Ayn Rand's "We the Living" Japanese edition being published

Ayn Rand(1905-1982)'s first novel "We the Living" (1936) Japanese edition ("Warera Ikiru Mono") is being published December 10. The translator is Ayumi Wakizaka, who also translated Rand's last and representative novel "Atlas Shrugged" (1957, Japanese title "Kata Wo Sukumeru Atorasu").

The Japanese editions of Rand's two most important long novels "The Fountainhead" (1943, Japanese title "Suigen", translated by Kayoko Fujimori) and "Atlas Shrugged" was published in 2004. After four years, in 2008, one of Rand's most important essays "The Virtue of Selfishness" (1964, Japanese title "Rikosyugi Toh Yuh Kigai", translated by Kayoko Fujimori) was published. And after another four years, in 2012.

Rand's short but important novel "Anthem" (1937) was already translated into Japanese by Kayoko Fujimori and uploaded to her WEB site (Japanese title "Ansemu").

At last, all Rand's important novels can be read in Japanese.

Probably, among the various language editions of Rand's works which have ever made, the Japanese editions are the most meaningful ones, because Japan is a rare country where most of the ruling elite can't read long essays nor novels in English.

It is almost indispensable for the leaders of a modern societies to understand the thoughts of Ayn Rand, whether for or against her position.

I hope those great translation works by the two Japanese women, Ms. Fujimori and Ms. Wakizaka, help Japanese society overcome the present critical situation and develop soundly.


The opposite effect

It is about four years since I started to work as a writer of advertisement articles made up of interview with customers ("Customer Stories"). Generally, the opening part of a Customer Story consists of an extracted statement of the interviewee as headline, a summary of the customer company, and an outline of the state of usage of the product. One of the things I care most when writing summary of customer companies is to keep the statement as flat as possible. In other words, not to praise -- or to put it more precisely, not to give readers the impression I am attempting to praise -- the interviewee ( = the customer company). The readers of the article are prospect customers of the product. For the readers, what matters is not how great the interviewee is, but how useful the product is for the readers, whether the product is worth the cost, and so on. Sometimes I am required to rewrite the summary part to praise more the customer company, by both the client and the customer company. It is natural for them to want the article to praise the customer company, but that kind of rewriting has the opposite effect. The readers, who are force to read compliments they do not want to read, must be unpleasant. But it is difficult for a freelance writer like me to point out such a thing to clients.


英文エッセイ「About birth control 」

This time think about birth control. After listening next speech, tell us your opinion.
Melinda Gates: Let's put birth control back on the agenda

Birth control has two aspects. One is the national or global population control. The other is the improvement of personal welfare. The former is accomplished by governments. The latter is accomplished by businesses. The speaker emphasized the latter rather than the former. If she believes that the spread of birth control improves the personal welfare of people in underdeveloped countries, what she should do is to found business to supply contraceptive devices to them; that is, to develop devices cheap enough, to arouse the wants and needs by marketing, and to establish distribution roots. Philanthropists often try to accomplish politically a goal which should be accomplished by business. I don't like their way.


英文エッセイ「About job choice」

A man told a young man/woman about job.
"You must first ask yourself what is the kind of work for which you're best fitted."
Do you agree or disagree with the above statement?

Don't ask me about job hunting.
That's the only advice I can give you about job hunting.
I am a loser in the field of job hunting. I changed my job three times. Almost every time I changed job, my income decreased.
The first time I changed job, I chose to work as a translator who translated product manuals written in English into Japanese. I thought I was best fitted for the work, because I have some skill to write in Japanese, a little skill to read in English, and almost no skill to sell something or communicate with people. In reality, as a manual translator, I was below the average. My English skill was too poor, and the demand for translators was far less than supply.
The second time I changed job, I chose to try to work as an operation manual writer for Japanese small companies. I thought I was best fitted for the work, because English skill was not required, and I had read various operation manuals of various companies as a translator. In reality, as an operation manual writer, I could get almost no clients.
The third time I changed job, I stated to work as an advertising article writer who interviewed with and took photos of customer of the client company. I thought I was never fitted for the work, because I had no skill to induce people to buy something nor skill to take photos. In reality, as an advertising interview-article writer, my income has increased little by little, and orders have kept coming continuously.
From my experience, I do not think it is so important what kind of work you think you're best fitted for.
But anyway you shouldn't believe my advise about job choice.


英文エッセイ「About painful experience」

Have you had some painful or itchy experiences?
Tell us the most impressive one.

I was hospitalized at the age of seventeen for a disease in which the lung collapses because of a buildup of air in the chest space ("spontaneous pneumothorax"). To discharge the air in the chest space, the doctor decided to insert a tube into my chest space. The operation to insert a tube into the chest space was slightly terrible one. The doctor stuck a big needle into my chest while I lay on my back, being fully aware of what was going on. To endure the pain and fear, I turned off the switch of consciousness. I kept my face expressionless even at the moment the needle went through the anterior chest wall. I heard that the nurse assisting the operation was moved to tears by my patience.
















英文エッセイ「About advertisement and a country (?)」

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?
"Advertising can tell you a lot about a country."

I can not agree nor disagree with the statement that makes no sense. If the statement says that governments often try to unify people's minds by means of publicity, I guess it is true. I remembered a picture of oiled birds which was spread all over the world at the time of 1991 Gulf War, although the source of that picture may not be the government of U.S.A. If the statement says that we can learn much about a country by observing advertisement conducted there, I think it also is true.


英文エッセイ「"Change before you have to."」

Jack Welch said, "Change before you have to."
What do you feel about that idea?

It is so encouraging a remark, especially for one who is trying to change something. I am encouraged too. It was because I thought job options would severely limited without English skills in the near future even in Japan that I restarted to learn English in spite of my Japanese-only language environment. It also is a consoling remark, especially for one who has already changed something and starts to doubt whether his decision was right, with no remarkable outcome in his sight. I am consoled too. I threw away a job with salary more than twice of the average of same age twelve years ago, and now my income is less than half of the average of same age. I want to believe I made the decision that I would have to make sooner or later.


英文エッセイ「About curiosity」

Walt Disney said "when you're curious, you find lots of interesting things to do."
What do you think about that opinion?

I don't agree with him. Curious people, especially people who are curious about other people, rarely have the will to find interesting things for themselves to do. When people are curious about other people, they usually just expect to find the proof that other people are as petty as -- even pettier than -- them, or that people who are exceptionally great are different from them by nature. In short, they just want excuse not to take action to improve themselves and their circumstances by themselves. After this statement, Walt Disney continued, "And one thing it takes to accomplish something is courage." He was half right, half wrong. Courage is needed even to have the will to find interesting things for ourselves to do.


英文エッセイ「If I am won to 30-days trip around in the world」

Imagine you're won to 30-days trip around in the world. Make a plan. Where, with who, how long stay each places, What to do etc.

I like railway traveling. If I am won to 30-days trip around in the world, I travel around the globe taking various long-distance trains of all over the world. Train travel is one of the best way to get aquatinted with fellow passengers. Although mutual understanding with people of different culture is often difficult, it might easier to understand each other and become friends among the same train travel lovers. So I prefer to travel abroad by train alone.


英文エッセイ「My most favorite book」

What is your most favorite book? Tell us the title. Why?

My most favorite book is Ayn Rand(1905-1982)'s long novel "Atlas Shrugged (Kata Wo Sukumeru Atorasu『肩をすくめるアトラス』)." This novel has various aspects, including of a science fiction, a mystery fiction, a romance novel, and a philosophical novel. There are truths that can be expressed by no forms other than story. It could be described by the form of essay how the society as a whole is composed, or how you as individual will live or behave. But it can only be described by the form of story how you can live or behave in the greatest way, from both points of view of the society as a whole and you as individual. "Atlas Shrugged" makes it clear not only how the society as a whole is composed, but also how you can live or behave in the greatest way, from both points of view of the society as a whole and you as individual. This novel always gives me the motive to live or behave in as great a way as possible. The heroin of the novel, Dagny Taggart, the Operating Vice President of a giant railroad company, embodies my image of ideal woman.








英文エッセイ「About marriage」

In your childhood what did you think about marriage?

I noticed from early childhood that men lost their peace of mind by getting married and their honor by being unmarried. As I grew up, both the fear of losing peace of mind by getting married and that of losing honor by being unmarried became stronger in my mind. It may be because the later fear has been overcome more thoroughly than the former fear that I am still unmarried at 41 yeras old.


英文エッセイ「What have changed from then」

Do you remember your first love?
At that time what you felt every day?
And now what have changed a bit since from your first love?

When I got to like a girl as the opposite sex for the first time at five years old, every night I dreamed of various fantastic situations in which I was the hero who rescued and was respected by the girl who attended the same kindergarten. What have changed since then is that I have learned from reality that I don't deserve any respect. I no longer want to be respected by women. I guess that to be respected by someone is to deceive her into believing I have something that I do not actually. Fraud is bad and does not pay.


英文エッセイ「About the movie I was moved by」

What is a most touching movie in your life ? What situations moved you ?

4 years ago, I saw a Japanese movie titled "Devotion of The Suspect X (Yougisha X no Kenshin)," whichi is directed by Hiroshi Nishinani, and the original author of which was Keigo Higashino. The movie was a detective story, in which a high school male mathematics teacher, extremely unsociable but genius for mathematics, committed murder to protect a woman whom he loved one-sidedly. In this movie, there was a scene in which the mathematics teacher, arrested and held in police cell, looked up the spotted ceiling of the solitary cell, and connected the spots in his brain, thinking of mathematical problem. Strangely, I was moved by this scene. The loneliness of a man whose mind was absorbed in abstract ideas was depicted by picturing how strongly he intercourses with mathematical problems other people can hardly understand, far more vividly than by picturing how little he intercourses with other people. Maybe I also am a man of his kind. I guess that was why I moved by the trifle scene.


英文エッセイ「If I could go to and stay any place for 4 weeks vacation」

If you could go to and stay any place for 4 weeks vacation, Where would you go? And why?

I like railway traveling. I have yearning for a travel by long distance train. I like to see mountains scenery. And the main setting of my most favorite novel is an American giant railroad company in the early 20th century. So if I could go to and stay any place for 4 weeks vacation, I would like to go to USA and enjoy traveling by transcontinental railroad.


英文エッセイ「About beautiful customs of Japanese people」

Describe a custom from Japan that you would like people from other countries to adapt.

I don't think I am entitled to expect people of other countries to adopt customs of my country. But I guess some of Japanese customs can be regarded beautiful in foreign cultures. In Japan, your wallet lost in public places like streets or railroad stations is often delivered to a police station or the office of the institution by someone who found it. Many Japanese people make it a habit to restore what they found in public space to the owner of it. This custome is, I think, beautiful enough to be respecte by foreign people.











英文エッセイ「About the salary of teachers」

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?
"Teachers should be paid according to how much their students learn."

I agree. From payers' point of view, how much you should pay should reflect how much you could get. As of the salary of teachers of municipal schools, the payer is the whole community. By public education, the community expects for the students to learn. So it is natural the teachers be paid according to how much their students learn. But the definition of the words and phrases must be precise. If "teachers" means individual teachers, I don't agree with the statement. Because education is achieved not by individual teachers but the team of teachers. If "how much their students learn" means scores of some paper tests, I don't agree with the statement. Because by the education, the community expects for the students not to get excellent scores in some tests, but to get mature enough to sustain the community.


英文エッセイ「About that election of that country」

Bararack Obama won.
He made a big movement "change" last President Election, but anything not change.
So this time he had many hardships.
Next 4 years what will happen between U.S.A., Chaina, Russia, S.Koria and Japan etc.?
What do you hope to new Obama's politics? Why?

Does the questioner think the policy of Obama Administration will change or not? The sentence 2 says "anything not change," so he doesn't think it does. The sentence 5 says "new Obama's politics," so he thinks it does. Probably there was "change" of the questioners between sentence 2 and 5. I have little idea of the policy of Obama Administration, whether in past nor future. Hoping something to the politics of foreign countries seems to me like hoping someting to the rute of a typhoon or the timing of earthquakes.


英文エッセイ「About "The end of year special lottery tickets"」

"The end of year special lottery tickets (Nenmatsu Jumbo Takarakuji)" season is coming.
What do you think of buying that trickery tickets?
Many people give not small money to Mizuho Bank etc. and 99.99999999% will be losers.
Of course all gamblings are illegal in Japan.
There is a big difference between the laws and the actualities.
Declare your personal opinion.

Public lottery is a great system.
There are two kinds of people in the world. One is those who want to be given much more than they give. The other is those who want to give much more than they are given, or at least want to give as much as they are given.
Lottery buyers are the former. Because they want to get millions of dollars in exchange for a few dollars.
Lottery sellers are also the former. Because they get dozens of billions of dollars in exchange just for a "dream" that has the probability of coming true as little as 0.00000001%.
Public lottery system provides those want-to-be-given-much-more-than-givers with a harmless activity in which they can appropriately waste their energy.
In addition, a portion of its sales is used for the public welfare.
Fortunately, I have never wanted to buy lottery tickets nor be involved in selling them.


英文エッセイ「About "Animal Testing"」


Are you in favor or against of "Animal Testing"? Why?

I'm in favor of "Animal Testing." Because it reduces the risk of side effects to human being. Of course the victim animals of "Animal Testing" should be as few as possible. But at least "Animal Testing" should not be restricted by law. The protection of the rights(?) of animals is not government's job.


英文エッセイ「My most favorite hobby」


“What your most favorite hobby is ? Why?"

My most favorite hobby is Japanese traditional martial arts "Bu-Jutsu".
I like this hobby mainly for three reasons.
Honestly, martial arts didn't make me so strong like professional fighters.
But in my experience, to defense yourself from violent people, you don't always have to be strong enough to beat them completely.
Violent people attack those who seem not to counterattack.
Martial arts gave me courage to counterattack against attack.
Since I started to learn martial arts, I have never been involved in trouble with violent people.
Martial arts require your body and soul to work efficiently to their limit.
The more efficiently your body and soul works, the more comfortable you feel your body and soul are.
Martial arts require you to watch carefully the state and movement of all your body parts, including your brain.
Through the practice of martial arts, you get deep insight into the relations among your body parts, and between your body and mind.
This insight make your movement and behavior more rational.
This insight also gives you a clue to understand the relations among people in the society.