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This is the archive for January 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

While waking up, I thought

Principles are great, unless they become means, or worse, ends.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This was one of the first songs of Shimamiya Eiko I wanted to translate. I've been able to understand it fully for a couple of years now, yet I hesitated. This text is so exquisitely Japanese that it was very hard to find a fine balancing both in English and in Italian (as want I translate songs also in my native language).

This songs talks about religions; or better, it talks about cultists, the ones running religions. While the thematic is very similar to that of Uzu-maki, written by Kotoko, this song is much more direct and far less metaphoric. For this reason, while it seems less profound, it is bolder, and thus, courageous. The Japanese employed is yet exquisitely elegant, while being still direct and concrete.

This song has a very sophisticated melodic, harmonic and rhythmic structure; it's an extremely charming blend of oriental scales and works on a 6/4 time broken up in a ternary rhythm (18/12). It has been arranged in two versions; one, in the "Endless Loop" mini-album is mainly acoustic, and involves an ehru (a typical oriental violin-like instrument that Eiko seems to particularly love), a guitar and several acoustic percussions. The other, in "O", is a majestic digial-sound version, which completely alters the harmonic structure. They both are marvelous, but the electronic version feels somehow... more infinite; possibly this is because the sophisticated and elegant harmonic structure of the more-acoustic version, while fascinating, is more "compressed", while the electronic version is somewhat "open", "endless"... somehow, this endlessness seems more adequate to support the meaning of the lyrics.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Genpou Yamamoto was a Zen priest that so admonished the Japanese prime minister, Kantarou Suzuki, trying to have him stepping back from the positions that would have lead to the disastrous outcomes of the entry in WWII.

What is built on strength, with strength is demolished. What is built on money, with money is demolished. What is built on wisdom is eternal.

The rest is legend. It is said that Mr. Suzuki himself, mortally offended, went at Yamamoto's shrine to collect his personal vengeance. Entering the sacred rooms with his shoes still on, he faced the high priest; looking around, he glimpsed an hanging scroll on the wall, displaying a poetry bearing the signature of Genpou Yamamoto himself. With a brim grim on his face, he took his pocket lighter out, harshly ripped the poetry away from the wall and set it on fire.

"Behold! It just took the strength of my nail and the money of my gas to demolish your wisdom."

It's been in that exact moment that, suddenly, Genpou was enlightened. His face bright, his eyes deep, his brows serene, he deeply lowered his head and said to the Prime Minister: "From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. You have bestowed the most precious of the gifts on me."

Suzuki was deeply disturbed by the monk's reply, partially because he wanted to irritate him and he knew that nothing he could do now would achieve that result, but mainly because, despite the fact that it was evident that the monk was true, Suzuki knew in that moment that he would never be able to understand what that gift was.

He walked away feeling profoundly defeated, as that he was defeated he did know.

One disciple approached Genpou and asked him: "Master, what is this precious gift you received now?"
"He taught me the most important lesson in my life.
"See, what is built on strength, with strength is demolished. What is built on money, with money is demolished. But only one thing can make even wisdom to crumble, and for this we must be aware and defend wisdom against that: stupidity."

A so complex text. Still have no words about this Onmyouza song.

Just one note: while the "moon" has a female character in many occidental cultures, it's considered a male entity in Japan.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On a TV show I recently happened to see, a very wise American Constitutional attorney was so commenting the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

There's a number of moral assaulter who wants to take their concerns as a parent, and impose those concerns on all of society, and including, on to me, and I don't want those people to be my parents, and there's nothing on the constitution saying they can be your parent either.

It was very enlightening to see that grown up man in a 3,000$ suite sitting calmly in a rich office to put down things simply as they are, and referring at those assaulter as "wanna be parents".