Posts tagged ‘Haruki Murakami’

July 16, 2013

「新しい言葉」で三宅洋平が「選挙を占拠」Yohei Miyake “Occupy The Election” With A “New Language”



There are many unique qualities about Yohei Miyake (34) a musician, a candidate from Greens Japan. Boldly bringing live music acts from underground music scene to the mainstream election campaign and singing at the speech himself are not the only unique things about him. His outstanding and extraordinary communication skill is what attracts diverse audience to his speech.



Mr. Miyake says that politicians are not talking in people’s language. Using technical words isn’t hard at all, what’s really difficult is to talk in the way everyone can understand. Mr. Miyake, who majored in literature at Waseda University, has his own persistence about the usage of words.


Mr. Miyake’s words untangle Japanese people’s inveterate doubts and anger against the government and the country itself. He dissolves the dilemma and shows the alternative plans and perspective that are much more peaceful and effective. His action makes people realize that it is not impossible to sweep away the negative cultural atmosphere and cultural climate from the grassroots. He gives courage and urges the action.


He talked about a typical event that occurs in politicians and voters relationship. When politicians break public promises, generally voters complain that they don’t keep promises. His commentary that comes from his own over 100-days-long election campaign experience is different. He says that voters and politicians need to work together interlockingly.


“In the past, the politicians I supported didn’t do anything that they said during the election. I always thought like that and said it. ‘They don’t do anything.’ But how I feel from a politician side now is different. Voting is just writing a name on a piece of paper. That’s nothing. Voting isn’t enough, it’s actually nothing. If you really want to support a politician, you should go knock on their office door when you have time and ask, “hey what’s wrong? you aren’t doing what you initially wanted to do. Do you need some help?” If a politician has supporters like that, the number of supporters will directly be the politician’s power to keep their promises. So when I become a politician, please don’t mind that I’m talking under the premise that I will win this election, I would like you to be one of the tens of thousands nomadic secretary who does research and little things when I ask through twitter or something when I need to get done something. If you do that, Taro Yamamoto (an actor, a candidate who’s largely supported by no nukes citizens) doesn’t have to have a bald spot and I don’t have to loose my voice. We are putting aside an actor’s face and musician’s voice to join the politics in Japan, so I want you guys to do that too,” he said to the crowd.


Mr. Miyake’s election campaign reminds me of a section of the speech Haruki Murakami’s gave in Catalounya.

「損なわれた倫理や規範の再生を試みるとき、それは我々全員の仕事になります。我々は死者を悼み、災害に苦しむ人々を思いやり、彼らが受けた痛みや、負った傷を無駄にするまいという自然な気持ちから、その作業に取りかかります。それは素朴で黙々とした、忍耐を必要とする手仕事になるはずです。晴れた春の朝、ひとつの村の人々が揃って畑に出て、土地を耕し、種を蒔くよう に、みんなで力を合わせてその作業を進めなくてはなりません。一人ひとりがそれぞれにできるかたちで、しかし心をひとつにして。その大がかりな集合作業には、言葉を専門とする我々、職業的作家たちが進んで関われる部分があるはずです。我々は新しい倫理や規範と、新しい言葉とを連結させなくてはなりません。そして生き生きとした新しい物語を、そこに芽生えさせ、立ち上げなくてはなりません。それは我々が共有できる物語であるはずです。それは畑の種蒔き歌のように、人々を励ます律動を持つ物語であるはずです。我々はかつて、まさにそのようにして、戦争によって焦土と化した日本を再建してきました。その原点に、我々は再び立ち戻らなくてはならないでしょう」


“It is the job of experts to rebuild broken roads and buildings, but it is the duty of each of us to restore our damaged ethics and values. We can start by mourning those who died, by taking care of the victims of this disaster, and by nurturing our natural desire not to let their pain and injuries have been in vain. This will take the form of a carefully crafted, silent and painstaking endeavor. We must join forces to this end, in the manner of the entire population of a village that goes out together to cultivate the fields and plant seeds on a sunny spring morning. Everyone doing what they can do, all hearts together.”

“We, professional writers, who are versed in the use of words, also have a positive contribution to make toward this large-scale collective mission. We must connect new ethics and values to new words, thereby creating and building new, vibrant stories. We will then be able to share these stories. They will have a rhythm that can encourage people, just like the songs which villagers sing while planting their seeds. We rebuilt Japan, which had been completely destroyed by World War II. We must now return to this same starting point once again.”


It seems like, right now, Mr. Miyake is dedicating all his strength to move people’s hearts by weaving the “new language” in order to reconstruct Japan, not to the old Japan but to a better Japan. He interlinks the language and music, talks in people’s language while avoiding overly polite language and technical jargon, consistently keeps his attitude that respects diversity, and never wears suit and shave his face. All these actions seem to create a “new language” and stimulate people, create new vibrant stories and a surge.


Mr. Miyake started to insert “Occupy the election! (Senkyo o senkyo!) Our election! (Oretachi no senkyo!)” while he plays one of his songs called “Gypsy Song.” This also is a precise and effective expression put out by his artistic sensibility. Even though people technically knew that the more voting rate can change the politics in Japan, it seemed to be impossible to get young people to vote. But Mr. Miyake’s “new language” made it possible to send out the message. It is also interesting that the word “occupy” was used by Occupy movement which physically occupied places to protest and planted seeds of conscience in people as a result.


“In the last election, Liberal Democratic Party got 1.7 million votes. The ruling party. The number of people who didn’t vote was about 3 to 4 million. Let’s say there are about 2 million who didn’t vote after subtracting bedridden people who cannot vote. That is to say that the larger ruling party consists of sane people who thought that they didn’t wanna go vote because the election is so lame. Then there are interests and organizations and stuff like that. So, I want those sane people who didn’t vote till this election to change the denominator of the politics. Bigger parties are making strategies for this election by hiring advertising and PR companies, but they are not even counting those people who don’t vote. They rather wish that those people don’t vote. If we can change the denominator of the election, their calculation won’t work at all,” he said and urged young people to vote.


“Don’t think that you are going to send me to the parliament. Won’t you come to the parliament with me? Would you come to the parliament with Yohei Miyake?”

January 23, 2013

Hostel Takeover Helps Downtown To Be A Less Sucky Place To Hang Out For Artists

January 23rd, 2013 -San Diego

IMG_7181 Photo: a painting by Chris Vannoy

A growing art event Hostel Takeover at Hostelling International Downtown San Diego (521 Market Street) has been helping downtown San Diego to be a less sucky place to hang out for local artists. Hostel Takeover has succeeded in not only bringing fresh local art in the area of town that never represented San Diego’s local culture but also bringing local artists who always avoided shopping malls and out-of-touch-with-reality douche bags.

Unfortunately downtown San Diego is known as a place where douche bags hang out. Daniel K. Sellers,  a professor of sociology at University of California San Diego, points out that downtown San Diego has many elements that attract people who are unconsciously trying very hard to look like or act like people from mainstream media. Because they spend so much mental energy trying to conform and assimilate themselves into their perfect image that was planted by mainstream media to enhance the consumption.  They tend to be very delusional, poor at communication, easily manipulated, and having small capacity to interact with new things or concepts. What they do is opposite of what artists do. One of the artists who participated in the event said, “People walk around downtown look like wandering souls without purpose. Looking at hundreds of girls in identical black dress and ugly high heels going to shitty mega clubs makes me so sad. Also someone should tell them a difference between dance moves and humping.”

One of the great things Hostel Takeover offers to artists is an adorable national and international audience. During the last Hostel Takeover on Jan 20th, cute and curious travelers and artists and their friends enjoyed the night together. A surprise of the night was a coincidental guest Haruki Murakami. Mr. Murakami was traveling to write a travel journal with his cameraman Matsumoto. They happened to be staying at room 310 of the hostel. He bought 2 cases of Italian wine for everyone and greatly encouraged traveling, dreaming and always being on the side of eggs not the wall.

(Below are some photos of the art works displayed at the hostel)

December 21, 2012

夢を見ることについて About Dreaming: Haruki Murakami and Frying Dutchman


In this speech, world-class Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami talks about Japanese spiritual nature, Earthquake in North East Japan and nuclear incident in Fukushima, and an importance of being “unrealistic dreamer.” I couldn’t find his speech with subtitles, so I translate some parts of his speech even though it’s pain in the ass and my translation skill isn’t quite pro. But I know some people would enjoy it.


“This nuclear incident in Fukushima is the 2nd nuclear damage we Japanese people experience. But this time isn’t like someone dropped an bomb on us. We prepared for it, we made mistakes, we polluted our own land and we destroyed our own lives. Why this ended up happening? The feeling we had for a long time after the war, the feeling of rejection against nukes, where on earth did it disappear? What did impair and distort the peaceful and affluent society we consistently searched for? The answer is easy. It’s efficiency. Power company insists that nuclear reactor is an efficient electric power generating system. In short, it is the system they can make the most profit. Also, Japanese government nationally pushed nuclear power especially after the oil shock due to their skepticism about the stability of crude oil supply. Power company made the money fly as advertising money, bribed media, and planted seeds of an illusion in citizens to make belief of safe nuclear energy. And before we realized, 30% of electricity in Japan was generated by nuclear power. While citizens didn’t know about it too well, this small and crowded country with frequent earthquakes had become the 3rd largest number of nuclear power plants in the world.   ”


“At first, they created accomplished facts. People who are concerned about nuclear power, will be intimidated by accomplished facts like “OK, so you are OK if there isn’t enough electricity? You are OK if you cannot use air-conditioner in summer?” They label people who are skeptical about nuclear power as “unrealistic dreamer.” Then now we are here. Supposedly safe and efficient nuclear reactor is now displaying a terrifying state as if someone opened the lid of the hell. “Look at the reality,” the reality people who supported nuclear power actually wasn’t the reality at all, it was just their superficial convenience. They switched “superficial convenience” and “the reality” to switch the logic. It was the collapse of Japan’s long-lasted technical power myth, and at the same time it was loss of our ethic and norm that tolerated such a switch of the logic. “Please rest in peace. We won’t repeat the mistake.” We have to etch these words in our minds once again.”


“We Japanese people should have kept shouting “NO” against nukes. This is my personal opinion. We should have pursued alternative energy that can replace nuclear energy in the national level by fully mobilizing our technological capabilities, by calling upon wisdom, and by putting social capital into it. That would had been a way for us to collectively take a responsibility for the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That also would had been an big opportunity for Japan to truly contribute to the world. However, we lost our precious way in amid rapid economic development because we bought into the standard of efficiency.”

スピーチの最後に村上氏はこう言っています。Mr. Murakami says lastly.


“Dreaming is a novelists’ job. But more importantly, novelists have to share their dreams with people. Without such a sense of sharing, we cannot be novelists. I know that people in Catalonia have been protecting their own language and culture even though they had many difficulties and cruelty in their long history. There must be many things we can share among us. In Japan, and here in Catalonia, if we can equally be “unrealistic dreamers,”  if we can build new values that are common in the world, I think it would be so wonderful. I think that would be a starting point of regrowth of our humanity that went through horrible disasters and horrifying terrors in recent years. We must not fear dreaming. We also must not fear having ideals. We must not let dogs of limitations that have names such as “convenience” and “efficiency” catch up to our footsteps.  We will be “unrealistic dreamers” who move forward with strong steps.”



Japanese band Frying Dutchman did a great performance regarding nuclear power, so I put a video of their street performance below in this opportunity. This video has English subtitles.

July 6, 2012

Sleep, Wake, Tendencies 眠り、覚醒、傾向

Sleeping is a rest for body and mind.


While people are sleeping, sleep fixes people’s “tendencies.”


If there are muscles that are tended to overworked, sleep will fix that part of muscle.


If there are heavy tendency in the thinking, sleep will disperse it as dreams.


I read things like that in TV People by Haruki Murakami



If the scientist program massive amount of data in the robot’s Artificial Intelligence, the robot won’t wake.


The scientist programmed 6 billion minds in the robots. There are too many varieties.


To wake the robot, the scientist needs to give it “tendencies”. Strong emotional tendency.


Strong emotion simplifies the world, and tendency sorts out information.


That was what needed to wake the robot up from sleeping in eternal varieties.




I read this last night in Japanese comic book series called Pluto, remake of Atom Boy by Osamu Tezuka.


In our sleep, tendencies are balanced out, cured, enhanced, added, and we wake.


The photo is a painting I finished lately. I tried to describe a boy falling into unconscious state.


April 2, 2012

ART as gifts/ individualism

Art works below are the ones I gave to my friends and family as gifts. I think whatever handmade is a sweet and better gift than merely purchased mass-produced materials. I believe it is better for a sender to create something than going to a mall, and also better for a receiver to have something unique and original. And I believe it is better for today’s globalized world that looks like it is about to be owned by corporations that don’t give a shit about real human culture.

Americans value individualism, but it is clear that cultural homogeneity is happening as huge corporations influence the mass through mass media. Advertisers and PR are ruthless. They are full of shit too. Media has been dumbing down many many brains. Anyway, if you just look around, so many people are dressed the same and think the same. How many places in America have to look identical, dominated by chain restaurants and shopping malls with the same companies in? Good communities with small businesses are getting harder to find. Commercialism is killing a uniqueness, individualism and diversity in the culture.

I am from Japan and Japan is one of the most collectivistic countries in the world. One of the characteristics of collectivism is that people in collectivistic countries value harmony as a group more than individual’s  uniqueness, being outstanding and independence and such. But after having been living in the U.S. for more than 5 years, I had to conclude that not so many people are unique here. And people can’t take “weirdness.” They freak out and get mad when they hear something like “communism” or something that oppose to famous American propaganda. And they don’t even know the meaning of the word or what it is. It seems like to me that Japanese people are chill about being “normal,” and Americans are collectively trying to be unique, which make them not unique at all especially when they try to be “cool” according to what’s “cool” by mass media. I think they have better chance in pursuit of uniqueness if they consume better media and maybe read good books or something.

But what can you do? You know only what you know. Our brains are essentially full of information we perceive through senses, each person processes it differently, but when there are only the same information circulating in the world we live, it is really hard to be a different or unique individual. And it probably harder for modern people because corporations constantly feeding propaganda directly into consumers’ mouths. Corporations can do that because media organizations need money from advertisers. Media works by selling advertising space to corporations. And it of course is to fuel the consumption.

I don’t know any sadder tragedy than this modern world created around materialism and commercialism and corpocracy and all the nonsense comes with them. But I do believe that creative activities can save brainwashed brains that believe something like “you are what you wear.” Act like writing, painting, drawing and playing music requires critical thinking. You need to be creative, think critically and self-critisize. I guess it is called soul-searching.

Creative work is a reflection of some sort of reality. When you create art, you are trying to express something out of whatever kind of information you have in your brain, and your own (nobody else’s) perspective of the reality is what makes your art really good and mind-blowing. Work by Banksy is a really good example because it is really intelligent and reflective of the current world. Novels by Haruki Murakami are great because nobody wrote like him as far as I know, and his works are highly sophisticated and I think they describe the spiritual emptiness of Japan really well especially in Norwegian Wood and South of the Border, West of the Sun. There are limitless ways to see the world and it is healthy to have our own. We don’t need to stay in the box.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that I think we should start creating something valuable that actually represents ourselves.

March 31, 2012

Shaking Pyramid

If you are a fan of psychedelic rock, shredding, skills and good rock music in general, you are more than likely to enjoy videos of a band called (Shaking) Pyramid. Crews from Eagles Nest Productions went to Casbah San Diego to film and record  this new band of Mike Eginton (bass) from Earthless, Zack Oakley (guitar and vocal) from JOY and Space Nature, and Paul Marrone (drum) from Psicomagia.


You can watch the whole set, or individual songs. first songsecond songthird song and the last song.



Advices from Egypt


1. Listen to old jaded writes


2. If you are carnivore, eat goat meat instead of beef


3. Read Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami


January 8, 2012

Jamuel Saxon hangs out with Haruki Murakami ジャミュエル・サクソン、村上春樹と遊ぶ

Keith Milgaten and Jayson Ehm from Jamuel Saxon are San Diego’s musicians that I have genuine admiration for.
I feel very lucky that I could contribute a little bit in their
creative process by making an album cover for their album Pre-Madonnna that is going to be released from Single Screen Records on January 17th. The album release party is on Jan 19th at Casbah.


One night, When I and Keith and Jayson and Haruki Murakami were drinking whisky together, Haruki said, “Act of making something from absolute zero nothing takes lots of whisky and beer, and imagination and energy that are so intense and enormous that could distort and deform your head.”


Haruki is a guy who was usually quiet. Because Haruki suddenly came out with dense sentences, Jayson looked at him skeptically, Keith stopped his thoughts about his new remix, and I forgot 3 nights worth of dreams and 2 mathematical equations in a split second.


The sound o Haruki eating pistachio echoed in the room as if it’s some sort of foretaste.
When Jayson drunk beer, the sound of liquid running through his throat made surprisingly loud sound.
The sober world of Keith is about to reach 3 month of its existence, and only the birds who cry at night know what it’s like.
I observe bizzarre dynamic of three guys and drink straight whisky.


Haruki said, “There are kinds of things you can realize only in the superior music. In some cases, it is so powerful that it changes people’s lives when the raw sound seeps through not only ears but also skins to shake organs then to reach brain.”


When Keith and Jayson started playing music from laptop and keyboard and drums set up in the room, Haruki started dancing as if it was some sort of predestination he couldn’t change anything about it.


When I woke up in the morning, Haruki was gone. And there was a memo that wrote,”I like brave people who are able to create something. Intelligent Dance Music. And All God’s Children Can Dance.”


※This is a fiction


Article on Reader