A Left Eye of Darkness ('Convent Girl' up 20180527)

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A Left Eye of Darkness ('Convent Girl' up 20180527)

Post by brythain » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:33 pm

Introduction

Greetings, reader-san. I'm a reluctant writer. I prefer to record things with devices, to seize images with my lens. People tell me I sound literary. These are people who have not known my friend Hanako Ikezawa.

The only reason I'm setting these odd little writings down in this thread is that my friend Natsume Ooe told me I should. That worthy person is a power in her own right; if she were as brutal as Shizune Hakamichi, she would be terrifying. What she is, however, is persistent. She pushes gently but firmly until things move. This is a habit from her own personal life.

In my time, I've seen many things. I am not really a journalist nor a reporter, because the nature of art is that one sees with an internal bias. I have a desire to tell a story from the limited bits of truth that I think I see. I try to make that story as true as it can be, but some stories are too complicated for truth and desire. So I will just tell you my stories, the stories of people I have spoken to and known, and you can judge for yourself.

There's no real need for you to know me; my personal life is unremarkable and fairly happy. I am just the eye that sees, and I leave it to Natsume to form my scribblings into something you can read. They are not things you will find on ASN; I think very long ago she decided my material was interesting but not the stuff of public news. Accordingly, she will enter them in the index below and add the output to this thread. If you read these notes, I thank you for taking the time: time is precious, we have so little of it, and yet you have given that much. May you have much enjoyment in return.

=====

Reports (in chronological order):

2007: First Class
2014: The Satou Legacy
2018: The Hakamichi Secret
2022: The Katayama Mystique
2023: The Colonel's Bequest
2024: Chemistry
2026: Regrettably
2030: Regretfully
2034: Foundation
2038: Foundation/Empire
2042: Second Foundation
2043: The Girl From The Village
2044: The Girl From The Convent
.
Last edited by brythain on Sun May 27, 2018 1:55 pm, edited 25 times in total.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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The Satou Legacy (20150101)

Post by brythain » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:36 pm

So... what's Lilly's family background really like?


The Satou Legacy (2014)

It was three years after the great Tohoku disaster that I finally got to meet Satou S., the incredible man whom I had first mistaken over the internet for his namesake, the late emeritus professor of international relations at Todai. It was my privilege to meet him, I said, bowing low.

He grunted once, a little dismissively, but with dignity and civility greeted me in return. After exchanging a few formalities in which he deftly established my place in the world without saying anything very obvious, I accepted his kind invitation to visit his home.

Some distance up in the hills, there were allotments where Mr Satou grew traditional crops in subsistence amounts. I saw signs of beans, persimmons and tomatoes; he told me that the weather had gone strange but the soil let him have radishes and potatoes and many other things as well. He let me take pictures.

The little house he occupied was a traditional structure, freshly renovated from upgraded materials but boasting the usual tatami flooring, internal curtains, and paper screens. In one corner was the jet-and-gold shrine dedicated to his late mother. There were a few proudly displayed photographs of his younger days between water and fire, as he preferred to put it. There were a few more pictures of his interesting family.

Mrs Satou, alert and self-effacing, made tea and served tiny cakes artfully arranged. She treated me like a long-lost child. I was touched. She said very little, but somehow seemed to give the spotless house a kind of strong, innocent character just by being there.

Mr Satou was a legend in his village, a place that had almost been obliterated by the tsunami that came as part of a dismaying trifecta with the earthquake and nuclear meltdown of March 2011. He had only one eye, the right one gone in a previous workplace incident. In the purple twilight, with his ancient safety helmet on, he reminded me of the warlord Date Masamune, who had once ruled the region from Aoba Castle in Sendai.

The people had retrieved whatever they could from the muddy ruins, and they had rebuilt. Mr Satou had been a key figure in the rebuilding, but he downplayed his part. The people had done their bit, surviving, pressing on, staying strong. That was his opinion. But to those of us outside, it had been an uplifting and incredible story, part of the remaking of modern post-bubble Japan. Yet I was not here to ransack Mr Satou’s tidily-arrayed and prodigious memory; I was here to track down a story that was even more incredible to me.

As my digital recorder collected every one of his words, I learnt that this former carpenter, fisherman and volunteer fireman had been born in 1929. “Actually, 1567,” he said impishly. When I expressed confusion, he continued, “You were thinking of Date Masamune, I could tell. But it is only a small joke, let me not waste your time.”

1929 was an uncomfortable time away, decades before my own humble birth, and at what seemed like the dawn of civilization. We Japanese called it Showa 4, the fourth year of the Showa emperor. Now it was Heisei 26, the 26th year of the reign of that long-lived emperor’s son.

His biography unreeled before me, the key points hanging on the hooks of disaster and survival, his apprenticeship and working life, war and his military service—these latter now deliberately removed from the minds of younger Japanese. We moved inexorably towards the reasons for our curious meeting.

“Yes, 1953,” he said sharply. “I remember the year very well. Hiroyuki came; it was very auspicious to have a firstborn son. I thought I was sterilized by radiation, or perhaps she was. Mayoi didn’t arrive till 1959. Then the rest. Girls, all girls. But they kept us happy, until they were all… gone.”

He said the last part with a sort of forlorn finality. Girls marry out of families, in Japan; they sometimes do not return. Unspoken was the sense that perhaps even his son had not returned. I did not know how to approach the topic. It would have been rude, no matter how remotely or obliquely I attempted it.

He waved a finger at one of the framed photographs, in a dim corner that I had not inspected yet. My gaze drifted in the direction of his movement and froze.

“I have beautiful granddaughters, though. For now, they have the family name. But gaijin—foreigners, they are. We used to look after them for a while. We are not so far from Sendai, and the younger one, she used to go to school near here, before they went away.”

My breath caught in my throat. I was looking at pictures of my former schoolmate Lilly Satou and her elder sister Akira, if I was right. I did not dare to scrutinize the photographs too obviously. Instead, I showed my agreement and made some complimentary comments.

“This village, it’s not the kind of civilization my son grew up to expect. He was a very bright kid. We saved up, sent him to Tohoku and he got two degrees! In engineering, and in business. We were so proud. Then there was an exchange student.”

He paused briefly; it was barely noticeable.

“And now my son is in Scotland, that’s like Hokkaido for the British, I think. Maybe he tells people his father is a businessman from Hokkaido and his mother is a textiles expert. I don’t know. This place, it wasn’t big before, and now it’s smaller, so of course nobody comes back.”

I forebore to mention that his son did not bother correcting people over the telephone, when they had the mistaken impression that his father was a University of Tokyo professor. I sensed an undercurrent of grief, deep as the sea from which his livelihood came. I did not show pity; that would have been unforgiveable. My digital recorder kept blinking as its soulless mind remembered every word for us.

“Would your grandchildren be following in their parents’ footsteps?”

“Ha, the big one is a lawyer. She came down to visit me once, with my son-in-law, her uncle. Nice girl. We used to call her ‘Aki-chan’, she was once very cheerful. Then she cut her hair short, started dressing like a businessman. Her sister, I hear she works in a restaurant in the British Sapporo. That one grew her hair long. Poor thing was born blind, so I guess she can’t get a better job than at the restaurant. Maybe it’s not so bad.”

“That is an interesting outcome. Might this inquisitive one ask about your other daughters’ children?”

“Oh yes, I have others. Mayoi married a rich businessman. Strange fellow, always talking about Hawaii. That’s even further than Okinawa! They have two kids. I think one of them must be about your age. Don’t know what happened to them, though. The younger ones, they all went away. All of them are well off, they must be. I’m proud that they have gone so far.”

“Would you be happy if we arranged for all of them to come home for a reunion? If we’re writing about Japanese families, this would be a good thing.”

“Here? We are too small to have so many guests. Perhaps, yes, a good thing. But we’re frogs in the well here. If our children think they are tigers, maybe they won’t find the well so comfortable.”

The old man laughed heartily. I felt a little uncomfortable myself.

“You know,” he continued, “after one farts, the bum cannot be closed. Things can’t go back to the old days, people can’t be brought back from the dead. Don’t talk about my family in your newspaper. It might bring shame to some of them, and that would be a cruel thing. Just talk about me and my wife as survivors of the big disaster, who are happy to be alive.”

He smiled, as if forgiving me.

“There are many Satous in Japan. Not all of them are brothers and sisters.”

This is a truism. In my journeys, I have learnt that our ‘Satou’ is the equivalent of ‘Smith’ or ‘Lee’ or ‘Jones’ in other countries. If you do an internet search for ‘Akira Satou’ for example, you will find a famous photographer who was born in 1930. One truly cannot count on any two random Satous being related.

However, I sensed that my time with Mr Satou was coming to an end. He had gently guided me towards the limits of my story. No big family reunion lay in the future.

We spoke of other things for a while. I prepared to give him and Mrs Satou the small gifts I had brought with me. He accepted them with great solemnity, his demeanour contrasting with the simple shirt and bermudas that he was wearing. I took a few last photographs with his permission, and he admired the sharp display on my camera.

It was with a strange sense of sober regret that I took my leave of the old man and his wife. I wondered if they would be there the next time I passed through the region. Perhaps they would just disappear, as so many of the small villages along the northeast coast had, like so many pieces of driftwood.

I tried to imagine that future. I thought of myself, a nameless wanderer crafting stories from mud and air. I walked on and came to a little café down the road, serving coffee and snacks and even ice-cream. It even had internet access. I chatted a while with the two ladies who ran the place, and then excused myself as more customers arrived.

I had a friend to contact. “Hi Natsume,” I began. “Remember the time we did some work reporting on the 3/11 disaster? I’ve got an interesting story to add. Uploading now…”

=====
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Last edited by brythain on Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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The Hakamichi Secret (20150107)

Post by brythain » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:39 pm

So... why does Shizune's father wear a Hawaiian shirt?


The Hakamichi Secret (2018)

His hair was as silver as people have described it. His tongue, also. He looked at me as a quirky but supportive father might look at an enthusiastic but misguided child, and in that moment, I understood why my whole family had voted for him in a past decade.

“You understand that this is not an official interview, yes?” he smiled, after we had completed the indispensable preliminaries to any civilized conversation.

“Yes, esteemed sir.” As I sit here translating into English so that my friend Nat won’t have so much work to do, I realize that ‘esteemed’ isn’t all of it, although it will do for now. Some people would insert ‘reviled’.

“Please understand that I respect your colleague and friend Ooe-san. She is a dedicated journalist indeed, although rather young. Do send her my regards. So, what shall we talk about? Or perhaps, whom shall we talk about?”

I wanted to talk about Japan as a nation-state, and its love-hate relationship with the big uncle across the Pacific. I wanted to talk about his son, my senior by some years, whom I’d met in Yokohama. So many things to talk about, and yet, only one thing at that moment.

“Most respected sir, please do not be offended if this conversation is directed by accident upon personal life. Also, if you would kindly allow it, please let me ask about an associate of yours.”

He nodded, his immaculately brushed mane like that of a white lion. He looked amused, his healthy tan creasing in the faint wrinkles of a practiced smile.

“And who is this associate? I will not directly discuss some people who are still public figures. I don’t mind discussing King Elvis, though.”

I smiled at him. You couldn’t help it; the man who sat before me had this ability to be humorously self-deprecating and yet piercingly opinionated at the same time.

“May this humble reporter request a simple ask-and-reply session on the matter of a person whose family name is Hakamichi?”

“Hakamichi? Top industrialist. Too much into nuclear power; thank heavens that people are beginning to see the light.”

“This person of the Hakamichi clan has the personal name ‘Jigoro’.”

His face creased in an unfamiliar pattern. His lips, normally so naturally secretive, pursed slightly. He suddenly seemed a little on edge, although I was not sure. My strange interlocutor had been nicknamed ‘Maverick’ when he was more active in the public sphere.

“Ah, young Jigoro, the most junior brother, and the most peculiar. With the Hawaiian shirts, but who am I to mock? It is an unusual request that you are making, dear reporter-san. I will allow it, because it is an interesting request.”

“Please honour this minor person by sharing a little about his personal history and what he does as a consultant for Hakamichi Industries.”

I couldn’t help but feel warmly towards the senior gentleman. His smile had that effect. I wondered about his frown.

“It’s in the public records, although not easily discovered in those records. The Hakamichi you are interested in was born in the early 1960s. His parents named him after the founder of a certain famous school of physical activity. I first came across him when he was a junior accountant in his father’s company.”

“An accountant?” This had taken me by surprise. The little I knew of the man had not suggested such a background.

“Yes, an accountant. You did not expect this? Heh, I see it in your face. Mr Hakamichi is a more complex person than you would think. But to continue, he met his match in the woman he married.”

If I had a Spiderman-sense, it would have tingled at that point. As it was, the fine hairs on the back of my neck were rising. I already knew something about this, but not enough. My lens quietly took a shot of his face.

“Let me tell you about a certain period of time more than thirty years ago. Young Mr Hakamichi had a comfortable salary, but he was also wealthy because of prudent investments. He looked around him and decided to add to his assets, some people might think. Perhaps it was love; again, who am I to say? But he plucked the most striking fruit off a certain Satou tree, and married her.”

In my mind, I was thinking: indeed, who are you to say? I had heard stories about how this suave gentleman had turned away his third son after having divorced the boy’s mother. But it was a rather Japanese thing to do, for people of a certain generation and social background. And of course, the Hakamichis had also been unfortunate in their own way.

“Hakamichi Jigoro has two children. They have their little difficulties, and while likely to accomplish much, given their apparent talents, our country will waste their futures. Meanwhile, Mr Hakamichi deploys his considerable talents in ensuring that certain funds do not go to waste, that certain groups of industrialists play fair with each other, and that certain deserving charities remain viable and productive. And that is all I can tell you, reporter-san.”

His eyes twinkled at me. I was sure he knew that I was aware of much of what he had told me. Yet, I did not think he would be so hard-hearted as to leave me with only these lean pickings. So I waited for a moment, and he relented.

“Let me tell you one last story. Many years ago, young Mr Hakamichi took a calculated risk. He decided that he was an admirer of mine and sent me a legendary collection of videotapes. He had managed to collect digitally remastered recordings of the three films that the fondly-remembered Mr Presley had filmed around Hawaii, as well as the live performance from January 1973. This was by then the tenth anniversary of the year Mr Presley had left this world, also my 45th birthday.”

He sighed softly, although it was clear that this was not a moment of melancholy, but one of remembrance. His eyes locked on mine, alert behind his grandfatherly expression.

“Digital media was nothing like it is these days. But it was a good attempt, an expensive and polished trial of a new product launched by some inventors in Massachusetts, in the United States. It was difficult to think of an appropriate return present. In the end, I gave him a set of three Hawaiian shirts and a copy of Satou Kanzan’s book on the history of the Japanese sword. He had never worn a Hawaiian shirt before then.”

I had heard of Mr Hakamichi’s shirts, the stuff of urban legend, but this was the first time I had direct evidence of a source for those shirts. And why the Satou book?

“He married the Satou girl the very next year; it was a good year for this humble politician as well, who was made a top-tier servant of the Japanese people for the first time. We exchanged congratulations, and became friendly acquaintances. Over the years, we have had many discussions on what it means to be a Japanese man in this changing world. I fear that neither of us has learnt enough, and likely never will.”

My mouth was hanging slightly open as that moment, and I only then became aware of it. He saw my embarrassment and the skin around his eyes wrinkled briefly.

“Ah, all these are the stories of old men. The world is becoming yours now, reporter-san, yours and that of young people like you. Do not ruin it, but make something better of Japan than your ancestors did. I do not know if it is possible, but one should always try.”

When it was clear that he had smoothly but definitely reached the end of the time he had planned, I thanked him deeply for what he had shared. He reminded me not to publish it as news, but perhaps somewhat disguised in the features that our newspaper was planning.

“I support the work of the Yamaku Foundation,” he whispered in parting. “Also, perhaps you should interview that son of mine next. Of course, I leave it to your most excellent discretion, reporter-san.”

Some time later, as I walked the streets of my native Yokohama, I reflected on what I had learnt. I was sure that Natsume would be pleased; I was also sure that she would have wanted to know more about my interlocutor’s political life. However, books about such men are common. How many can say that they have received a personal insight into the hidden life of a man like Hakamichi Jigoro?

=====
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Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:18 am

I assume the narrator is Naomi?
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness

Post by brythain » Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:30 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:I assume the narrator is Naomi?
Nope. Serviam guessed that too. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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First Class (20150107)

Post by brythain » Wed Jan 07, 2015 1:55 pm

It isn't everyday that you get to ask a respected staff member such personal questions.


First Class (2007)

It was my very first interview and I was very nervous. My friends Natsume and Naomi had persuaded me to give it a try. Natsume was going to be the Chief Editor of the Newspaper Club when the new year began, and Naomi was to be Manager. As my heavy legs and stiff muscles hauled me up the stairs to the staff room near the library, I felt a chill of regret. Who was I to be doing this? It wasn’t what I liked doing. But I’d taken that picture, and now my own club’s President, Sugiwara, was making me pay.

Timidly, I approached the door. You could knock, but that seemed rude to me. Or you could wait, and eventually some kind teacher would inquire as to your business, and help to locate the other teacher you were looking for. By the side of the door were the neat racks where the teachers kept their working shoes.

My ears pricked up as I heard steps coming my way from the stairwell. As I turned, I caught sight of myself in the mirror and cursed the impulse that had led me to dye my hair that colour. Frantically, I straightened my posture as best I could.

The lanky gentleman paused and looked at me, looking vaguely puzzled. I bowed politely, my hands on my lap. “Kimiko?” he essayed, nodding in return. Without waiting for my reply, he continued, “Ah, no, sorry, wrong name again. Miki, maybe? Probably not. Nice to see you; I hope I will remember your name next year when I’m your form teacher.”

“Ah, Mutou-sensei?” I whispered, slightly terrified to be importuning the senior science teacher for the Third Year. “May this humble student request a large favour from you?”

“Eh? Ask away, young person.”

“Um, one is to meet Miyagi-sensei at this place, but one is not sure of the correct time. Perhaps one is in error.”

A strangely gentle half-grin appeared on his face. It was an odd look, but I had not the presence of mind to analyse it further before he replied, “Oh, of course. She had mentioned it, but there is a little going-away ceremony and perhaps she has been delayed. I am sure she will…”

The door opened. I saw glossy black hair, falling neatly to either side of a slightly asymmetrical face. Sharp bones and firm lips. A single dimple to accompany her smile. “Mutou-san? Ah! I am so sorry, I have kept this young reporter waiting.”

“No, no,” I mumbled, even more flustered. ‘Pretty Miss Miyagi’, they all called her, and it was true. She was small, but she was like a single flower in a desert filled with cactus. Cacti. Cactuses. My mind was in danger of losing focus and my back hurt terribly with the tension.

*****

A few minutes later, we were quietly sitting in the Bunker, the teachers’ section of the school cafeteria. It was a terrible breach of protocol, but apparently that day there were no teachers around to notice. The amber light of an old incandescent bulb in an iron wall-sconce lit her brown hair from behind as she made tea for us against my protests. I felt cheap and impolite, although Miyagi-sensei had tried hard to put me at my ease. “It’s the least I can do for being late for our appointment,” she had said.

It was time for questions. I had a list. I noticed my hands were trembling a little more than usual as I unfolded the slightly wrinkled sheet of paper and turned on the devices she had graciously permitted: my little camera on a small tripod, its battery fully-charged; and the clunky digital sound-recorder.

She nodded, her smile glowing across the table at me and inviting me to begin. “Please, begin the interview,” she added, as if she saw my lack of courage.

“Sensei, may one ask as to sensei’s origins and family background and perhaps the life sensei had before becoming a teacher and coming to Yamaku?” It all came out a little rushed, and I felt embarrassed to be so poor an interviewer.

“Of course you may, and please, do not be so formal. I am a teacher, you are a student, but here I grant you the privilege: you are the interviewer, I am being interviewed. I have given consent for you to ask questions, reporter-san!”

That dimple again, a slight tilt of the head. Her eyes were large in the dim light. I swallowed and nodded.

“I am a Niigata girl. I moved to Sendai a few years ago because it was convenient and this school needed someone who was somewhat proficient in English. My family were rice farmers, then food exporters, and then trade facilitators. I was made to learn a few foreign languages at a young age to impress foreigners. It’s a simple story.”

I found myself looking at her hands, slightly arched on the table as if she were about to play the piano. It was then that I noticed the smooth spot on her finger where a ring must have been.

“Ah, um, sensei, were you, are you a-attached?” I was stumbling over my words like a naïve junior, and then I wished I could have taken those words back. Her face had changed. She wasn’t angry. But I could feel her sadness, like a sky about to rain.

“Yes. It was a long time ago. I’m an old lady now, and single.”

I had no idea how old she was. I just sat there feeling incompetent, mentally kicking myself for going off-script in such a bad way. Yet I knew I had to go off-script once more at least. I had to know.

“Sensei, I’m sorry to have been impertinent, insensitive.”

“No, it is all right. It really was a very long while back. Please carry on.”

Her smile looked a bit forced, but I appreciated that she was trying. If she could handle it, so could I, I told myself.

“Some time ago, you had another career before you came here? I took a photograph of a newspaper article. There’s a picture in it, where there is a person who looks much like you.”

“Please show me.”

I had a copy on my clunky little cellphone. I brought it up and offered it to her, placing it carefully in her hands. They were small, fine hands, but her fingers were quite long. She looked down, and I held my breath.

“Oh!” A soft exhalation came from her mouth. I couldn’t identify the tone. “Yes, that… that’s what I was before I became a teacher.” The corners of her mouth drooped a little, as if dismayed or nostalgic.

Those uniforms were designed by Hanae Mori, I seemed to recall. Miyagi-sensei’s black hair had been pulled back in a neat bun, her face artfully and lightly made up with eyeliner, rouge, the works. The picture showed her looking off-screen to the right, a half-smile on her face. The famous scarf and jacket completed and complemented her, made her look beautiful.

“Yes. Yes, I worked for our airline. Very briefly. I had the skills they needed, and at that age, I… I didn’t want to be in Niigata forever.”

“When did you change occupations, sensei? And why?”

Again, her face changed. While looking at that picture, regretful or not, there had been a light in her eyes. Now, that light was very distant.

“Oh. I got married, and I decided to become respectable.” Her laughter is light, a bit thin but very genuine. “Or at least, my husband’s family had a lot to say about it, and it was easier to comply. I’ve not regretted it, in case you’re wondering.”

I decided to finish up while I was still ahead. I was fascinated by what I was learning, but I knew that to inquire further would be to intrude into her privacy too much.

“Perhaps I should end by asking you some boring questions, sensei. What are your favourite subjects, do you have any favourite singers, that kind of thing.”

She laughed very naturally at that. She sounded almost cheerful. “I don’t mind. Go ahead. It’s fine with me.”

Russian poetry (I made a note to read up on this ‘Pushkin’), Alphaville (that sounded quite retro), dark blue and some pastel shades—these were some of the things that Miyagi-sensei confessed to liking. The person she worked best with was an open secret, I thought—but I was surprised how reticent she was about Mutou-sensei.

“Well, he is a department head, and I also have that honour, so we attend the same meetings. Sometimes we meet to talk about students, but not in a gossipy way, sometimes we talk about the overall school curriculum. We are opposites, I think you might say.”

Her face was a little serious as she said this. She wanted me to know that it was, above all, a professional relationship. Did she know about the rumours? I was sure she did, but I respected her far too much to ask.

After our conversation, I helped her put the tea-set away. Her last words to me before we parted were these: “Reporter-san, try to live your dreams, all of them. We never know when they might become impossible.”

*****

I still have my pictures of her. All of them.

=====
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*****

Editor's note: Over the years, much more has come to light. The dedicated reader might want to see the full story from Mutou-sensei's perspective. If so, it can be found in the narrative titled 'Pavane'. (N, 2036)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness (upd 20150107)

Post by Serviam » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:20 am

If it's not Naomi, is it Keiko?
"What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else."
- Tom Clancy summing up l'état in a nutshell

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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness (upd 20150107)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:53 am

Well, the only character besides Naomi and Natsume who is tangentially involved with the newspaper club would be Misaki - being in the photography club.
If it's not her it's either an OC, a character from another Fic (e.g. Jun) or a minor character with made up additional background, so it would be just guesswork.
Anyway, I think you went a bit over the top with the Keigo. The way your protagonist talks may be an approximation of Japanese polite speech, but even by Japanese standards the level seems excessive. Here it feels like a Light Novel that has been badly translated by a Japanese person with a bad grasp on English...
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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness (upd 20150107)

Post by brythain » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:22 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:Well, the only character besides Naomi and Natsume who is tangentially involved with the newspaper club would be Misaki - being in the photography club.
If it's not her it's either an OC, a character from another Fic (e.g. Jun) or a minor character with made up additional background, so it would be just guesswork.
Anyway, I think you went a bit over the top with the Keigo. The way your protagonist talks may be an approximation of Japanese polite speech, but even by Japanese standards the level seems excessive. Here it feels like a Light Novel that has been badly translated by a Japanese person with a bad grasp on English...
Yes, that sounds about right. But if you look at it chronologically, the 2007 one is indeed the product of a Japanese person whose English is a little uncertain. It was probably done as a translation exercise for Miss Miyagi. The 2018 one, on the other hand, is deliberately oblique to provide a fig-leaf anonymity to the distinguished interviewee. I don't think it's particularly excessive, but perhaps a bit overdone. Thanks! I always enjoy reading your commentary; it's mostly sharp and unstinting and helpful.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness (upd 20150107)

Post by Serviam » Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:47 am

The politico interviewed, he isn't Taro Aso, is he?
"What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else."
- Tom Clancy summing up l'état in a nutshell

In order of completion:
Lilly > Hanako > Rin > Emi
Currently on: Shizune

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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness (upd 20150107)

Post by brythain » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:22 pm

Serviam wrote:The politico interviewed, he isn't Taro Aso, is he?
No... although the one you named served under our mysterious interviewee. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness (upd 20150107)

Post by Serviam » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:36 pm

brythain wrote:
Serviam wrote:The politico interviewed, he isn't Taro Aso, is he?
No... although the one you named served under our mysterious interviewee. :)
Shinzo Abe.
"What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else."
- Tom Clancy summing up l'état in a nutshell

In order of completion:
Lilly > Hanako > Rin > Emi
Currently on: Shizune

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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness (upd 20150107)

Post by brythain » Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:55 pm

Serviam wrote:
brythain wrote:
Serviam wrote:The politico interviewed, he isn't Taro Aso, is he?
No... although the one you named served under our mysterious interviewee. :)
Shinzo Abe.
The clues are all in the interview piece. Even his appearance, etc.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness (upd 20150107)

Post by Oddball » Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:23 pm

Well this feels incredibly... Japanese. Too Japanese. I understand what you're trying to do, but you have to remember that the majority of your audience is neither Japanese nor well versed in Japanese speech. You're writing in English and this just isn't how people talk in English. This whole thing feels like a translation job by one of those fanatic fans that insists every single word and phrase be translated EXACTLY regardless of how it would sound in another language. It makes all your characters feel to foreign to really get a grip on who any of them actually are.
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Re: A Left Eye of Darkness (upd 20150107)

Post by brythain » Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:16 pm

Oddball wrote:Well this feels incredibly... Japanese. Too Japanese. I understand what you're trying to do, but you have to remember that the majority of your audience is neither Japanese nor well versed in Japanese speech. You're writing in English and this just isn't how people talk in English. This whole thing feels like a translation job by one of those fanatic fans that insists every single word and phrase be translated EXACTLY regardless of how it would sound in another language. It makes all your characters feel to foreign to really get a grip on who any of them actually are.
I think you're right again. However, this time, that was the intention. We've got a 'protagonist' who is very Japanese, relative to friends and colleagues. We'd say 'old-fashioned', I suppose, or at least, 'proper'. So I'll think of it as half successful. Thanks!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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