books and me

IMG_0865When I was little, my parents got us Disney books with pretty pictures – Cinderella, Snow White, Dumbo. I, however, didn’t buy into fairy tales much.

At the elementary school, once a week, we went to the library and read for an hour. I was watching the TV show, “Little House on the Prairie” at that time and chose books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, translated into Japanese. I then started to read the mystery series by Edogawa Ranpo. They involved the detective Akechi Kogoro and I, for the first time, borrowed books from the library and took home to finish. I couldn’t wait for another week.

As a school assignment, we had to read the story, “Hasire Melos (Run, Melos)” by Dazai Osamu and write an essay. It is a short story based on an ancient Greek legend about friendship. I didn’t care for the story but liked the writing. One day, I was glancing at my father’s bookshelves and recognized the name. I took one out and started to read. I was hooked. I felt like somebody thought like I did. Most of his works are dark. My parents were worried about their preadolescent girl reading these “adult” books and asked if I “understood” them. I don’t remember what I said to that. Once I was in high school, my parents stopped worrying about me reading dark tales and, on one birthday, they gave me a brand new hardcover book of collected works by him. I took that hardcover book with me when I left Japan and still have and cherish it.

As a small child, I didn’t care for fantasy world or characters, but now, many decades later, I tend to feel affectionate towards surreal arts. Whatever I have read must have some influence on the person I am today.

 

太宰治さんの本に出会ったのは、学校の宿題で「走れメロス」を読んで感想文を書かされた時でした。
その後、父親の本棚の中に名前を見つけ、一冊手にしてみました。何となく読み出して、すぐにはまってしまいました。「偽善者」という言葉が頭にすごく反射したのを覚えています。親たちは、まだ中学生だった私が心配だったのでしょう。「読んで、分かるの?」と聞いてきました。理解できていたかはともかく、頭を殴られたような衝撃、あ、私だけじゃないんだ、こんな風に思うのは、と気づいたのと同時に、やっぱりそうなんだと思いました。諦めというか、確信というか。
それ以来、いまだに悩んだり、行き詰まったような気になると、太宰治さんにお世話になっています。四十年近くのおつきあいとなりますが、これからもお世話になることは多いと思います。まだまだ分からないことばかりで、考えることだらけですから。

 

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Bedtime Stories.”
“What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?”

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. andysmerdon says:

    Books are like that… I love them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OnChi says:

    Did you ever read “Kind of like an Autobiography” by Akira Kurosawa? Your evolving from child to adult reminds me a little of the sort of childhood he had, except he was very affected by the atom bomb. But the translation of the experience into art is what’s so intriguing about both of you.

    Liked by 1 person

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