Monday, October 19, 2009

こころ  下 十九

We learn about K ...

Jōdo Shinshū (浄土真宗 "True Pure Land School"?), also known as Shin Buddhism, is a school of Pure Land Buddhism. It was founded by the former Tendai Japanese monk Shinran Shonin (May 21, 1173 – January 16, 1263). Today, Shin Buddhism is considered the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan.


In 1207, The Buddhist establishment in Kyoto persuaded the military to impose a nembutsu ban, after an incident involving two other disciples of Hōnen, who were subsequently executed. Hōnen and Shinran were exiled, with Shinran being sent to Echigo Province (contemporary Niigata Prefecture). They never met each other again. Hōnen would die later in Kyoto in 1212.

Although Shinran was critical of the motivations that ultimately lead to the exile, and the disruption of Hōnen's practice community, the exile itself proved to be a critical turning point in Shinran's religious life. Having been stripped of his monastic name, he renamed himself Gutoku or "foolish, bald-headed one," coming to understand himself as neither monk nor layman.


長男: ちょうなん eldest son
次男: じなん second son
三男: さんなん third son
三兄弟: さんきょうだい


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

こころ 下 十


Sensei, though cheated of most of his inheritance, is nontheless not impoverished. In this section he describes how he seeks to move out of his student boarding house and find something quieter. He visits the Hongodai, an area west of Uenokoen. A candy shop proprietor directes him to a widow who is looking for a boarder.

The sentence with which the proprietoress describes the widows situation is long, winding, and almost runs out of wind at the end ... it feels natural even today:

一年ばかり前までは、市ヶ谷(いちがや)の士官(しかん)学校の傍(そば)とかに住んでいたのだが、厩(うまや)などがあって、邸(やしき)が広過ぎ るので、そこを売り払って、ここへ引っ越して来たけれども、無人(ぶにん)で淋(さむ)しくって困るから相当の人があったら世話をしてくれと頼まれていた のだそうです
Sensei's description of the conversation he has with the widow has much the same spirit. This section also ends with a omnious question : why does such a lively widow feel so alone?

The setting of the scene is sometime just after the First Sino-Japanese War - 日清(にっしん)戦争 - (1894 - 1895).

Place names include
本郷台 (ほうごうだい)
小石川 (こいしかわ)
伝通院 (でんずういん)

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Monday, September 14, 2009

こころ 下 九


Sensei wraps up his discussion of how his uncle cheated him of most of his inheritance. The section finishes with Sensei regretting that when he leaves his hometown, he will never have the opportunity to visit the grave sites of his parents. This observation is especially poignant as we realize we, as well as the narrator, are reading his last will and testament.


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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

2009年09月: こころ

House of Ogai Mori and Soseki Natsume
Sendagi Bunkyo-ku Tokyo,built in 1887

This is a typical middle-class residence of the time.

Image and text from the Meji Mura, .

This semester I'm continuing my reading of Kokoro (the Aozora Bunko digital version) and am now in the third part - Sensei and his Testament. Just to get the setting straight, here's some dates. Natsume Soseki himself, lived from 1867 until 1916. The Meiji Emperor, who's death occurs in the second part of the novel, ruled from 1867 until 1912. Kokoro itself was written two yeas later in 1914.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reading Real Japanese

Read Real Japanese: All You Need to Enjoy Eight Contemporary Writers (Paperback)
by Janet Ashby (Author)
- Banana Yoshimoto
- Karuki Murakami
- Ryuichi Sakamoto
- Seiko Ito
- Machi Tawara
- Yoko Mori
- Shoichi Nejime
- Momoko Sakura

Read Real Japanese Essays: Contemporary Writings by Popular Authors 1 free CD included (Paperback)
by Janet Ashby (Editor), Reiko Matsunaga (Narrator)
- Haruki Murakami
- Junko Sakai
- Mitsyyo Kakuta
- Banana Yoshimoto
- Kou Machiada
- Yoko Ogawa
- Keiichiro Hirano
- Hideo Levy

Read Real Japanese: Short Stories by Contemporary Writers
Edited by Michael Emmerich
- Hiromi Kawakami
- Otsuichi
- Shini Ishii
- Banana Yoshimoto
- Kaoru Kitamura
- Yoko Tawada

Reading Japanese with a Smile: Nine Stories from a Japanese Weekly Magazine for Intermediate Learners (Paperback)
by Tom Gally (Author)
- Nine stories fromShuukan Asahi

Saturday, August 30, 2008

2008年8月29日 菜の花

菜の花畑でほほ笑む少女 ( 2008年8月29日15時19分更新)

アフガンで芽吹いた活動成果 死亡の伊藤さん撮影の写真

菜の花 【なのはな】 (n) rape blossoms; Brassica rapa var. amplexicaulu

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Adventures of Hello Kitty and Friends (Trailer)

Originally from the Hello Kitty blog at



Wim Wenders films his visit to Tokyo of the 1980's in search of the 1950's world of Yasujiro Ozu, director of such Tokyo based films as

  • Tokyo Story (Tokyo Monogatari)
  • The Story of a Tenement Gentleman
  • Ohayoo (Good Morning)
  • Floating Weeds
  • Equinox Flower

    what survives is luckily

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