Reading, June 2017

Hello!

Since I’m also quite fond of books (reading or smelling them) I would like to share some impressions about the books I’ve been reading lately. Sometimes I share my reviews on Goodreads.

Have you read any of the books below? Also, if you have any questions or suggestions about these or similar books, feel free to let me know!

  1 – 星の王子さ, The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I have been coming back to reread some parts of this book and every time I’m amazed by its truth in such a magical form. This is a recommendation just for anyone!

This time, I am trying to read its Japanese version. Its translation is also simply written and easy to understand. I am still struggling through some phrases and always looking up new words.

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  2 – 中級を学ぼう 日本語の文型と表現56 中級前期 Chukyu wo Manabou, Nihongo no Bunkei to Hyogen 56 [Intermediate Japanese]

Keeping on dedicating time to my love (previously discussed here), this is Japanese language text book I’m using (the most) right now. Along with my Japanese language teacher, I went to a bookstore in order to choose a text book which would match my level.

It’s been a very useful manual with a variety of exercises and grammatical points. I find themes particularly interesting, like onomatopeias usage, music therapy, sneeze (yes, there is a text about why we sneeze!) which makes you more comfortable while speaking about free topics and thinking in Japanese as well. In my opinion, while speaking in a specific languagle, one should also think in that language, until of course it becomes natural.

  3 – Geography III, Elizabeth Bishop

My first read by Elizabeth, a short set of poems which I’m discovering to be a real treasure.

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seemed filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster”

  4 – 1984, George Orwell

A well known dystopian novel I could finally put my hands on.

The novel is set in a dystopian world under totalitarian regime, where everyone is constantly being watched and controlled. It is infinitely intriguing, yet quite frightening. What impressed me the most is the idea of changing the language by eliminating and reducing the existent words (in this case in English) in order to make a human not only behave, but even think in a specific, almost robotic way goodthink.

More than a novel, it is a warning, very actual nowadays.

Fortunately there are more to come!

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Coin laundry session

They say one can’t have everything. I have no washing machine, which makes me go to this place called coin laundry, which makes me HAVE time, say, to read.

“Oh my twitchy witchy girl
I think you are so nice,
I give you bowls of porridge
And I give you bowls of ice
Cream.

I give you lots of kisses,
And I give lots of hugs,
But I never give you sandwiches
With bugs
In.”

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Like a hedgehog in the fog

Recently I was so happy to come across a book version of my favorite childhood animation films, in Japanese! “Hedgehog in the Fog”, original “Ёжик в тумане”, Japanese 「霧につつまれたハリネズミ」.

Its original version is quite short, yet the combination of dialogue, animation and atmosphere is really unique.

Actually I associate “Hedgehog in the Fog” with so many moments in my life. For me, it is so much about wondering, sometimes being in the fog and not being able to see clearly, being afraid and confused about doing something, but daring. And also, about endless curiosity!

And yes I have come back to children books! Since I like reading and in order to boost my Japanese, I have been trying to read some manga , though with very simple dialogues. I think it is a great way to learn new words and especially understand better conversational language. Soon I hope to write a review Yotsuba& ! よつばと!

 

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Inviting Rilke out for dinner

Since I came to Hokkaido, I have been some kind of naturalist, paying a lot of attention to changing seasons, flora and fauna. On this island the nature is booming. I even started to refer to flowers by their proper names.

Speaking about flowers and guys who appreciate them, some time ago I had this dream with Rainer Maria Rilke. I don’t happen to remember the details but it was probably about paying attention to questions and not so much looking for answers. Maybe I should stop looking for explanations and worry less about things which will turn into dust one way or another.

Actually, from many writers I find dear to me, Rilke is the one I would like to meet in person. Too bad we don’t share the same timeline. Yet, I don’t know what kind of questions I would ask. I guess all the answers to possible questions are in his poetry. Anyway, it must be amazing to meet someone with such a grand sensibility towards the world. I would invite Rilke out for a dinner and give him flowers.

 

Here is a poem by Rilke and some photos I took last spring.

 

See the flowers, so faithful to Earth.
We know their fate because we share it.
Were they to grieve for their wilting,
that grief would be ours to feel.

There’s a lightness in things. Only we move forever burdened,
pressing ourselves into everything, obsessed by weight.
How strange and devouring our ways must seem
to those for whom life is enough.

If you could enter their dreaming and dream with them deeply,
you would come back different to a different day,
moving so easily from that common depth.

Or maybe just stay there: they would bloom and welcome you,
all those brothers and sisters tossing in the meadows,
and you would be one of them.

Sonnets to Orpheus II, 14