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Reading

~Chinese / 中文
《平如美棠》饶平如

~Japanese / 日本語
「女のいない男たち」村上春樹
「職業は武装解除」瀬谷ルミ子

~English
"Notes on Democracy" Arundhati Roy

~Korean / 한국어
《그렇습니까? 기린입니다》박민규
《소나기》 황순원

~Finished / 読了 / 已读
「コンビニ人間」村田沙耶香
"Factory Girls" Lesley Chang
"Your Republic is Calling You" Kim Young-ha
「色彩を持たない多崎つくると彼の巡礼の年」村上春樹
《裸命》陈冠中
"River Town" Peter Hessler
"Oracle Bones" Peter Hessler
"Country Driving" Peter Hessler
「カンガルー日和」村上春樹
「こころ」夏目漱石
「火の鳥9」 手塚治虫
《呐喊》鲁迅
《娃》莫言
《朋友》余华
"Inside the Kingdom" Robert Lacey
《活着》余华
"A Room of One's Own" Virginia Woolf
「羊をめぐる冒険」村上春樹
《阿Q正传》鲁迅
《倾城之恋 》张爱玲
《茉莉香片》张爱玲
《金锁记》张爱玲
「深夜特急」(2)沢木耕太郎
「1973年のピンボール」 村上春樹
"One Foot In Eden" Ron Rash
「双子の星」宮沢賢治

“Floating” — a poem after Mu Dan

“Floating”

(after Mù Dàn)

Kieran Maynard

o hunger
get off my back
I’m off on a rambling road

going wherever; God only knows
my thick feet stumbling on
step, after step, after step

my eyes are a flower
blooming on a million stars
a bright-hot nebula
jelly-legs,
step, after step, after step

2012.11.15 evening

“Wanderer” by Mu Dan translated from the Chinese

“Wanderer” (流浪人)

Mù Dàn 穆旦 (1918-1977)

Trans. K. Maynard

 

hunger——

my good friend,

it keeps pestering me

on this wandering road

 

softly,

the wanderer’s two heavy legs,

step,after step, after step……

what place at earth’s end?

no destination. only

two legs moving

step, after step…… wanderer

 

as if eyes bloomed a flower

flew past a million stars, crow-like.

muddled head, bitter heart;

fiery-hot body, melted——

like cotton, heaped into a ball

but still carrying soft legs

step, after step, after step……

 

(1933) 4.15 evening

 

流浪人

穆旦

饿——
我底好友,
它老是缠着我
在这流浪的街头。

软软地,
是流浪人底两只沉重的腿,
一步,一步,一步……
天涯的什么地方?
没有目的。可老是
疲倦的两只脚运动着,
一步,一步……流浪人。

仿佛眼睛开了花
飞过了千万颗星点,像乌鸦。
昏沉着的头,苦的心;
火热般的身子,熔化了——
棉花似地堆成一团
可仍是带着软的腿
一步,一步,一步……

(1933年)4月15日晚

Source: blog

丽江到重庆:云南和贵州的旅程

Lijiang to Chongqing: Travels in Yunnan and Guizhou (with photo captions in English)

上个月,我从日本长崎坐船来到上海,然后坐飞机到云南昆明玩儿。游览过丽江和大理后,我路过昆明,在云南曲靖待了几天。曲靖便是云南省的第二大城市,却好像一个外国人都没有。我一下客车走在南城门广场就感觉到周围的人们都在好奇地看着我。但是对我来说,这是一件不值得惊讶的事。我在日本也待了一年,因为个子高我常常引起人们的关注。我觉得这样对外国人是出于好奇心,大部分是没恶意的,所以受到关注还能放心。过了不长时间,我在曲靖交到了几个朋友。我们一起去吃火锅,烧烤什么的,然后去唱歌。下一天我们一起去曲靖最美丽的公园,也进了一家”鬼屋”,最后在朋友的家里吃了晚饭。我离开曲靖的时候,三个人来送我了。我们一起拍照片,然后把照片打印出来做个纪念。我坐客车到贵州黄果树。一路的风景都特别美,山岭绿绿的,深谷烟雾弥漫。我有点儿遗憾我不能呆在贵州很长时间,因为过了几天我必须到重庆赶飞机。但虽有遗憾,来日方长,下次就能够悠闲地观看。我在黄果树的大自然里一条弯曲的路上走的时候,来了一辆出租车,我们商量价钱后我就坐进去了。里面还有两个湖南人。我们跟司机在一起吃个饭。司机居然比我年轻,他二十一岁。我和两个湖南人走进了风景区,观赏了许多奇怪的石头和汹涌的瀑布。之后我一个人去看壮观的黄果树大瀑布。它有80多米高,站在很远也可以感到它的水雾。离开了黄果树,我坐客车到安顺,吃了很多美味的小吃后再坐车去贵阳,因为安顺到重庆的火车票都卖完了。在贵阳我终于拿到了一张火车票:零点44分出发,夜行硬座。买好了票我走在贵阳的路上看夜景,然后在火车上睡觉。睡醒时已经经过成都了。最后,我一路顺利地赶到飞机回上海了。

20120915-115001.jpgLijiang

20120915-115019.jpgDali

20120915-115041.jpgKunming

20120915-115104.jpgQujing

20120915-115117.jpgQujing

20120915-115143.jpgQujing

20120915-115202.jpgQujing

20120915-115244.jpgGuizhou

20120915-115230.jpgGuizhou

20120915-115302.jpgGuizhou

20120915-115348.jpgHuangguoshu

20120915-115316.jpgHuangguoshu

20120915-115410.jpgHuangguoshu

20120915-115454.jpgHuangguoshu

20120915-115428.jpgThe Great Waterfall at Huangguoshu

20120915-115517.jpgHuangguoshu

20120915-115533.jpgGuizhou near Anshun

20120915-115610.jpgChongqing

20120915-115600.jpgGuiyang

20120915-115641.jpgShanghai

Day 47 Yadan

July 12, 2011 (Tuesday)

Forty-seventh day in China, second day in Dunhuang: 汉长城 Han Great Wall, 玉门关 Yumenguan, 雅丹 Yadan

We ate lunch at the hostel and hopped on the 2pm bus for Yadan, a “Geopark” out in the desert on the Xinjiang-Gansu border. The bus left Dunhuang via a lonely road shooting straight into the rocky desert. Dark mountains rose in the distance. The mountain range straight ahead looked like a 臥佛 sleeping Buddha. A huge mirage, like a giant lake, arose on our left, and a small sand-twister hit the bus. We stopped at a site of Buddhist cave art, but no guides were present to unlock the caves, so we drove on to the 汉长城 Han Great Wall. In Gansu lie the furthest reaches of the Great Wall, lost in the desert. The 2000 year old wall was reduced to a few meters of earth and straw facing a stretch of green on one side. On the other, “the lone and level sands stretched far away”. We rode on to 玉门关 Yumenguan, or the “Jade Gate Pass”, through which Joy’s father told us they used to bring in jade from Xinjiang on the Silk Road. The fortress was a lone crumbling tower.

At the peak of the day’s heat we reached Yadan, billed as a “natural sculpture garden”. The vast Geopark held many many large stones abraded into fantastic shapes. One looked like the Sphinx, another like a peacock on a pedestal. A bus drove us to several of the closer sights, then we chartered a jeep with a couple from Sichuan to take us further south. A thousand rock shapes arrayed on the sand like battleships at sea. Another group recalled city streets. Our shadows strethched many times longer than our height. The jeep shot out over a lumpy path through the sand to take us up a steep hill. We climbed a huge striated rock with other travelers and watched the sun go down. Two nights in a row we watched the sun go down in a strange place on Earth. Yadan looks like the surface of the moon.

Due to the time difference between Beijing and Dunhuang, the sun sets out west around 9:30pm.

We rode the jeep back in the dark and caught our bus back to the hostel. Made it home by 2am.

KM

Day 40 Beijing

July 5, 2011 (Tuedsay)

Fortieth day in China, eighth day in Beijng: 恭王府 Gongwangfu, 妙应寺白塔 the white tower at Miaoying Temple

I got sick, and slept badly. In the morning I changed to a direct Beijing-Lanzhou flight. I chatted with the travel agent at the front desk again, and he suggested I see Gongwangfu, the former residence of the last emperor’s father. I walked Gulou Street from the hostel, and back to the Houhai bar area I visited with Haofan last week. I wandered through hutongs, and saw a couple in cream-colored wedding dress taking photos. From a street side window I bought a cake filled with delicious garlic greens. The “Gong Mansion” was full of tourists, and certainly renovated. The buildings seemed to me little different from the Kong Mansion in Qufu. On display in some of the halls were 唐卡 thangka paintings from Qinghai. Thangka are intricate and colorful illustrations of Buddhist philosophy, a part of Tibetan culture. A few old paintings from the Ming and Qing dynasties hung, but most were very new. Many had been painted in the last few years, and were clear and bright. Behind the main halls sat nice gardens, so thick with tourists I could not pass through. I left and took the bus to Miaoying Temple, perhaps better known as 白塔寺 “White Tower Temple”, as a Yuan dynasty (very old) white dagoba sits at the center of the compound. This, unfortunately, was sheathed in scaffolding, but the doorman was friendly. A red-robed monk argued with the ticket-taker. It seemed they had not charged the monk any entry fee, and in the interest of fairness he demanded they sell him a 30 yuan ticket like everyone else. The chamber before the white tower contained golden statues of three Buddhas, and 具六神通 written in gold by Qianlong, a display dating back to the Qing dynasty. Two lay people and two monks poured libations by the tower, chanting.

I got my ticket delivered, took dinner in the hostel, and slept early.

KM

Day 39 Beijing

The Fourth of July, 2011

Thirty-ninth day in China, seventh day in Beijing: 慕田峪长城 Mutianyu Great Wall, 贵州酸汤鱼 Guizhou “sour soup fish”

I bought an egg pancake with lettuce outside Andingmen Station and ate as I rode two stops to Dongzhimen, where I met Haofan and Hanta. I got a sandwich and coffee for a dollar at McDonalds. The three of us took a bus from Dongzhimen in Beijing up the expressway to 怀柔 Huairou. We paid a minivan to drop us off at the foot of the Great Wall at Mutianyu, a Ming-era (~1400) section of the Wall renovated in 1984. We bought lots of water and bland jianbing (egg pancakes) on the tourist alley, then climbed staircases for half an hour, until we emerged from the trees at the Wall.

I touched the wall, stood in a doorway, and checked my bearings. The Wall ran north-south. Beijing was a faint haze over the southern range. The mountains dipped in the west to form to form Mutian valley. I climbed the stone steps, onto the Great Wall.

As a kid I imagined China as the other side of the world, and the Great Wall a stone road leading to Tibet, the furthest land on Earth. I had no idea what, or where, was China, but believed that if you traveled as far as possible across the earth, you’d wind up there.

The wall had been cleared of bushes, repaired, paved, and outfitted with new guard towers in the 80’s & 90’s. Huairou was visible in the west, and another town could be seen in a valley to the east. The wall snaked peak to peak along the mountains, and made for a serious climb. We started at the tenth tower, and walked all the way to tower twenty-three, at the end of the renovation. One straight and steep staircase proved particularly tiring, but we were rewarded by ever better views. The path flattened along a ridge, and the renovation ended. We continued. The wall beyond was crumbling and crowded with bushes, but after some twenty minutes we reached a ruined watchtower, from which we could see steep crags, the ruined wall running south, the new wall, Huairou, other towns before yellow peaks, and beyond. In the distance I heard voices. A cool wind blew. I stood on the tower, then climbed down, and we three started back down the wall. We had climbed for some three hours. In about half this time we descended, in blazing sun, singing a song from “Journey to the West”, and got a ride back to Huairou, where we caught the bus.

Hanta said goodbye at Dongzhimen. Sunburned and weary Haofan and I caught a second wind as we walked 簋街 Ghost Street, full of restaurants, and turned south to 北新桥 Beixinqiao, where we passed many shops under many red lanterns. I ate bread stuffed with green peppers and donkey meat. According to the shop, one of the 八仙 Eight Immortals supposedly said, 天上龍肉, 地下驢肉 “Dragon meat in Heaven, donkey meat on Earth.” It was pretty good. In a restaurant we ate Guizhou-style 酸鱼汤 “sour soup fish”, ours a catfish they showed us live, then presented chopped fresh for the boil in sour soup. While the soup boiled we drank sweet rice wine and ate flat sticky cakes that tasted like zongzi. We ate the fish, added vegetables, and had a round of Chinese beer. Energized, we hit the street and wandered through hutongs, passed a statue of a drinking ghost, and shared all the Chinese and Japanese ghost stories we could remember. We bought rabbit legs and heads and ate by Beixinqiao Station. On the sidewalk, kids with big brushes wrote hanzi with water. Haofan gave me a book of maps of all China, and we parted at the station.

In North Carolina, my family prepared to march in the Montreat parade.

KM

Kieran Maynard

Kieran Maynard

Writer, translator, researcher, traveler specializing in Japanese and Chinese literature.

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