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This is the archive for March 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

This is what the sublime talent of Shimamiya Eiko has produced.

This song, named "O", from the French "Eau" (water), has a very intense and complex lyrics. It's a story that resounds of ancient myths, and that talks of the endless life cycle of the water. As the water in the song is compared to a woman (the singer), or better, as the singing voice is shaped in the form of water, it is impossible not to think to the endless cycle of life and reincarnation that is theorized by Buddhism and Zen. But both the sound and the cut of this song, talking of Gaia and Malaika (respectively the Mother Earth goddesses in the ancient Greek mythology and in Swahili) leads us to think more about a new pan-world spiritualism. More than Zen, this song is quite leaning on the new-age slope.

In fact, this song is a bit complex even when you think it's Japanese poetry. I may not have a perfect grip on poetic English, but I have quite a grip on poetic Italian, which can be quite synthetic if correctly employed. By the raw length comparison between the Japanese text and the Italian translation, you can have a precise idea of how much this song is synthetic. Also, translating it in a western language deprives it of some of the various meanings that some sentence have. The original is "more" fluid than it can be rendered with our languages.

On the musical side, the song is a masterpiece; the melodic line is giving the impression of being easy to sing along, but actually it's quite difficult. The melodic structure is sophisticated and elegant, always changing yet staying the same, very ... liquid. Also the rhythmic structure is quite complex; it sounds solemn, but it's eager to be tapped along.

On the downside, the arrangement of Kazuya Takase seems a bit too synthetic, at times. At spots, the wonderful harmonic structure invented by Eiko (invented, as I never heard such a progression before) is almost overwhelmed by excessive glamor of synth strings; other times, it is a bit blurred by excessive insistence on the same bass loop, while it could have been underlined by some subtle changes in one note of the bass riff per chord. I hope to hear another "version" of this song in the future, because if this one has kept me stuck for 2 days on my headphones with repeat on, who knows what a better arrangement may do...

Hey, I may even try one ;-)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Recently, I discovered that there are Italian poets writing poetry in the classical Japanese haiku style, that is 3 verse of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. There are other rules, as "there should be some word having a seasonal meaning", but they are less relevant.

Here's a try of mine:

La mia sera
vento che sa di città
mi accarezza

My evening
wind which carries the scent of the city
is stroking me.


Oh... I made 5/7/5 also in Japanese :-)
... but it doesn't sound great in the Japanese version.
The midnight cafe.

A cute intellectual-looking Japanese site. Having some short and well written novel, it's a precious resource for serious students of Japanese language.

Teach yourself Italian.

Great resource to be pointed out to people wishing to learn Italian. Synthetic, complete, but very english-speaking-person oriented. Good if you're a London gentleman, or if you know English as if you were a London gentleman.
I should get that source and make a more international-wise version.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Well, I suppose that should be a good news for me... Having no time to blog should mean that your life is full of things to do, and a full life is, for sure interesting.

Yet, I'd like to have more time to stop and think. Just think. Or, as in certain culture views and terms, to meditate.

Blog is meditation. Well, a kind of, for sure. On this line, and since I have no time to blog, here is a Zen koan I particularly love:

If you're hungry... eat.
If you're tired... sleep.

It may seem something nearly idiot, but you have to contextualize it. Many religions and spiritualism systems preach the mortification of the body, or worse, of the mind with abstention from the very basic needs animals (like it or not, this includes humans, that is, this includes you) have. Abstention from food and white nights are the favored targets of i.e. the Christian religion (just to name one that has quite some moment in the area where I live). Buddhist religion preaches the "way of the middle", and Zen philosophy advocates for the realization of human nature. You got to know what's meant to be human if you want to be something better. The idea behind the "way of the middle" is that, yo, if you don't eat and don't sleep for three days in a row you're GONNA have some visions for sure... but they're a byproduct of your wounded body and mind, and are quite distant from enlightenment.

We're human: that means we're partially animals. Neglect it, and you'll neglect a truth; neglecting a truth is blinding your sight, and a perfect sight is the prerequisite for awareness, which is needed for awakening.

So, if you're hungry, eat. If you're tired, sleep.

This remembers me that I am tired. I am going to sleep.