Books as reminders of the importance of peace: 平和について考えさせる本 「Barefoot Gen (はだしのゲン)」


 As a resident in Nagasaki, there is one thing I make a point of doing. The thing what I do is to read books written about wars at least one per year. That’s because it’s the most powerful driving force in avoiding wars for people to keep realizing the misery of wars and have knowledge about it as much as possible.


 In recent years, I search a library’s foreign book section for that kind of books because I can improve my English reading skills at the same time. This year, I decided to reread a comic book in ten volumes “Barefoot Gen”, I had actually read it once several years ago. I had had first three volumes of the original version when I was a boy, but I haven’t read all the volumes.


  There are some good points about this manga, the first point is that the misery and the fear caused by an atomic bomb pierce readers’ heart visually, and directly.  There is no book like this which makes even children feel that such a horrible thing should never be repeated through the shocking description. The second is that it depicts well about the irrational oppressions by authorities and the psychology of people those who were buffeted by the situation. The crackdown on Gen’s father who openly opposes the war and the cruel treatments to the family from neighbors are some aspects of the misery caused by wars that cannot be disregarded. I wonder what I should do if I were there. The third point is that this is a quite interesting story as a coming-of-age story. The atomic bombing is described in the first volume, so what is depicted in the rest of the nine volumes is how Gen survives the chaotic period in the wake of the war.


 Now I’m realizing how it is good to read manga in English version. In fact, daily conversation is the most difficult part for me in learning English because I’ve never been abroad to study nor travel around. No matter how many English novels I read, I can’t improve my speaking skills. In contrast, all the sentences in manga is conversations between characters. “Barefoot Gen” is full of lively conversations because the main character is a boy, actually, awfully full of abuses and curses, though. I make a point of taking photos instead of jotting down when I find some expressions useful. In this respect, “Barefoot Gen” was quite informative for me.


Barefoot Gen 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima

Barefoot Gen 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima



The TV dramas really unpredictable: 先の読めないドラマ 再々レヴュー 綾瀬はるかさん主演「義母と娘のブルース」


 I can’t stop loving this drama now. Now that the 6th episode has finished in this drama, the plot is still unpredictable but somehow heating up.

『義母と娘のブルース』8/14(火) #6 第2章スタート!! 父の愛がつなぐ10年【TBS】


  In the 5th episode, as I wrote in this blog before, the fact that Ryoichi played by Takenouchi Yutaka had scirrhous cancer was revealed but somehow they made the audience feel relieved at the ending showing some hope. After they puzzled the audience that way, they let us know about his death through the news to Miyuki, Ryoichi’s daughter, at the beginning of the 6th episode. Leaving the weeping audience behind, ten years has passed in the drama so Miyuki is a high school student now. Akiko played by Ayase Haruka has earned their living by day-trading at home to cherish the life with Miyuki, but she made a decision that she would go out to work in order to show Miyuki what a working member of society should do. She then finally made up her mind to work at a bakery because she happened to pick up a flyer which was full of spelling mistakes.


  The performance of Yokomizo Naho who played young Miyuki was so good that I was worried about next actor who will play Miyuki as a high school girl, but now I’m sure that the worry was groundless. Kamishiraishi Mone who plays Miyuki now naturally performs the role very well. This time I felt Satoh Takeru’s role was becoming more important in the story, but the plot is still perfectly unpredictable.


  I pay attention Akiko’s remarks every time. This time I was exhilarated by the words, which Akiko said raising her bankbook to tell Miyuki how she saved money, “No free! No man! and No holiday!”. Plus, there were words which were said to Miyuki, they really made me cry……, as follows.



A cool spot for the summer in Nagasaki: 長崎の涼しいスポット「轟峡」



 I love going for a drive even though I’m a typically indoor type of person. It gives me a great joy to take a long drive with a USB stick being full of my favorite music.

 It’s the bon season now, so I visited my family graves yesterday early in the morning, then I went on an outing to Isahaya city next to Nagasaki city. Isahaya city, which is the home ground of FC V. Varen Nagasaki and known as the hometown of an actor Yakusho Koji, is a nice place being blessed with nature.



 The spot I visited this time was “Todoroki Ravine” whose water is selected as one of the best one hundred in Japan by the Ministry of the Environment. It’s a good spot where you can enjoy cool air, and you can go there in an hour or so by car from Nagasaki city. Surrounded by the abundant greenery, you can enjoy the refreshing cool air in many way like swimming, mountain stream fishing, or “somen nagashi” which is a funny style of eating noodles, that is, you put a kind of Japanese noodles in a stream and then pick it up to eat. Just looking at these activities is also good enough for me.



 A special food in Isahaya city is the dishes prepared with eel. There are many restaurants serving that dishes along the Honmyo river which runs through Isahaya city. Eel is so expensive recently that I don’t have meals using it usually, but I gave it a try this time after a long time. The characteristic of Isahaya’s eel meals is that it is not only grilled but also steamed and served on a raku ware which contains hot water so that you can enjoy it being steamed. This time I had a different type of it called "Seiro Mushi", but It was also incredibly delicious.


Books I read at a stretch : 一気に読んだ本 「人魚の眠る家」東野圭吾著


 I feel a little bit hesitation when I call Higashino Keigo a mystery writer. I’m sure basically he is, but I remember I felt some of his works could be called literature when I read “Byakuya Kou”. I felt that he depicted people so well. He described a locus of a life of someone who was put in quite a peculiar situation when the person was a little child in the plot of the story with tension, and I felt like “That could happen”. 

人魚の眠る家 (幻冬舎文庫)

人魚の眠る家 (幻冬舎文庫)




 The book titled “A house where a mermaid lives”, I read this time, was a piece which made me think about life with an ethical, or even philosophical atmosphere. Once I put it that way, it may sound pretty stiff and boring but actually very interesting so I read it through at a stretch. You don’t see any murder, criminal organization, or mystery to be solved in this story. Even so, it made me want to know how it would be going or what the ending would be like, then, I was deeply satisfied with the result. I somehow felt a wistful pang at the same time.

 I was really glad to come across a good book.

An American TV drama I’m into now: 今ハマってるアメリカのドラマ 「Game of Thrones(ゲーム・オブ・スローンズ)」


 I have no interest in fantasy. Still, I thought it would be great if I came to like it, so I bravely tried all three films of the series called “The Lord of the Rings” to end up dozing off in less than thirty minutes each time. I can’t concentrate on seeing Harry Potter series very much, too. Actually, I was not excited about even Star Wars series because I somehow found them kinds of fantasy. There is another genre of movie that I’m not interested in at all, that genre is the western ancient war movies like “Ben-Hur”.



  I couldn’t help recoiling when I knew the outline of the drama series “Game of Thrones” which you can see from the 1st season up to 6th on Amazon Prime Video without charge, because it was full of something I have no interest. However, I gave it a try with some trepidation because I thought it would be a chance to overcome what I didn’t like. At the beginning of the 1st season, I was almost giving up due to zombies who showed up suddenly, but I continued…….


 Somehow, I found myself absorbed in it. Far from dozing off, I actually sat up with my arms around my knees. Even though there were many cruel scenes and the characters’ relationships were very complicated so I couldn’t understand some part of the plot well, I was perfectly into it because of the charms of characters. This story is quite different from a mere moral play because every character has something I feel empathy for. The character I particularly like is a guy called Tyrion Lannister played by an actor named Peter Dinklage who suffers from dwarfism. With his naturally tiny build, he has been neglected by his father and siblings, but he lives his life shrewdly and wildly.


 Now I find myself seeing the 4th season already. With this momentum, I might be able to like fantasy, so I’m delightfully expecting that I can expand the world I’m interested in. 


Something unique in Nagasaki: いかにも長崎なもの 「チリンチリンアイス」  


 In Nagasaki, there are a sort of ice cream stalls which can be seen at tourist sites. Their ice cream is called “Chilin Chilin Ice” and loved by local people who have enjoyed it since they were little children. The appearance which reminds you of a rose flower and the special flavor which manufactured one doesn’t have, and the texture which is soft and, at the same time, makes you feel fine grains of ice are the characteristic of the ice cream.   




  Yesterday, the 9th of August, was a special day for Nagasaki because an atomic bomb was dropped here seventy-three years ago. I visited Peace Park in the evening and said a prayer. The misery that happened on that day and the agony which the victims have felt must go beyond our imagination. I felt deeply grateful for the peaceful days at present and also hoped that the stupidity of war won’t be repeated.

 I found an ice cream stall at the entrance of Peace Park yesterday. I enjoyed it after a long time to find the taste being the same as in the past.



Movies that makes me feel something old but also something new: 古くて新しい映画 「キングスマン」 「キングスマン:ゴールデンサークル」


 When I hear “an espionage movie”, what comes into my mind first is the series of 007 movies. I guess “From Russia with Love” was the movie that I was interested in for the  first time as a movie. Sean Connery was powerfully attractive even for a little boy. Plus, I was surprised at the beauty of the actress named Daniela Bianchi so I thought “How could there be such a beautiful Lady?”. Since then I had really been looking forward to seeing the 007 series on TV.


 However, while the actors who played Bond have changed, like Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and so on, I’ve been disappointed by seeing some typical plots and gimmicks or gadgets of the series becoming stereotyped. I know i can taste it refreshingly anytime by reading the original stories by Ian Fleming, so I read them repeatedly to be satisfied. 


 When I saw a movie titled “Kingsman: The Secret Service”, I somehow remembered the same excitement I felt to 007 movies. I guess it’s just because the main character was a spy from the U.K., but I somehow felt nostalgic tastes to it. The cream of 007 series was, in short, the coolness of adults. I mean, some sort of things which were beyond the reach of young boy such as spirits, luxury cars, beautiful ladies and so on, were the source of the powerful longing for me. The headquarters of a spy system called “Kingsman” is set at a fancy tailor shop in Savile Row in London. That setting makes me feel the snobbism quite characteristic of 007.


 I checked who the movie director of it was to know that it was the same director named Matthew Vaughn who had directed “Kick-Ass”. One thing that I felt sorry about this movie was that it was full of extreme violent scenes, even so I enjoyed this movie very much. I also watched “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” to feel that it was rather enjoyable than first one. I heard the third movie of the series has already been scheduled so I’m exhilarated so much now.