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The harder you practice the luckier you get.
Gary Player (professional golfer)
Arma virumque cano - I sing of arms and the man
Virgil, The Aeneid
Depend on the rabbit's foot if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit.
R E Shay
The Greeks have snatched up their spears.
They have pointed the helms of their ships
Toward the bulwarks of Troy.
Euripides, Iphigeneia in Aulis translated by Hilda Doolittle
Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.
William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze
Someone I know just got back from a trip to Turkey. I heard about the sense of history at the site of Troy. It is in Anatolia. That area used to be called Asia Minor. And I was given a souvenir. A lucky charm. It is supposed to protect me against the evil eye. The evil eye is a curse or harmful wish. So it is not really a good luck charm. It's to protect me against evil specifically directed at me.
In Japan an amulet or lucky charm is called an omamori おまもり お守り. You can get them at shrines and temples. Some of them are also for specific kinds
you know not if flames bring freedom or death
Cyprian Norwid, Polish poet
What had the Caesars but their thrones?
W B Yeats, Demon and Beast
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his freedom
W H Auden, In Memory of W B Yeats
I believe in the freedom song
I'll choose my own destiny
Thin Lizzy, Freedom Song
We learn history not in order to know how to behave or how to succeed, but to know who we are.
Leszek Kołakowski, Polish philosopher
I think we practice to achieve dynamic movement and a freedom that lies within that movement.
Seishiro Endo Sensei, aikido teacher
The Arab Spring has turned into summer and autumn and winter. Throughout history leaders blinded by hubris have underestimated the groundswell of the desire for freedom.
In the 1980s the fall of communism was also called the Autumn of Nations. Some of the first rumblings began in Poland. The trade union Solidarity sparked a broad-based movement for social change. It's Polish name Solidarność was written in dripping red letters. In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the USSR and advocated a new mood of perestroika, economic restructuring and glasnost, openness. The eventual result was the fall of communism.
The quotation in the first epigraph at the top of this article is from a poem by Cyprian Norwid. The poem is inscribed
There are three reasons I failed. Not enough training. Not enough training. And not enough training.
We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.
Emil Zátopek, Czech long-distance runner
I train for good luck.
Arturo Barrios, Mexican long-distance runner
Even activities that appear fruitless don't necessarily end up so.
"I find," he said, "that one needs some one really pure single activity."
D H Lawrence, Women in Love
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a short book by the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. It is a real pleasure to read. I mentioned him in passing in my column Indigo Blue about the colour blue in Japanese culture. The title is an hommage to a book of short stories by Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Murakami's book is not a novel or a short story. It's a kind of notebook of his thoughts about running and writing and life. Some parts of it were originally written for magazines and it is very readable and very interesting. It is not really a book for runners but if you run you might appreciate it on a different level. Murakami writes very clearly and simply. He is honest about his running and about himself. He is very aware. And writing something down helps him to understand it.
Kurigohan by ikuman used under creative commons licence
still stirred, the old
chestnut sighed with the mouths
of a forest of trees,
a red leaf of autumn fell,
resolutely, the hours marched on
across the earth
Pablo Neruda, Ode to a Chestnut on the Ground
Under the spreading chestnut tree
I sold you and you sold me:
There lie they, and here lie we
Under the spreading chestnut tree
George Orwell, 1984
Rice cooked with chestnuts
Even though I'm sick
I can't stop eating it!
haiku by Shiki Masaoka
I usually eat cereal and fruit for breakfast. But most Japanese people I know eat rice. Several Japanese people who do sports or budo seriously have told me that you get more energy from eating rice. I heard that Ichiro, the great Japanese baseball player who plays for the Seattle Mariners, eats curry with rice every morning. Ichiro is famous for his work ethic and his meticulous preparation. So it is probably based on scientific research or at least his considerable experience. But I don't think I can face curry for breakfast.
It's the season for chestnuts. Marrons in French and kuri in Japanese. They are often cooked together with the rice to make kuri gohan. Chestnut rice. It is very, very good. Most Japanese people cook rice in an electric r
old ball by Takuya Abe used under creative commons licence
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on; on; and out of sight.
Siegfried Sassoon, Everyone Sang
The language of the game is interesting. You can think of the pauses as caesuras, breaks between the lines. As a poem the game is composed of a number of short lines representing the pitches. The number of lines per batter form a stanza. Then there is a space. Sometimes the stanzas become breathless, rushing full paragraphs that build rapidly on each other until the poem-inning explodes.
In baseball, home plate is where you begin your journey and also your destination. You venture out onto the bases, to first and second and third, always striving to return to the spot from which you began. There is danger on the basepath - pick-offs, rundowns, force-outs, double plays - and safety only back at home. I am not saying, as a true fan would, that baseball is the key to life; rather, life is the key to baseball. We play or watch this game because it draws pictures of our desires.
Calamus Gladio Fortior - The pen is mightier than the sword
Motto of Keio University
I'm British. So I don't know much about baseball. I picked up the rules roughly by occasionally listening to games on the armed forces radio in Japan. The announcers wer