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moon in the water Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-26-2010 10:46 PM
the water does not try
to reflect the moon
and the moon has no desire
to be reflected
but when the clouds clear
there is the moon in the water
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 155
Comments: 1,111
Views: 1,939,001


In General train Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #68 New 06-12-2011 06:59 AM
RAILWAYS by digicacy used under creative commons licence

The song of her whistle screaming at curves,
Of deafening tunnels, brakes, innumerable bolts

Stephen Spender, The Express

When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.
Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows.

Seamus Heaney, The Railway Children

they talk about a life of brotherly love
show me someone who knows how to live it
there's a slow, slow train coming
up around the bend

Bob Dylan, Slow Train

I'm on the night train
Never to return

Guns N' Roses, Night Train

I saw Railways last week, starring Kiichi Nakai. It's a good movie. It's about a forty-nine year old male senior business executive - in Japanese they say an elite salaryman. After his mother becomes ill he leaves his job and his life in Tokyo to return to his home town in Izumo in Shimane in western Japan to be near her. He gets a new job as a train driver. So the movie is about new starts.

Railway journeys in Japan especially by express train are fast and efficient. But there are many local lines too. You can buy a special book of train tickets that only allows you to travel on local trains. So a trip that takes two or three hours by shinkansen bullet train can take a whole day. The ticket is called a Seishun 18 Kippu - youth 18 ticket - 青春18きっぷ. You don't have to be eighteen. It's a great system if you're not in a hurry. Sometimes it's good to slow down.

In a recent forum thread on aikiweb called Slow Japan Peter Goldsbury wrote an interesting comment about railways in Japan and ekiben. Ekiben are the special bento boxed meals you can buy at railway stations everywhere in Japan. They often contain local dishes from a particular region.

Of course train has more than one meaning in English.

To find out more about Izumo in Shimane you will have to wait for another article.

And to find out more about seishun and blue in Japanese culture you will have to wait for next month's column on Aikiweb.


articles about seishun 18 kippu, ekiben, and the movie Railways



John Coltrane, Blue Train

Johnny Cash, Come Along and Ride this Train

Bob Dylan, Slow Train

Guns N' Roses, Night Train

Full text of poems

The Railway Children

When we climbed the slopes of the cutting
We were eye-level with the white cups
Of the telegraph poles and the sizzling wires.

Like lovely freehand they curved for miles
East and miles west beyond us, sagging
Under their burden of swallows.

We were small and thought we knew nothing
Worth knowing. We thought words travelled the wires
In the shiny pouches of raindrops,

Each one seeded full with the light
Of the sky, the gleam of the lines, and ourselves
So infinitesimally scaled

We could stream through the eye of a needle.

Seamus Heaney

The Express

After the first powerful, plain manifesto
The black statement of pistons, without more fuss
But gliding like a queen, she leaves the station.
Without bowing and with restrained unconcern
She passes the houses which humbly crowd outside,

The gasworks, and at last the heavy page
Of death, printed by gravestones in the cemetery.
Beyond the town, there lies the open country
Where, gathering speed, she acquires mystery,
The luminous self-possession of ships on ocean.

It is now she begins to sing - at first quite low
Then loud, and at last with a jazzy madness -
The song of her whistle screaming at curves,
Of deafening tunnels, brakes, innumerable bolts.
And always light, aerial, underneath,

Retreats the elate metre of her wheels.
Streaming through metal landscapes on her lines,
She plunges new eras of white happiness,
Where speed throws up strange shapes, broad curves
And parallels clean like trajectories from guns.

At last, further than Edinburgh or Rome,
Beyond the crest of the world, she reaches night
Where only a low stream-line brightness
Of phosphorus on the tossing hills is light.
Ah, like a comet through flame, she moves entranced,

Wrapt in her music no bird song, no, nor bough
Breaking with honey buds, shall ever equal.

Stephen Spender

my latest column on aikiweb:

Unbalance - Feet of Clay

old columns

Half a Tatami

Zen in the Art of Aikido

niall matthews 2011
Views: 5562 | Comments: 17

RSS Feed 17 Responses to "train"
#17 08-15-2011 04:33 AM
niall Says:
Yes that's a great poem, thanks, Carina. Beautiful simple clear language.
#16 08-08-2011 01:16 PM
guest1234567 Says:
I found a beautiful poem of Pablo Neruda, whose father worked for the railway Ode to the trains of the south I translated it in german for my blog. In the blog is an article of Pablo Neruda National Railway Museum too.
#15 06-13-2011 05:18 PM
niall Says:
Thanks, Diana! There is polite language in Japanese which is the same for men and women but that women will use more, and then there is language only used by women. Here are some wikipedia articles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_honorifics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorif...ch_in_Japanese and see bikago. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_...poken_Japanese It might be worth doing a blog post about it!
#14 06-13-2011 05:07 PM
niall Says:
This has become a nice discussion - ideas branching off like railway lines. Thanks, Peter. That train timetable illustrates travel on local lines in rural Japan very nicely.
#13 06-13-2011 06:52 AM
Diana Frese Says:
I smiled, reading Niall's column on Zen. Our bathrooms always worked, for when the well needed repairs we had plenty of water from the snow melt off the roof, and plenty of exercise getting it from the large dog bath under the roof drain and carrying it in buckets upstairs to flush! We also brought in firewood for heat.... to lessen fuel costs....
#12 06-13-2011 06:45 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Here's another Japanese word, inaka. In our area property is rather landscaped, except for ours! We grew up a lot of trees, so my husband can do his weight lifting right out in the yard....
#11 06-13-2011 06:31 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Yes, I did know Onaka ("honorable inside" the translation style of many decades ago ) meaning stomach, and wondered about the other. Thanks, I was just discussing traditional Japanese bathrooms with my husband, who is doing squats as part of his weight training. Great for leg strength and balance for those who are able!
#10 06-13-2011 05:55 AM
Diana, Hint. Oshiko is what you do in the お手洗い Otearai.
#9 06-13-2011 05:19 AM
Hello Diana, Well, Obento is the term I always use when the lady comes round on the Shinkansen. There is also Onaka and Oshiko. I have heard Okumura Sensei use all three terms. I will leave you to work out the meaning of the last two.
#8 06-13-2011 05:05 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Hi Peter and Niall. I don't know if I will get to visit Japan again, but reading your posts is the next best thing. Thanks so much. My dial up computer can't always bring up the links, but when it does it's really great to see them!
#7 06-13-2011 05:00 AM
Diana Frese Says:
Obento (should I add the O to use "ladies' language?) are a great idea. Years ago the Amtrak, when I was traveling a lot, was heavily subsidized and you could get a whole dinner, several courses including salad, and dessert for about six dollars. Leaving Florida, the local grouper fish was so large it covered the plate and they had to put the vegetable and potato underneath
#6 06-12-2011 08:01 PM
Niall, I just did a check with the JR train times. To get to Izumo from Hiroshima, just over the Chugoku mountains, takes nine hours by train, if you use the local trains. You leave at 0753 and arrive at 1658, changing trains twice. You cannot go back on the same day. Getting back is slightly quicker. You leave Izumo at 1211 and arrive in Hiroshima at 2048.
#5 06-12-2011 04:15 PM
niall Says:
Thanks Carina. Yes it's nice to travel by train. I forgot about Takeda Shingen - my wind forest fire mountain blog article: http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/moon-in...mountain-3961/
#4 06-12-2011 12:29 PM
guest1234567 Says:
I read an interesting article about solar tunnel in Belgium and this other article ----- And Kiichi Nakai played in Takeda Shingen and won the Japan Academy Best Supporting Actor award for 47 Ronin
#3 06-12-2011 12:24 PM
guest1234567 Says:
Thanks Niall for this interesting post with beautiful songs and poems, that provocates desire to visit Japan in local trains and nice memories too. I remember going in the 2nd highest train of the world in 1977, and after working in Menorca in summer 1979 from Barcelona to Sicily with a youth ticket passing the beautiful landscape of all the nice Mediterranean towns of Spain, France and Italy. I like very much all meanings of "train"

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