November 2007


In the midst of a transfer from Tokyo to Korea
an old friend dropped by my neighborhood
including me, there were three of us former classmates in the neighborhood

I took his call because
my buddies were at the cinema showing
in the New World

I found in my desk my name card from before I was adopted
and wrote on it the plans for the farewell party
and told the other two

On the day we four were to meet at the hotel
I was first
on the terrace the fan had stopped but it was cool

In the fountain the children who had sneaked in
floated rubber fish
on the surface of my plans …

– Ito Shizuo in Kevin Doak’s Dreams of Difference (Berkeley, CA: U of California Press, 1994), pp. 65-66.

It is good to love this beautiful city
it is good to love the architecture of this beautiful city
it is good to come to the capital and pass along these bustling streets
in search of all that is valuable in life
in search of all gentle women
this row of cherries that line the street
are there not innumerable sparrows singing there, too?

Ah! the only one able to sleep in the nights of this big city
is the shadow of but one blue cat
the shadow of a cat that speaks of the history of a pathetic humanity
the blue shadow of the happiness we constantly seek.
Just when in search of all our shadows
we think we love this Tokyo even on a sleety day
huddling up against the wall of a back alley there
is that human-looking beggar — what do you suppose he dreams of?

– Sakutaro Hagiwara, “Blue Cat” (“Aoneko”) (1923) in Kevin Doak’s Dreams of Difference (Berkeley, CA: U of California Press, 1994), p. 38.