SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English
YUE Qu “Fragmentary Impression of Studying Abroad in Japan”
I have only one week left before I leave Japan. It is difficult to summarize my four years’ studying in Japan. Nothing is vaguer than memory. Memory is changing with the times. When we seek for past truth, it may be certain that we look back the past record rather than we rely on our vague memory.
I have continued to write a kind of memoirs as a training of Japanese language since my arrival in Japan. I chose three memoirs as the epitomes of my study abroad life.
◇ September 27, 2017 (Two weeks after my arrival in Japan)
It seems rain outside. NO! It is raining already. Window glass of my room was echoing “Kara-kara” by wind all day. The air was thick and hot.
A book by Shuichi Kato is too difficult. So, I went to a fish store for a change. The store was good. Their prices are far from cheap, but quality is fresh always. They have variety of choices. I cannot indulge in luxury. I cannot spend much money because I must spend a more days. But I yielded to temptation and ended up buying a lot of ingredients.
I wrote down about today’s “Bakugai (overspending)” for the future.
Snapper head, red prawn, club croquette, large clams, mussel, autumn salmon, deep fried sardine
In my fridge, there are clams, chicken wings, sweet shrimps, pork steak which I bought yesterday. It seems I can enjoy another one week but I could not make any progress in my study regardless of my rich eating habits. I have only four months left before entrance examination. I must get my daily life back on track as soon as possible.
◇ March 2, 2018 (One month before starting doctor course)
I finished translation of today’s part (I was translating “Collection of Kenji Mizoguchi). I have already spent more than one month for translation of Mizoguchi literature. But I have no improvement in my translation. If I keep present pace, I wouldn’t be in time for manuscript deadline. I will increase my time for translation.
I have read manuscript copy of “Makura-no-Sosi”. I do not know how many hours I spent for the reading. It is too long though it is written in cursive style characters. I will re-read because I have got an annotation of Shincho Classical Japanese.
By the way, it was fine today. It was nice sunny day without a single cloud and suitable for taking a walk. However, I could not go out comfortably because I had a lot of things to be completed. I wish I could go to mountains and lakes when I finish everything.
◇February 12, 2019
What is a meaning of academics? It is meaningful to seek for the truth without profit and loss. And it will be important to utilize it for peoples’ daily lives by scholars’ efforts. In order to make efforts to people, sensible approach is more effective than logic of sentence. SUZUKI Daisetz (Japanese American, Buddhist monk, religious scholar) tried to explain spirit of Japanese and everything which configure the world by one word “spirituality”. Furthermore, he increased his sensibility using his sensitive expression integrating “spirituality” with “Daichi-sei” (take roots on earth). There are such treatises at that time. He conveyed attractiveness of Buddhism (especially Zen Buddhism) to the world through this theory. As far as we can reach our goals, accuracy or logicality is secondary issue. I understand scholar like SUZUKI knew already. Come to think of it, subjective (sensible) academics have decent meaning.
_ _ _ _ _
I have enjoyed shopping, studying, thought and natural features of the season. Four years have passed in an instant and I have confidence in my future research and my life itself despite I repeated trials and errors. When I leave Japan, I have one wish. I hope this farewell would become another beginning not ending.
YUE Qu /2021 Raccoon, Full-time Lecturer at School of Chinese Language and Literature of Beijing Normal University (in September 2022)
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sabina Koirala