Kagerou Touryuuki – Sensual Skin

暗がりの中で、いっそう濃い墨染めの衣が肩口にわだかまる。浮かび上がる、優しい膏を塗りこめたような肌えが―――白々と、暗がりの中に。

Translation

In the darkness, with a layer of those black robes pulled down to her shoulders. Emerging, tender skin as if a smear of tallow – white, so white, in the darkness.

Source: Kagerou Touryuuki

レンチン

意味

レンチンとは、レンジでチンすること。

To microwave something (seems to be microwave ‘range’ + the ching sound of an oven)

Source:

Tweet:

おいいい!!!ココアと砂糖と水と卵をカップで混ぜてレンチンするだけでプリンできるって言ったやつ出てこいよ!!溢れてレンジめちゃめちゃなうえ、ゆでたまごinココアができたぞ!!

Poetic Weight of Millay’s Euclid Alone

Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare.
Let all who prate of Beauty hold their peace,
And lay them prone upon the earth and cease
To ponder on themselves, the while they stare
At nothing, intricately drawn nowhere
In shapes of shifting lineage; let geese
Gabble and hiss, but heroes seek release
From dusty bondage into luminous air.

O blinding hour, O holy, terrible day,
When first the shaft into his vision shone
Of light anatomized! Euclid alone
Has looked on Beauty bare. Fortunate they
Who, though once only and then but far away,
Have heard her massive sandal set on stone.

Comment

Half of the power of this poem comes from the fact that most of the poem seems to be slightly in the air, except maybe “prone upon the earth and cease” and “dusty bondage” – but then everything changes in that perfect monument of a last line that combines a series of heavy sounds, as though what was once in the air, had finally laid itself into the Earth.

Experimental Translation: Yukio Mishima Golden Pavilion

I was reading the translation, and I realized exactly how much had been butchered. The English plays out the grammar in full, but that misses out on the little elegant turns that makes Mishima great.

Original

父の故郷は、光りのおびただしい土地であった。しかし一年のうち、十一月十二月のころには、たとえ雲一つないように見える快晴の日にも、一日に四五へんも時雨が渡った。私の変りやすい心情は、この土地で養われたものではないかと思われる。

So, I wanted to see if I could give Mishima my own weird translation, to try and capture the sense.

Translation

My father’s hometown had the tremendity of skylight on the soil. But in every year, the 11th or 12th month around, on happy days where even a probable cloud bore not in sight, would we have five or six drizzles reach. And the easy waver of my heart & mind was, mayhaps, born on such soil, so I thought.

Doesn’t quite fit. Too precious. Also I think I translated たとえ slightly wrongly, since it can also be read as “even on, for example, happy days where there was not a single cloud.”

Edit

My father’s birthplace – had lucidity of light on the soil. But in every year, roughly 11th or 12th month round, even on some happy days with not a cloud bearing in sight, would four or five drizzles reach. My wavering heart was, possibly, a thing born from this ground. That was what I thought.

Chinese Phrase: 小猫两三只

Meaning: 很少,聊聊的几个小人物  (Google Ask)

Very little. Nothing other than a few.

Literal meaning: Two or Three Kittens worth

Source: Chinese translation of Iriya no Sora

于是夕子现在坐在小猫两三只的场内左后方座位

Thus, Yuuko sat in the empty theater at the far left back.

Against the Grain: Immortals and Food

In the Xianxia Novel I Shall Seal The Heavens, the protagonist comments on one aspect of Immortality:

After becoming an Outer Sect disciple, he thought to himself, he hadn’t been eating as much as when he was a servant. As long as you had enough Spirit Stones, you could take them to the Sect’s Pill Cultivation Workshop to exchange them for Fasting Pills or Appetite Control Pills. It was said that one drop of such a pill would prevent hunger for days. Without them, people would have to spend time worrying about finding food.

Xianxia is a genre built like an RPG game, with specific levels and criteria to reach the next level, until the protagonist becomes an entity that can straight up destroy the thousands of galaxies and heavens. These criteria are based, usually, on various traits of Chinese religion. Thus, Campany’s translation of Ge Hong’s Traditions of Divine Transcendent contains the following note:

By far the most common dietary avoidance mentioned in Traditions, Inner Chapters, and texts of the Grand Purity patrimony, however, was “grains” – the entire class of cereals, the staple food group of the Chinese diet… “grain” in such contexts seems to have been intended synechdochally, standing for “food” in the sense of items comprised in the culturally mainstream diet…When Wang Chong attacks “grain avoidance” he clearly understands the practice to entail not eating normal foods at all and consuming qi instead. Several passages in the Five Numinous Treasure Talismans promise that those who ingest the prescribed medicinals will need to eat no other foods, and the benefits claimed for some compounds include appetite suppression.

Of course, it isn’t really a far stretch of the imagination to say that a person who is on the way to becoming an Immortal will eventually have no need for food. Still, it’s interesting to see how such a notion can be traced back to a rejection of the agricultural ‘mainstream’. Marcel Mauss also has a thesis that a Magician is a person who is defined by his being on the opposition of the mainstream. This is why he doesn’t exactly define a priest that can collaborate with Angels as a ‘Magician’, because they are still working under the sign of the mainstream religion.

Differentiation Between Qi, Jing, and Shen

Important to know if you’re into studying Chinese Religion, or if you want to understand some of the stuff going on in Chinese Xianxia webnovels.

The author’s great teacher, Daoist master Sung Jin Park, described the Three Treasures by comparing them to a burning candle. Jing is like the wax and wick, which are the substantial parts of the candle. They are made of material, which is essentially condensed energy. The flame of the lit candle is likened to qi, for this is the energetic activity of the candle, which eventually results in the burning out of the candle. The radiance given off by the flaming candle is shen.

Source: http://tcm.chinesecio.com/en/article/2009-08/24/content_11728.htm

Most longevity practices therefore work on the basic stuff of qi in some fashion, by processes typically involving its ingestion, circulation, and refinement in the biospiritual organism. If the adept can purify qi in himself, or if he can ingest and store the refined qi of herbal or mineral substances (whether in their natural states or as improved by esoteric methods)—fortified, either way, with the essences ( jing) that result from such refinements—he can become a longevous being qualified to ascend into the higher reaches of the heavens, where the qi is subtler and purer.

Source:

Campany, R. F., & Ge, H. (2002). To live as long as heaven and earth: A translation and study of Ge Hong’s traditions of divine transcendents. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Alarm & Anxiety: Horror Movies

The geographer Yi-Fu Tuan distinguishes between the two components of fear in his book, Landscapes of Fear:

What is fear? It is a complex feeling of which two strains, alarm and anxiety, are clearly distinguishable. Alarm is triggered by an obtrusive event in the environment, and an animal’s instinctive response is to combat it or run. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a diffuse sense of dread and presupposes an ability to anticipate. It commonly occurs when an animal is in a strange and disorienting milieu, separated from the supportive objects and figures of its home ground. Anxiety is a presentiment of danger when nothing in the immediate surroundings can be pinpointed as dangerous. The need for decisive action is checked by the lack of any specific, circumventable threat.

This immediately reminded me of the many complaints directed towards Jump scares in films, and the contrastive praise towards Japanese Horror Movies. Jump Scares tap into Alarm. They trigger a normal fight or flight response. Their aesthetic is singular because they do not utilize the entirety of the environment and the space given, but merely invoke an ‘obtrusive event’. A horror movie that invokes Anxiety most likely has more work put into its setting, and creates that ‘strange and disorienting milieu’.

One example I can think of is the Japanese movie called Pulse. It is one of the best horror movies I have ever seen (although, admittedly, I don’t watch much) because of how singularly disorienting the aesthetic is. There is a constant anxiety in the atmosphere. Furthermore, this anxiety is paired beautifully with the overarching theme of social alienation derived from technology that runs throughout the whole film. It shifts from a disorienting horror movie into a tragic and apocalyptic tale.