Standstill & Drastic

22/April/2023 in Tokyo

Recently reading two books by Kayoko Yamasaki

A Japanese poet, writer & professor at the University of Belgrade

She's lived in Serbia for more than 30 years

First book
A diary-like book
I couldn't continue reading

Reading someone's diary is tough

unless we know this person in real

or we have a specific interest in the content

In a diary,
random, friends, acquaintances.........appear suddenly & disappear suddenly
Thus, confusing

In a diary,
no storyline, no plot, no endings
Thus, difficult to have a motivation for keep reading

Basically we don't have any time & energy to listen to a stranger's personal life

Basically we don't have any interest in other's story

Basically nobody is interested in our story

unless there is an actual benefit

Early this year, I was reading a diary written by a Japanese female uni student in 60s in Kyoto

I first read it in my university period

I didn't know her in person
I didn't have any interest in the content either

The reason why I could keep reading was

probably because I'd already known the diary ended 2 days before she committed suicide

Thus, her diary seemed to have "an ending"

Thus, reading her diary felt like "looking for a reason of her suicide"

The same goes to reading Mishima's novels

Everybody is very aware in advance that he committed very unusual dramatic suicide

After 25th Nov 1970, when Mishima committed suicide, we no longer could read his books like before

We can't stop seeking reasons for his suicide while reading any of his books

For me personally, if the diary author is still alive, it is the most difficult diary to read

It seems "her/his story" has not finished yet,
and indeed it has not, luckily

Always amazed how hard to love someone who is still alive

A living existence is too warm, too unexpecting & too opinionated,
while the dead is so quiet, so stable & so accepting

They accept any kind of our fantasy, romanticism & sentimentalism, and never go against

Second book
Also a diary-like book
I could read it till the end

Thinking about "our relationship" between me & this book brings a strange feeling

I first met this book in January 2022

This first meeting was unforgettable

First several sentences of the book felt like a voice of Yoshiko Sai, a mystical Japanese singer in 70s

I was "reading" but it felt like "listening"

The author's Japanese sentences had somewhat very similar touch to Yoshiko Sai's voice

But this unusual excitement vanished pretty soon

The book was still a diary, about author's life in Serbia & some Balkan countries, as well as about her life under the NATO bombing in 1999

I had no interest in it

Or I should say, I found it hard to make a connection between me and what the book talked about

15 months passed & I met the book again

Things changed & I got very into the book

2 reasons

1 ― I was in Serbia & other Balkan countries & met many people living there

Now I can have clear pictures on what the book writes about

2 ― Over the past 14 months, countless stories from Ukraine are constantly heard

The book is about normal people's life under the NATO bombing on Serbia in 1999

Reading this in 2023, it's impossible not to overlap with ongoing things now

Over the past 15 months

You stayed on my bookshelf

But I changed. The world changed

Now I can understand what you are really talking about