The Book of Tea: 13

Chapter V 第五章

gray dragon statue
Photo by Pixabay on


Art Appreciation 芸術鑑賞

HAVE you heard the Taoist tale of the Taming of the Harp?


Once in the hoary ages in the Ravine of Lungmen stood a Kiri tree, a veritable king of the forest. It reared its head to talk to the stars; its roots struck deep into the earth, mingling their bronzed coils with those of the silver dragon that slept beneath. And it came to pass that a might wizard made of this tree a wondrous harp, whose stubborn spirit should be tamed but but the greatest of musicians. For long the instrument was treasured by the Emperor of China, but all in vain were the efforts of those who in turn tried to draw melody from its strings. In response to their utmost strivings there came from the harp but harsh notes of disdain, ill-according with the songs they fain would sing. The harp refused to recognise a master.


At last came Peiwoh, the prince of harpists. With tender hand he caressed the harp as one might seek to soothe an unruly horse, and softly touched the chords. he sang of nature and the seasons, of high mountains and flowing waters, and all the memories of the tree awoke! Once more the sweet breath of spring played amidst its branches. The young cataracts, as they danced down the ravine, laughed to the budding flowers. Anon were heard the dreamy voices of summer with its myriad insects, the gentle patterning of rain, the wail of the cuckoo. Hark! a tiger roars, – the valley answers again. In autumn; in the desert night, sharp like sword gleams the moon upon the frosted grass. Now winter reigns, and through the snow-filled air swirl flocks of swan and rattling hailstones beat upon the boughs with fierce delight.


Then Peiwoh changed the key and sang of love. The forest swayed like an ardent swain deep lost in thought. On high, like a haughty maiden, swept a cloud bright and fair; but passing, trailed long shadows on the ground, black like despair. Again the mode was changed; Peiwoh sang of war, of clashing steel and trampling steeds. And in the harp arose the tempest of Lungmen, the dragon rode the lightning, the thundering avalanche crashed through the hills. In ecstasy the Celestial monarch asked Peiwoh where in lay the secret of his victory. “Sire,” he replied, “others have failed because they sang but of themselves. I left the harp to choose its theme, and knew not truly whether the harp had been Peiwoh or Peiwoh were the harp.”


This story illustrates the mystery of art appreciation. The masterpiece is a sympathy played upon our finest feelings. True art is Peiwoh, and we the harp of Lungmen. At the magic touch of the beautiful the secret chords of our being are awakened, we vibrate and thrill in response to its call. Mind speaks to mind. We listen to the unspoken, we gaze upon the unseen. The master calls forth notes we know not of. Memories long forgotten all come back to us with a new significance. Hopes stifled by fear, yearnings that we dare not recognise, stand forth in new glory. Our mind is the canvas on which the artists lay their colour; their pigments are our emotions; their chiaroscuro the light of joy, the shadow of sadness. The masterpiece is of ourselves, as we are of the masterpiece.

The sympathetic communication minds necessary for art appreciation must be based on mutual concession. The spectator must cultivate the proper attitude for receiving the message, as the artist must know how to impart it. The tea-master, Kobori-Enshiu, himself a daimyo, has left to us these memorable words: “Approach a great painting as thou wouldst approach a great prince.” In order to understand a masterpiece, you must lay yourself low before it and await with bated breath its least utterance. An eminent Sung critic once made a charming confession. Said he: “In my young days I praised the master whose pictures I liked, but as my judgement matured I praised myself for liking what the masters had chosen to have me like.” It is to be deplored that so few of us really take pains to study the moods of the masters. In our stubborn ignorance we refuse to render them this simple courtesy, and thus often miss the rich repast of beauty spread before our very eyes. A master has always something to offer, while we go hungry solely because of our own lack of appreciation.










beach water steps sand
Photo by Adrianna Calvo on


 弊事務所はブログを開設してから来月で六ヶ月目になります.投稿した記事がどれだけ閲覧されてきたか確認すべく、Google Analyticsを導入しました.そして検索キーワードを分析するためGoogle Search Consoleを始めました.さらにGoogle AdSenseを申請して、広告掲載を始めることになりました.皆さんも途中から広告があるな、とお気づきになったのではないかと思います.

 サイトの注目度を集め、より多くの人に見てもらうことで私たち事務所スタッフ一同の執筆への動機づけを高めたいと思い、Search Engine Optimisationと呼ばれる検索エンジンに対する工夫も始めることとしました.




現象学シリーズ:「赤の現象学」に統一 (連載中)

プラトンの饗宴シリーズ:「饗宴」に統一 (完結済み)

茶の本翻訳シリーズ:「The Book of Tea」に統一 (連載中)

時間論シリーズ:「私の時間論」に統一 (完結済み)

超越・脱出シリーズ:「近年の異世界系小説にみる超越と脱出」 (完結済み) 

記憶/物語シリーズ:「記憶/物語を読んで」に統一 (連載中)







What I have in my mind

This article is a translation of previous one.

When I was browsing books about great writers or writings, I coincidentally made the acquaintance of other writers frequently, that mainly attracted me in the past, whereas I had suspended further research on them. I never anticipated to find out the notification in the book that one and another had actually met or they had been in the same place before, or he/she had been quoted as an example of their story. That was like unexpectedly completing a piece of gigantic jigsaw puzzle which is very hard in the process of making, I felt an ease which was the same sense of fitting something accurately in my heart. If I were to see as a flying creature the vast ground from the highest view among obscure clouds, it might be as well as seeing slight landscape through a chink which is getting wider. So I would fain tell viewers about my tiny experiences which are short, and to write down my prospect as well.

At first, I would like to mention of Khalil Gibran. I brought my mind to the translation of his poetry had been arranged among the works of Kamiya Mieko in the section of Misuzu Shobo in some bookshops since long time ago. I wondered his name supposed to be originated from west Asia, and I thumbed through one of Kamiya’s book. After that I knew that Kamiya Mieko was in the department of Psychiatry of Tokyo University, school of medicine, in which Kinoshita Mokutaro(Ohta Masao) was belong to the department of Dermatology as a professor. Such connection has directly nothing to do with literary meaning, however, people may get close each other unconsciously by somewhat called a gravity, I must say.

I learnt that Gibran was born in Lebanon, where the former Ottoman empire had occupied, and he has been famous for his poetry, especially “The Prophet” has been read worldwide. It is true that his works translated in Japanese are available in remote cities of Japan as well, nevertheless the original version can be purchased only online if living in local cities. It is all the more difficult to buy other language edition. The other day I found that Gibran firstly conceived the idea of “The Prophet” in Arabic. He went to the America in his youth and learnt skills of English, then he also went back home to receive higher education of Arabic.

Fortunately I got an ebook of “The Prophet” in English and Arabic version. I am not get used to read in Kindle, but it was a good purchase that I got it within 1,000Yen. As I read the introduction, that says it took twenty years to translate in Arabic. What a long journey it is! I cannot understand the concept of price tagging when I came across such a valuable book that is affordable less than 1,000Yen. I am also a member of Kindle unlimited in, so I am able to read the Japanese translation by Sakuma Takeshi for free. Then I have started to read it. What I felt was that it was easy to read and not many pages. But I have to mention that read easily and be comprehensible are not the same. The energy that the writer brought his heart to bear upon every single words must be so immense that I have to read it thoroughly. This is one of my utmost happiness to realise that I can examine it many times. As for the title “The Prophet”, it is a story like a manual of life course, the prophet Almustafa(المصطفى), teaches lessons to people who need guidance. I have not read the original poetry yet so it is not the time to speak of it. And I have got the reasonable reference book for studying Arabic at last, I would like to reverse translate gradually by using this ebook. Someday I would be happy to introduce the study result.

Secondly, I would fain speak of Rabindranath Tagore. Recently, I have very been attracted by the fact that non-English born person such as Gibran creates great English writings. Needless to say, Okakura Tenshin who is inordinately contributed to Kamegoro Law Firm is the one of greatest writer from non-Anglosphere, I believe. It is tremendously shameful for me to tell you that I thought that nothing better than using own language when expressing one’s own culture. How stupid I am! That is not true. At least Tenshin himself succeeded in attempting it in literature. Of course Gibran must have accomplished, not to mention Tagore and other writers who I do not know. I am very excited to know the fact all the more that Tenshin and Tagore knew each other, and visited their countries. It is said that Tagore has been to Tenshin’s tombstone when he died. Tagore was in Izura! He wrote “Gitanjali(গীতাঞ্জলি)” in Bengali, later on he wrote it again in English. Someday, I wish I could read his work.

I think that it is a huge encouragement for me to know that such people who are from non-Anglosphere write English literature. Particularly as for myself, who live in the world of totally different linguistic family, is quite an incentive.

I sometimes write articles in English, which are not praiseworthy contents and I think I am at best the third-rate writer. There must be many errors in my sentences. But I would like to keep writing my blog in English with my style. Then I would like to sophisticate my essay writing technique, not to be contented with the present situation, humbly tolerate the critics of others and review retrospectively by myself.

Finally, I would fain end the article by introducing a songwriter from Iceland. His name is Ásgeir Trausti. He speaks Icelandic but also good at writing beautiful lyrics in English.

Glistening nighttime dew, and she is walking with me.  

From the house of red, I hear a child crying.  

Foxes heading home, their prey hangs from their jaws.

And the forest knows, but it won’t share the secret.

When the king takes sides, leaving moral minds; soldiers take their share. Nighthawks seem to sense that now is the time.  

Deep inside them burns the raging fire of life.

He’ll take back what he owns.

Death cannot take hold, if I can keep momentum.  

Fortresses of stone, turn into crystal tears soothed by southern winds; I’ve found my strength now.  

And nobody knows, and we must keep their secret.

When the king takes sides, leaving moral minds; soldiers take their share. Nighthawks seem to sense that now is the time.

Deep inside them burns the raging fire of life.

He’ll take back what he owns.

When the king takes sides, leaving moral minds; soldiers take their share. Nighthawks seem to sense that now is the time.

Deep inside them burns the raging fire of life.

He’ll take back what he owns.

Dýrð í dauðaþögn, 2012 (In the Silence, 2013)

Thank you for reading.


Photo by Sebastian Ervi on

 ニュー・ジャック・スイング(New jack swing: NJS)という音楽ジャンルがある.ご存知でない方に素人なりの説明をすると、1980年代後半から90年前半にかけて流行したジャンルで、黒人音楽家を中心に、歌謡曲の音楽シーンを席巻したとされる.ジャズやポップスやリズム・アンド・ブルースに近いのかもしれない.


 とあるNJSの代表的な音楽家がその頃プロポフォールの呼吸抑制で死亡し、世間は皆こぞって「R. I. P.」という言葉を使いはじめ、小児性愛の嫌疑で煙たがられた彼を掌返しして、優れたエンターテイナーとして称賛し始めたときであったと思う.実際に傑出した人物であったのだが.

 私は、模擬戦ともいえる模試をいくつも受け終えて、ヘトヘトとなり川口市のショッピングモールにあるCDショップに癒やしを求めていた.音楽を聴くこと、寝ること、食事が癒やしだった.以前購入したエミネム(Eminem)のアルバム、「Relapse」を聴いたとき、それは覚醒剤の後遺症再燃を音楽にした内容で、曲も歌詞も病的に狂気じみていたために、買って興ざめしてしまった苦い経験があった.その失敗を繰り返したくないと思い、私はアルバム選びを慎重に行おうとしていた.エミネムを非難するつもりはなく、勿論、彼の曲には「Lose yourself」や「Stan」、「Without me」といった洗練された怒りと痛烈な風刺が込められたものが多く、浪人の身によく沁みたものであった.期待して新作を買いたくなっただけだった.

 訪れたCDショップも漏れなく「R. I. P.」で飾られた希代のエンターテイナーを追悼するコーナーを設け、悼みを経済の力にする意図があったように思う.私は結果的にその意図に便乗した.彼は御存知の通り、マイケル・ジャクソン(Michael Jackson)である.当時、CDはまだ売れていた時代で、ガラケーが流布していた.音楽配信が定額制(サブスクリプション)ではなかった頃で、もっぱら元データをパソコンに取り込んだり、携帯電話に移植することが求められた.そういった時代は、そういうものだとして、特に不自由しなかった.アルバムの表紙(ジャケット)は今でもそうかもしれないが、音楽家の思想・信条・作風を象徴する、そんな理解で私は鑑賞していた.




“One, two, three, jam…”




“Jam, it ain’t too much for me to”



 ふーむ.と私は疑りながらも、一応の説得力を持つ訳だなと当時は思わざるを得なかった(*集中よ、の訳はよくわからない).辞書で引いても「集中」という解釈は出てこない.さてどうしたものか.ところで”it ain’t too much for me to”に触れておくと、ain’tというのは、is not, am not, are notの略という理解で良いだろう.Itは形式主語であり、意味上の主語はforに続くmeである.つまり、「私にとって(to以下は)多すぎることはない」、「私には(to以下は)どうということはない」、「(to以下は)どうってことないぜ」の意で通せる.(to以下)のことはjamにもつながるので後述する.


 jamはあまり良い意味で用いられないことが多い認識である.例えば、交通渋滞はtraffic jamである.これが最もjamの名詞的用法として理解しやすいだろう.Thesaurusで調べてみれば、

1. a traffic jam: tailback, line, stream, hold-up, obstruction, congestion, bottleneck, stoppage

2. informal I’d tell you if we ever got into a real jam: predicament, plight, tricky situation, ticklish situation, awkward situation, spot of trouble, bit of bother, difficulty, problem, puzzle, quandary, dilemma, muddle, mess, quagmire, mire, imbroglio, mare’s nest, dire straits; with nowhere to turn


1. he jammed a finger in each ear: stuff, shove, force, ram, thrust, wedge, press, push, stick, squeeze, compress, confine, cram, pack, sandwich, insert.

2. several hundred friends and celebrities jammed into the shop students soon jammed the streets: crowd, pack, pile, press, squeeze, cram; throng, occupy, fill, overfill, overcrowd; obstruct, block, clog, congest; North American mob.

3. the rudder had jammed: stick, become stuck, catch, seize (up), become immobilised, become unable to move, become fixed, become wedged, become lodged, become trapped.



“Jam, it ain’t too much for me to”


Nation to nation all the world must come together
Face the problems that we see
Then maybe somehow we can work it out
I asked my neighbor for a favor she said later
What has come of all the people have we lost love of what it’s about

I have to find my peace cuz no one seems to let me be
False prophets cry of doom
What are the possibilities
I told my brother there’ll be problems,
Times and tears for fears,
We must live each day like it’s the last

Go with it, Go with it,

It ain’t too much stuff
It ain’t too much
It ain’t too much for me to
It ain’t It ain’t too much stuff
It ain’t Don’t you
It ain’t too much for me to

The world keeps changing
Rearranging minds and thoughts predictions fly of doom
The baby boom has come of age
We’ll work it out

I told my brothers
Don’t you ask me for no favors
I’m conditioned by the system
Don’t you talk to me
Don’t scream and shout

She prays to god, to Buddha
Then she sings a Talmud song
Confusions contradict the self
Do we know right from wrong
I just want you to recognize me in the temple
You can’t hurt me
I found peace within myself

 「私」の願いが他者たる社会へ届かない現実と、それでも社会へ協力を呼びかける「私」、といった具合だろうか.解釈は多義的になるとしても大筋は間違ってはいまい.メッセージ性はさておき、jamの意味を考えると「集中せよ」よりも「集結せよ」「集え」のほうが私見では良さそうである.その理由は歌詞の冒頭が一つになりうるだろう.「come together」は一緒になる、一つになる、という意味だ.「国家や人々が一つになって問題を直視せねば」という歌詞からわかるように、社会の関心を呼びかける文意を考慮すると、jamは「concentrate」よりも「unite」寄りの理解が適切と思われる.音楽の用語でジャムというのは、複数人が集まって即興の演奏をするような、ゴチャゴチャ感を含んだものを言うらしい.セッションというやつか.黒人の音楽一家を出自にもつジャクソンにとってjamは決して否定的な意味ではなく、むしろ人が集まることで偶然生まれる無限の可能性を言うのかもしれない.uniteという言葉は力強いが物言いがはっきりしているだけに、政治的な意味合いを含み得る.jamの方が音としてもシンプルで、通っぽく、俗っぽくて良い.昭和のツッパリみたいな言い方をすると、「つるむ」というのか.