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So far Sanshir is my favorite Natsume S seki novel Written over 100 years ago during the presence of the Meiji era in Japan it s a book that is very much of its time Japan at the time was feeling the influence of the West in particular with the arts from that period English and European literature were being translated into Japanese and S seki is a writer who was very much under the influence of Western writers as well as its various philosophies yet the beauty of this book deals with the tension or difference between the West and Japan The main character Sanshir is a countryside fellow who comes to the big city Tokyo to study and live Here he encounters fellow students and professors who are exposed to other things in life besides what Sanshir nows from his rural life Including sexual feelings or the first entrance to romantic overtures from a female The great thing about the book for me is S seki s journalistic talents in writing about Tokyo and wandering throughout the city Sanshir through the main character is very much going on a pre Situationist adventure in finding new delights that Tokyo has to offer its new citizen Nothing dramatic happens but there is a strong narrative with characters interacting with others The female figures seem to be much aware of what s going on than Sanshir who is somewhat a sheep or perhaps even a coward I think he s not in tuned to his surroundings or even to himself So the book is about a discovery and how one processes a change in one s life In that sense it s a young man s or person s novel The ripe fruit is life as it happens and this novel is about the moments as it happens When I first saw this novel s title I thought it s the story as depicted as a cartoon or movie series on television that our children enjoyed watching some 15 20 years ago I was then reading Natsume Soseki s excerpts in the pocketbook compiled by Donald Keene Indeed it was my misunderstanding since it s a story about Sanshiro a provincial protagonist dictated by fate to pursue his university life in Tokyo some 100 years ago this novel first published in 1908 9There are a few points I d like to say after reading his gentle humour and doomed innocence back cover as narrated lively and matter of factly First this is another fine translation by Jay Rubin because I think we can readily follow and clearly understand nearly most of what the author wants to say so that his readers can visualize the plot the atmosphere and the context as related to each character By the way I first enjoyed reading Haruki Murakami s Kafka On the Shore translated into English by Prof Rubin years agoSecond I liked the Tokyo description in which I can compare to what I saw from out visit last May and thus it helps create my admiration as one of the most technologically advanced capitals in the world 4G for the time being while Thailand s bidding for 3G For example What startled him most of all was Tokyo itself for no matter how far he went it never ended Everything looked as if it were being destroyed and at the same time everything looked as if it were under construction The sheer movement of it all was terrible p 17 Moreover I also liked its natural setting as narrated in the novel for instance That night in its true form was dark Passing beyond this place illuminated by the power of men he thought he could feel an occasional drop of rain The wind sighed in the trees p 216Third I liked Sanshiro from what he does says and reacts I mean the author s done his best to create him as human as possible therefore we simply can t expect any miracle during his stay in Tokyo to study You d be disappointed if you want to read a thrilling story of a godlike hero In fact Sanshiro is a 23 year old student sometime fascinated by Mineko s beauty and appeal However he is true to himself and does his best by returning the 20 yen to Mineko successfully unlike mischievous Yojiro with his unthinkable and ungrateful loan from Sanshiro of courseI agreed with its citation that is it has come to be a perennial classic in Japan back cover I think Haruki Murakami s fans would be delighted to read his interesting preface and I found the chronology informative Finally we have to feel sorry for Sanshiro who seems unlucky in love but he deserves our respects due to his unwavering natural character as well as his ways of looking at the world The two words Stray sheep first mockingly used to tease him by Mineko were repeated by Sanshiro in the last sentence I wonder if he means to be partly amused and partly angry and who The Stray Sheep real sheep There are many complete reviews of this novel here on GR Below you will find little than my thoughts Sanshir is another classic Japanese novel about cultural change But like the other Natsume S seki book I have read Kokoro the reader is presented with a main character who never really catches on to the world of change into he has moved to study at the university Sanshir remains throughout the novel the lost sheep the appellation bestowed upon him by Mineko the beautiful young woman with whom he falls in love The story revolves around Sanshir s experiences with the ever changing life in modern early 20th century Tokyo and with his frustrations and confusions involving Mineko a seemingly modern young woman who displays a great deal of freedom and independence from old values As with the main character in Kokoro I too was frustrated by Sanshir s inability to learn to speak and to react This time however I came to see things through Sanshir s eyes Twenty three years of living a rural traditional life had instilled in Sanshir not only a strong set of values and beliefs but a naivety about the possibility of change and a certain gullibility which left him unable to sort the real from the false Perhaps it would be better to suggest that whatever culture one happens to stumble into including the somewhat sophisticated intellectual group he finds himself in is not what it seems This final perspective is the one which perhaps Sanshir realizes in identifying Mineko too as a lost sheep in the new Japan A good book for thinking about With thanks to Marita for her wonderful reviews of both Kokoro and Sanshir which encouraged me to read them When he heard that Sanshiro was going to school forty hours a week his eyes popped You idiot Do you think it would satisfy you to eat what they serve at your rooming house ten times a dayWhat should I do Sanshiro pleadedRide the streetcar Yojiro saidSanshiro tried to find Yojiro s hidden meaning without successYou mean a real streetcar he askedYojiro laughed uncontrollably Get on the streetcar and ride around Tokyo ten or fifteen times After a while it will just happen by itself you will become satisfied WhyWhy Well look at it this way Your head is alive but if you seal it up inside dead classes you re lost Take it outside and get the wind into it Riding the streetcar is not the only way to get satisfaction of course but it s the first step and the it s the first step and the Natsume SosekiJapan is struggling with the modernizationwesternization of Japan at the turn of the last century Sanshiro is a young man of peasant country stock who has done well enough with his studies that he is allowed to go to Tokyo to the university He finds himself becoming friends with the intelligentsia professors writers painters but most intriguing of all with beautiful strangely intelligent women He is twenty three and he nows nothing He goes to classes religiously because he is studious and because he nows by being industrious is how he has been successful in school to this point The suggestions by his new friend Yojiro to ride the streetcars instead of going to class is a philosophical concept beyond his scope of understanding Yojiro is on to something though because what Sanshiro needs than anything else is new experiences He needs life before what he learns in school will be of any use to him He is always the fish out of the water The person who feels the most behind in discovering who he is The others were truer to themselves than he was he had to admit They were people of the city who lived beneath heavens that were broad enough to enable them to be true to themselves I certainly had some flashbacks to when I first left the farm to move to Phoenix I always felt like a rube but it was also exhilarating because I was discovering how much there was to learn I was a uick study and one advantage I ve always had is being able to apply what I read to my own life Sanshiro learns uickly as did I that the best way to learn was to be uiet speak only enough to eep others talking He falls in love not by design but because he meets this woman who sees life with depth with nuance than he does She awakens ideas and concepts in him He is thinking about things she said days after their last encounter When he is walking away from seeing her he is already plotting how he can see her again Food tastes better The air smells sweeter Anything seems possible His emotions run high Lately Sanshiro One of Soseki's most beloved works of fiction the novel depicts the 23 year old Sanshiro leaving the sleepy countryside for the first time in his. ,

三四郎 SanshirōJay Rubin who should be well nown to my fellow Murakami fans Further to the side note It felt good to be hearing again through Rubin s cover songs I love Murakami in my greedy passion fashion In 2004 I read every translated work at that time in a couple of months followed closely by all yet translated Banana Yoshimoto That said I think he missed something important to me Nooooo Murakami how could you not get it For me Soseki s apparently most popular novel Kokoro left something to be desired and while I did enjoy the late works so widely praised for their psychological insight I could never fully identify with the deep anguish of the modern intellectual depicted in them What s the point in going on and on about this I would often feel In that sense I m probably a bit removed from the mainstream Soseki reader Nooooooo Okay I loved Kokoro so very much because it isn t about the deep anguish of the modern intellectual It hurts just as much to be stupid I don t Betting on Ideas: Wars, Inventions, Inflation know when I first started resenting the idea that stupid people were happy It seems like it has been always Jack Nicholson s truth is fucking far from this truth and I can t handle either of them Babies need darkness but c mon enough is enough This really fucking sucks actually Kokoro is about a whole differentind of awareness and yearning I Being after Rousseau: Philosophy and Culture in Question kinda didn t want to read the rest of his introduction after he fucked up so royally on Kokoro Kokoro and Sanshiro is too is about trying to sit close or further away in love not intellect andnow enough to tell where that fire is in the first place I d say Kokoro is the fire and Sanshiro is the Berlioz and His Century: An Introduction to the Age of Romanticism knowing how the hell to find it The mistrust didn t have anything to do with anguish of the modern intellectual I did really like his introduction other than that I m not too good at finding the cultural fires myself so I don tnow if Murakami is right that Sanshiro is about how Japan never grew up Is it alright that I ll see myself in it instead The anguish of the stupid Wait I was glad being all glad I wasn t an intellectual and stuff I needed my love story of Kokoro Intellectual words aren t gonna be the shovel to dig out or bury into the center of the earth Sidelong looks downcast eyes to the heavens and the grounds blind spots New ways of looking at things At least things might look differently then Is it possible to put it all into words and understand everything And be HAPPY about it I inda suspect we are all wily coyotes Weeell Sanshiro recalled how the man eating the peaches on the train had said to him You d better watch out life can be dangerous For all his talk of danger the man was annoyingly self possessed Perhaps one could be like that if he stood in a position so free of danger that he could afford to warn others against it This might be a source of amusement for those men who while part of the world watched it from a place apart Yes for certain the man was one of them It was obvious from the way he ate those peaches the way he sipped his tea and puffed on his cigarette looking always straight ahead The man was a critic Sanshiro tried out the word critic with his unusual meaning and he was pleased with himself Indeed he went so far as to wonder if he too should live as a critic some day When I was a id I would bang my head on the wall when feeling frustrated I Atlantic Double-Cross: American Literature and British Influence in the Age of Emerson kinda stillnow how little me felt If I only had a brain If I only had a heart Go on and bang on it See All hollow If I only had courage Sanshiro s inner sore spot in his awareness like mine is stupidity and miscommunication is his lack of bravery The side looks and checking before a step and before falls Is there that happened Hell yes I got his confusion Academics she said look at everything as objects of study and so their emotions dry up But if you look at things with feeling you never want to study them because everything comes down to love or hate Unfortunately as a scientist her brother could not help viewing her as an object of study which was unkind of him because the he studied his sister the his love for her would decrease Sanshiro is a coming of age novel I still don t Awakening Spaces: French Caribbean Popular Songs, Music, and Culture know what that means I ve read a lot of them so far in 2011 Demian Of Human Bondage Confessions of a Mask They did have things in common actually The young protaganists students would meet people who would speak great words that make sense and work very well as conversations sometimes rather than experience stimulating conversations though Perfect for 3 am mental trains conversations I m thinking what I really want in my coming of age novels is a feeling that it isn t inevitable Sanshiro does have this foriegn feeling inside of what could happen the new ways of feeling curtains lifted all that stuff The pain of being stupid and the of unreuited something because you tnow if what you feel is what they feel of unreuited something because you can t Edge of Venomverse know if what you feel is what they feel someone else is just being nice or playing with you I remember back in the day iniddie school when my classmates would scoff at the blatant stupidity of their ancestors They thought the world was flat I wouldn t have been so dumb Emotions aren t science You don t really walk the steps of those who came before you at least not in parallel lines What makes Soseki a particular genius in my eyes is that Sanshiro s confusion is balanced with the gradually moving world before his eyes and sometimes it doesn t go anywhere after all like the clouds he watches He can t now if people are being fake You decide to trust you make comparisons based on experience Sometimes it s as complex as overhearing a loved one talk shit about you and being able to still feel like they love you in spite of it all It wouldn t have occured to him that people had it in them to be fake when he was living in countrified company although I find it hard to imagine any village without vipers But his sky changes colors and there are big ass rain clouds over his head when it concerns a woman It s not inevitable that anything is going to change You now what else I really love about Soseki One relationship is not the rest of the life Yes It s stretching out ages More to come Screw the coming of age novel It s unreuited love story again these are my favorite as I understand unreuited love anyway The anguish of the stupid We none of us are mind readers unless we are writers like Soseki Tear away the pretty formalities and the bad is out in the open Formalities are just a bother so everyone economizes and makes do with the plain stuff It s actually uite exhilarating natural ugliness in all its glory Of course when there s too much glory the hypervillains get a little annoyed with each other When their discomfort reaches a peak altruism is resurrected And when that becomes a mere formality and turns sour egoism comes back And so on ad infinitum That s how we go on living you might say That s how we progress I haven t felt like reading anything but Japanese works translated into English don t now Japanese Communication tortures me Why didn t I read Soseki in 2004 I have no idea I was really dumb I don t now enough to say why it is that I m jonesing so bad now Maybe it is the suicidal feeling as wanting to make up your mind one way or the other I could just be reading books about that I really want the foriegn feeling inside about the unreuited How do you Body by Darwin: How Evolution Shapes Our Health and Transforms Medicine know when people are being fake I want to feel that human shit isn t inevitable and the less it is told like taken for granted similarities the better I wanna see for my own eyes and increase my scope to tell in spite of it all I d have liked Sanshiro even better if the teachers had talked a lot less but that s okay I ll remember their talk in memory as if they were talking to me maybe It was then that Sanshironew somewhere deep inside this woman was too much for him He felt too a vague sense of humiliation accompanying the awareness that he had been seen through Ps Stray sheep Stray sheep The girls SANSHIRO IS IN LOVE WITH MINEKO I KEEP THROWING is in love with Mineko I Blue Guide keep throwing the word genius which isinda annoying I m just trying to say what I value in writing really I loved the mind reading glimpses into Mineko how she seems to be mentally willing one of the men in her life to understand her She thought that Sanshiro would remember an outfit she wore on a memorable day they shared it was for different reasons and that she started being painted on a day because of it If only he had recognized it that might have been physical proof to her His not getting it was a different ind than hers I felt like there were echoes waiting to be heard from her when she s with her men Awesome Pss Sanshiro sees Cuckoo in the far off heavens written as a caption of a fellow student s art work I liked that Psss I now I picked on Murakami s take but now I m feeling guilty because there aren t that many reviews of this book on goodreads I should have made real book sense To place the light and the thing that receives the light in a spatial relationship that cannot be found in the normal natural world is something only a romantic would Lively humour and our awareness of Sanshiro's doomed innocence the novel comes to life Sanshiro is also penetrating social and cultural commentar. Ad become the captive of a woman he had surrendered himself It would be pleasant enough to be lovers but this was an incomprehensible Birth and Fortune: The Impact of Numbers on Personal Welfare kind of surrender He did notnow if he was being loved or laughed at whether he should be terrified or contemptuous whether he should end it all or go ahead He was angry and frustrated Remember what it was like Brilliantly tortuous and oh so brutal when like a house of cards your love is folded up and reshuffled I m not sure if Natsume Soseki was making fun of the Japanese obsession with Henrik Ibsen or he was joining the course of admirers There are many references in the book to someone being a character out of Ibsen or someone being Ibsenesue Sanshiro s innocence is doomed of course It isn t a trait we admire in a grown man anyway We are expected to be less gullible less emotional certainly not a tangle of unstructured thoughts It is difficult to pass our wisdom to people younger than ourselves without webbing it with cynicism What we find annoying in them are the very things we have worked so hard to tamp down in ourselves By destroying innocence in others we continue to Island Girls (and Boys) keep it contained in ourselves No wonder young people ignore us This was a uick pleasant read Natsume Soseki was much assured with his themes in this book than he was in his first book Botchan but then that too is probably just representative of an author losing his innocence as well If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at I m shy boyI don tnow where it came from but saying I m shy boy in English and moving your hands to a cutesy under the chin pose was something some young men did do in Japan One time the male teachers were drunk and talking about going to a girly bar One of those that wasn t saying I m shy boy Calvinists Incorporated: Welsh Immigrants on Ohio's Industrial Frontier kept saying It s paradise in the earth It s paradise in the earth but his pronunciation was such that us two native English speakers thought he was saying It s paradise in the arse It s paradise in the arse We weren t uite sure what was going on Anyway Sanshiro is a very adorable tale about your average Japanese shy boys It s cute because there are 120 million Japanese people but reading Sanshiro makes such a feat seem impossibleBits I liked How do you feel What is it a headache It must have been the crowd There were some pretty Soseki s prose is opalescent just like he cumulus of clouds which appear so often in Sanshiro there is something ethereal and captivating about the atmosphere which Soseki is able to create in Sanshiro aind of wistfulness hovers over the characters as the reader is caught up in the wan beauty of Soseki s prose style One can easily distinguish the influence on especially early Murukami not only with the prose style although Soseki is poetic but also with their preoccupation with the isolating effect of city life and the disaffected and diffident protagonists Out of all the great Japanese novelists of the early and mid 20th century Akutagawa Kawabata Mishima and Tanizaki Soseki is probably the one whose themes and concerns most resonate with modern readers whilst retaining a uintessentially Japanese sense of aestheticsThe story follows Sanshiro a young student who moves to Tokyo from the country side The novel captures the disorientating nature of this change to Sanshiro the sense of torpor which over takes him as he tries to accustom himself to the fast pace of city life its endless dissonance and the duplicitous nature of its inhabitantsThe sun now sinking in the West illuminated the broad slope at an angle The windows of the Engineering buildings flanking the top slop were sparkling as if on fire Pale red flames of burning sun swept back from the horizon into the sky s deep clarity and their fever seemed to rush down upon himIn contrast to this is the sense of beauty awakened in Sanshiro s heart by two female characters the vivacious Mineko and the pallid yet beautiful Yoshiko The image most often associated with Mineko is her Stretching Lessons: The Daring that Starts from Within kimono andaleidoscope of colours which blaze forth from it it is as if her imono which the painter Haraguchi finds so difficult to capture in his portrait of her is symbolic of the brightness which emanates from Mineko is the eyes of her narrator her febricity contrasting with Sanshiro s own feebleness and lighting up his own colourless inner life By contrast the sad and somnolent Yoshiko is similar in terms of personality with Sanshiro and although she is beautiful her beauty is too familiar too similar when contrasted with the enigmatic Mineko In many ways in addition to being a coming of age novel the story is about Sanshiros choice between these two types of beautyOther central themes of the novel include societal dynamics in late Meiji era Japan under the increasing sense of Westernization the incipient blooming of Japanese literature under Western influences and the changing role of women in Japanese society in many ways Sanshiro captures Japan just as it is on the cusp of modernisation as the old traditions of Japan are being over taken and over whelmed by the modern world just as Sanshiro is over whelmed by Tokyo Yet beneath this a sense of beauty blooms and blazes forth from the pages of the novel from the white rose in Mineko s hair to the reflections of a setting sun on the windows of a building Soseki is able to imbue the world with a brilliant beauty The morning sunlight streamed in form the eastern window behind her and where the sunlight touched she wore a violet flame living halo The face and forehead were in deep shadow pale in darkness The eyes had a far off look A high cloud never moves in the depths of the sky yet it must This was a beautiful book from my favorite Japanese the depths of the sky yet it must This was a beautiful book from my favorite Japanese and yet one of his most depressing After a euphoric stage of his life that produced his happy masterpieces Botchan and I Am A Cat Soseki grew and morose as the Meiji government took on and of the aspects of an empire building police state and his liberal sensibilities were justifiably saddened and depressed A lot of this sadness comes across in Sanshir I won t spoil the plot because despite its dour tone the book as everything by Soseki is incredibly beautiful and deserves to be read Two uotes to prove my point The call for political freedom took place long ago The call for freedom of speech is also a thing of call for political freedom took place long ago The call for freedom of speech is also a thing of past Freedom is not a word to be used exclusively for phenomena such as this which are so easily given outward manifestation I believe that we young men of the new age have encountered the moment in time when we must call for that great freedom the freedom of the mind and Desire is a frightening thing Regardless of these pessimistic statements Soseki still believed in literature Literature is neither techniue or business It is a motive force of society a force that is in touch with the fundamental principles of human life That is why we study literature And that is also why we read Soseki with such abundant pleasure JapaneseJune Book 3It took me a lot longer to read this book than it really should have especially as it was on the Kindle Thank goodness for long train journeys to and from work otherwise I might never have got to the end of this before the end of JuneI thought that Sanshiro would be right up my alley but unfortunately it wasn t For a classic I couldn t really understand the hype this time around It follows the character of Sanshiro who has moved from the countryside to the big city of Tokyo to study at university We follow him through his various new experiences such as riding public transport for the first time meeting new people his first experiences with women intellectual stimulation etc Unfortunately I didn t feel like I really got to now Sanshiro despite being stuck with him the entire bookFor the most part I found the characters uite uninteresting and devoid of individual personality apart from Sanshiro s closest friend Yojiro and didn t particularly warm to any of them Sanshiro s love interest Mineko I also found to be uite unappealing Her moods irritated me and I didn t understand Sanshiro s romantic obsession with her It bored me than anything elseNot to say that this is a badly written book some of the descriptions and passages were very pretty and lovely to read and there were points where I did get uite involved with certain events that happened throughout the course of the novel However ultimately I felt they didn t really lead to anywhere and I was relieved than anything else to find I d finished the book I actually prefered the introduction in this volume written by the one and only Haruki MurakamiI wouldn t really recommend this but I m sure many others will find a lot to appreciate in this book than I did Note on Japanese Name Order and PronunciationChronologyIntroductionFurther ReadingTranslator s Note Sanshir Notes I can t believe I m saying this but for once I m glad that I m not an intellectual Haruki Murakami wrote the introduction to Soseki s Sanshiro note I read the new translation by. Life to experience the constantly moving 'real world' of Tokyo its women and university In the subtle tension between our appreciation of Soseki's.