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  • mono 6:11 am on January 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ecology, Forests, , , More Trees, MoreTrees, , Sakamoto, Translation   


    Last weekend, I found the website to the Japan-based organization, MoreTrees. Here is my amateur translation (Japanese-English) of the “introduction” section of their website. If you are interested, hopefully this will give you an understanding of where they are coming from (despite my potentially garbled translation):

    MoreTrees: Introduction

    ‘The name “MoreTrees,” is a call to have more trees. On a global scale, there is a continuing depredation of forests. What we call “human civilization” is now on the brink of extinction. We think that the simple message of “MoreTrees” is to get reality in motion with a desire for concrete action.
    The “More Trees” movement is a community-based advancement in the increase of trees, the increase of healthy forests, and an increase in CO2 absorbing forests. In addition, (we are interested in) restoring the cultivating power of the fundamental point of forests: water-retaining capacity and life’s diversity while recognizing the grace of the sun, the water and the forests, derived from nature’s energy. “MoreTrees” is for anyone with the realization that forests regenerate, will share in this joy, and want to continue this universal platform.’

    If you wish to get involved and make a donation or spread the word, please see their official website: MoreTrees

  • mono 2:07 pm on March 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Contemporary, corpse, dead body, , , , , , , screaming body, Space, Translation, Washida Kiyokazu   

    Kiyokazu Washida: “My Body…Dead Body…Corpse” from “The Screaming Body” (JP title: 悲鳴をあげる身体) 

    This is my unpublished (amateur) translation of Prof. Washida’s work. My tools were a Kanji dictionary and a Japanese-English dictionary. I hope you find this stimulating.

    Then there is the question of “whose body is this?” Namely, the person that is my body becomes a problem in the fact that the relationship of “me” to “my” existence is not all that there is. Also, there is the problem of the (place) scene of this current existence. In particular, the temporal boundary between living and not living. That to say, there is an edge that is the death of “my” existence.

    “My” life will be terminated with the coming of death. This means that “my” existence, in respect to death is limited. This corresponds to the moment that the body will cease to function. “My” death and, more precisely, my body will become a corpse. But it is definitely not obvious whether or not we regard this person as a thing as we discuss this purely material body.

    Actually different cultures have woven different ways of perceiving the appearance of the dead body.

    For example, we can contemplate the “who” of “my” existence in the case of brain restoration. And in the case of “my” death, we can think upon the ceasing of my brain. In this way of thinking, a person who has had their brain removed exists in a neutral space. Namely, it is good for us to contemplate this experience of space.

  • mono 10:20 am on March 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Despondency, , , Mariko Mori, Melancholy, , , , Translation, Zero   

    Selected Translated Poems from Mariko Mori’s book “Zero, Zero, Zero” 

    lonely cat

    I bought “Zero, Zero, Zero” on a trip to Osaka, Japan in the summer of 2001. I think that these translations, although amateur (i.e. unpublished), capture the sense that Mori wishes to express. Enjoy.

    Mariko Mori: Zero, Zero, Zero

    I look at the clouds as they suddenly tear away from each other.
    Somewhere, someone is calling my name.

    No matter what tomorrow’s weather will bring, realize that a person will die.

    Words that one can’t speak are pulled into the depths of one’s body as the thorn twists deeper.

    I mutter “zero, zero, zero” as the night sky’s illumination seeps into my sleep.

    My despondency comes from the tips of my toes, passing up my spine and lands at the nape of my neck.

    Melancholy is the back and forth of the swing, swinging until it reaches the darkness.

  • mono 9:18 am on March 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Life Studies, , Male Insensitivity, , Mini-skirts, Translation   

    Masahiro Morioka: The Insensitive Man (excerpt from Chapter one, my translation) 

    Masahiro Morioka teaches at the University of Osaka Prefecture. His published works include: “Reconsidering the View of Life: From Ecology to Brain Death,” “An Intellectual Method of Facing Onself,” “Brain Dead Person,” “Painless Civilization” among others. The link to his Life Studies homepage can be accessed via my Blogroll. Thank you.

    Chapter 1: If Only They Wear Mini-skirts We don’t Need Flesh-and-Blood Women Any More!?

    Hence, I must accurately restate myself. That is to say, the most important thing is that the inside of the skirt is on the verge of visibility despite the fact that the woman intentionally tries to conceal it…...
    *Page numbers in the original are marked by [(preceding page) / (following page)].

    This is What Men Are Like

    We call the ways of feeling or thinking about sex, which are deeply ingrained in ourselves, “sexuality.” It is hard to study the sexuality of men. Jun’ichi Watanabe talks about sexuality in his essay Otoko to Iumono [What the Nature of Men is Like] (Chuko Bunko 2001, 1st. ed. 1998), however, this is no more than a one-sided assumption about “what the nature of man is like.” Watanabe believes in the idea that the sexuality of men will never change after they are born.
    Against this notion, as far as I’m concerned, my sexuality dramatically changed when I became over the age of 30. This change of sexuality undermined the foundations of my identity and has had a lot of effect on my ways. Through my experience, I personally had a full realization that “what the nature of men is like” is a falsehood. The phrase “the nature of men is like this” means no more than the conspiracy among men such as “Let’s think of the nature of men as this and have fun and take it easy.”
    The study of male sexuality has only recently begun. In this chapter, I want to explore a theme, which I think about daily: the question of “why am I sexually aroused by mini-skirts?” I am going to talk about this based on my own experience. I will do this because not all men are aroused by mini-skirts. Speaking experientially, [12/13] I think I am certain that there are a high percentage of men attracted to mini-skirts.Women in mini-skirts captivate male characters in manga comics.Hostesses and race queens usually wear mini-skirts, too.
    Investigating the sexuality of oneself,one is accompanied by great pain and embarrassment. This would be the same for both men and women. I’ve been wondering about mini-skirts for a long time. Some ideas about mini-skirts have been developed, but there is still a lot that I don’t understand. Sometimes I experienced healing when I solved some of these enigmas.
    To begin with, I’ll introduce two impressive examples.
    We shot a scene at a transvestite club in Shinjuku 2-chome when I had a spot on a certain program for NHK Educational TV. At that club, transvestite men gathered and drank alcohol and had great conversation. The transvestites each had extremely interesting personalities. As I was interviewing them, one of them abruptly stood up from the sofa. Wearing a tight sexy mini-skirt, he had the same curves from the legs to the waist as a woman. When I saw that, I instinctively became sexually aroused. It was a shocking experience. Biologically, I should have recognized him as a man, because I came there to interview transvestite men. [13/14] However, I had a beautiful reaction to seeing that person’s mini-skirt.
    I have known that I really liked mini-skirts. Until that incident, I thought that I really liked women wearing mini-skirts. But, my way of thinking was very much upset. If a man wearing a mini-skirt has beautiful legs like a woman, I become sexually aroused. Why on earth do I feel this way?
    Here is another case from when I was a young man. This involves a young woman sitting on a train. Since she appeared to have a very short mini-skirt, I could not help glancing at her thighs. At that, my heart began to beat very fast and I became turned-on. However, when the train arrived at her station and she stood up, I noticed that what she was wearing was not a skirt but culottes. No sooner had I realized that fact than I cooled down.Also, I felt that my fantasy had been taken away, and it was as if I had been pushed into a kind of hell.
    why on earth did I feel this way? Things like short mini-skirts and culottes are likely to expose the symmetry of the thighs in a similar fashion. In the case of the hemline of short culottes, one is able to see the same square-shaped silhouette as a mini-skirt. In short, there is no change in the visible appearance of the lower half of the body. [14/15] The only change was that of my perception. That is to say, the fantasy that she was wearing a short mini-skirt was suddenly replaced by the disillusionment that she was wearing culottes.


    The remainder of this chapter and other parts of the book can be read online here: http://www.lifestudies.org/insensitiveman00.html

  • mono 11:58 pm on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Kiyokazu, , , Shy, Tense, Translation, Washida   

    Kiyokazu Washida: The Disproportionate Body (my amateur translation) 


    The Disproportionate Body
    Kiyokazu Wakabayashi

    1. The Patchwork of the Body

    The Shy Body, The Tense Body

    The body is a troublesome thing.
    Our body never changes directly by our own will. It is awkward and resistant to change. Not wanting others to see it, we conceal this ugly body. Why is this ugly body of mine so full of tension? I am quite disgusted and am beginning to dislike my body.

    It starts with the teenage years. This is the period when one’s voice begins to fully come out and when oil starts to accumulate on the skin of one’s face. Here and there, small patches of hair begin to grow. Or, for girls, the breasts start to take form, the stomach starts to cramp and, among other things, blood begins to seep out.

    There are the aches and pains of the body. I never know when these attacks will come, but whenever I have to face them, I can only deal with them with a passive defense. From the time when the attacks occur to when they leave, I must strive as much as possible to soothe the pain and only through some effort, can I come to terms with it. I am miserable and powerless in this defenseless existence. In this way, one’s body is always holding on to this state of unease.

    Moreover, there are things more disturbing than this. That is, one cannot ever fully see one’s own body. We cannot see inside of our own body. Personally, to what extent can we really see our body? Take, for example, the hand and the arm or moreover, the armpits, which one can never fully see. When one shaves one’s armpits, the eyes and neck become tense and one becomes quite fatigued. If one uses a mirror, the image is reversed, so one must use intuition. Since I am a man, I deal with my body hair by shaving my beard or mustache. I remember when my armpit hair first started to grow. I strained myself to try and fully see that hair until my shoulders became very tense and I had to use my imagination. Also, there is the stomach. Here as well, if we try to fully view it, we need only attempt to look down to just below the stomach and it becomes quite difficult to see. For women, perhaps this is the most cared for part of the body, or perhaps just below that point is the part, which they don’t want to care for. Maybe, if one had never used a mirror, this part of the body would never be seen. Whether concealed or not, that part of the human body can never fully be seen.

    Although we cannot see our back or the back of our own head, the most disturbing fact is that we cannot see our own face. If we use a mirror, we only see our postured face or our “I’m making plans” face. We cannot see that naked face, which only strangers and passersby can see. That emotionally wavering face is the face that is continuously exposed to other people. I have no control over that face and this realization frightens me. In the past, people would wear a soft hat or conceal their face with their hair. Even now, in some cities and some societies, people conceal their faces with a transparent veil. However, if we look closely at this, we find that the main reason is merely that it is their custom.

    The philosopher Nietzsche wrote that, “The farthest thing from us is our own self.” If we imitate this quotation, isn’t it true that I am saying that one’s own body is the farthest thing? One can only see a fraction of one’s whole body and one cannot see inside of one’s own body. Using X-rays and a stomach camera, a doctor told me, “This is your stomach.” But, those pictures and the experience of the reality of my stomach were separate. Concerning the body, our sensory information is scarce.

    If we think further about the idea that our body is far from us, is becomes very frightening. Also, by thinking and thinking about the body, the perception of our body can change at our convenience.

    Recently, I have begun to experience the feeling that my body is withering. When I was 21 and lived in Tokyo, I especially felt this same sensation. I couldn’t move in ways that I wanted to nor did my voice come out, as it should have. That was a very terrifying experience. I was scared of many things and lost many things as well. My body was definitely withering. Not even one good expression would come to me and I suffered from extreme irritation.

    Recently, the modern Butoh dance group, “Butoh Judan Byatsukoshya,” has stopped performing due to the untimely auto-related death of one, Ms. ___ Aoyama. Ms. Aoyama wrote about the feeling of the body’s inability to move properly and I think that everyone of us can readily understand that feeling. In particular, the experience of “freezing up.” Not only the feeling of the body being nervous or shy, but the fact that there are various cases of bodily obsession that petrify us. For example, touching someone else’s body can be frightening or having a strange person close to us begin to touch our body can be frightening. Or, the panicking awareness of the feeling that others can smell one’s own body odor or bad breath (“the oral cavity nerves”). Moreover, there is the syndrome of having to take a shower or shampoo oneself in times when one’s skin is sticky or oily. Perhaps there are people who, when they find their weight to be outside of the their average range, see themselves as unattractive and start to diet in order to be slender. In this way, there are people who have no control over their eating habits…My existence is side by side with these conditions.


    This book, “Chiguhaguna Karada” is yet to appear in English. Washida, Kiyokazu currently teaches at Osaka University and regularly publishes works on ethics, clinical philosophy, phenomenology, fashion and cultural studies.

    I think my translation is sufficient, but could be improved. The subtly of the Japanese language is a struggle to work into English. Thank you for reading.

    • Diana 11:00 pm on May 17, 2009 Permalink

      thank you for your translation. I’m trying to find something in English on clinical philosophy (and on this Osaka professor who started it) and I found nothing except this.

      I pity that language stops me from accessing his words since I do relate with its concept…

      unfortunately that happens with too many Japanese thinkers. do you want to make me learn Japanese?! it takes YEARS but maybe I can learn it first than all the nice Japanese books are translated!

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