July 2009 Archives

Taro Comes of Age, Too

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taro2.JPGMy Taro the Beauty, imonishiki, has grown up rapidly receiving sunlight and moisture in Osaka. Yes, the climate in Osaka is just as in the Subtropics. You see he has become a tall, slender boy, comparing to the picture before. Moreover, at his foot, you also see small leaves are budding. How lovely the young sprout is! It will grow to fill up the vacant space between the earth and the big leaves above.
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I always wonder the miracle of the plants...they eat water, air, and sunlight and as a result, such a growth! To see them growing always gives me a happy feeling. It is a treat for my eyes.

Coming of His Age

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tiepin.jpgNext Monday will be my son's birthday. He will come of age and I want to give him some memorable present. Though I asked him about his request, he said just "Anything!" and it will not be my help. Last year and the year before last, I was abroad on his birthday, so I gave him souvenirs such as the picture books of Gogh and Brughel, or postcards of Rembrandt and Vermeer. He was very grateful because he was preparing the entrance examination for the art section of Department of Education. This year I do not go abroad all summer, so I want to prepare a special gift for his 20th birthday.... I have thought it over and decided to give him a necktie pin. I searched on the Internet and found a silver tie pin with a G clef. Don't you think it cool if it is put on a simple dark blue tie? Well, my son seems to prefer to play music rather than to paint pictures these days. I sometimes fancy that he is in the music section instead of the art section.

A New Fax Machine

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When I got divorced and moved to the house in Amagasaki alone, I thought a movable phone was enough and I did not need telephone nor fax. However, the owner of the rent house generously gave me a phone number and one of my friends kindly gave me an old telephone machine. It is strange that to have a house phone could be a kind of prestige, which seems to mean that the person has some place to live as a member of a family or in a society.... Of course it is an illusion, you know. Anyway, I have been using the telephone machine these years.
Today, I bought a simple small fax machine at a big electricity shop in Umeda. As I had the points of the shop which reduce the price, I bought it very cheap. I connected the electric cables, connected the telephone cable, did some initial settings of the machine, and succeeded in sending a fax. But to receive the fax was not easy. Because my Internet provider is Cable TV, or because I am using radio (cable less) LAN, or, I am not sure, I could not connect the Internet quite a while. I rebooted the PC at last and both fax and PC succeeded in function. Gee, there were so many cables and codes behind the modems and machines with which I should fight, and they made me exhausted entirely!

Learn Courage

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On Saturday we had the Special Lecture on Individual Psychology, and on Sunday we had the Practice of Individual Psychology, both on the theme of "encouragement." Dr. Noda decided to organize those programs suddenly only one month ago, so as I am his secretary, I had been very busy preparing the place, accepting applications, and sending and receiving e-mail with participants. I could luckily reserve a hall for 30 people, and more than 30 people each applied to attend the program. Dr. Noda's textbook was supreme which I thought surpassed the PASSAGE textbook and I found out that I had not understood the meaning of courage and encouragement exactly. Perhaps many Japanese tend to vaguely regard "courage" something very far, and not to connect it with our own specific action in daily cases.

Courage is the willingness to act in line with the social interest in any situation. It is fundamental to a successful adaptation. From AN ADLERIAN LEXICON by Jane Griffith and Robert L. Powers

Yesterday I came to know that I have been utterly coward, which is the opposite word of courageous, as I counted out many examples in which I used my inferiority feelings to avoid coming life tasks. There is no need to be ashamed of my cowardliness because that feeling of self-disgust may again be used for the inferiority complex!
Now that I know this fact, I should start using my strength and ability somehow for people. Society will surely be changed to better direction by cooperation, contribution, and trusting and respecting... In writing these words, I remind of our respectable Adlerian, Eva Dreikurs Furgason's speech. In ICASSI two years ago, she often used those vocabularies and I felt them very appealing and stirring. Two Japanese Adlerian friends are attending ICASSI in the US now and I am sure they are enjoying the experience fully. Oh I want to attend the next ICASSI in Romania and see Eva and other Adlerian friends again!

Dragonfly

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This afternoon I saw many red dragonflies gliding outside the window of my house. As I live on the 10th floor, I went out to see them from the verandah with curiosity. I was surprised to see more than twenty red dragonflies flying at that height. They seemed to be patrolling their territory, circuiting along a big circle in the air. There are a few two-stories houses, which are sandwiched between my apartment house and the park behind, so perhaps the space between them is the dragonfly's amusement park. Some are vivid red, some are rather orange, and some are almost brown, but all seemed to be one group.
After a while, suddenly the rain came down in buckets. I wondered whether the dragonflies were taking shelter, and I saw some were still flying not elegantly as before, but zigzagging awkwardly. Where is their home and where will they go? I do not know. As I was not a girl who liked insects, I know almost nothing about their lives and habits.... But it was a happiness to see the elegant creatures of summer near at hand.

A Book Call

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Many of the flight companies publish advertisement magazines with many pictures so that we can enjoy on the airplanes. When I went to Akita, I found such a magazine in the seat pocket, in which I read an article about a remarkable female writer I did not know. Her name is Osaki Midori, who was born in Iwami, Tottori, in the middle of the Meiji era. She went to Tokyo in 1917 (Taisho 7) when she was 21, and wrote mystery novels and poems, but not many. She was taken back to her home town in 1932 (Showa 7) at the age of 36. After that, she never wrote. She died of 75 without any fame for her works. The article quoted some of her sentences and I thought them beautiful.
Today after my counseling job was over, I went to Kinokuniya Bookstore in Umeda to search for her book. Umeda in weekend evening was awfully crowded and the bookstore was even more, so I regretted that I had not searched the publishing company nor the titles of her works beforehand. I tried to find her name in the pocket book shelves, Shincho, Kadokawa, Iwanami, Bunshun, and so on, but in vain. As my recolleciton of her name was rather vague, I was beginning to give up.
osaki.jpgI went my way back to the exit, pushing people aside, and quite accidentally, noticed some newly published pocket books are put flat on a shelf. A certain title was appealing to me though I have forgotten the name, and I reached out my hand to the book. And there! Just behind the book I reached, I saw the name of her glowing in the backward shelf. It is Chikuma Japanese Literature Series volume four, OSAKI MIDORI, which contains almost all her works being published. It was the only book left there. It was a miracle I could meet one by chance. The book was calling me and I caught the call. Oh I want to read early!

Hand Warmers in Summer

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One of my friends told me of a very good device for health when we chatted at night in Akita. She had been suffering from the severe shoulder ache, but when she stuck a hand warmer on her sacrum, her persistent ache disappeared. Yes, we often freeze in the subways or in the buses, and I think to cool our bodies is the predominant cause of the diseases. I am sure that to warm our bodies will make the blood circulation better. So, today, I stuck a small hand warmer at the base of my back bone, on the underwear, and kept my sacrum warm. It is interesting that I do not feel it hot at all! As it is summer now, of course the weather is hot, but I do not sweat more than usual. On the contrary, I always feel pleasant warmth on my hips, and especially my thighs and knees are warmed comfortably. The heat of the sacrum goes down, circulates in the lower part of my body, and does not effect the temperature in the upper body. I am grateful to my friend as this device will help me a lot. This summer, I am going to stick a hand warmer on the sacrum secretly, whenever I have to be in an air-conditioned room all day.

Gods in Tohoku

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I went to participate in the Spiritual Workshop in Akita last weekend. When Dr. Noda and I arrived in Akita, it was raining hard. I gasped at the beauty of the deep forests in Tohoku. The color of the trees was dark in the rain and the silhouette of the woods was very sharp. I shivered inside, feeling some power pervading in the land and the air.
We took a limousine bus from Akita airport to JR Akita, and got on a Bullet Train KOMACHI from JR Akita to JR Omagari. To go to the place of workshop, we would have to take another bus about 20 minutes more. Because our flight was early, we had thought of taking lunch at JR Omagari Station. However, we could find no available restaurants nor coffee shops .... After wandering some minutes in the rain, at last we found one small Japanese restaurant which was attatched to a business inn, so we went in. In the restaurant, while eating Japanese noodle, I found out: People moved slowly and quietly. When they spoke, they spoke other language of mine. The time flowing in the space was perhaps dominated by the rules which I had not known. Even the faces of the people were not similar to the faces which I was accustomed to see. Especially women had very beautiful clear-cut features (Dr. Noda told me that they inherited the blood of Ainu people deeply).
Such an experience to encounter another world may happen when we are in foreign countries. Although I was in Akita, Japan, the atmosphere was so different that I was puzzled and felt strange. Perhaps gods in Tohoku are not same as in Kansai, Asuka, Nara or Kyoto. Even in the 21st century, hard, strong, and sometimes fierce gods of hunting people, Emishi, are living in woods and protecting this land. Gods in Kansai are, in contrast, soft, as they have been worshipped by agricultural Yayoi people. During the workshop, it was raining very hard continuously and the sun finally came out in the last day's morning. It might be a welcome shower of pagan gods.

The Very Best News

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My brother sent me e-mail saying that he moved from the bioclean room to the general ward room this afternoon. It means that the PBSCT (Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation) succeeded! He has gone through the most difficult stage of the treatment and his blood data have returned to the average. I am very glad to hear the news and am sure my parents are most relieved this time.
According to my brother, the walls of a bioclean room are made of iron. There is a small hole on the iron wall, and the strong flow of sterile air is blowing from the hole. He said he felt as if he were confined in an iron coffin, or as if he were locked up in a prison cell for punishment.
He was alone in such a room from June 29. During his stay there for three weeks, he has never told us those detailed impressions lest we cared for him too much. He himself is a doctor, and he is a good patient seldom complaining about his pain nor anxiety. I really respect his strongness, kindness and courage. Now that his bone marrow cells were renewed, he will be able to leave the hospital soon after his physical strength restores. I did not imagine such a day would come six months ago, so it is like a dream!

Cicadas

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It is killing hot. Cicadas are buzzing loudly from early morning. Among the trees in the wide park behind my apartment house, there live many cicadas and their sounds are so noisy that they make me wake up at five or six.
While I was meditating this morning, I found out that those cicadas are chanting mantras.... They seemed to express their joy of living. They had lived seven years or more under the ground and now that they see sunlight, fly in the air, can buzz and make love, it is natural that they chant in gratitudes for the brightest world they ever knew. Is not the sound heard like mantras or sutras? Perhaps, "gate gate paragate, parasamgate, bodhisvaha!"

Sanko Shrine

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I wrote the other day that Sanko Shrine has the most "thrilling" atmosphere hereabout. What I meant by "thrilling," was somewhat frightening, a kind of the mixed feeling of awe and respect.
sanko.jpeg.JPGSanko Shrine is located on Mt. Sanada, Sanadayama, and is now famous for protecting people from suffering palsy. The gods worshipped are Amaterasu (a sun goddess), Tsukuyomi (god of the moon), and Susanoo (god of the sea and storms), so people called it Three Deity Shrine. It is said that the descendants of Takenouch no Sukune have been the priests of the shrine. The ground of the shrine is large, accompanied by small shrines of Emperor Nintoku, of Takenouchi no Sukune, and of Nomi no Sukune (the first Sumo wrestler). Moreover, there are a statue of Sanada Yukimura and an opening of a tunnel that is said to have once connected to Osaka Castle in the time of Osaka War in 1615.

sanada.JPGMany trees are growing on the hill; Stone-paved alleys and steps are winding here and there. I feel the air is dominated by warriors. When I visited there for the first time, I felt chilly on my arms. Perhaps the spirits of warriors in the Osaka War have been inviting many floating spirits of the later wars.
As my job in Nishinomiya was over early yesterday, I strolled the shrine in the evening. The summer festival was near and many children gathered to practice the traditional War Drum of Sanada Clan, and many grown-ups watched over their kids. The shrine was beautifully lit up but seemed to be a different place, nothing thrilling. But on my way home, on the corner, one block away from the shrine, I felt something chilly. Presumably, the spirits in the Sanko Shrine evacuated, yielded their place to the children for some nights.

On Jolanta Special

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We had a monthly meeting of a self-help group in Kobe this morning and five people including me gathered. We had a long and good discussion about how to organize our group meeting when our Latvian guests come on November 9. One of the members asked me what was the purpose of inviting them. I answered by using Dr. Noda's comment he had written before to the organizers in the local districts: It is important to get in touch with Adlerians abroad if we want to learn Adlerian Psychology from now on. We might hold ICASSI and ICIP in Japan in future, but the biggest problem is that Japanese Adlerians are reluctant to speak English, even though they have enough ability to speak. Inviting an Adlerian from Latvia is the first small step, but it can be a great step for the future of Adlerian Psychology in Japan.
We are ready to cooperate with this project. I wrote down every idea member suggested on a small notepad, and gradually our ideas had integrated. We are looking forward to listening from our guests about their country, their history, their way of living, but we also want to tell them about us. Let our guests know about our culture! Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, and Kansai dialect. It is a good start to chat away on many small things. To play with, to go somewhere together, to eat and sing together.... I think they are surely helpful to understand each other. And our members are eager to play with! I am sure we will have a good time with our guests, with big laughter as in our usual meetings.

Delights in Midsummer

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This afternoon I went to my parents' house in Kobe. I gave Father the necktie as Father's Day Gift with my brother.
cucumbers.JPGFather very much likes to grow vegetables and flowers, and he gave me a number of cucumbers, petite tomatoes and sweet corn. I carried so heavy a load home, but I felt it grateful. See the size of the cucumbers! One cucumber is as heavy as one small watermelon. I think I should treat and cook it as a zucchini.
On the way to and from the station, I saw many flags fluttering along the street. They were flags of Shinto shrines, with each name on, each has its design and color. They were to announce the summer festivals, and perhaps have been dedicated from the residents in the district of the shrine.

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The red flag is of Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine, which may be the biggest shrine hereabout. The white logograms on the top are mysterious, and I like them. The indigo flag of the backlight is of Iku-Kunitama Shrine where I once went to see Bonfire Noh some years ago. The dynamic calligraphy is strong and beautiful. Many red flags are lining up along the east of the Uemachi Avenue, and many indigo flags are lining up along the west of the same avenue. Can you imagine how splendid the view is when they are fluttering in line?

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Here are two more flags. The white flag is of East Kozu Shrine. I went to pay homage to Kozu Shrine on New Year's Day, which is famous for its beautiful garden of plum trees. Another indigo flag is of Sanko Shrine, where I think the most thrilling atmosphere is pervadinging hereabout. I once visited there but I could not have reached there again, somehow.
I found all these four kinds of flags within the range of ten minutes on foot. This area is called the Temple Town, Teramachi, and there are also many shrines, not only the temples. The summer festivals of East Kozu and Iku-Kunitama have been almost over, but of Tamatsukuri will be held next week, and of Sanko Shrine the week after next. Perhaps I will stop by and can spend the summer nights of Osaka.

Exhausted by Heat or Exercises

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Today I went to Adler Guild to attend the Counseling Seminar for the certificate learners. Dr. Noda taught us that narrative based psychology aimed to construct good stories by means of cooperation of counselors with clients. So, to learn to achieve that goal in clinical situation, we were to do the practice. We made three or four people's groups and discussed excercises Dr. Noda had prepared. They were not too difficult, but to attain the model good answer was not easy for us. The practice was stimulating and we used our brains and nerves a lot.
After that, when I came home, I switched on an air-conditioner in a dehumidification mode. While waiting for the rice done, I was dominated by an unbearable drowsiness and fell asleep. I had not imagined I was so tired, but I slept longer than an hour. When I woke up, I felt my body was cold, my shoulders were stiff and my head ached. Strangely enough, I became more exhausted than before I slept. I had no appetite but somehow I ate a little. Eating and drinking hot things made me feel better. I turned off the air-conditioner because I felt chilly though I sweat a lot. Although I prefer staying cool, perhaps spending a whole day in an air-conditioned room was not good. I think it is better to take a hot bath tonight instead of a shower as my dermatologist had recommended not to cool my body.
Or, my brain has received too much stress today to sustain? No, I hope not.

Blame it on Fidel!

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I saw a 2006 French movie "La faute a Fidel! (Blame it on Fidel)" by Julie Gavras. Here Fidel means Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuban Revolution.
The story is depicted from nine years old girl, Anna's viewpoint. She had lived rich and happy in Paris, but her parents (father was a lawyer from a rich Spanish family, and mother was a writer of MARIE CLAIRE) suddenly became radical political activists.
fidel2.jpgIt was the time when the Spanish War of Franco Nero happened and the socialist party of Chile was established. Father dove into the political movements and mother was enthusiastic to the woman liberation movement. Father quitted his job and the family moved their house to a small apartment. As a result, Anna's French bourgeois life was over. She had to go through with refugee nannies, international cuisine. Noisy revolutionaries, Chilean activists, frequently occupied Anna's house and disussed their policies till midnight. She hated her new life and could not bear parents' sudden changes. Anna was always angry at the grown-ups. However, her sulky expression was honest and pure, and she looked very cute to me.

Gradually, Anna began to learn that grown-ups also had conflicts in them and that they sometimes regretted having made mistakes. She began to know her parents' sorrows and disappointments. She learned to forgive. The world was not so simple that we cannot blame one person. Near the last when father knew the news that the Chilean President Salvador Allende whom he supported was assassinated, Anna took his hand softly.
I think this movie teaches me something on understanding and acceptance. Children do not understand what their parents are thinking. But they gradually try to learn the people whom they love, and it may be called their growth. They may not be able to fully understand the adults' logic, no, but they try to accept them. Because of love or affection, they accept even what they cannot understand. Can it be a lesson for us when we think about other civilization and culture?

Understanding and Acceptance 2

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I was thinking about "acceptance," but as I read Dr. Noda's article in the newest issue of THE ADLERIAN, I found out that I should start by thinking about "understanding" first. What is "understanding"? When do we think we understand someone? Adlerians do not imagine we can understand anybody's feelings totally. However, we can follow the person's private logic by asking him/her why did those feelings occur. Then, can we say that to understand somebody is to clarify his/her private logic? When we analyze a client's Life-Style, it makes us predict the client's behavior in some situations of life, and makes the client control his/her behavior. Can we call it an understanding of the client? Yes, I think so, as far as both the client and the counselor agree with the discussion so far.
However, I feel Kaho Nashiki does not use the word "understanding" in such an Adlerian sense. I think she is using the word in a more instinctive way, in Dilthey's sense. For example, a person brought up in Western culture may be shocked by the sound of a Japanese eating noodles. Westerners do not understand nor accept such a tradition because they think it very rude. Perhaps it is as much as "dislike" or "cannot agree." So, sometimes "understanding" and "acceptance" contain the value systems of good and bad, likes and dislikes, or true and false. Nevertheless, if the Westerners learn Japanese culture and know the context, they might respect such a way of eating. They might go beyond the value systems they belonged to. The same can be said to the Japanese. If we had a little courage or tolerance to learn other cultures, we could understand and accept the new way easier, apart from our judgments. Yes, perhaps courage and tolerance are the keys which take us to the next stage of respect....

Understanding and Acceptance

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kaho.jpegI went to Yokohama for the lecture of Dr. Noda. On Saturday morning before I got on the Bullet train, at a bookstore in the Shin-Osaka station, I found Kaho Nashiki's essay which one of my friends recommended. All through the way to and from Yokohama, I lost myself in reading this book. Her essay suggests what the mutual-respect and cooperative relationship is. There are various kinds of differences among people ... race, nationalities, languages, traditions, religions, abilities, possessions. And Kaho Nashiki says that it is impossible for us to understand each other fully, but we can accept the differences. Well, what does she mean by the word "accept" ? To be kind? To make friends? To love? To make a bridge? Mmm..., I should think it over and hope to write on it in several days .

JAM

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Michael Jackson died last Friday and I happened to see his memorial show on Cable TV today. I noticed for the first time that he was the same age with me. (Remember, it is a topmost secret between you and me!) Before, I used to listen to his songs and watch his music videos, but not so enthusiastically. Recently, as I live alone, I have not watched music programs and know very little about pop music. But my son likes to sing Michael's ballads. He has been practicing the Moon Walk since before ten, but not yet succeeded. Among Michael's music videos I watched today, I thought one song was astonishingly good. It seemed to be a mixture of a hard funk, dance and rap. I was thrilled by the beautiful silhouette of Michael's body and the graceful movement of his posture. The camera work and the pictures are just cool! I guess they used the best artists in the commercial films. The title, JAM, means a dunk shot of basketball. Yes, Michael sings and dances, moreover plays basketball with Michael Jordan, the legend of basketball. It makes us smile to see Michael Jackson teaches Jordan how to dance, and Jordan teaches Jackson how to play basketball in return. The video was made in 1991, 18 years ago. Michael was so fresh and lively in the film. Many of Michael's recent videos had some messages and I often felt them somewhat hypocratic, but in this, they just enjoyed dancing and playing. I am sure Michael had a happy time when shooting this film. I hope he can smile and be happy like this in his heaven.

"Sky Garden"

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I work two days in a clinic in Nishinomiya every week. There is a new shopping mall near Hankyu Nishinomiya Kitaguch Station. It was opened last autumn and they say it is the biggest shopping mall among the West Japan. In fact, the building was built in the site of Nishinomiya Stadium, the home ground of the late Hankyu Braves, so huge that it is impossible to walk and see all the shops in one day. The floor space is about 247.000 ㎡ and the number of the shops are 268. Besides Hankyu department store, Izumiya supermarket, Joshin electricity store, UNIQLO and LOFT, movie theaters, restaurants, most of all popular shops in Osaka for ladies and men are gathered in the huge building of five stories.

gardens1.JPGThis evening after the work was over, I went to UNIQLO in the shopping mall to buy some T-shirts and socks for my son. I found an attractive open space on the fourth floor of the building. They call it the "Sky Garden" and keep it up comfortably, making fountains and planting trees and herbs. We can view the Rokko Mountains on the north side of Nishinomiya City, and rest freely. Wood tables and chairs were placed around the fountains, and people sat there reading books or chatting with friends. Children were playing with the water, and the young mothers were taking pictures of them. I found many sparrows pecking at the crumbs, and even saw a cat (!) creeping along the rim of the bushes.
gardens2.JPGI took a seat on a chair and read a book for some time. Today the wind was not humid and I felt it even cool. I am glad to find such a free comfortable space near my working place. There is a flight of steps, perhaps a memory of the stadium, and they say they do some events there. I eagerly hope that they would never use this space for a beer garden!

A Storm Lover

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Today the wind blows all day and it is raining heavily from evening. I am a fanatic lover of a stormy weather. I like to hear the sound of heavy rain and feel the spray of water. Especially, I love to see the lightning at night from the windows and hear the thunder. Do you think it is queer? Perhaps I am a so-called excitement seeker. When I lived in Kobe, my house was at the eighth floor with large windows, so every time thunder storm came, I turned the light off to enjoy the thrilling landscape fully. When the storm came from east, I watched from the east windows, and when it came from the south, I watched from the south windows. Today it had just started raining when the work was over, and I took a bus from the nearest bus stop to my house directly. The twilight landscape of Osaka in the rain was so much appealing to me. It was raining so heavily that the water was running like streams on the ground. At home, from the windows, I am not tired of seeing the rain falling over the town. The green trees in the park were enjoying the heavy raindrops and were rustling joyously. People usually close the curtains in the evening and shut off the outside world, but I do not like to close the curtain nor the windows. I can stand at the window sill and feel the wind and the rain for a long time. People may think that I am strange, but I do not care about what they think. It is my Life-Style!

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