2010/2/28 日曜日

すずねちゃん、ありがとう!

Filed under: life in Japan,国際家族,日本語 — admin @ 16:06:39

白人の女性が日本で生活する上で1つの大きな困りごとは赤ちゃんに泣かれることです。私に気づくとたんに赤ん坊や小さい子供はべそをかいて、涙がうるみはじめる。2〜3日前、3才ぐらいの男の子にまるでゴジラを発見したようなホラー映画にでてくるような表情をされてしまいました。急いで目をそらして、知らないふりをしました。

今朝、うちの教会で6ヶ月の赤ちゃんから何度も微笑み を受けてしまいました。幸せ!でもそれはその通りです。その子のグランパも「あちらの方」です。私を見ても何も変な印象を受けないわけです。半年前に生まれたばかりなのに、もう心が広いですね。日本はもう単一民族ではないとつくづく思いました。これからもたくさん微笑みをもらっちゃいたいです。

flower-in-snow.jpg

2010/2/25 木曜日

Printer Down! プリンターのない生活

Filed under: life in Japan,翻訳業 — admin @ 7:40:27

数日前、どういうわけか、うちのプリンターが使えなくなりました。今は修理待ちです。今日東京に出かけますが、待合い場所のサイト情報等を印刷できなくて、しばらく困って考え込みました。

そして思い出しました。メモを自分で書けばいいの。

このようにして人間の生まれ持った機能が低下していきますね。たまにはローテックの生活に戻らないといけないと思いました。

long ago when the world was simple

2010/2/19 金曜日

Books I’ve Read Since I Got a Kindle

Filed under: English entries, — admin @ 8:30:02

I’m on my eleventh book since I bought my Kindle in October 2009. That makes, let me see, eleven more books than I would have read otherwise. To show the advantage, I’ll sort them out by “motivation.”Back in pre-Kindle days, I never would have considered buying so many even if they were so inexpensive–just trying to figure out where I would put them! This way I get immediate gratification and the only fuss is my credit card statement.

Books I bought immediately after I read the review in the newspaper:

Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife by Francine Prose

Fly By Wire by WIlliam Langewiesche

Books I bought because my sister recommended them:

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Noah’s Compass by Anne Tyler

The Writer as Migrant by Ha jin

A book I bought right after seeing the movie on which it was partially based:

My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme

Books I’ve been wanting to read anyway, and there they were:

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

Garlic and Sapphires: the Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

A book I bought because it was only about $3:

The Non-Fiction Works of  Mark Twain

The Kindle Wars キンドルの討論つづく

Filed under: 日本語, — admin @ 8:15:13

本をアナログで読むかディジタルリーダーで読むか、討論は続きますが、一番得しているのは読者です。こちらでは、星野富弘の『愛、深き淵より』の英語版(Love from the Depths: the Life of Tomihiro Hoshino)の元出版社の立風書房が学研に取得されて、学研はとりあえず続版を考えていません。このような本はディジタル状態でいつでも手に入れることができれば、win-win situationだと言えるではないでしょうか。また、忘れてはいけないことの1つは、ディジタルリーダーを使いたくない方は印刷した本を読めば良いと思います。私としては、アマゾンのキンドルを買ってから、アナログの本を前よりも買うようになりました。一旦買い出すととても止めにくい習慣です。

2010/2/16 火曜日

Eat Sleep Sit: My Year at Japan’s Most Rigorous Temple

Filed under: English entries,life in Japan,,翻訳業 — admin @ 9:01:59

A number of years ago I read Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer. It was a fascinating read, describing all the details of climbing Mt. Everest. It was so descriptive, in fact, that I felt out of breath the entire time I was reading it. I still think about it almost compulsively–the life-threatening, not to mention, incredibly uncomfortable experience that is commonly referred to as “conquering Everest.” Krakauer provided me with a sufficient Everest experience. I’m happy both to have read it and also to never go there myself.

Eat Sleep Sit had much the same effect on me.  The Japanese title is “Eat Sleep Sit: The Story of Training at Eiheiji.” Presumably, the Japanese reader knows the implications of Eiheiji as a temple where Buddhist monks are trained. I appreciate how the Kodansha International editor made it clear in the title that (1) it wouldn’t be an idyllic year of sitting on wooden verandahs gazing out at moss gardens, and (2) it only lasted a year. The latter comes as a relief early on, although by that time the inclusion of “Sleep” in the title begins to raise questions.

Author Kaoru Nonomura decides to quit his job, leave his girlfriend, and set off for a year of training at Eiheiji. When he arrives, he stands at the door to the temple, in the snow, and ends up having to shout himself hoarse before he is allowed in–and the experience (from this reader’s eyes) goes downhill from there as the trainee leaves every last ounce of freewill outside the temple. Every single act of a trainee, each individual motion of that act, is set down by Dogen, the thirteenth-century founder of Eiheiji. As an example, the section “Lavatory” is nine pages long. And this is where the “Into Thin Air” effect begins to take hold. The rules are so complete and invasive that, on the one hand one wants to scream “waaaay too much information,” but on the other it is fascinating and one wants to read every word of it. The monks learn how to live as Zen automatons, although the author concedes that that may be what Zen is all about–emptying the mind by not having to make a single decision, no matter how minor.

I give veteran translator  Juliet Winters Carpenter a great deal of credit for making a large amount of ancient instruction accessible in English to the modern non-Japanese reader. In fact, I looked through the Japanese version at one point and was overwhelmed with the  passages written by Dogen so many centuries ago and even the modern re-rendering of them as the author puts them into practice. I understand that Buddhist scholars were consulted in the translation work, and the results are clearly evidenced by how easy it is to read.

As with Into Thin Air and Mt. Everest, however, Eat Sleep Fit completely cured me of any desire to actually experience spending even a night at Eiheiji. The life of the new monks is a living hell. They get perhaps two or three hours of sleep a night, come close to malnutrition, and are bullied and abused by their senior monks (most who have arrived only a few months ahead of them) in ways that would be considered criminal in any other setting. Looking at the book from this point of view, the clarity of the prose leaves nothing to the imagination, and the reader begins to feel groggy from pain and exhaustion. Here I give Nonomura credit for being able to remember in such detail the sort of trauma that usually wipes clean the memories of its victims.

The final word? I couldn’t put it down! Eat Sleep Sit, for a disconcerting but fascinating read!

2010/2/13 土曜日

O, Canada オリンピック開会式

Filed under: スポーツ,国際家族,日本語 — admin @ 21:12:51

今日のオリンピック開会式で思い出したことがあります。カナダの国旗が大好きです。

canadian flag

テレビの解説によるとカナダがUKから独立できたのは1965年。私は小学生でした。思い出してみるとカナダの新しい国旗が発表した時、一目惚れしました。なぜなんだろうか。多分、その単純さが良かったでしょう。アメリカの国旗は色々意味があって、星の数(州が増えるごとにその数は増える、つまり固定してない)と縞の数(歴史的な事情)については必ず社会科のテストにでます。カナダの昔の国旗はUKの国旗が混ざり合った、また色々意味のあるものでした。しかし新しい国旗はなんと葉っぱです!テスト問題に国旗の意味はと聞かれたら「カナダによく見える葉っぱ」が答えじゃないか。なんてわかりやすい!なんて描きやすい!

国歌も同じです。アメリカの国歌は “The Star Spangled Banner”です。とても歌いにくいことをさておいても、中学生や高校生にならないとその意味が理解できません。学校で歌っても、野球の試合で歌っても、意味がわかりません。カナダの国歌は? “O Canada”です。赤ちゃんでも理解できる明快かつ歌いやすい歌です。

2010/2/10 水曜日

Madonna–six lines of separation

Filed under: English entries,life in Japan,,翻訳業 — admin @ 14:40:56

I wrote earlier this fall about assisting in the translation of Mayumi’s Kitchen, a book on macrobiotic cooking written by Mayumi Nishimura, formerly Madonna’s personal chef.

The book arrived in the mail today, and it looks fantastic!  The recipes are beautifully presented and more “approachable” than one (me) might imagine when it came to macrobiotics. In fact that is Ms. Nishimura’s whole idea: to make macrobiotics appealing and available.

Since I wasn’t an “official” translator and joined the project close to deadline, I was delighted to find my name in the acknowledgments– just 6 lines from Madonna!

How many layers of separation does that cut out? We translators live with a very dubious proximity to fame, but it’s fun and gives us something to talk about when we come out of our caves.

Mayumi’s Kitchen is available from amazon.co.jp as of next week, and will be on sale in the US in June.

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