Print Edition - 2015-12-24  |  ASIANEWSNETWORK

musings

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 24, 2015-

The following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s Dec 3.

Quite a lot of people talk to themselves. In most cases, however, they mutter words in such an indistinct manner that it is hard to tell what is said. But if the words are pronounced clearly, the results could be tragicomic. Composer Komei Sone related in one of his essays the failure story of a certain man working for the office of the actor Shintaro Katsu (1931-1997).

“Hey, why don’t you order a Chinese restaurant to deliver ramen?” Katsu, who had been playing mah-jongg all night long, told the man one day, according to Sone’s essay.

The man’s ensuing monologue reached the ears of everybody there. “What the hell are you talking about this early in the morning?” the man was quoted as saying to himself. “Why don’t you just chop up some rubber tubes and eat that in your soup!”

After laughing, I found this story somewhat scary. People nowadays might be living in a society where they are clearly and loudly transmitting monologues that would cause trouble if heard by other people.

For example, papers on a 15-year-old middle school boy of Tokyo were sent to prosecutors on suspicion of posting death threats on an official Twitter page of Agnes Chan, a show business personality, after he allegedly wrote messages that she would “be bathed in blood.” The boy was quoted as saying that he never imagined things would result in such a big fuss. I can imagine his whimpering face.

Katsu, who had a mischievous side, half-listened to the man’s monologue at that time, according to Sone’s essay. Pretending to know nothing, Katsu later brought chopped rubber tubes in soup and told the man, “Here, try this.”

I would like to advise the boy to be careful. The real world is not as forgiving as Katsu’s office.

Published: 24-12-2015 09:56

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