Thursday, August 06, 2009


Some days ago, I went to the Nasu district, where the Nasu Imperial Villa is located. It is a favorite summer retreat for the Japanese, as due to the altitude the air is cooler. We had quite interesting discussions on creativity in the beautiful Niki club resort.

On the way back in the Tohoku Shinkansen train, I passed by the rice fields of northern Kanto plane. Although the train was running with the speed of 275 kilometers per hour, I could still see how beautiful the scenery was. Those little houses with red roofs and well-maintained trees in the garden, scattered here and there in the rice field.

Compared to the famous tourist destinations, these places are unknown. They remain nameless for the incidental traveler. But how beautiful and attractive these places appear to this soul.

In the 2nd act of Tristan und Isolde, the pair sings rapturously:

So starben wir,
um ungetrennt,
ewig einig,
ohne End’,
ohn’ Erwachen,
ohn’ Erbangen,
namenlos in Lieb’ umfangen,
ganz uns selbst gegeben,
der Liebe nur zu leben!

Thus might we die,
that together,
ever one,
without end,
never waking,
never fearing,
enveloped in love,
given up to each other,
to live only for love!

Blessed are those who are wise enough to appreciate the sublime joy of namelessness.

Scenery observed from the Shinkansen train south of the Nasushiobara station.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post because for me it can be interpreted in many ways. From my point of view the definition of nameless is a contradiction in itself; on one hand it implies obscurity and on the other it implies indistinguishability (opposite of obscurity). I think that Dr. Mogi was trying to convey a sense of obscurity, and that indeed the almost rare like quality of unheard of places/things has its own special beauty in its original context. But it also seems like namelessness is the essence of living in a city because there is so much going on it can be difficult to distinguish one thing from another or be aware of everything. When we are not aware of something, it is unknown and thus nameless.

Utako said...

This essay sinks into my heart.
There are humble and certain lives in those little houses with red roofs and well-maintained trees, aren't there?

I like the smell of supper from the house passing by cycle. I also like to find steppingstones toward the front door in a tiny bit of garden. The unfamiliar people's behavior suddenly appears in my subtle layer, and plays ordinary fine parts.

Thank you for the English version of the song in Tristan und Isolde. I'm so impressed.

Anonymous said...

I wish to embroider these words on my welcome board for my wedding reception. These words would be the spirit of husband and wife,and the children looking at the loving parents.

Wolfram Gothe said...

"Blessed are those who are wise enough to appreciate the sublime joy of namelessness."
How wonderful - may I cite your words on my blog, also called "qualia?"
I love the poetry you write and that even in English, which is not your first language; how beautiful might be your Japanese poetry?
Thanks a lot!

Ken Mogi said...

Dear, Wolfram.

Thank you for leaving a comment, and thank you for your kind words.

Please feel free to cite my words in your blog.

I visited your blog. It is beautiful. Reading your blog would give me the much needed exercise towards improving my Deutsch!