NATSUME SOSEKI PDF
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY ABOUT DR. JOEL FUHRMAN'S EAT TO LIVE The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss &. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Sōseki joined the Department of English Literature as a loan-scholarship . Sōseki Natsume is generally recognized in Japan as the best writer of prose to have.
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Literature written by Natsume Soseki - Ebook Collection - EPUB, MOBI, and AZW3 formats. Fiction Library copy is trimmed (15 cm) to be hard covered. Notes. No copyright page found. No table-of-contents pages found. Some content. Natsume Soseki, along with Mori Ogai, occuples the unshakeable position of a novelist respresentative of modern. Japanese literature. While there may be.
Although Soseki suffered from loneliness and alienation, he could still work very hard, immersed himself in research and acquired all the necessary knowledge about English literature that made it possible for him after his return to be the founder of the Western style of modern novel and literature in Japan.
Babiker et al postulate that the degree of alienation and psychological distress experienced by migrants is based on an interaction.
The culture-distance index CDI takes into consideration differences in climate, clothes, language, religion, food, material comfort, etc. CDI was found to be significantly related to the degree of difficulty constituted by everyday encounters and the degree of anxiety experienced Babiker et al, , One significant normative factor is religion. Religious or ideological dissimilarity was a constant source of conflict for Soseki.
He became acquainted with an English lady who repeatedly tried to convert him, but he was very critical of what he considered Christian icon-worship. The Process of Culture Shock Culture shock, however intense, is not a static state of mind, but has a course and dynamic and those who migrate do not stagnate in this psychological condition forever.
Adaptation usually happens in stages. Adler outlines the initial contact phase which is a kind of excitement , followed by disintegration confusion, apathy, disorientation, loss, isolation, loneliness, inadequacy. The third phase is reintegration rejection of the host culture, irritability, anger, rebellion, being opinionated. This phase, according to Adler, is already a form of self-assertion and growing self-esteem. The following stage, called autonomy, means that cultural differences are legitimized, the person becomes relaxed and self-assured.
Finally, in the independence phase, the individual even starts to value the differences, gains back his creativity and is capable of exercising choice in terms of what he likes and what he dislikes in the other culture Adler, , Most of his time in England was spent in crisis or disintegration, feeling lost, depressed and withdrawn.
He was confused because social and cultural cues did not mean the same as in Japan. For instance in England, it was impossible for him to know the status of a person from his clothes. As the differences in daily routine, in tradition, in history and philosophy, and in life-style and outlook gradually became more noticeable to him, the personal, social and cultural differences intruded more and more on his sense of security and control. He felt different and began to lose his self-esteem: Once outside, everyone is depressingly tall.
Worse yet, they all have unfriendly faces. In any case, I feel small…. We are indeed yellow. When I was in Japan I knew I was not particularly white but regarded myself as being close to a regular human colour, but in this country I have finally realized that I am three leagues away from a human colour….
He increasingly felt less like a human being than an animal roaming the streets of London. Okada considers his novel, I am a cat to be a product of his non- human stay in England Okada, , When the English people he met repeatedly wanted to Christianize him, he angrily denounced their ethnocentrism and inability to take an alternative perspective.
Rather than damaging his self-esteem further, however, this insistence on converting him made Soseki more self-assertive, and he rejected and despised what the English considered in a self-centred way to be so precious: English think that one size suits all, and being born in England they know nothing outside of England and no religion apart from Christianity. They think the entire world will feel the same when they hear a church bell, or become tearful when they hear a sermon, or have a feeling of ecstasy when they hear an organ.
But the bell actually sounds like a fire alarm; the sermon like a platitude; and the organ gives out nothing more, than a vast amount of meaningless noise Soseki was an introverted person, with a low need for social contact, but he was intellectually very open and curious, and even during his worst emotional crisis he made observations and tried to understand the society in which he lived.
He looked and listened to everything around him, and asked questions that searched for explanations for cultural differences, like how literature and art influenced the national character of the English. His letters describe his observations, his amazement over the shops being closed for three days because of Easter, the underground being like a system of caves and passengers being like moles, etc.
His observations are humorous, ironic and intellectually engaging. Maybe this ability helped him to move forward and recover from the brink of nervous breakdown. He was also able to take both the Western and the Japanese perspectives into consideration simultaneously. For instance he described himself descending to the London Underground as the reverse of a Kabuki character being lifted up on the stage This stage of autonomy helped him to make a new start.
A clear sign of the autonomy state is that he gained back his self-esteem, stopped defining himself according to English standards, and no longer needed their approval of his taste, but he did not denigrate the taste of the English either, he just recognized and accepted confidently the difference: However, the idea that came to me at the time — the idea of self-centeredness — has stayed with me.
Indeed, it has grown stronger with the passing of each year. My projected work ended in failure, but I found a belief that I could get my hands on, the conviction that I was the single most important person in my life, while others were only secondary….
In spite of his fragile physical and psychical dispositions and also his very intense culture shock, by the time he returned to Japan he was in the independence phase. Soseki could now describe what he suffered in England and what he had learned from the experience: England, as you know, is a country that cherishes liberty.
There is not another country in the world that so cherishes liberty while maintaining the degree of order as England does. I am not very fond of England, to tell you the truth. According to the East-Asian conception of the relational or interdependent self, a person does not exist in himself but can only be determined in his mutual relations with others Until Soseki achieved a sense of self-esteem that was independent from the English lifestyle, he suffered.
I felt that after years of agony my pick had at last struck a vein of ore. A ray of light had broken through the fog and illuminated my way ….
Soseki strengthened his individual and independent identity, and from this time on, he did not wish to assimilate to the English people and to judge himself from their viewpoint. Paradoxically, being independent meant to identify with the basic guiding principle of the English society that had been considered the cradle of individualism: However, the idea that came to me at the time — the idea of self-centeredness — has stayed with me.
Indeed, it has grown stronger with the passing of each year This identification with the English autonomous self resulted in a somewhat contemptuous view of the Japanese interdependent self. His career as a writer began in , and in he ceased lecturing in order to concentrate fully on his writing. Soseki was among the first Japanese writers to be influenced by Western culture.
He drew on his experience of living in a Western country and being forced to temporarily adapt to its culture in his novels, which thus reflected those ambivalent feelings between acquiring and rejecting the foreign culture that were shared by Japanese society at the time. He described it as national nervous breakdown Today, his novels still enjoy immense popularity in Japan, and contemporary Japanese writers continue to be affected by his work His main scholarly work in literature, Theory of Literature, was published in , and was the fruit of his stay in London.
It is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Meiji literary scholarship Marcus, , With the self-confidence he gained by identifying with the individualistic values of the society that surrounded him, he gave an astonishing insight into the position of a non-Western intellectual faced with the hegemony of Western culture, while he argued against the universality of the literary standards that Western English literary scholarship naturally implied.
Doi saw Soseki as a sensitive observer of psychic phenomena. His works were particularly interesting for Doi because Soseki lived his whole life on the boundaries between Western and Japanese cultural influences and he intended to combine Japanese traditions with western psychological approaches. His heroes lived in the clash of old and new, traditional and modern, Asian and Western values.
Therefore his heroes were often confused and frightened Doi, , x. As a writer, he did not want to leave behind traditional Japanese behaviour, though at the same time he stressed the advantages of personal independence and striving for freedom.
His heroes were ruined because they were not able to find a balance between social responsibility and their personal freedom. As a consequence they chose passivity or suicide. At the intellectual level, Soseki could provide a solution to this dilemma. This required on the one hand giving freedom to others to follow their own individuality, and on the other hand the self-discipline not to follow individuality at the expense of others: Unless we have a very good reason, we must not be allowed to obstruct others from developing their individuality….
If you want to carry out the development of your individuality you must respect the individuality of others…. I simply believe that freedom without the sense of duty is not true freedom, for such self- indulgent freedom cannot exist in society…. If society is going to permit you to respect your own individuality, it only makes sense if you recognize the individuality of others and respect their individuality Soseki, , In England, he realized that this ability has to be ingrained from an early age and taught and learned systematically in a society that is based on the principle of individualism.
With these ideas, Soseki differentiated himself from the collectivistic cultural milieu of Japanese society that placed high emphasis on other-directed behaviour, groups and interdependence rather than on individual, self-directed behaviour and independence.
In the Meiji Era, the whole notion of the individual was still regarded as a potentially dangerous even frightening import from the West Napier, From his account it is known that he had another nervous breakdown not long after his return Soseki, , His loneliness continued because this time he was somewhat alien within his own society, following his own reason and conscience rather than the dictates of the group psyche Okada, , My friend, however, did not believe this.
According to our modern outlook, he was really too young to marry. Moreover, he was not in the least fond of the girl. It was in order to avoid an unpleasant situation that instead of going home, as he normally would have done, he had gone to the resort near Tokyo to spend his holidays.
He showed me the telegram, and asked me what he should do. I did not know what to tell him. It was, however, clear that if his mother was truly ill, he should go home. And so he decided to leave after all. I, who had taken so much trouble to join my friend, was left alone. There were many days left before the beginning of term, and I was free either to stay in Kamakura or to go home.
I decided to stay. My friend was from a wealthy family in the Central Provinces, and had no financial worries.
But being a young student, his standard of living was much the same as my own. I was therefore not obliged, when I found myself alone, to change my lodgings. My inn was in a rather out-of-the-way district of Kamakura, and if one wished to indulge in such fashionable pastimes as playing billiards and eating ice cream, one had to walk a long way across rice fields.
If one went by rickshaw, it cost twenty sen. Remote as the district was, however, many rich families had built their villas there. It was quite near the sea also, which was convenient for swimmers such as myself. I walked to the sea every day, between thatched cottages that were old and smoke-blackened. The beach was always crowded with men and women, and at times the sea, like a public bath, would be covered with a mass of black heads. I never ceased to wonder how so many city holiday-makers could squeeze themselves into so small a town.
It was in the midst of this confusion that I found Sensei.
In those days, there were two tea houses on the beach. For no particular reason, I had come to patronize one of them. Unlike those people with their great villas in the Hase area who had their own bathing huts, we in our part of the beach were obliged to make use of these tea houses which served also as communal changing rooms. In them the bathers would drink tea, rest, have their bathing suits rinsed, wash the salt from their bodies, and leave their hats and sunshades for safe-keeping.
I owned no bathing suit to change into, but I was afraid of being robbed, and so I regularly left my things in the tea house before going into the water. I had already had my swim, and was letting the wind blow gently on my wet body. Between us, there were numerous black heads moving about.
I was in a relaxed frame of mind, and there was such a crowd on the beach that I should never have noticed him had he not been accompanied by a Westerner. The Westerner, with his extremely pale skin, had already attracted my attention when I approached the tea house.
He was standing with folded arms, facing the sea; carelessly thrown down on the stool by his side was a Japanese summer dress which he had been wearing.
He had on him only a pair of drawers such as we were accustomed to wear. I found this particularly strange. All of them had their torsos, arms, and thighs well-covered. The women especially seemed overly modest. Most of them were wearing brightly colored rubber caps which could be seen bobbing conspicuously amongst the waves. After having observed such a scene, it was natural that I should think this Westerner, who stood so lightly clad in our midst, quite extraordinary. As I watched, he turned his head to the side and spoke a few words to a Japanese, who happened to be bending down to pick up a small towel which he had dropped on the sand.
The Japanese then tied the towel around his head, and immediately began to walk towards the sea. This man was Sensei. From sheer curiosity, I stood and watched the two men walk side by side towards the sea. They strode determinedly into the water and, making their way through the noisy crowd, finally reached a quieter and deeper part of the sea. Then they began to swim out, and did not stop until their heads had almost disappeared from my sight. They turned around and swam straight back to the beach.
At the tea house, they dried themselves without washing the salt off with fresh water from the well and, quickly donning their clothes, they walked away.
After their departure, I sat down, and lighting a cigarette, I began idly to wonder about Sensei. I could not help feeling that I had seen him somewhere before, but failed to recollect where or when I had met him. I was a bored young man then, and for lack of anything better to do, I went to the tea house the following day at exactly the same hour, hoping to see Sensei again.
After carefully placing his spectacles on a nearby table and then tying his hand towel around his head, he once more walked quickly down the beach. And when I saw him wading through the same noisy crowd, and then swim out all alone, I was suddenly overcome with the desire to follow him. I splashed through the shallow water until I was far enough out, and then began to swim towards Sensei. Contrary to my expectation, however, he made his way back to the beach in a sort of arc, rather than in a straight line.
I was further disappointed when I returned, dripping wet, to the tea house: he had already dressed, and was on his way out. But no opportunity arose for a conversation, or even a casual greeting, between us.
His attitude, besides, seemed somewhat unsociable. He would arrive punctually at the usual hour, and depart as punctually after his swim. He was always aloof and, no matter how gay the crowd around him might be, he seemed totally indifferent to his surroundings. The Westerner, with whom he had first come, never showed himself again. Sensei was always alone.
One day, however, after his usual swim, Sensei was about to put on his summer dress which he had left on the bench, when he noticed that the dress, for some reason, was covered with sand. As he was shaking his dress, I saw his spectacles, which had been lying beneath it, fall to the ground.
When he began suddenly to look for them, I approached, and bending down, I picked up his spectacles from under the bench.
The next day, I followed Sensei into the sea, and swam after him. When we had gone more than a couple of hundred yards out, Sensei turned and spoke to me. The sea stretched, wide and blue, all around us, and there seemed to be no one near us.
The bright sun shone on the water and the mountains, as far as the eye could see. My whole body seemed to be filled with a sense of freedom and joy, and I splashed about wildly in the sea. Sensei had stopped moving, and was floating quietly on his back. I then imitated him. The dazzling blue of the sky beat against my face, and I felt as though little, bright darts were being thrown into my eyes.
And I cried out, "What fun this is!
Natsume Soseki: Culture Shock and the Birth of the Modern Japanese Novel
But I answered willingly enough, "Yes, let us go back. That was the beginning of our friendship. But I did not yet know where Sensei lived. It was, I think, on the afternoon of the third day following our swim together that Sensei, when we met at the tea house, suddenly asked me, "Do you intend to stay in Kamakura long? I could not help blurting out, "And you, Sensei? I saw that he had no ties of any kind with the other people staying there. He smiled wryly at the way I persisted in addressing him as "Sensei," and I found myself explaining that it was my habit to so address my elders.
I asked him about the Westerner, and he told me that his friend was no longer in Kamakura. His friend, I was told, was somewhat eccentric. He spoke to me of other things concerning the Westerner too, and then remarked that it was strange that he, who had so few acquaintances among his fellow Japanese, should have become intimate with a foreigner.
Finally, before leaving, I said to Sensei that I felt I had met him somewhere before but that I could not remember where or when. I was young, and as I said this I hoped, and indeed expected, that he would confess to the same feeling.
But after pondering awhile, Sensei said to me, "I cannot remember ever having met you before. Are you not mistaken?
Sensei had left the resort long before me. As we were taking leave of each other, I had asked him, "Would it be all right if I visited you at your home now and then? My self-confidence, I remember, was rather shaken then. Often, during my association with Sensei, I was disappointed in this way. But no matter how often I experienced such trifling disappointments, I never felt any desire to part from Sensei.
Indeed, each time I suffered a rebuff, I wished more than ever to push our friendship further. I thought that with greater intimacy, I would perhaps find in him those things that I looked for. I was very young, it is true. But I think that I would not have behaved quite so simply towards others. I did not understand then why it was that I should behave thus towards Sensei only. But now, when Sensei is dead, I am beginning to understand.
It was not that Sensei disliked me at first. His curt and cold ways were not designed to express his dislike of me, but they were meant rather as a warning to me that I would not want him as a friend. It was because he despised himself that he refused to accept openheartedly the intimacy of others. I feel great pity for him.
I intended of course to visit Sensei when I returned to Tokyo. There were still two weeks left before the beginning of lectures, and I thought I would visit him during that time. A few days after my return, however, I began to feel less inclined to do so. The atmosphere of the great city affected me a great deal, bringing back memories.
Every time I saw a student in the streets, I found myself awaiting the coming of the new academic year with a feeling of hope and tense excitement. For a while, I forgot all about Sensei. A month or so after the start of lectures, I became more relaxed. At the same time, I began to walk about the streets discontentedly, and to look around my room with a feeling that something was lacking in my life.
I began to think of Sensei, and I found that I wanted to see him again. The first time I went to his home, Sensei was out. It was a lovely day, and the sky was so blue that I was filled with a sense of well-being. Again, he was not at home.
In Kamakura, Sensei had told me that he spent most of his time at home; indeed, he had even told me that he disliked to go out. Remembering this, I felt an unreasonable resentment at having twice failed to find him.
I therefore hesitated in the front hall, staring at the maid who had informed me of her master's absence. She seemed to remember that I had called before and left my card. Asking me to wait, she went away. A lady then appeared, whom I took to be the mistress of the house.
She was beautiful. Very courteously, she told me of Sensei's whereabouts. I learned that every month, on the same day, it was Sensei's custom to take flowers to a certain grave in the cemetery at Zoshigaya.
Before I had gone very far towards the busier part of town, I decided that it would be a pleasant walk to Zoshigaya. Besides, I might meet Sensei, I thought. I turned around and started to walk in the direction of Zoshigaya. From the left side of a field I entered the cemetery and proceeded along a broad avenue bordered on each side by maple trees.
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There was a tea house at the end of the avenue, and I saw coming out of it someone that looked like Sensei. I walked towards him until I could see the sunlight reflected on the frame of his spectacles. Then, suddenly, I cried out aloud, "Sensei! Then again, "How in the world I did not know what to say. But there was on his face a strangely clouded expression.
I explained to Sensei how I happened to be there. After all, she met you today for the first time. No, of course not, there was no need for her to tell you. But I could not understand the reason for his remarks. We walked between tombstones on our way out. Next to those with inscriptions such as "Isabella So-and-so Sensei did not seem to find the way in which different customs were reflected in the tombstones amusing or ironical, as I did.
Silently, he listened to me for a while as I chattered on, pointing to this tombstone and that. But finally he turned to me and said, "You have never thought seriously of the reality of death, have you? Sensei said no more. Towards the end of the cemetery, there stood a gingko tree, so large that it almost hid the sky from view.
Sensei looked up at the tree and said, "In a little while, it will be beautiful here. Not far from us in the cemetery, a man was leveling off a piece of rough ground. He stopped and, resting on his hoe, he watched us. Turning to our left, we soon reached the main road. Having no particular destination in mind, I continued to walk along with Sensei. Sensei was less talkative than usual.
I felt no acute embarrassment, however, and I strolled unconcernedly by his side. There is nothing else I particularly want to do now. Again I broke the silence. Some relation of yours perhaps? I decided to mention the matter no further. But after he had walked a hundred yards or so, Sensei suddenly reopened the conversation.
I found him always at home. And the more I visited Sensei, the more eager I became to see him again. Despite this, however, there was no great change in Sensei's manner towards me. He was always quiet. At times, he seemed so quiet that I thought him rather lonely. I felt from the start his strangely unapproachable quality. Yet, at the same time, there was within me an irresistible desire to become close to Sensei.
Perhaps I was the only one who felt thus towards him. Some might say that I was being foolish and naive. But even now, I feel a certain pride and happiness in the fact that my intuitive fondness for Sensei was later shown to have not been in vain. A man capable of love, or I should say rather a man who was by nature incapable of not loving; but a man who could not wholeheartedly accept the love of another--such a one was Sensei. As I have already said, Sensei was always quiet. Moreover, he seemed to be at peace with himself.
But sometimes I would notice a shadow cross his face. True, like the shadow of a bird outside the window, it would quickly disappear. The first time I noticed it was at the cemetery at Zoshigaya, when I suddenly spoke to him.
I remember that I felt then, though only for a passing moment, a strange weight on my heart. Soon after, the memory of that moment faded away.
One evening, however, towards the end of the Indian summer, it was unexpectedly brought back to my mind. As I was talking to Sensei, I happened for some reason to think of the great gingko tree that he had pointed out to me. And I remembered that his monthly visit to the grave was only three days away. Thinking that it would fall on the day when my lectures ended at noon, and that I should be relatively free, I turned to Sensei and said: "Sensei, I wonder if the gingko tree at Zoshigaya has lost all its leaves by now?
I said quickly: "May I accompany you, when you next visit the grave?
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I should like to take a walk around there with you. I began to wonder whether he was making this excuse because he did not wish me to accompany him.
I remember that I thought him oddly childish at the time. I became more forward. A shadow crossed his brow, and his eyes shone strangely. I cannot say whether it was annoyance or dislike or fear that I saw in his expression. But whatever it was, there was beneath it, I felt, a gnawing anxiety. And I was suddenly reminded of the way he looked that day at Zoshigaya when I called to him. Even my wife, you see, has never come with me.
But I did not visit Sensei with the purpose of studying him. And I decided to think no more about it. My attitude towards Sensei then is one of those things that I remember with a certain amount of pride. Because of it, I believe, we were able to become so close to each other. I was, of course, not aware of all this at the time. I hate to think what might have happened had I acted differently. Even in his relationship with me, he was in constant dread of being coldly analyzed.
I began to visit Sensei two or even three times a month. One day, seeing that my visits were becoming more and more frequent, Sensei suddenly said to me: "Why should you want to spend so much time with a person like me? I don't think there's any particular reason Am I a nuisance, sir?
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I was aware that the number of his acquaintances was rather limited. As for those who had been in the same class with him at the university, I knew there were no more than two or three in Tokyo. Sometimes, I would find at his house students who were from the same part of the country as Sensei, but it seemed to me that none of them were as close to him as I was.
But I am also a melancholy man, and so I asked you why you should wish to visit me so often. Instead, he looked at me and said, "How old are you? Without pursuing it any further, I left. Four days later, I was back again at his house. As soon as Sensei appeared, he began to laugh. Had anyone else spoken in such a way to me, I think I should have been annoyed.
With Sensei, it was somehow different. Far from being annoyed, I was happy. But I am an older man, and I can live with my loneliness, quietly. You are young, and it must be difficult to accept your loneliness. You must sometimes want to fight it. Otherwise why should you come so often to my house? I have not it in me to help you forget it. You will have to look elsewhere for the consolation you seek. And soon, you will find that you no longer want to visit me.
Inexperienced as I was then, I could not even understand the obvious significance of Sensei's remarks. I continued to see Sensei as before. And before long, I found myself dining at his house occasionally. As a result, I was obliged to speak to Sensei's wife also. Like any other young man, I was not indifferent to women. But being young and my experience of the world being what it was, I had so far not had any opportunity to form any friendship with a woman.
The first time I met Sensei's wife in the front hall, I thought her beautiful. And each time I saw her after that, I was similarly impressed by her beauty.
But I felt, at first, that there was nothing of any interest that I could speak to her about.
Rather than to say that she possessed no special qualities worthy of note, it would perhaps be more correct to say that she had never been given an opportunity to show them. My feeling was always that she was little more than a necessary part of Sensei's household. And it would seem that she regarded me, albeit with goodwill, simply as a student who came to talk with her husband.
Apart from Sensei, there was no bond of sympathy between us. My memory of the early part of our acquaintance, then, consists of nothing more than the impression of her beauty.
Sensei's wife came to serve us. Sensei seemed more cheerful than usual. Offering his empty cup, he said to his wife, "You have some too.
Frowning slightly, she raised to her lips the cup that I had half-filled for her. A conversation then followed between her and Sensei.
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But it does you good to drink occasionally. This will cheer you up. It makes me feel uncomfortable. You, however, seem to have become quite gay.
And you haven't had much. But you know, it doesn't always. Then you will stop being melancholy. Every time I went there, the house seemed to be absolutely quiet. I never heard the sound of laughter there, and some-times it seemed almost as if Sensei and I were the only people in it. But I could feel no real sympathy for her. At my age, children seemed an unnecessary nuisance. Oh, no," she said, and looked at me. Sensei s wife was silent. Not being a member of the family, I could not of course know how they truly felt towards each other.
But whenever I was with Sensei, and if he happened to want anything, instead of the maid, he would call his wife. The lady's name was Shizu. The tone of his voice, when he did so, always sounded gentle to me. And her manner, when she appeared, seemed always willing and obedient. And whenever they kindly invited me to dinner, and I had occasion to see them together at the table, my pleasant impression of their feelings towards each other would be confirmed.
Sometimes, Sensei would take his wife to a concert or to the theatre. Also, I remember that they went away together for a week's holiday at least two or three times during the period I knew them. I still have with me a postcard that they sent me from Hakone. And I remember that the time they went to Nikko, I received from them a letter with a maple leaf enclosed.
There was, however, one incident that marred my general impression of their married life. One day, I was standing as usual in their front hall, and was about to announce myself. I heard voices coming from the living room. An argument, rather than an ordinary conversation, seemed to be taking place. The living-room was immediately adjoining the front hall, and I could hear well enough to know that it was a quarrel, and that one of the voices, which was raised now and then, belonged to Sensei.
The other voice was lower in tone than Sensei's, and I could not be sure whose it was. But I was almost certain that it was his wife's. She seemed to be weeping. I stood there for a short while, not knowing what to do. Then I left, and returned to my lodgings. A dreadful anxiety filled my heart. I tried to read, but found that I could not concentrate. An hour later, I heard Sensei calling from beneath my window.
Surprised, I looked out. I looked at my watch and saw that it was past eight o'clock. I left my room immediately. That evening, Sensei and I drank beer together. Sensei was not a heavy drinker. He was not the sort of person to go on drinking if a reasonable amount did not have any cheering effect on him. I could not forget what had happened earlier that day. It bothered me terribly, like a fish bone in my throat.
The novel describes his feelings during that experience, though occupational position of his own and the hero were widely different. Main characters[ edit ] Botchan: the hero of this novel. He is born in Tokyo, and has the spirit of an Edokko. He becomes a teacher of mathematics.
He has common sense and a strong moral grounding. Yamaarashi Porcupine : A fellow teacher. Yamaarashi Porcupine is the nickname for a teacher by the name of Hotta, born in Aizu. Yamaarashi has a great, Samurai-like sense of justice.
Akashatsu Redshirt : Another fellow teacher. He is the typical intellectual. He speaks of morals but is Machiavellian, and immoral.
A scoundrel who for a short period of time was able to deceive even Botchan. The battle for the heart and mind of Botchan, between Yamaarashi and Akashatsu represents the tensions existing in Japan at the turn of last century. Soseki clearly rejects Akashatsu and thus the modern Continental intellectual traditions. Nodaiko The Clown : Art teacher.An individual whose psychological processes have consistently prepared him for strong situations will be ill-suited and unprepared for weak situations that require individual innovation in generating and choosing desired response patterns The memory of the grave in the cemetery at Zoshigaya would come back to me from time to time.
Travelling and meeting people from other countries was not a topic of discourse in Japanese families, and there were no travel accounts or stories about studying in a foreign university to read and learn from. Sensei refused to be serious, and my pride was hurt. Sensei, as a matter of fact, had already given me reason to believe that his thoughts were indeed forced upon him by the nature of his experience. I was further disappointed when I returned, dripping wet, to the tea house: I did not do this in a rebellious spirit.
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