JR上野駅公園口 Epub µ Paperback

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JR上野駅公園口 ‘’I used to think life was like a book you turn the first page and there’s the next and as you go on turning page after page eventually you reach the last one But life is nothing like a story in a book There may be words and the pages may be numbered but there is no plot There may be an ending but there is no end’’ Our journey starts in a park near Ueno Station as Tokyo is preparing to host the 2020 Olympics A voice is heard above the buzzing streets of the metropolis a voice whispering of misfortune failed hopes injustice and death A voice from a ghost for Kazu is dead one of the many hopeless residents of the park Now he becomes our guide to the stormy history of Japan through the ages the social unrest the changes and the expectation of an uncertain future ‘’I was always lost at a point in the past which never could go anywhere now it had gone but has time ended? Has it just stopped? Will it someday rewind and start again? Or will I be shut out from time for eternity? I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know’’ Kazu is desperate for a sense of existence He has been struggling with the ordeals that Fate and humans threw in his way and now he doesn’t know whether he even belongs with the dead Eavesdropping the daily conversations of the visitors of the park observing the homeless he returns to the land of the living and his own life Linked to the Imperial family through a series of random events he comments on the futility of being a servant of the state and takes us on a journey within the disputes and changes that shaped the history of Japan In a park where every tree has a plastic tag attached to its trunk he is reminded of the fact that everything belongs to the Emperor What a title though in a world where every ‘’empire’’ has fallen to pieces ‘’One cannot tell when or where each rose is blooming whether it is in a garden or a flowerpot; whether it is sunny or cloudy or raining; whether it is morning or noon or night whether it is spring or summer or autumn’’ Kazu has physically lost all sense of the world around him yet his perception is acute than ever His memories are a tapestry of poverty and struggle in a country that has fallen apart due to its actions during the Second World War and the atrocities it has committed Hit by the constant rain that reminds him of the ultimate nightmare the loss of his son the rituals of death performed in a society chocked by industrialization and the dark presence of nuclear power plants The roses have lost their colours and their perfume and moments of cruelty are always presentHidden behind a beautiful powerful front cover lies a bitter observation of a society that has changed a society that is supposed to have learnt from the past But has it? To what result? And to what end? ‘’We all have an enormity of time too big for one person to deal with and we live and we die’’ My reviews can also be found on Tokyo Ueno Station is the latest book from the wonderful Tilted Axis Press translated by Morgan Giles from Yu Miri 柳 美里 유미리's 2014 novel JR上野駅公園口 and a powerful exploration of the other side of economic development and prestigious projectsThe novel begins with a lament part of which reads Left behind—Like a sculpted tree on the vacant land where a rotted house has been torn downLike the water in a vase from which wilted flowers have been removedLeft behindBut then what of me remains here?A sense of tirednessI was always tiredThere was never a time I was not tiredNot when life had its claws in me or when I escaped from itI did not live with intent I only livedBut that's overbefore our narrator locates us If you go out the ticket gates at JR Ueno Station’s Park exit and look over the the thicket of ginkgo trees you’ll always see homeless people there  For me and most visitors to or inhabitants of Tokyo one thinks of Ueno Park as the place one takes the Yamanote line to visit in cherry blossom season or at any other time for the many museums or and the zoo But situated right in prime Tokyo is a large community of the homeless To be homeless is to be ignored when people walk past while still being in full view of everyoneOur narrator is Kazu now as becomes uickly clear a ghost relatively recently deceased but a former inhabitant of the homeless communityThe novel which he relates in a very non linear fashion takes us through his life and what bought him to living in the makeshift shelters in the park Before we had families We had houses Nobody starts off life in a hovel made of cardboard and tarps and nobody becomes homeless because they want to be One thing happens then anotherBorn in Fukushima in 1933 the same year as the Emperor Akihito his son was born in 1960 the same year as Crown Prince Naruhito who will in fact ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne in May 2019 But the life of Kazu is very different to that of the Emperor who he sees one day in his motorcade a life that had never known struggle envy or aimlessness one that had lived the same seventy three years that I had   Kazu migrated to Tokyo in 1963 arriving in Ueno station and working as a day labourer in the construction effort for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics His subseuent life was that of an itinerant labourer helping to build the economic future of Japan while struggling to maintain his own his wife and two children left in Fukushima their lives barely known to him as he strives to provide for them returning to his hometown only when tragedy strikesKazu's narration covers not just his life but intersperses the dark history of Ueno Park bloody battles around the time of the Meiji Restoration earthuakes the firebombing of the City in WW2 as well as his observations of the homeless still in the park snatches of conversation from well heeled visitors Buddhist funeral rights and even a series of beautiful verbal images of roses based on the series by the 18th 19th century French botanical painter Pierre Joseph RedoutéThat the author has her narrator hail from Fukushima now known worldwide due to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is no coincidence The novel was written in response to both the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid but also the 2011 Tōhoku earthuake and tsunami which overshadows Kazu's thoughts from the novel's very opening words There’s that sound againThat sound—I hear itBut I don’t know if it’s in my ears or in my mindI don’t know if it’s inside me or outsideThe novel in terms of focusing on the downside of and loses from economic development has similarities with the Man Booker International longlisted At Dusk but this is a far superior novel Crucially unlike Hwang Sok Yong who chose a narrator with which he had no sympathy Yu's compassion and empathy is evident on every beautifully moving page Yu Miri herself is a 'Zainichi' Korean ancestry born and living in Japan giving her an outsider status in both countries And following the 2011 Tōhoku earthuake and tsunami she moved to the Fukushima region to support the areaI uoted Kuzu early that To be homeless is to be ignored when people walk past while still being in full view of everyone but there are some days the homeless aren’t even allowed to be in full view and are forced often at short notice to tear down their shelters and move to another area or vacate the park when the Imperial family come to Ueno to visit the museums; or when the Olympic Committee are in townAlthough the 2020 Olympics is barely mentioned indeed when the novel was set Tokyo was bidding to win them the author in an interview has made it clear that this is key to the novel The Olympic Games are going to be held in Tokyo in 2020 Do you plan on writing anything to do with that?A My book “JR Ueno Eki Koenguchi” depicts the story of people from a very poor region of Tohoku who left their homes to work on preparing for the first Tokyo Olympics held just after the war but who were used and discarded ultimately becoming homeless In the present day too all the manual labourers on building sites across the entirety of Eastern Japan including Tohoku are being drawn away to the Olympic venue sites as the money is better there Because of that there are no people working on the reconstruction and decontamination in Tohoku Thus these sites are having to recruit from regions where wages are low such as Nishinari in Osaka or from Okinawa and that means that the people who do come are only one step away from homeless themselves; people who have no insurance no family and who may already be ill So in Minami Soma today you see these migrant labourers without insurance coming to the hospitals for consultations and then running away when the time comes to pay There are also a lot of alcoholics and it is affecting public peace and safety It is bad for the region but on the other hand I truly do feel sorry for the migrant workers themselves Some of them even pass away while they are working stung by wasps or having accidents on the building sites etc When one of those people dies nobody will come to collect their bones after cremation There is a temple close to my home and you can see how the temples in Minami Soma have now become the final resting places for the bones of the poorest minimum wage migrant labourers from all across the nation I want to write about this a part of the reality of the Tokyo Olympics after allMorgan Giles does a wonderful job for her first full length translation and in addition to her undoubted linguistic skills this is also a function of her personal passion for the novel's message From an interview The protagonist Kazu’s life began as a labourer ahead of the 1964 Olympics With the 2020 Olympics around the corner how do you feel Yu Miri’s work and your translation of Tokyo Ueno Station are contributing to the conversation by bringing to the centre of the page those on the peripheries of Japanese society? A I hope it’s the flaw in the jewel as the phrase goes in Japanese I hope people can’t watch the opening ceremonies without feeling physically sick that labour time and money were diverted from recovery efforts in the North Eastern coastal region to build Olympic facilities That homeless people have been evicted from parks in Tokyo because their presence isn’t compatible with the Olympic dream That homeless people from as far south as Okinawa are being hired to do construction in the North Eastern coastal region because companies are that hard up for labourers leading to a situation that Miri calls “a reverse Tokyo Ueno Station” – these homeless labourers are dying in Fukushima names unknown and no relatives to be traced with nowhere for their remains to go except a temple that has agreed to be the final resting place for these anonymous men who worked until they died to rebuild a country that doesn’t care about themHighly recommended 45 stars Sad still and rather uneven More interesting as a concept than as an executed novel To be homeless is to be ignored when people walk past while still being in full view of everyone If I don’t exist I can’t disappear eitherWe follow in a non linear fashion Kazu who appears to be a ghost based on the blurb on Tokyo Ueno Station His ghost like status might be a symbol of how homeless people are not noticed by passing salarymen and “people with homes” in generalHis life story tells a tale of post war hardship and the plight of one working away from home sending money back but missing the growing up of his children His plight is told in a beautiful way by Miri Yū I never carried any photos with me but I was always surrounded by people places and times gone by And as I retreated into the future the only thing I could ever see was the pastIt was nothing as sweet as nostalgia or a longing for bygone days just a constant absence from the present an anger toward the future Hidden within today was a past longer than the presentKazu his life is a mirror to the life of the wealthy and powerful He is born on the same day as the Emperor and his son is born on the same day as the crown prince However he is clearly out of luck and catastrophes befall him and his family consistently during the whole book Even the tsunami in his hometown Fukushima comes back in the last few pages of the book Due to the barrage like gloom of these events I in the end felt kind of numb in respect to the story of KazuWhat did hit me on an emotional level as a reader is the cruelty of anti homeless measures to keep them moving to get rid of their sleeping places by beautifying parks by forcing them away when the emperor visits a museum Do we as society see these people or are they just unsightly obstacles? This is a uestion the author brings up with incredible power and integrity Things like that always made me feel lonely when I was aliveDuring the book we have a lot of focus on descriptions of nature from the park wherein Kazu spend the last years of his life to a narration of a flower painting exhibition in one of the Ueno museumsIn general there are lots of monologues some very mundane about sardines or dried cuttlefish in relation to cats vitamine B1 deficits to almost infodump like about the Meiji restoration Ueno park itself and roses oddly enough Still an appendix with terminology might have helped in this translation I’m very much into Japanese culture and literature but the specifics of a Buddhist Pureland funeral are a bit over my headOverall I found this slim novella interesting in themes and topics than in the factual execution The stage writing background of the author is clear in the way she enlivens scenes with sensory observations but strangely enough convincing dialogues are very much lacking This book reminded me in a way of The Last Children of Tokyo; full of atmosphere and ideas but in the end unsatisfyingly worked out Now Nominated for the National Book Award for Translated Fiction 2020To be poor means to be invisible Tokyo Ueno Station tells the story of a laborer who had to work hard all of his life in order to support his family only to end up homeless in Ueno Park near the title giving railway station Our protagonist Kazu Mori was born into a poor family in Fukushima and when he himself gets married and has children he has to spend most of his time away from them trying to earn enough money in far away towns A family tragedy brutally confronts him with the fact that he is alienated from the people he loves that he has spent his life toiling away out of necessity while the grandfather clock which features again and again in the text has mercilessly measured the time that has passed him by Kazu starts falling apart The narrative clue Yes the version of Kazu who tells us his story is now physically dead a ghost roaming the park and the station but was he ever alive to mainstream society? Kazu was born in 1933 the same year as Emperor Akihito his son on the same day as Crown Prince Naruhito the current Emperor of Japan but while the Imperial family lives a carefree pure life Kazu's poverty amounts to a sin as it leads him to make decisions he himself disapproves of which ultimately breaks him Yu Miri spoke to homeless people in Ueno Park to be able to properly convey their perspectives and as they of course differ the short novel also tells the stories of some other homeless people Kazu meets On top of that Kazu's life story the monuments sights and exhibitions in and near the park as well as Japanese history are steadily connected and contrasted and Kazu freuently listens to passersby and absorbs their dialogues The result is a fragmented text which is held together mainly by a mounting sense of doom The author of this book knows a thing or two about ineuality As the daughter of Korean immigrants she is a so called Zainichi part of a discriminated minority you can learn about this in the novel Pachinko or the non fiction book Three Tigers One Mountain A Journey Through the Bitter History and Current Conflicts of China Korea and Japan The outsider is forced to live in between in a constant state of transit and the uestion of belonging of finding or losing a home is a constant theme throughout the novel While the structure of the book is ambitious and well thought out the fragmented style does not develop a pull that would make the story truly immersive Many explanatory passages about monuments or historical events seem a little excessive some dialogues are contrived Still this is an interesting experiment full of empathy and deeply sad Like the setting and the historical aspects Some parts of the story were really engaging but a lot of it was not The mesmerizing glow of deep melancholia emanates from this little book I felt its slow pull deep in my bones This should come with a word of precaution for those of us that are fragile those among us barely holding on Dans le parc d'Ueno un homme âgé s'est installé Après une vie de labeur passée loin des siens il imaginait une retraite paisible en famille Mais la vie en a décidé autrement Après la mort de sa femme il n'a pas la force de rester dans leur maison et préfère revenir se perdre dans l'anonymat de Tokyo Sous les arbres il se construit une cabane de bâches et de planches affrontant ainsi le temps et les saisons Posant son regard paisible sur les promeneurs tendant l'oreille aux commentaires des visiteurs du musée attenant au jardin aux chants des oiseaux comme aux mots insolites de ses compagnons de misère le vieil homme vaue en silence aux abords de l'étang ou s'avance dans le hall de la gare là où l'espace fourmille encore d'urgences et d'horaires il se souvient Tokyo Ueno Station centered around the tragic figure of the male narrator who takes the reader through the historical events that took place in Japan after WWII and they were somehow related to his own life You never really had luck his mother told him once and truly the hero seems to be running out of it till the very final pages of this novella His life was full of struggles and tragedies while correlating with the big events in the Emperor's shiny life And yet the narrator doesn't seem to give up on life he doesn't even take it upon the Emperor when he makes the comparison of his situation with the latter's Life seems to go on all around him as it is shown by the small incidents and stolen conversations at the Ueno Station where the homeless man is usually passes by The books main theme actually except from the historical events is the motif of life and death That duo plays a central role in the character's life and in the end he comes it terms with it and gives a hopeful node to the reader to not give upHowever even though the story was deep and thought provoking it tended to get stuck between repetition and the back and forth pattern of the narration That resulted in some boring passages that put the smooth storyline on a standstill for a whileSo overall even though the writer did a great job with the portrayal of the character and the history of Japan giving emotional punches here and there the novella ended up tiring to read Maybe 35 I enjoyed this one an intriguing curious and sometimes confusing read There were some really powerful moments though it did take me a while to get into it This short novella on cultural memory narrated by a homeless man whose spirit lingers on in Ueno Park after his death was the first translated work where I was struck by the simple and fluid elegance of the language something I had all but given up on based on the other translations of Japanese works I'd sampled so far I used to think life was like a book You turn the first page and there's the next and as you go on turning page after page eventually you reach the last one But life is nothing like a story in a book There may be words and the pages may be numbered but there is no plot There may be an ending but there is no end Left behind— Like a sculpted tree on the vacant land where a rotted house has been torn down Like the water in a vase after wilted flowers have been removed Left behind But then what of me remains here? A sense of tiredness I was always tired There was never a time I was not tired Not when life had its claws in me and not when I escaped from it I did not live with intent I only lived But that's all over now The protagonist's life is intertwined with that of his Emperor by a series of coincidences; they were born the same year both of their sons were born on the same day and they are often tied to the same spots Kazu is a hard working family man who labored in the capital during the run up to the 1964 Olympics and was then one of the many migrant workers forming the backbone of Japan's economic rise The novel recounts the twists of fate and circumstance that led to him becoming one of the unfortunate souls in the vast homeless tarp tent camps in one of Tokyo's most famous public parks Before we had families We had houses Nobody starts off life in a hovel made of cardboard and tarps and nobody becomes homeless because they want to be One thing happens then another His often stream of consciousness reminiscences are woven together with snippets of overheard conversations of passersby as well as with bits and pieces forming a picture of Ueno's long history Once the site of a bloody battle during the Civil war which resulted in the Meiji Restoration it suffered earthuakes and firebombings is now famous for its museums temples and shrines the zoo and as a prime cherry blossom viewing spot and where the presence of homeless suatters is accepted or at least somewhat tolerated until the Imperial family comes through to visit an exhibition or the Olympic committee pays a visit and they are forced to vacate the park at short notice with all they own To be homeless is to be ignored when people walk past while still being in full view of everyone Tokyo Ueno Station combines personal tragedies with wider social problems in a gentle compassionate and poignant critiue of economic development showcasing the working class it leaves behind in their struggle As we near the 2020 Olympics in Japan it's a timely and very much intended reminder that the unsavory sides of an event of such magnitude need to be addressed instead of swept under the rug so that the already underappreciated aren't further taken advantage of only to be discarded and pushed to the margins of society even as has happened before————— All my book reviews can be found here · Buy on BookDepository

  • Paperback
  • 176 pages
  • JR上野駅公園口
  • Miri Yū
  • French
  • 03 September 2016
  • 9782330056636

About the Author: Miri Yū

Yū Miri is a Zainichi Korean playwright novelist and essayist Yu writes in Japanese her native language but is a citizen of South KoreaYū was born in Yokohama Kanagawa Prefecture Japan to Korean parents After dropping out of the Kanagawa Kyoritsu Gakuen high school she joined the Tokyo Kid Brothers 東京キッドブラザース theater troupe and worked as an actress and assistant director In 1986 she