Monday, April 25, 2005

So it's time for one of me blog updates, me hardies. As part of today's entertainment, I shall write the first sentence in the style of a pirate blogger. And I did. I am glad that's overwith.

I am reading murakami. I just finished translating a story called Kanou Crete, which I post only with the disclaimer that it is dirty and vaguely disturbing. If I keep up with the translations I am going to start a blog just for them. What say you? I thought so. It will be connected to this blog, sort of a "Blog Network" if you will. In the tradition of internet users everywhere, I am going to create a contracted form of the phrase "Blog Network" and use it from here on out, to the befuddlement of my contemporaries. Soon, someone will realize what I mean by "Bletwork" and start using it as well, without explaining it. It is in this vein that internet elitism takes hold and spreads.

So yes, my Literary Bletwork is in the cards. Perhaps to have it be a true literary Bletwork, I should ask various other friends with the ability to do so to translate stories from whatever language they speak into English. Then I can link to their blogs and create a mebletta (bletwork eaten by meta (I shouldnt be explaining this, tsk)). Dan, what say you? Spin me some Camus? The ultimate project of course would be Finnegans Wake this summer, into which I plan to pour a few hours a week. Anyone reading this and interested in an online reading group for Finnegans Wake should let me know. I won't hold my breath ye bland lubbers. That was clever.

Watched half of fight club last night. More than half. Up to the point where Edward Norton beats the shit out of the blonde guy in a jealous angst driven fury and when confronted by Brad Pitt for going nuts simply says "I felt like destroying something beautiful." One of my favorite scenes in a movie.

Anyway, here is the story I just translated. It's odd and a little dirty.

My name is Kanou Crete. I help my big sister, Kanou Malta, with her work.
Of course, Kanou Crete isn’t my real name. It’s the name I use when I help my big sister. When I’m not at work, I use my real name – Kanou Taki. The reason I call myself Crete is because my sister calls herself Malta.
I have never been to Crete Island.
Sometimes I look at a map. Crete is a Greek island near Africa. It has a stiff, long shape, sort of like a bone with some meat on it that’s been chewed by a dog, and has many famous ruins. The palace of Knossos is there. According to one legend, a tormented hero made his way through the labyrinth and saved the queen. If I ever get a chance, I’d really like to go there.
My work involves helping my big sister listen for the sound of water. My sister’s job is to listen to the sound of water. She listens to the sound of the water that flows through people. It probably goes without saying, but this isn’t work that just anyone can do. It takes talent and practice. In Japan, my big sister is probably the only one who can do it. My sister learned the ability long ago, in Malta. Alan Ginsberg and Keith Richards also came to the place where she was studying. On Malta, there is that sort of special place. In that place, water carries a lot of meaning. My big sister studied there for many years. Then she returned to Japan, called herself Kanou Malta, and set up shop listening to the sound of water inside of people.
We live in an isolated rental house in the mountains. As there is a basement, my sister keeps the water that is shipped from all over Japan down there; there are too many types to count. She has it all lined up in clay water jars. Just like wine, water is best stored in a cellar. My job is to make sure that those jars are all stored properly. I make sure that no garbage gets into the water, and that it doesn’t freeze in the winter. In the summer, I make sure the bugs don’t take over. It’s really not that hard a job. It doesn’t even take that much time. I spend most of my days drawing architectural designs. When a guest comes, I bring tea and such.
Every day, my sister puts her ear to each of the jars, one at a time, and makes sense of the indistinct sounds coming out of each. Every day, for two or three hours. That’s my sister’s daily ear training. Each water gives a slightly different sound. She lets me do it, too. I shut my eyes and concentrate all of my focus on my ears. But I can’t really hear the water. Most likely I just don’t have as much natural talent as my sister.
“First, listen to the water in the jar,” she tells me. “If you can do that, then you can also hear the water in people.” I try to make my ears focus, just like her. But I can’t hear anything. Every once in a while, I think that maybe I hear something. I feel like something very far away is…moving. It’s like listening for a tiny bug flap its wings two or three times. But it stops after an instant. It’s like it’s playing hide and seek or something.
She says it’s too bad I can’t hear it. “It’s especially important for someone like you to be able to hear the water inside peoples’ bodies.” The reason why is, I am a woman a problem. “If only you could just hear this!” she is always saying, shaking her head. “If only you could just hear this, your problem would go away, everything would be fine,” she says. My sister is really concerned about me.
I sure do have a problem. No matter what I do, I can’t solve my problem. The problem is, every time a man sees me, he attacks me. It doesn’t matter who, any man who sees me throws me down to the ground and takes his belt off. I don’t know why. But it’s been like that ever since I was young. Ever since I can remember.
I mean, sure, I am a beautiful woman if I say so myself. My body is fantastic. My breasts are huge, my hips are small (? しまっている). I think myself sexy when I look in the mirror. I see myself in the flabbergasted looks of all the men every time I walk down the street. “But surely not every beautiful woman on earth is constantly being assaulted!” says Malta. I think she’s right. The one with that problem is me. It’s probably partly my fault. Men probably react like that because of the way I cower. Then, they see me and get irritated and the next thing they know they want to assault me.
So, anyway, I have been assaulted by all sorts of men. Assaulted violently, against my will. By my teachers, by my classmates, by my architecture professor, by my uncle on my mothers side, by the guy who came to collect the gas bill, by the fireman who came to put out the fire when the house next door burned down – everyone! It doesn’t matter how I try to avoid it. I’ve been slashed by knives, punched in the face, strangled with a hose in the street. All sorts of incredibly violent ways!
As a result, I’d stopped going out. I felt that if I kept it up, I would finally be murdered. And so, holing up in an isolated mountain cabin, I look after jars of water in the basement.
Just once, I killed someone who was attacking me. Actually, to tell the truth, the one who killed him was my sister. He was, as expected, trying to assault me. In this basement. He was a police officer and had come to the house on some sort of investigation. The instant I opened my door it seemed he simply couldn’t take it, and knocked me to the ground. He started ripping my clothes off and got his pants down to his knees. His pistol was rattling. “Do what you want, just don’t kill me!” I said, cowering. He punched me in the face. Fortunately, just at that moment my sister Malta got home. She had heard the noise and was carrying a big bar in one hand. With the bar, she bashed the policeman in the back of the head. Something gave way and with a squishing sound the policeman collapsed. She went to the kitchen and came back with a carving knife. Using that, she slit the cop’s throat – nicely, like she was slicing open a tuna. She cut so smoothly it didn’t even make a sound. My sister is very good at sharpening carving knives. Knives she sharpens cut so well you wouldn’t believe it. I watched, in shock.
“Why are you doing that? Why did you cut his throat?” I asked.
“It’s better to slit the throat once, too, just to be on the safe side. This way there won’t be any trouble later. Anyway, he was a cop. This way he won’t get away,” she explained. She was putting his blood into one of her clay jars. “Better to extract his blood,” she said. “If we store it in here, it won’t spoil.” Grabbing him by the boots, we put him upside down in the clay jar. He was a large guy, so when we grabbed him by the feet to shake him he was very heavy. If Malta hadn’t been so strong, I don’t think we could have done it. She’s built like a lumberjack, and strong like one too. “It’s not your fault when men attack you!” she said, still holding his feet. “It’s the water in your body! It gets everyone riled up.”
“But how do I get rid of this water?” I asked. “I can’t just go on living like this, avoiding human contact! If this keeps up I’m going to kill myself!” I really want to get out and live in the world. I’m certified as a first-class architect. I obtained certification through a correspondence course. After I was certified, I entered lots of contests and won many prizes. My specialty is thermal combustion power stations.
“You mustn’t hurry. Clear your ears. When you do that, you can hear the reply,” Martha instructed. We shook the policeman’s feet and the last drop of blood fell into the jar.
“But we just killed a cop! What should we do? If this gets out we are in big trouble,” I said. Killing a cop is a serious offense. We’d probably be executed.
“We’ll bury him the back,” she said.
So, the two of us buried the policeman with the slit throat in the back yard. We threw in his pistol and his handcuffs and his clipboard and his boots and buried it all with him. Malta did it all – she dug the whole, moved the body, and filled the hole in. She cleaned up, singing “Goin to a Go-Go” in a Mick Jagger-esque voice. After she buried him, we packed the dirt and scattered dead leaves over it. Of course, the local cops investigated thoroughly. They searched for the missing police officer so thoroughly they were going through the roots of the grass. A detective even came to our place. We were asked many questions. But he didn’t find any clues. “No worries,” said Malta. “Nobody will find out. We slit his throat and drained all his blood, and we put him in a really deep hole.” And we breathed a sigh of relief.
But, starting the next week, the ghost of the police officer began to appear in our house. He would walk up and down the basement stairs with his pants around his knees, pistol rattling. I thought he was a rather indecent visitor, but whatever kind of visitor it is a ghost is a ghost.
“Kinda weird, huh? I told you, I cut his throat so he couldn’t cause trouble afterwards,” Malta explained. I was afraid of the ghost at first. After all, we were the ones who killed him. I slipped under my sisters covers and slept, shivering. “You’re not afraid of him, are you? He can’t do anything to you – we slit his throat and drained all his blood. He can’t even get it up!” Malta said.
And so I also got used to the ghost’s presence. All he did was walk in and out of the basement with his slit throat flapping around, so there was really nothing to be afraid of. He was just walking. Once I got used to seeing him, it wasn’t even worth talking about. He didn’t want to hurt me anymore. Since he didn’t have any blood left, he didn’t even have the power to assault me. Even if he tried to say anything, the air just whistled out of the whole in his throat and he couldn’t. It was exactly like my sister had said. Since she had slit his throat, there was no trouble. Sometimes, I’d walk around in front the ghost naked, just to see if I could provoke it. I even opened my legs. I even did lewd things. Things so lewd I would never have thought myself capable of doing them. Very audaciously. But it seemed that the ghost could no longer feel anything.
As a result, I got very self-confident.
I stopped being so cowardly.
“I am no longer cowardly. I am no longer afraid of anyone. I won’t be taken advantage of by anybody,” I told Malta.
“Yeah, maybe,” she said. “But you still have to learn to hear the sound of the water in your body. It’s very important.”

One day, the phone rang. It was a request for a design for a new jumbo thermal combustion power station slated for construction. That got me very excited. I had just been thinking about thermal combustion power station designs. I wanted to leave for the outside world and build thermal combustion power stations to my heart’s content.
“Yeah, but if you go outside you are going to run into trouble again,” Malta cautioned.
“Yeah, but I wanna try,” I said. “I just wanna try to start from scratch, one more time. I feel like it’ll go smoothly this time. I don’t cower anymore. I won’t be pushed around anymore!”
Malta shrugged her shoulders and said that if she couldn’t stop me she couldn’t stop me. “But be careful! Just make sure you prepare yourself.”
So I left for the outside world. And I designed all sorts of thermal combustion power plants. In the bat of an eye I became the most skilled architect in the world. I had a natural talent. My thermal combustion power plant designs were very original, reliable, and had never broken down. They were also very popular among the people that worked in them. Any time anyone wanted to build a thermal combustion power plant, they came to me first, without fail. I became very rich. I bought the entire building in the best part of town and moved in to the top floor. I installed alarms everywhere, I got electronic locks. I hired a gay bodyguard who looked like a gorilla.
Having taken all these precautions, I returned to an elegant lifestyle. Until he came.
He was very large. He had eyes so green they seemed to be on fire. He disabled my alarms. He tore off the electronic locks. He brushed the guard aside like dust. Finally he burst into my room. I didn’t cower in front of him, but he didn’t take much notice. He tore off all my clothes and brought his pants down to his knees. After forcing himself on me violently, he slit my throat with a knife. It was a very sharp knife and cut very well. My throat was cut like warm butter. It was too smooth, so I didn’t even have the sensation of being cut. ? Then the darkness came. The police officer approached me through the darkness. He looked like he wanted to say something, but all I could hear was the air flapping through the hole in his throat. Then, suddenly, I heard the water in my own body. Yes, I could really hear it. I lowered myself to my body and put my ear against it, and heard the tiny drips of water. Reroppu. Reroppu. Riroppu.

Reroppu. Reroppu. Riroppu.
My name is ・ Kanou ・ Crete

Arrr and that's that, me hardies.
i always thought it was hearties.
hearties? I dunno, I figure cuz pirates a very hardy bunch they would take pride in that aspect of their itentities, where hearties know.

Do I know you?
the story was a fabulous study break; keep em coming; kate
Thanks for the feedback! It'll be a while for the next one - these were the two shortest by a factor of about 5. And web work has gotten busy. But we will see, I'll get the next one out as fast as I can. Kate, can you translate anything from Spanish for my multicultural fiction website in translation?
Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

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