It all struck me as very odd. But my intention in visiting him was not to study or analyze Sensei, so I let it pass. In retrospect, I particularly treasure my memory of that response to Sensei. Because of it, I think, I was able to achieve the real human intimacy with him that I later did. If I had chosen to turn the cool and analytical eye of curiosity on Sensei’s heart, it would inexorably have snapped the bond of sympathy between us. At the time, of course, I was too young to be aware of any of this. Perhaps that is precisely where its true value lies. If I had made the mistake of responding less than guilelessly, who knows what might have befallen our friendship? I shudder to think of it. The scrutiny of an analytical eye was something Sensei always particularly dreaded.

from Soseki Natsume “Kokoro (Translated by Meredith McKinney)”

Uji, Kyoto, Japan in May 2015.


Tokyo, Japan

But then the man said, “Tokyo is bigger than Kumamoto. And Japan is bigger than Tokyo. And even bigger than Japan…” He paused and looked at Sanshiro, who was listening intently now. “Even bigger than Japan is the inside of your head. Don’t ever surrender yourselfミnot to Japan, not to anything, You may think that what you’re doing is for the sake of the nation, but let something take possession of you like that, and all you do is bring it down.”

from Soseki Natsume “Sanshiro” (Translated by Jay Rubin)

Tokyo, Japan in March, 2014.

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