Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




“English Logically” written by Mitsuyo Arimoto




Her books always have been valuable for me. In particular, “English business e-mail examples” were very useful while there were few good translation services through the Internet.


After graduating from university, Mrs. Arimoto moved to the United States after working for a Japanese company and an American company. She got involved in starting a Japanese company in the United States. After receiving MBA, she became independent and had been active as a strategic alliance consultant between Japanese companies and American ones. Currently, she has been exploring the trend of global economy as an investor. She has lived in the United States for thirty five years. Now she frequently translates and introduces information about coronavirus by overseas media on social media.


She suggests acquiring a technique to convey English logically in this book “English Logically” (2015).


The book says that Japanese people sometimes tend to write incomprehensible English even if grammatically correct;
1.Direct translation
2.Using a complicate sentence to write simple things
3.When using and or but, it’s hard to understand the context because of a leap of logic


Also, many Japanese people misunderstand the meaning of 'please', 'expect', 'hope' and 'difficult'. For example, you cannot use ‘please’ to your superior, because it is authoritative.


After all, avoiding misunderstandings is necessary first and foremost to write business mails in English. (H.S)

”Clear Your Clutter With FENG SHUI” written by Karen Kingston




The author Karen Kingston was born in England and lived in Bali Island from 1990 to 2000. She has studied feng shui and space clearing for many years and pioneered purification of buildings’ energy. The book’s first edition was published in 2002 in Japan, so it is an introduction to clear up things before Konmari comes into the world.


Speaking of feng shui, Trump, now the President, when he built Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York(completed in 1997), he invited a feng shui master from Guandong Province, China and asked advice.


By the way, according to Oxford English Dictionary, clutter means a lot of things in an untidy state. And, such things that you don’t need influence people negatively as follows.
*Feel tired and lose your energy
*Keep you shackled to the past
*Weaken your body movements
*Tend to delay everything
*Cause disharmony
*Ashamed of yourself
*Slow down development of your life
*Make you feel depressed
*Get desensitized
*Can’t think on what is important


The book also describes as follows.
Here are a few clearing clutter methods that people have tried.
*Leave it to nature (alias: give up decision). A method that you keep them in a place that they will go rotten naturally.
*Wait until you die, and your relatives get rid of them. This method has been most commonly used for centuries.
*Clear them by yourself responsibly. I suggest this method!
The most difficult thing is that you start clearing. Once you start it, you will be energized quickly, so you will be able to continue naturally.


To be sure, even if I don’t feel like clearing, but once I started, I feel motivated. This year, I would like to make a habit of clearing even one drawer at a time. (H.S)


English edition


Karen Kingston(From her official website

“A sloping path in Trieste” written by Atsuko Suga



Atsuko Suga (1929-1998) was an essayist and a scholar of Italian literature. When she was young, she lived in Italy for more than ten years, studied Italian language and worked on translation of Italian literature. She married to Italian Giuseppe in 1961 but Giuseppe passed away suddenly several years later and she returned to Japan. After that, she taught at universities.


Trieste, located in the northeastern area of Italy on Italy-Slovenia border, is a port town with a population of about 200,000. The essay “A sloping path in Trieste” is written about when she visited Trieste alone to trace Italian poet Umberto Saba’s footsteps.


Following are excerpts from the essay.
“No matter how long way to go, I will walk without use of vehicles. It was one of the few self-imposed rules that day. I want to just walk as Saba always walked. “
“Why do I keep attaching my mind to Saba for so many years? Am I trying to overlap memories of my husband who died on a June night twenty years ago?”


The current book store that Umberto Saba ran.
The photo is from a blog: https://note.com/alberocooking


Since medieval times, Trieste had been belonged to Austria, but after the First World War, it became Italy’s territory in 1919. Trieste was a peculiar city culturally as well, they had mixed feelings of respect and hatred toward the culture and the people of Vienna. But they continued to admire Italy linguistically and racially. The double nature has made the identity of the people of Trieste complicated. Suga also wrote that the houses in the city were Austrian style rather than Italian.


In Italy, a major tourism destination, Trieste is an unknown, outlying city that affected by history. Suga wrote, “As I walked down a slope, nearby houses looked unexpectedly poor and aging.” And, I also wanted to walk the nameless slope. Suga’s writing style that is quiet, unwavering solid makes me feel nostalgic for the strange city, Trieste. (H.S)



[Video] ETV special | Atsuko Suga-Reminiscence of foggy Italy-Writer who lived in freedom and solitude-Suga’s rare natural voice is from 56’16”.

"Japanese's English" written by Mark Petersen



I think that this is one of books English learners should read. This website GEN also provides English version, so as the person in charge, I am still an English learner. The book's first edition was published in 1988. I thought that I once understood the content but I forget gradually, so I should reread sometimes and want to imprint it on my memory. The author Mark Petersen came to Japan in 1980 as a foreign student. Since then, he has studied Japanese literature and now teaches British and American literature and comparative literature as a university professor.



When I first read the book, the part about article was startling. Because I was able to sense its notion directly for the first time. Following are excerpts from the part.


[ 'a' is not an accessory for nouns]
-The difference between Japanese without article and English that article is the basis of a logical process-
For example, there is a sentence as an opening line as follows.
"Once upon a time, there were an old man and an old woman. The old man…."
In English, they never say, "Once upon a time, there were [the] old man and [the] old woman…" In Japanese, we use "ga" or "wa" as particle that plays the same role as article. When native English speakers speak and write English, noun doesn't give a category of meaning in advance, but presence or absence of article does.


Come to think of it, sometimes I see native English speakers say like, "I ate a…a…a rice ball." In other words, article comes first and they recall nouns come next.


As Mr. Petersen wrote in the book, I also feel that English-language education in Japan has not taught the essence of article even though I don't know the current situation. It isn't a bad thing to focus on English conversation and good pronunciation, but I keenly feel the need to learn such a fundamental sense of English first. (H.S)

"Kyokuyako" written by Yusuke Kakuhata



I read the "Kyokuyako" written by Yusuke Kakuhata, a non-fiction writer and an explorer.



In the Arctic Circle, there is a period called polar night that the sun doesn't rise for many days. This book describes his travel with a dog in the dark for eighty days in detail. He traveled without a sponsor and GPS.


In a TV program, Kakuhata once said, "I feel that adventures and explorations are similar to pilgrimages in religion." "Maybe I want to relive experiences of ancient hunting people." When he said these, his straight eye seemed to have a subtle fear, which might be an awe of nature.


For someone like me who are blessed with the sun for granted every day, the lonely darkness for months was far beyond my understanding. But Kakuhata's clear vocabulary, sensitive depictions of scenes and realistic mental sceneries made me feel fulfillment as if I traveled together with him. His exploration itself was not only stoic, but there were several funny episodes, and he even wrote embarrassing information honestly, which was graceful. While reading the book, I experienced a strange feeling that my main purpose of life is the "exploration" in the book, and other everyday things seemed footnotes to me.


Following are excerpts from the book.
"The dog has quickly become debilitated due to reduced feed and moving along at once.
Although it is a dog breed that is resistant to cold weather, it did heavy labor as low as minus 30 degrees C. Its ribs stood out, around its waist got thin, muscles around legs to buttocks were lost entirely. Every time I check it while petting its whole body, I pitied it and I was near to tears."


As for the descriptions of the dog, it has been like a little dispassionate. But when I read this part at last, I really felt relief because I found that he also had a caring kind side. Meanwhile, Kakuhata tweeted the other day, "I swallowed a gastric camera for the first time. It was painful." I thought he is actually an ordinary person.


Next, I will read another book by him, "Uncharted five miles", which is the records about that Kakuhata challenged world's biggest Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet. His writing is very interesting, so I want to read from one to the next, which is highly addictive. (H.S)


Dog training for next travel to the Arctic Circle
The rightmost dog is the one traveled with Kakuhata
(The photo is from Kakuhata's Twitter @kakuhatayusuke)


Kakuhata is making a new sledge.
(The photo is from Kakuhata's Twitter @kakuhatayusuke)


[Video] Interview with Yusuke Kakuhata, explorer-Challenge to polar night- (including video clips that Kakuhata himself shot) (11'44")