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Le Daïmio - matin de bataille
José-Maria de Heredia
Sous le noir fouet de guerre à quadruple pompon,
L'étalon belliqueux en hennissant se cabre
Et fait bruire, avec des cliquetis de sabre,
La cuirasse de bronze aux lames du jupon.
Le Chef vêtu d'airain, de laque et de crépon,
Ôtant le masque à poils de son visage glabre,
Regarde le volcan sur un ciel de cinabre
Dresser la neige où rit l'aurore du Nippon.
Mais il a vu, vers l'Est éclaboussé d'or, l'astre,
Glorieux d'éclairer ce matin de désastre,
Poindre, orbe éblouissant, au-dessus de la mer ;
Et, pour couvrir ses yeux dont pas un cil ne bouge,
Il ouvre d'un seul coup son éventail de fer
Où dans le satin blanc se lève un Soleil rouge.
The Daimyo - morning of battle
José-Maria de Heredia
Translation by Lafcadio Hearn
Under the black war whip with its quadruple pompon the fierce stallion, whinnying, curvets, and makes the rider's bronze cuirass ring against the plates of his shirt of mail, with a sound like the clashing of sword blades.
The Chief, clad in bronze and lacquer and silken crape, removing the bearded masque from his beardless face, turns his gaze to the great volcano, lifting its snows into the cinnabar sky where the dawn of Nippon begins to smile.
Nay! he has already seen the gold-spattered day star, gloriously illuminating the morning of disaster, rise, a blinding disk, above the seas. And to shade ...More
There are two kinds of artists left: those who endorse Pepsi and those who simply won't.
To be perfectly honest, what I'm really thinking about are dollar signs.
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the trouble is I don't know which half.
back when the names of things
hadn't had time to stick
Rita Dove, Testimonial
when I'm watchin' my tv
and that man comes on to tell me
how white my shirts can be
Rolling Stones, Satisfaction
I was surprised - of course I shouldn't have been - to notice deliberate product placement in an anime animated cartoon. You don't even need to film or photograph a real product. You can just draw one.
Japanese people don't seem to mind overt commercial sponsorship. Many of the professional baseball teams - like the Chunichi Dragons or the Seibu Lions - are known by their sponsor's name, not their city's name. Some commercials using Hollywood stars were so bad that they were not allowed to be shown outside Japan.
Today I am going to give my own endorsements. But they are real. Not for the products - the quality of Japanese products is usually excellent. But for really great service.
I have a pen that was owned by my first aikido teacher. His wife gave it to me with some personal things of his after he died. I use it every day. It's about thirty years old. It is a ballpoint pen with two colour
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18Ӕ
here comes the rain again
falling on my head like a memory
and I wonder still I wonder
who'll stop the rain
Creedence Clearwater Revival
the bottoms of my shoes
from walking in the rain
Haiku by Jack Kerouac
it's rainin' all over the world
Brook Benton, Rainy Night in Georgia
The rainy season has officially started in Japan. In Japanese it is called 梅雨 tsuyu - plum rains. Japan is made up of four large islands plus Okinawa and some smaller islands. Weather fronts like cherry blossoms or the rainy season move north and east with the rotation of the earth from the southern island of Kyushu up through Shikoku and the main island Honshu to the northern island of Hokkaido.
The rainy season is not pleasant. Sometimes it is humid and wet and sometimes it is cold and wet. Anyway it is wet. Leather shoes and bags and jackets and belts can get mouldy. Washing is slow to dry. Especially thick cotton gi - martial arts uniforms.
I don't know if Japanese people use telepathy or if they just check their mobile phones. But you know they know something you don't when you get on a train and everyone has an umbrella but you.