Last night in bed, I read an unsettling story in my Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories. It was “Patriotism” by Yukio Mishima. In it, there’s a description in gruesome detail of a couple, husband and wife, who committed ritual suicide. It kept me up wondering if the short story was supposed to be critical or supportive of the acts. The couple were very young, especially the wife, and they did it because the husband, a soldier, had a problem with some friends who took part in a revolt and against whom he would have had to fight. He didn’t want to do this, so he committed seppuku and his wife also killed herself to safeguard his honor or something. I found it very puzzling and quite horrible to contemplate.

I looked up the author on Wikipedia and learned that he had also committed ritual suicide for similar reasons. Very unsettling indeed and very hard to relate to; a totally alien mindset from my perspective. I don’t think that I will forget the short story anytime soon. According to Wikipedia, Mishima is an important Japanese author, who was once considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature but also a controversial political figure. A Japanese nationalist who opposed the post-war democratic constitution and wanted to restore the “sacredness of the Japanese Emperor”. That sounds very strange to me. I don’t believe in the sacredness of any human being regardless of their office ̶ or rather, aren’t we all kind of sacred (but not in a political way)?

We’re back in Bavaria and Partner is back in North Rhine-Westphalia. Our trip was ok, just a bit long. Some traffic backups at construction sites and I was stuck behind a slow lorry for a very long time on the country roads. I couldn’t overtake it, because of oncoming traffic or too many bends or hills or other obstacles that prevented me from seeing if the road was clear. We arrived at 4:00 p.m. I’ve now set up my office for tomorrow’s work, had a short walk with Curious Dog to calm him down after the drive, had dinner (Mum made lentil soup) and am quite knackered. I like driving, but somehow it tires me out. Probably all that sustained concentration.

Keep safe, world.

One thought on “Unsettling

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.