behaviour, they saw a potential that might grow in the future. That’s why, when I am hiring people, getting more associates, I also put more importance on the attitude and behaviour, what kind of person it is, than on their manual skills or their school grades.

March 10

I learned a lot of things from the people of Touhoku’s Kesennuma. The year of the earthquake disaster, they really kept company with us, strangers who had come from afar, from the bottom of their hearts. It’s something that started from sadness, but now it has grown into an even greater joy.

March 11

If I were asked if Kesennuma is recovering, I wouldn’t be able to answer. But the people who live there are doing well. Expressions like ‘doing their best’ or ‘working hard’ don’t even feel right. They are sharing their energy, their love, their delicious food with us. Fortunately, even though we can’t change the past, people can change their way of perceiving it. The people I met during this trip are people who have changed their past not into anger or hatred, but into kindness and love.

March 12

I have always doubted that I have talent. That’s why I think I have the qualifications to try my hand at the acting business. I don’t know if I have talent or not. I think there is probably more room for growth with that mindset.

March 13

Whether it is a crucian carp, a bantam, or whatever, I want to visualise somehow that grinding feeling of a life struggling in my two hands. However small of a life I am holding, the strength, the humorous side, and, more than anything, the sexual sensation. And the sadness, the misery. Like that, everything that life holds is struggling in my own hands. That’s what I want to express in my drawings.

March 14

If the creator isn’t having fun, that comes across. I feel that manga is possessed by something, so if it’s a manga that was drawn while [the mangaka] wasn’t enjoying themselves, or a manga that was drawn reluctantly, I think it’s better not to draw it at all.

March 15

I once asked an architectural planner “Is it possible to design an alley it is pleasant to be in?” Sure enough, they said that’s difficult. Because alleys are accumulations of things that invidiuals consider interesting. There is a tedium of things that more people find intersting.

March 16

An older brother (10) asked his younger brother (6): “Do you know the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper?” The younger brother: “Ah, that Grasshopper, wasn’t he the guy that was stirring things up?”. Was their mother’s style of reading to them that boorish?

March 17

Life is very unclear. It always goes in unforeseen directions. For example, even if you start a band, it might end up being different from the direction you had originally thought of. Someone doesn’t join, someone else does join, a succession of such things. So don’t plan. If you make plans, it usually ends up no good. For example, making a plan and then someone is suddenly paying money [for it], that never happens.

March 18

I am careful not to make my head about something for 100%. It’s not a good thing, ‘100% of something’. Whether that is ‘love’ or ‘work’. It means that if you lose it, what is left is empty. It is probably a relationship like some sort of addiction.

March 19

I believe there is nothing so helpful to people as the feeling of being needed by people. I think the question of ‘why do people work?’ has been thought about since way back, but I wonder if we don’t all work, for one thing, in order to be needed by someone.

March 20

Part-time workers being able to work enjoyably, I think that’s the number one thing that makes a store lively. What is interesting about Village Vanguard is the fact that pointless ideas are born in our spare time and we serve useless things to our customers.

March 21

Motoyoshi’s “I would like to see you, even if I destroy myself”. If I were to put it in today’s words, it’d be “Even if I had to risk my life, even if it destroys me, I want to see you”. If you put it into writing, it is a very direct love letter. It is a phrase as beautiful as a jewel, that we can understand even today, like a crystallisation of one’s whole heart, like “could I say more in 31 morae?”.

March 22

Like breathing air and eating food, the only way I know how to live is to live life while doing theatre itself. I have done theatre for so many months and years already, and I have related to society and looked at the future through theatre.

March 23

Falling into tragedy, like “My life is no good anymore!” is really easy. It is also surprisingly simple to turn it into a comedy by disregarding various things, like “Anyway, let’s pursue fun things!”. But if you don’t have a tenacious mentality, it is difficult to accept tragedy and comedy at the same time.

March 24

A drive with my husband. Next thing I know, we’re in the area where Tamorisan had wandered. Unable to wait, I wanted to say it before my husband did, so I said without thinking: “This, this is where Burari was tamotamo’ing!” … I let myself be influenced by the name of the programme.

She had wanted to say ここ、ここ、タモリがブラブラしてたよね!

March 25

What Osamu Hashimoto did was a way of fighting like making the “Trojan Horse” of Greek mythology. He tried making a strange, mysterious thing and leaving it outside the castle walls. The enemies, wondering ‘what’s this?’ bring it back into the castle. When that happens, it’s ours. Before the enemies notice, the castle walls have collapsed… Common knowledge and fixed ideas you’d think were impregnable are overturned. The way society is seen is changed.

March 26

I get nervous in situations that impact winning or losing, but as long as I’ve made preparations, I become able to see my surroundings and keep my feeling of tension in check. I wonder if I didn’t want to calm myself down by getting ready in advance especially on days when I was in bad shape.

March 27

If foreign material gets into an Akoya pearl oyster and it can’t spit it out, it spends a lot of time trying to wrap that foreign substance, giving form to mother of pearl, and it produces a pearl. Not just oysters; I hope that humans, too, are able to imitate the Akoya pearl oyster, covering the sadness and grief inside of them with their own feelings, wrapping them, and sublimating them into beautiful inner feelings, like a pearl.

March 28

There is nothing that surpasses being good [at it], but I don’t think there is any necessity for being good [at it]. There are many things that are more important than that.

March 29

I think I can have a core within myself. To that end, I put ‘my joy’ into words precisely, like “I want to do this and that”. When I do that, even in cases when I think “man, I can’t do this”, I can come back to “hang on, if I could do this, it’d make me happy”.

March 30

While seems that we’re looking at the same thing, we are probably all taking in something different. That may be a bit fact, but it’s a bit of a lonely fact. That’s why humans join hands and sing the same song. They also deliberately seek out the same place and stick together.

March 31

Looking at it from a bit of a distance, I thought “how will people from the same generation feel good?”. In order words, I was thinking not adults, but of people from my own generation. There is one more thing that has become a guiding principle. I am originally from Atsugi in Kanagawa prefecture, and I wanted to become the sort of girl of whom my hometown friends would say “She did well!”.

April

April cover page

Passing by Gion towards Kiyomizu on a moonlit sakura evening; all the people I meet this evening are beautiful.

A modern rephrasing might look like this:

「清水に行こうと祇園を通り過ぎると、桜が咲き誇る朧月夜。今夜すれちがう人々は、誰もみな美しく見えました」

April 1

In my own viewpoint, “things to protect” have always been a sort of personal guideline. Or like a personal creed. On occasion it degenerates into a jinx, or maybe a pilchard’s head. If I may make a further remark, you should mercilessly ask yourself questions like “what is the aim?” or “what is the reason I thought that just now?” and to face the answers to them, even if it’s painful.

I imagine the pilchard head is related to this expression.

April 2

Don’t compare it to ordinary times. Don’t compare it to the past. Don’t compare it to the future. At any rate, don’t compare anything to “the present”. Fix your gaze on “the present” that is right in front of you.

April 3

You shouldn’t go into a match doubting yourself, you shouldn’t think about the result when it hasn’t occurred. A player with a with that doubts himself will only have difficult thoughts under pressure. You need to face the battle without doubting anything for at least the 2,5 or 3 hours that a game lasts, like “let’s go!”, without doubting yourself or your team. I think it’s important to face a match like: “I did as much as I humanly could; the rest is up to God”.

April 4

I guess you’re a “wife” when you no longer listen to what I say. Because while you do listen to me, you’re a “lover”.

April 5

I am always taking out my camera outside. Just because there is some extra effort taking it out of my bag, it makes me unable to take pictures. I think it’s very important to be freed from that hassle. I think it’s best to take the lens cap off as well. When I buy a camera, the first thing I do is throw away the lens cap.

April 6

Let’s admire. Let’s praise. Let’s rejoice. Let’s try becoming ladies and gentlemen. Let’s be loved. Let’s love. Let’s persevere in losing weight. Let’s dance. Let’s be surprised. Let’s encourage. Let’s help. Let’s console. Let’s treat someone to a meal. Let’s make some laugh. Let’s imagine. Let’s dream. Let’s play. Let’s sing. Let’s draw. In short, each of these is something that produces good ideas.

April 7

Making it just as delicious, is actually very difficult. It is positively impossible to keep it tasting the same without coming up with some kind of plan. Just making it the same way as usual definitely doesn’t make it as delicious.

April 8

This is a story about my senpai. During cleaning time she was carrying a bucket, tripped on a banana peel that had fallen and fell! Then, a few words: “You really do step if you slip on a banana peel!”. Senpai, that isn’t quite right.

April 9

We can’t think without biases, and biases are created through thinking. We take action with our thoughts, gather information with our thoughts and develop towards the next thought with the gathered information. We pile bias upon bias. That is what it means to think and that is what it means to grow.

April 10

‘Solving’ maths questions is important, but [knowing] ‘how do I solve it?’ is even more important. It is important that people who have seen the solution can apply it to other [questions], like “if I can use this method, I could probably also use this method”.

April 11

I had been told by the doctor that I had an attack of gout and I had come home limping. My daughter asked “what’s wrong?”, and when I answered “my leg hurts”, she said “well, I’ll put a band-aid on it”. I peeled off the band-aid my daughter had stuck on me and stuck it in my notebook.

April 12

If you think about notebooks or pocket diaries, those who use them have one more chance to have fun than those who don’t, right?

April 13

If a television drama episode doesn’t progress at a suitable pace, it becomes dull. However, in manga, even if an exchange is wordy, it can still be interesting. That’s why, if you put a manga development onto the screen as is, perhaps because the flow of time is entirely different, various things feel strangly long. Doesn’t it sometimes feel like “the story isn’t progressing at all, is it?” when you watch a drama that was originally a manga?

April 14

Gaining wisdom systematically. This is something very important that one can do at university. On the other hand, what you learn in the city is to know your customers. Also, how to make friends.

April 15

I was not fit to be an actor and my paintings and photographs were also not very good, but when I put it all together, something that doesn’t exist anywhere was created. I have called it, arbitrarily, a ‘triathlon of beauty’. In paintings, I am no match for a painter, in photographs no match for a photographer and in acting no match for an actor, but I understood that if only I acted like the ‘’ that brings them together, the ‘me who is at a loss’, I could do anything.

April 16

You don’t need any materials. You can do it whenever, wherever. It doesn’t take any money. Even if there is no one to help, you can do it alone. That is: thinking.

April 17

There is a phrase “Action always beats reaction”, which means “don’t wait for the other party to do something, start first.” I think that doing what you want done first is an important principle common to sports, business and day to day communication.

April 18

“It was warm today huh?”, my senpai said at work. “Yeah, there were even people wearing a T-shirt or boxers” I said. “… boxers, that’s messed up”. Ah, no, I meant to say ‘tank top’!

April 19

In waka, an experience that everyone shares is composed. That’s why they all write about the same topic. It’s a world they have in common. This is very Japanese. Abroad, poems are not composed in a shared world. That’s because poems are centered around the individual. Only being able to write about yourself is the focus of [that kind of] poetry.

April 20

When you put nature in front of you, you run out of spare time. Now, even in this instant, in front of my eyes a lot of life is energetically squirming about like always. That appearance and activity gives me a lot of excitement all over my body.

April 21

It’s better to make promises. To your baby, to you dog or to yourself. When you have properly made a promise and you try to keep it, your fingertips will become skilfull, your legs will become sturdy, your eyes will become better, your head will work better. That’s right. You will become a person who can keep a promise.

April 22

Handicrafts are unchanging and strong, I thought. If only there is work, you can do it at home. It is a matter of during it while it is light out. You can work by the cycle of the sun. Once again I feel like people who do handicrafts are awesome.

April 23

If anything, my appartment was like his appartment since he had moved in, and I was like a tenant living together in his place. The appartment was comfortably cluttered and I had the joy of unlikely things in unexpected places, even in the refrigerator.

April 24

I do my work individually. Because my work of drawing pictures is done at home, what I pay attention to is that I make sure to get up in the morning and get changed and dress properly.

April 25

There is a battle to decide “This is amusing, this is not amusing” and someone wins it. The amusingness that wins is considered to be the correct one, but the amusingness that has lost is also an amusingness that actually exists, so which one is superior can’t really be decided, can it?

April 26

If you are able to perceive the next ten yearsーonce you turn 30 years old until 40 years, once you turn 40 years old until 50 yearsーlike “they will become even more fun than they’ve been so far”, that’s excellent. To be honest, I am looking forward to the next 10 years. The past is fully over. What comes next is awesome.

April 27

When I try to perform solely subjectively, I will definitely fail. Why? Because the role isn’t me. I’m afraid that only my own thoughts get into the role. I listen to the opinions from my director and various people and get their advice. If I don’t do that, the role will turn into me. If it’s “just me” there are limits. The role isn’t me and I don’t compare myself and the role whatsoever.

April 28

In exploration, when you withdraw, you withdraw thoroughly. Of course it is important to overcome the difficulties in front of you, but in order to survive, if you don’t know when to withdraw, you die. So long as you survive by not doing the impossible and withdrawing, there will definitely be another chance.

April 29

I had cut my hair. When I said “When I woke up this morning I looked like Sariichan’s dad” at work, my subordinate said “What does that mean?”. Ehh… I am sorry, but you’ll have to do a quick image search.

April 30

In the art of theatre, people who live in the “now”, including the audience, staff and actors, share the time of the performance. The audience who are all gathered at the start of the show and the actors are people who equally own the time called “now” in common. That is why the theatre has words that reverberate more than any other media.

May

May cover page

I am a grass. I try to grow.
When I can grow, I try to grow.
On days I can’t grow, I don’t grow.
On days I can grow, I grow.

May 1

I think that’s all we can do. Creating opportunities, opening doors, that’s the job of the performance arts.

May 2

When I go abroad, little by little I buy paints in colours I like. I’ve liked painting ever since I was a kid. When in primary school we were evacuated to the countryside, and when I brought my cherished watercolours and painted a picture, my schoolteacher gave me drawing paper, which was very precious at the time, saying “Because you really like painting, Nakajou-kun”. Ever since, even now, I’ve been painting.

May 3

We probably operate under the desire of “I want to leave something behind” or “I want to remain in someone’s memories”. We want to do something that “remains steadily in someone’s life”. I think we want people to remember it.

May 4

The activity that has become the pillar of my home life is ‘weeding’. Chameleon plant, horsetail, chickweed, ferns, creeping woodsorrel… When I pull them out, pull them out, over and over, I come to feel refreshed. When I focus on the sight of ants digging in the soil, making a nest, or on the grass and ants in front of me, I can expell the days’ various matters and worries from my mind.

May 5

It’s good to have a small child near me. When a week passes, she has already grown. Just by thinking that humans have such a phase, courage wells up in those who see it. That kid loves being alive for sure.

May 6

A large-scale strike is annoying, but what I admire is that people are used to dealing with them, because France is of course a country of strikes. They think about whether there are means [of transport] besides the transit system. They think about by what route they can get somewhere the fastest. If there is no transit system, they’ll walk however many hours. If it’s no problem, they take time off work. They get angry, but no one vents their anger towards the strike. After all, they’re a country of strikes.

May 7

You can’t find ‘a job only you can do’. But you can create a job. You should think of it not as ‘taking’ a fixed job, but as changing a pre-existing job and ‘making’ a new one. Even if it’s not the job you wanted to do.

May 8

My mum showed me the contents of her notebook while laughing, but I felt like I was looking at the preparations for the end of my mum’s life and it felt indescribable. But my mum says quite indifferently: "What I noticed as I continued writing, is that both the everyday life of myself and my family, and the days I spent with my parents who are gone continue to be connected and will continue. Targeting not an ‘ending’ that will come one day, but a ‘future’ that will come one day, I made sure to write the necessary information in my notebook so as to make sure things are not difficult for my family.

May 9

That time the post office guy delivered a package to me. I was told “Sign here please”, and though I wanted to ask “With my full name?”, for some reason I asked this: “With my real name?”. The man said “Well, of course”. That’s right.

May 10

There are many girls around me who are cute, though they aren’t models, but you can depend on them, they have substance and a good [personality] coming forth from within. Precisely because it is taken for granted that models are cute, they have to go higher and higher. But what comes forth from the inside is also important for a girl, I think. It would be good if I could learn that from cute girls who do other work.

May 11

Fishing boats are an operation. You have to decide things like the price of gasoline, the market price of fish, when to go out and come back in a split second. You also need the courage to give up even when you couldn’t catch anything at all. You have to manage however many fishermen. I think they are people who can make it through no matter what happens.

May 12

A pitcher winning one game… well, it’s so joyous, you could call it the happiest thing in my life. It’s truly a blessing. Winning is the happiest thing in life. Current athletes who are called ‘aces’ probably also make plays feeling the joy of winning, and batters, too, how happy would they be if they contribute to winning and can become heroes?

May 13

As you are wearing the same clothes for many years, they have a way of being remembered from a material point of view such as “clothing from when I had these memories”. It changes from matter into memory. I want people to feel such a transformation.

May 14

Getting up early in the morning, wielding a saw or hammer while getting covered in sawdust and dust, getting small cuts on my fingertips, getting blisters on my hands. I am busy with the work, so naturally I get hungry. In the evening I fall asleep like I’m melting while I’m thinking about tomorrow’s work. Even if it’s not going well, I have no need to complain to anyone. I had long forgotten what joy that is.

May 15

Our own changes change people, and someone else’s changes change us as well. We have the plasticity to change as much as we like, almost daily, as long as we are willing to change. Both progress and growth are representations of “change”.

May 16

When I am singing a song, I reach a state of being a “transparent tube”. What falls down from the sky, Once I have let what comes falling down from the sky pass through my body, I go on to communicate it to my audience… By doing so, I purify things such as worldly thoughts. To express it in an easy to understand way, I want to convey a sense of “I am happy to have been born”.

May 17

Even if the floor is densely packed, you can still enjoy the interior by the ‘walls’. So postcards or magazine clippings are fine. Even a small thing changes your mood well enough. The important thing is that you display things you like.

May 18

When you meet with someone or with a group, the thing that makes you feel terribly tired is that you may not be ‘number one’ there. It’s that you think about the person who is the self-proclaimed number one in that group, or about the person who is treated as the number one, “This person isn’t number one calibre by any stretch of the imagination.” For some reason such people have to aim at being number one as far as they’re concerned.

May 19

He likes his older brother and thankfully he’ll even happily wear his hand-me-downs, like “These are big brother’s! Can I wear them?”, but somehow he seemed to realise. At last, he said it: “All I get are hand-me-downs!”

May 20

I don’t really, particularly, how do I put it… write lyrics that are true to life. That is why you can take them in any which way. To some extent, it’s something I think I had better not interfere with. Because it’s not something that I should interpret in such a way.

May 21

Any job is fine by me. In any case, a job that I can do a bit comfortably, that pays as much as possible… That’s right, isn’t it? I have never turned down any job other than bungee jumping.

May 22

Just chasing after the things you like simply feels like a waste. I think it’s fine to use people you admire in order to inspire yourself, to become energised. It’s like a vitamin.

May 23

When I look at the actions of humans, they ‘share’ when they are under a ‘roof’. But, when you erect a ‘wall’ there, there is a tendency to ‘tell lies to each other’. I think it’s important to what extent we can be conscious of there being a ‘roof’ there, or in other words, ‘sharing’.

May 24

Depending on various factors, like state of mind, physical strength or the season, you can see completely different things. I have summited both Denali and Everest two times, but they were completely different, and even if I climbed Fujisan 30 times, I would discover completely different things. That is the same in the streets of Tokyo as well, and that is why I can click my shutter.

May 25

Where there is nothing, there are no fish. Even where there seems to be nothing, there is something, for example there is a lot of oxygen, or the water temperature is just right, or smaller fish pass through. Birds, lizards, insects, humans, they are all in a place they have a reason to be.

May 26

Adding characters from the ば row to characters one by one… I had mastered this ‘game’ when I was 10 and I became able to add ば row characters smoothly. Even now I can still do it smoothly, but sometimes I do something even sillier than when I was 10. I do it to English as well. I say ‘グッドモーニング’ like ‘ぐぶっどぼ・もぼーにびんぐぶ’. Naturally, people from the Anglosphere don’t understand it.

May 27

‘Assistance’ is a temporary thing, and you can’t keep doing it. If you don’t switch over to ‘cheering’ at some point, there will be mutual unhappiness.

May 28

For example, even though they are concerned about child abuse, if they are asked “could you go into that abusive household and fix the parent-child relationship”, many people feel like “government officials, go and do it properly”, because they think “I can’t do such a thing”. At The Children’s Cafeteria, I try to get them to think about it like “if it’s eating dinner together, I can do it”. I think it is being easy-going that is very important.

May 29

This morning’s commute. In the middle of a full train, there was the ringtone of a phone: piropiropiro. The old man who answered to phone said quietly: “I am in the middle of a phone call right now, I’ll call you back when I get off the phone!” I think the other guy knew he was on the phone as well though…

The joke being that he mixed up 電話 and 電車.

May 30

I think I can assert that for most people, there is no such thing as ‘being cut out for something’. Can I say something more fundamental? It’s ok if you’re not cut out for or not good at something. Even when you’re not, you can still get by. At least, I don’t have anything I am good at, rather, I have come to live as though I am fleeing from the things I’m bad at. Maybe that is why it seems like the people who are bad at a lot of things are doing work they’re cut out for.

May 31

I think that even in the age of Michelangelo, humans already experienced the beauty of abstract things. That is a shape’s… At times, the beauty of ‘form’ surpasses even, for example, the beauty of a human body.

June

June cover page

When flower petals scatter, something gentle in the shape of the petals appears to gather there.

June 1

At the Van Gogh museum, I feel like I saw about a hundred self-portraits. I was immersed in Van Gogh. I thought it might change my style of painting, but I wasn’t at the age where I could be influenced anymore.

June 2

Just as I was happy when I learned the characters and became able to read the newspaper, learning was not about rote memorisation, not about taking tests, but learning something, knowing something, that by itself was fun. That kind of raising of morale, isn’t that the true nature of man? That is why, if we return to the child’s feelings, it is fine to start from whenever, to start from whatever. I don’t want it to be “for some purpose”, but I want it to be fun for its own sake.

June 3

Until I finally get to the Danish, I will read it out loud about ten times. I come to understand the feeling. Of the person who wrote it. By going through the heart, the words come to life.

June 4

I’ve recently been using my favourite lines that I wrote myself when I was younger again. Looking at people who draw, I’ve come to think that that is ok. People who draw draw the same pictures over and over again, right? I think that the things people like to draw don’t readily change.

June 5

I feel like if you can successfully include a sense of “I may also have felt this myself”, your work will often become better.

June 6

“I have a good idea!” sounds like a child’s voice. I wonder if having an idea feels like that. A team like that, where everyone says “I have a good idea!” while smiling impishly often, is my ideal.

June 7

I feel like the message that Prince was conveying with his music is summarised as: “I am me and you are you”. “I love my freedom, and similarly I love yours too”. That was Prince’s stance at any time.

June 8

These days, isn’t it the sort of time where, if you try to sell ‘means’, you can sell however many you like? Everyone is prone to have their eyes drawn there, but I feel like what’s really important, is what you want to do, what you want to tell, that part.

Contrary to what people think, it’s not about the marketing, it’s about the actual product.

June 9

In Osaka, there are a lot of people who are ‘irachi’ (impatient). Even at the register, the person behind me comes up vigorously. The other day, even though I was told “it’s so and so yen”, the woman behind me tried to put her bills on the tray. I am often pushed, but that was a first!

June 10

Fallen trees are prone to be thought of as tree carcasses and nuisances, but they bring life to all sorts of organisms, not only mosses, ferns and lichens, but also mushrooms, insects and slime molds. Falles trees are sacrophytic fungi’s favourite meal. It’s only fungi like mushrooms that are able to decompose the matter they contain that is difficult to degrade and return it to inorganic matter. When you to a forest, please try to observe the fallen trees. There is no doubt that you’ll experience fresh wonder at the world of life that is unfolded there.

June 11

There are people who use umbrellas beautifully, right? When I see them properly closing their umbrella and carefully folding it at the station premises on a rainy day (I guess they have time to spare?), I always think “I need to follow their example”. It feels refreshing, doesn’t it?

June 12

Something happened to the you from 10 years from now and you strongly wished: “take it back by 10 years please”. That’s why you have returned to this point. Let’s think of it that way. What on earth is it that the you from 10 years from now has entrusted to the present you? You probably put yourself back in this point in time, because you thought that there was probably something you could still do about it. If you think that presently you have returned to 10 years ago, you will feel like “let’s do it”.

June 13

Pushing yourself because you think “I have to start something”, I don’t think that will last. Instead, if you start with a feeling of “I want to start so much I can’t help it”, it will fit you better, I think.

June 14

I don’t put any faith in lesson review surveys. I only put faith in the twinkle in my students’ eyes. Usually, when I’m teaching, I constantly look at my students’ eyes. Is my story coming across? Are they listening to me like they’re interested? What do I care about beside that? I am here right now and you are here right now. I have something I want to get across right now. To hell with it all the rest as far as teaching is concerned.

June 15

Almost all people who try to “do something”… when it comes to doing something regarding this “trying to do something”, almost all of them just repeat that “they’ll give it some thought”. Really, even if you don’t really know, when you “start doing something”, lots of things happen.

June 16

I love loquats and peaches. They are precious nowadays because of the way they allow you to choose the season. Their flavours are in sharp contrast, and as far as loquat is concered it is somewhat vague and that’s why it’s good. Though compared to it the peach is much more intense and sensual, it has a somewhat noble aftertaste that calls out a state of mind that makes you feel like you’re in a fairyland. Going on to eat a peach after a loquat is one of the few chances to taste the changing of the seasons.

June 17

There are ways to become strong even when you’ve passed your physical peak. You should know yourself. It is important to grasp exactly at what times you have what kind of reactions. I believe that by doing that, a more polished you will appear.

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