Picture in my memory

The harvest season has finished here in Japan.

This is my deceased mother's work of embroidery,cross-stitch, during her late life.
I remembered that she made the stitch one by one sitting hunched up over the cloth. Her figure like this overlapped in my mind with the women who are gleaning crouching their back onto the field.

根つめて描(か)かれしならむ 腰かがめ女の指は落ち穂を掴む

It must be a pain taking labour

and the depiction, too

The women bending down

to do "Gleaning"

just have clutched some of the wheat-ears

The design of the embroidery is from a famous picture, "Gleaning"by Jean-Francois Millet.(1814-1875)

Regarding to Millet, there is an unforgettable article for me that said about his works. It was like this: Millet chose labour as his subject for his drawing and people in the Salon des Beaux Arts at that moment(19C ) astonished and rejected his works with sense of avertion, because such subject had never chosen by painters up to that time.

That description made me get a jolt, as I had thought works by Millet were in the category of classic paintings.
While new point of views and ideas as well as some technical innovation are required for artists in every genre, some unprecedented ones tend to be alienated.
It seems that Millet's ones were not exceptional, and it took long time to be finally accepted by the people in Salon des Beaux Arts.

He depicted scrupulously, as it is well known, the daily lives of farmers, their struggling with cattle, taking care of children by wives, and so on. These pictures make viewers feel his exact and warm eyes.

(image from Wikipedia) The first experience for me to see some showpiece was the one by him,
"The Angelus", not a genuine one but a copy in retrospect.

Despite the picture was filled with tranquillity, I certainly heard the evening bell, beeing overwelmed and seeing it.
I was the fourth grade student of elementary school, and the picture was hanging on a wall of a corridor that led to a music room.


Sound of Something

We are surrounded by so many kinds of sounds in our daily lives, rough ones, gentle ones, out of doors and in doors.
Besides, usually we are not conscious so much about the sounds we are familiar with.

It ceased all of a sudden
and is still ringing in my ears
after I have done to cross over the rail road,
"kan kan kan...."
I came mind out the alarm signal of railroad crossing when I will cross over, after I read a short writing about James Kirkup (1918-2009), a writer,a poet and a translator who is famous in Japan for having translated many lyrical poets especially tanka, which has 31syllables in Japanese, into the same number of syllables English verses.
He is known as a writer of haiku and tanka, as well.

It said that he was very sensuous about various sounds and when he came to visit Japan he was particularly interested in the sound of the alarm signal, during his sojourn.

In the short verse, tanka which I wrote above, I tried to express the alarm sound as "kan kan", but actually I have no way to know how he did listen to the sound for himself.

In fact, it is said that the sound of a barking dog has variant depending upon countries.
At any rate,why the barking dog sounds differently country to country?
As the difference between countries is self-evident concept, then, it maybe that each person could hear a specific sound differently.
Though it is a little side journey,once my dog cried "Gu-wan", staring at me, at the exact time for food and it surprised me because I heard it as "gohan"which means food.

Well,back to the topic of sound, some sound is often expressed by some onomatopoeia on writing.
Verses are belonged to comparatively short genre of writing, and if the onomatopoeia is ordinary one, the verse would be enable to escape mediocrity.
So, some uncommon onomatopoeia is quite important for writing not least for verses.
What does seem sure is that alarm signal was curious thing for Kirkup, for his sense, as a writer and a poet.

I'm afraid of his might have been bothered by a feeling of strangeness, if he read such a banal onomatopoeia as "kan kan"in a tanka verse.
Aside from my insensitivity to sound, the sound of alarm signal in Japan must be yet too familiar with me.

I really wish I could find out some specific sound for me somewhere in some country, someday.

by Kelly's Pics(haydillgirl), Flickr


Within this forest,is there not a tree that bears

the mark of a bullet

In thickets of memory

undergrowth keeps darkening

from"Thickets of memory" by Fumi Saito 斎藤 史(1909-2002)
translated by J. Kirkup


A Pair of Blue Eyes
Two years ago, on a fine day in autumn, I read an excerpt of a novel in the Reading Class I'm belonged to.
It was "A Pair of Blue Eyes" by Thomas Hardy, and was introduced as a representative part where a man called Knight is suspending on a cliff.
It was literally "suspense", and it led me to read the story this summer.

The heroin, Elfride, she encounters two men in the remote countryside where she and her father are dwelling. She meets Stephen and then Knight there, and she consequently put her heart and soul into them.
A little immature romance of her with Stephen is somehow in the shadow of her mother who did elopement and left her and her father when Elfride was still a little girl.
She meets Knight after Stephen's departure having promised with her of their marriage, and this image of their love affair occasionally comes into her mind despite her passionate love and her admiration for Knight, and it makes him leave her with mistakenly-thought.

She makes up her mind to get marry for her family and her kin, at last, and moves to London to live with her gentle husband.

However, London is the place where she can't get rid of her memories with the two men; she once went to London with Stephen to proceed their marriage secretly but as soon as she reached London she went back out of fear, and later she tried to visit Knight in London and it was also in vain.

Before long, she began to suffer from her illness and her life was cut short by it. And, a stout name plate on her coffin was left.

Without knowing this novel, the words" pair of blue eyes" remind me of famous pictures of women depicted by Amedeo Modigliani.

When I went to see the exhibition that showed the pictures by the both,Amedeo and his wife Jeanne, I saw a portrait of Jeanne with a pair of blue eyes which look like seeing nothing, painted by Amedeo, being exhibited next to the one of Amedeo with his eyes shut as he is sleeping or meditating, painted by Jeanne.


I remembered a scene of an old film,
"Great! You cannot say anything but Yes."
He blamed his wife
like he laughed at himself

Although Amedeo was a gifted artist, his art did not see the light of day during his life.
Jeanne supports him well as his wife and as a model for his painting and very understanding his art as a painter, but he sometimes treats her coldly not from the depth of his mind but out of his misery, in an old film that I saw long time ago.
I composed this verse remembering one scene of the film that depicted Modigliani's singular life as an artist, "Les Amants de Montparnasse"(Montparnasse 19)「モンパルナスの灯」, acted by Gerard Philipe and Anouk Aimee.

The colour of the sky became deeper as autumn progresses.
Walking beneath the sky, I feel familiar with the two women, Elfride and Jeanne, with a pair of blue eyes.
Autumn makes people sentimental.
by SunnyFlo, Flickr


Cheer up or cool down?

countdown for New Year in Sydney
image from wikipedia

In recent years, festivals of countdown for coming new year are held worldwide. And rocket type of fireworks are essential for the events.
As Japanese archipelagos are located in the Northern Hemisphere, such events as countdown are necessarily took place in winter.

Besides, fireworks have been one of typical entertainments in summer of Japan, and they are usually done by the waterside, especially along the river in the evening. Eventually people enjoy these sparkling variegated works with these reflections on water. Breeze which flows across the river and the reflected colour make people feel cooler than the real temperature of midsummer evening.

As far as I see some new year countdown on TV and when I compare the shown fireworks with Japanese ones in summer season, the latters ones are relatively sparse as many other Japanese arts, drawing, poetry, and calligraphy for example, would be so.


Sounds reached me

a little bit later

of the consecutive bloom

and of the fade of fireworks

Regarding to history of them, there is the fact that workmen for bullet making had no job in the period since Tokugawa family dominated after some big civil wars and took the situation of national isolation. Meanwhile these men started to make fireworks with materials for bullets of matchlocks, and skilled up about it with their own designs.

Fireworks festivals were good opportunities for them to show their improved skill, and viewers called out the name of their favorite group where proficient workmen work for, Tamaya , Kagiya for example,to encourage and applause them. This aspect they compete their skill and design at festivals still remains.

In this way, Japanese fireworks have two faces, to cheer up and to cool down. And, generally they are rather cool to be seen compared to ones on new year day which make people's hearts warmer. In cotton kimono with a round fan to see them make cooler, they say, and eating shave ice definitely makes us cool, I would like to say.

from miwa**


The Big Blue image by wikipedia

咲き盛るさくらはなびら 夕暮れの
Looking up at many petals
on a cherry tree in dusk
I feel as I remain on my feet
at the bottom of blue water

This verse sure be out of season, as about three months have already passed from the full bloom of cherry blossoms.
Yet, I clearly remember the feeling of my standing at the bottom of water and seeing the floating thousands petals above me.

" The Big Blue"( Le Grand Bleu) is a film directed by Luc Besson, based on a story of Jacques Myol, a reputable diver.

Long time has passed since Jacques and his childhood friend, Enzo, dived together. Now, Jacques is an aloof man who loves to communicate with dolphins rather than with men.

Enzo has succeed to find out a long lost friend, Jacques, and invited him to compete in diving again as in their childhood that Enzo dreamed for long time.
For Jacques, diving is the best way to communicate with his old friend, and Jacques' lover, Johana, keeps an eye on the two, being a little embarrassed with faint jealous for them.
And there is always extending blue of ocean behind the three.

The film was released in 1988, and I watched a rental video long after from the release.
I rent it being attempted by the title, and then was enchanted with the whole story as well as the fascinating, translucent blue colour.

The final competition between the two went too far.

And, no one knows whether it was Jacques' illusion or not that at last he met a dolphin that invited him further.

Now I looked up at the sky to find any pods of dolphin-shaped clouds but I only saw some cumulus which are floating and waxing across such a big sky blue.

Sheer summer has come.

by palomasolar, Flickr


Trapa japonica

There is a small reservoir in area of my taking walk, ten minutes on foot from my house. In early summer, some tiny leaves appear here and there on the water surface. And each time I walk by, I notice that water space of the reservoir gets narrower with these leaves which grew in size and increased in number. They are leaves of Trapa japonica, Hishi in Japanese.


I came and saw
after a couple of days
half of on the aqueous surface
has been bespreaded by Trapa japonica
The extension of the territory of the leaves ends up to cover fully of the water surface about in fortnight. And they begin to bloom quite small white flowers. They are too tiny to stand out in sunlight and look icy and shimmering in moonlight.
Several years ago, I happened to see an exhibition being held on the first floor of a library, and there I saw a nut of Trapa japonica, which has four inflections and one of them perpendicularly points upward, being exhibited next to an iron ninja star. It tells me that the nuts are origin of ninja stars which are thrown or littered by ninja who wants to do offense or defense against opponents.

I myself, have never noticed this plants bear nuts on the reservoir near my house, and just after the flowers bloom, they seem to fade and sink to disappear. In fact it looks that the fade-out is quicker than the growing, as I have seen in these years that after several days of their zenith their green colour turns to darker and suddenly on some day I can observe nothing but water there.

The way of growing and fading of Trapa japonica is supposed to be opposite to that of freezing and of making sheet of ice on a pond; ice sheet is made almost in a day or so and melts little by little taking time, in some cases the parts of melting ice look like the leaves just after appearance on water as the photo shows, on the contrary Trapa japonica grows day by day and vanishes almost abruptly.
by Anisha_Creation, Flickr


Never Let Me Go


I'm reading a story about clones

beside a potted hothouse plant

which interior light makes glimmer

fishily and bloodlessly

June is rainy season in Japan, though climate is unstable in recent years, actually it is rainy today. Now I am writing this listening to CD "Misty" by Ohta-san (Herb Ohta);the pieces of music bring in here some breeze with floral scents.

Here, let me introduce "Never Let Me Go", by Kazuo Ishiguro, which is heart rending story begun with some memories of narrator, Kathy, of her childhood with her friends, Tommy and Ruth. They passed their time of childhood in a dormitory called Hailsham. Superficially their lives have no difference from other children's, except that Hailsham was isolated from outer world, and children's creation, drawings and crafts, were taken away by Madame who made her visit once in a while. All of children there believed that their arts would be shown in Gallery after taken by her to outer world.

Tommy always struggled with his uncreativeness and often resorted to temper tantrum. One of his teacher encouraged him ; "Turn the corner then it will bloom."

When they came to age, they were forced to move to another dormitory to pass their time as adult. They exchange many information there and these information make them confirm something special; They are clones and have duty as they donate their own organs. Meantime, their friendship between the three develops somehow. However their relationship, similar to love, sees the end by Ruth's death after complete of her second donation, and by passing bell of the forth complete by Tommy. This ending gives readers helpless sadness and unfocused anger.

At the close to the end of this story, it is found that Madame is belonged to an advanced humanitarian group, and the group is connected to a cutting-edge science group that has created clones. These groups are so called "trend": many of them are no more than old ones when climate has changed.

Such theme as "trend" and "victims" who are involved in certain epoch is seen in "The Remain of the Day", by the same author, as well.

Despite the tragedy, there are many picturesque scenes which I am fond of in this story; an acoustic restaurant in Hailsham, Norfolk where a classmate called " lost corner" of England, balloons in a bundle grasped by a man who is walking along the coast of Norfolk, and the shop Kathy goes to find out the same cassette of the lost one.

It is still raining. Now the CD by Ohta-san is playing the last piece of music. Can you imagine the title of this one? It is not the one that was packed in the cassette, the third number, but one by Jay Livingston $ Ray Evans, "Never Let Me Go".

Hunstanton, Norfolk

By mx5barry, Flirck


Mon oreille est un coquillage

by *Nina*, Flickr

サンダンカの花を揚羽の発てるとき かなたに海の見えし気のせり When a black butterfly left

from a scarlet mass of tiny flowers,

Sky blue seemed momentary to have done

turning into twinkling Ocean blue

My town has no sea, and the fact might make me long for sometimes to see it.When I look back in the past, I have noticed that my short travels often make me recall some memories regarding to sea with the feeling of wet sand, salt breeze, and sound of soft wave of the ebb and flow. I composed the verse reminding of the seashore in Okinawa.


(There always sound of waves in a distance from my parents' house, and I grew up counting them in occasion) 

与謝野 晶子(1878~1942)Yosano Akiko

寄せかえす波のしぐさのやさしさに いつ言われてもいいさようなら

(So gentle the way of waves comes and goes, and I'm all right now if you would say good-by)

俵 万智(1962~)Tawara Machi

These are too famous to dare to translate, so I wrote just about the contents underneath of each of the two.

Yosano Akiko is a writer and poet ,who had ideas of Romanticism that became as a mainstream later than that of in Europe, and wrote sensational poems and writings. According to the book 「風景と実感」by 吉川 宏志(Yoshikawa Hiroshi),a contemporary tanka writer,"objectivity"was a term for appreciation some art, but Yosano Akiko took the term of the word for those who create or write.In other word, she turned over the meaning of "objectivity".

The tanka verse with colloquial expression by Tawara Machi is written in her maiden work, "Salad Anniversary", that gave great influence especially to young women as Yosano Akiko had done as an epoch maker.

by *Nina*, Flickr

Here I will write down a part of a famous poem by French poet, Jean Cocteau

わたしの耳は貝の殻 海の響きを懐かしむ translated by 堀口 大学Horiguchi Daigaku

Mon oreille est un coquillage

Qui aime le bruit de la mer (Cannes)

Ocean is mer in French, and mother is mere: In Japanese mother is 母,and ocean is 海.These letters embrace each other in the both languages. Is it accidental coincidence?


How do you do. I am Japanese woman who live in Nara prefecture in Japan since I've got married. It is a city surrounded by small mountains, a basin, and I was grown up in a city far from sea. But still I love ocean.
When I was child I was fond of gathering shells at a beach, univalve and bivalve shell especially with faint pink ones like girl's nails. But no nautilus, of course.

Now after I knew that nautilus has chambers,I'm interested in it, and I decided to borrow it as a name of my blog, because every blog has many sections like chambers.
In each of them I would like to write down my favorite things, books I have read, my Japanese short verses and translated ones into English, and thingss regarding to ocean if I could.

Thank you for visiting my blog.