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“Freuds” by Toh EnJoe

 

 

 

Freuds

by Toh EnJoe

When I went to demolish my grandmother’s house, a whole bunch of Freuds came up from under the floorboards.

The question will probably come up again, so at the risk of repeating myself, it was Freud who emerged, and in great numbers. I am not trying to be evasive or pretend it was something else named Freud. It was Freud. Sigmund Freud.

The one with the frightening face.

This past winter, my grandmother on my father’s side passed away, leaving behind a big old house in the country. That’s how this whole thing got started. And once it was started there was nothing that could be done about it, and there is still no end in sight.

In her final years, my grandmother declined all invitations to live with any of her family, and she was doing pretty well on her own, but one day her sword-cane failed her and she collapsed in the garden. It is believed she meant to attack the black cat that came to the garden every day, or it may be she meant to spear one of the catfish that swam in the pond. She was in the prime of her life, like a master swordsman, and this is how she passed her final days.

The cause of death was given simply as old age. It seems she may have stumbled over one of the paving stones in the garden, and that’s what did her in.

So, about the house she left behind, the family gathered for the funeral and put their heads together, but no one was interested in moving back out to the countryside. Letting it stand and having someone live in it would be a pain, and taking proper care of it would be costly. The family could try to sell it, but who would buy it? And so the decision was made to raze it to the ground. A date was set, and the family honored the last day of grandmother’s house by gathering there once again on that day.

Before the demolition began, the tatami mats were removed, and that is when the whole bunch of Freuds were discovered.

Not one Freud or two Freuds. They just kept coming with each tatami mat that was removed. There were twenty-two Freuds in all, one lying beneath each of the tatami mats in the big living room. Exactly twenty-two. As the old saying goes, A person takes up half a mat when sitting up and one full mat when lying down. Life can be lived virtuously, simply.

The faces of our family tree, which ordinarily radiated both carelessness and courage, were struck dumb at the sight.

Twenty-two Freuds lined up in the garden. Grandma’s parting gift to this world.

Even my ordinarily bossy younger uncle, who always wants to run the show, was rendered speechless at the sight of so many Sigmund Freuds. He was completely flustered and made no gesture of directing how to move them. He just lined up the Freuds in the garden and then brought out some tables and set some beer bottles on them, trying to calm himself down.

My younger uncle appeared to be searching for words that would bring down the curtain on this act, but he was at a loss for anything clever to say, apart from an opening gambit that tossed the ball in the completely wrong direction: “If they come from underground, shouldn’t they be Jung instead?”

So far as I was concerned, the sheer number of floorboard Freuds would eclipse the problem of who they were, but my uncle seemed unsatisfied, and he responded to me: Fair enough, these are Freuds.

This is Freud’s face. There is no other face like it.

For the most part, the things my grandmother had owned during her life had been taken care of. She had not left much worth fighting over, with the exception of her sword-cane.   Dividing up her worldly possessions had been a very placid closing of the curtain. About the most exciting thing that happened then was that I put on one of her camisoles and danced around in it. Then in the end, there were the Freuds, which counted as a major deal, and in large numbers. This was not a legacy to be divided; it had been transformed into a grand game of hot potato.

What could one do with a Freud? my younger uncle’s wife wondered aloud, perplexed. Grandma was a strange one, but did she have to keep all these Freuds under her floorboards? said older uncle’s wife.

My cousin’s daughter had been staring at the many Freuds that had been carted out and lined up neatly, supine, in the garden, but then she started crying, and I led her outside the main building. If I had seen a bunch of Freuds like this when I was her age, I would have asked permission to leave myself.

This might be The Complete Sigmund Freud, my uncle said, once again tossing the ball in the wrong direction. The question of whether this was the entire collection or not was just so much pointless jaw-boning, because they all seemed to be Freud himself. Somewhere there might even be an “on” switch to press, and they would all begin giving lectures. Assuming, however, that some things remained normal, that was not likely to happen.

To line up all the Freuds in the garden, I had to take their limp bodies in my arms and make countless round trips between the big living room and the garden. A terse, tangible reminder of my own humanity, coupled with that special gravity of the unconscious, lying flat across my forearms.

I had said these were all Freud himself, and my uncle picked up on the himself part and went on to say that was awkward. I too wanted to continue and say that was awkward, but that awkwardness was not any old ordinary awkwardness, it was really, really awkward.

It was my younger uncle’s wife who said, I wonder if we couldn’t sell them. While this was a forward-thinking idea—who today would want to buy a Freud?—my younger uncle admonished his wife, and my cousin added, Yeah, who would want to keep a Freud in their house?

***

To find out who would want to keep a Freud in their house, and more importantly why, check out Self-Reference ENGINE by Toh EnJoe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freuds

 

When I went to demolish my grandmother’s house, a whole bunch of Freuds came up from under the floorboards.

The question will probably come up again, so at the risk of repeating myself, it was Freud who emerged, and in great numbers. I am not trying to be evasive or pretend it was something else named Freud. It was Freud. Sigmund Freud.

The one with the frightening face.

This past winter, my grandmother on my father’s side passed away, leaving behind a big old house in the country. That’s how this whole thing got started. And once it was started there was nothing that could be done about it, and there is still no end in sight.

In her final years, my grandmother declined all invitations to live with any of her family, and she was doing pretty well on her own, but one day her sword-cane failed her and she collapsed in the garden. It is believed she meant to attack the black cat that came to the garden every day, or it may be she meant to spear one of the catfish that swam in the pond. She was in the prime of her life, like a master swordsman, and this is how she passed her final days.

The cause of death was given simply as old age. It seems she may have stumbled over one of the paving stones in the garden, and that’s what did her in.

So, about the house she left behind, the family gathered for the funeral and put their heads together, but no one was interested in moving back out to the countryside. Letting it stand and having someone live in it would be a pain, and taking proper care of it would be costly. The family could try to sell it, but who would buy it? And so the decision was made to raze it to the ground. A date was set, and the family honored the last day of grandmother’s house by gathering there once again on that day.

Before the demolition began, the tatami mats were removed, and that is when the whole bunch of Freuds were discovered.

Not one Freud or two Freuds. They just kept coming with each tatami mat that was removed. There were twenty-two Freuds in all, one lying beneath each of the tatami mats in the big living room. Exactly twenty-two. As the old saying goes, A person takes up half a mat when sitting up and one full mat when lying down. Life can be lived virtuously, simply.

The faces of our family tree, which ordinarily radiated both carelessness and courage, were struck dumb at the sight.

Twenty-two Freuds lined up in the garden. Grandma’s parting gift to this world.

Even my ordinarily bossy younger uncle, who always wants to run the show, was rendered speechless at the sight of so many Sigmund Freuds. He was completely flustered and made no gesture of directing how to move them. He just lined up the Freuds in the garden and then brought out some tables and set some beer bottles on them, trying to calm himself down.

My younger uncle appeared to be searching for words that would bring down the curtain on this act, but he was at a loss for anything clever to say, apart from an opening gambit that tossed the ball in the completely wrong direction: “If they come from underground, shouldn’t they be Jung instead?”

So far as I was concerned, the sheer number of floorboard Freuds would eclipse the problem of who they were, but my uncle seemed unsatisfied, and he responded to me: Fair enough, these are Freuds.

This is Freud’s face. There is no other face like it.

For the most part, the things my grandmother had owned during her life had been taken care of. She had not left much worth fighting over, with the exception of her sword-cane.   Dividing up her worldly possessions had been a very placid closing of the curtain. About the most exciting thing that happened then was that I put on one of her camisoles and danced around in it. Then in the end, there were the Freuds, which counted as a major deal, and in large numbers. This was not a legacy to be divided; it had been transformed into a grand game of hot potato.

What could one do with a Freud? my younger uncle’s wife wondered aloud, perplexed. Grandma was a strange one, but did she have to keep all these Freuds under her floorboards? said older uncle’s wife.

My cousin’s daughter had been staring at the many Freuds that had been carted out and lined up neatly, supine, in the garden, but then she started crying, and I led her outside the main building. If I had seen a bunch of Freuds like this when I was her age, I would have asked permission to leave myself.

This might be The Complete Sigmund Freud, my uncle said, once again tossing the ball in the wrong direction. The question of whether this was the entire collection or not was just so much pointless jaw-boning, because they all seemed to be Freud himself. Somewhere there might even be an “on” switch to press, and they would all begin giving lectures. Assuming, however, that some things remained normal, that was not likely to happen.

To line up all the Freuds in the garden, I had to take their limp bodies in my arms and make countless round trips between the big living room and the garden. A terse, tangible reminder of my own humanity, coupled with that special gravity of the unconscious, lying flat across my forearms.

I had said these were all Freud himself, and my uncle picked up on the himself part and went on to say that was awkward. I too wanted to continue and say that was awkward, but that awkwardness was not any old ordinary awkwardness, it was really, really awkward.

It was my younger uncle’s wife who said, I wonder if we couldn’t sell them. While this was a forward-thinking idea—who today would want to buy a Freud?—my younger uncle admonished his wife, and my cousin added, Yeah, who would want to keep a Freud in their house?

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Terry Gallagher wins the The Japan-United States Friendship Commission Prize!

So thrilled that Terry Gallagher’s translation of Toh EnJoe’s Self-Reference ENGINE won the Japan-United States Friendship Commission Prize!

Press release below!

Recipients of Japan-United States Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature Announced

New York, New York, October 1st, 2015 — The jury for the Japan-United States Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature met on September 25th, 2015, in New York City and decided on the winners of this year’s competition.
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The Prizes for the calendar year 2015-2016 will be awarded to the following translators, listed in alphabetical order by last name:

Steven D. Carter for THE COLUMBIA ANTHOLOGY OF JAPANESE ESSAYS
(Columbia University Press, 2014)

Terry Gallagher for his translation of Toh Enjoe’s SELF-REFERENCE ENGINE
(VIZ Media, 2013)

Stephen D. Miller and Patrick Donnelly for their waka translation in THE WIND
FROM VULTURE PEAK (Cornell East Asia Series, 2013)

An awards ceremony will be held at Columbia University in New York City on Friday December 11th, 2015. The Japan-United States Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature was established in 1979, and the award has been administered by the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University since the Center was founded in 1986. The Prize is awarded annually to outstanding works of translation into English from the Japanese language.

About the Japan United States Friendship Commission:

The Japan United States Friendship Commission (JUSFC) was established as an independent agency by the US Congress in 1975 (P.L. 94-118). The Commission administers a US government trust fund that originated in connection with the return to the Japanese government of certain US facilities in Okinawa and for postwar American assistance to Japan. Income from the fund is available for the promotion of scholarly, cultural and public affairs activities between the two countries.

About the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture:
Founded in 1986 at Columbia University, the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture is named in honor of Professor Donald Keene, internationally renowned scholar, Columbia University teacher, and interpreter of Japanese literature and culture to the West. The Center is dedicated to advancing the understanding of Japan and its culture in the United States through university instruction, research, and public education. In addition, the Center seeks to encourage study of the interrelationships among the cultures of Japan, other Asian countries, Europe, and the United States. The DKC is the central institution supporting the study of Japanese culture, literature, art, and history at Columbia University, and frequently co-sponsors events with the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the Center for
Korean Research, and other Columbia centers and institutes.

Contact:
Yoshiko Niiya, Program Coordinator
Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture
212-854-5036
http://www.keenecenter.org

21 day fix

Self-Reference ENGINE wins the PKD Special Citation

Great news this weekend from Norwescon in Seattle—Toh EnJoe won the Special Citation for the Philip K. Dick Award for his groundbreaking book Self-Reference ENGINE.

The PKD Award is a juried award for best paperback-original science fiction book (not fantasy, not necessarily even a novel) published in the US. The Special Citation is the silver medal award, which comes with a cash prize and certificate. There’s also a little to-do: a ceremony with reception and buffet for authors hosted by Norwescon, and the opportunity to meet fans. It was especially gratifying for Self-Reference ENGINE to win the Citation, as Enjoe-san was a collaborator of Project Itoh’s, whose Harmony won a couple of years ago.

Here is EnJoe-san’s speech, in Japanese and English:

多くの方たちの好意と偶然に助けられてここに立つことができました。
Thank you. That I am standing here with you today is thanks to a great deal of happenstance, and the good will of a great number of people.

お前の英語はわからんという方、あとできていただければ、この原稿をお見せします。
Some of you may find my English difficult to understand, but I will be happy to show you this piece of paper when I am finished speaking.

わたしが NorwesCon にきてみようかなとはじめて思ったのは、2010年に、Project Itoh の “Harmony”がこの賞にノミネートされたときでした。結局そのときは間に合わず、USTREAMの向こうから、みなさんのことを眺めていました。今こうして直接お会いすることができ、とても嬉しいです。
The first time I thought about coming here to Norwescon was back in 2010, when the book Harmony, by my friend Project Itoh, was nominated for this award. I was unable to attend in person that year, but I watched on the Internet via USTREAM. It makes me very happy to be here myself this year.

その後たまたま旅行することになったSan Franciscoで、Japan Town の写真をtwitter に upしなかったら、Haikasoru の人たちと会うこともなく、この本の英訳を担当してくれた、テリー・ギャラハーと出会うこともなかったでしょう。
In the meantime, if I had not traveled to San Francisco, and if I had not uploaded to Twitter a photo I took of Japantown there, I would never have encountered the people of Haikasoru, and I would never have met Terry Gallagher, who translated this book.

ちなみに、この文章を翻訳してくれたのもテリーで、わたしには書いてある内容がわかりません。ここに、こう書いてあります。「テリーは素晴らしい人物です」。
I have to say, it is Terry who wrote this translation, and I cannot understand what is written here. Right here, what it says is: “Terry is an amazing human being.”

本当に有り難う、テリー。
Terry, thank you very much.

何よりも、わたしの本を読んでくださった方々に、ありがとうございます。
More than anything else, I also wish to thank all of you who have read my book.

日本には、翻訳されていない面白いSFがまだまだあります。ほとんどはわたしの本より難しく、面倒くさく、数学的に高度で、ストーリー性がなく、眠くなるようなものばかりです。嘘です。
There is a lot more very interesting science fiction in Japan that has not yet been translated. Most of it is much more difficult than my own book, harder to read, mathematically more contrived, with even less of a narrative thread, and even more soporific. I am kidding.

感激しています。有り難う御座いました。
I am very grateful for everything. Thank you all very much.

And here is a YouTube video of the ceremony, including readings by all the nominees. (Enjoe-san’s reading is the last of the bunch, if you want to skip forward.)

If you missed all the fun at Norweson, please know that you can still see Toh EnJoe in America. He has several reading events in New York, along with Hideo Furukawa, author of the Haikasoru hardcover Belka, Why Don’t You Bark?

[EVENT 1] Saturday, May 3, 2014, 2-4pm

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, New York
Monkey Business–Japan/America: Writers’ Dialogue
Dialogues between Hideo Furukawa and Laird Hunt, and between Toh EnJoe and Matthew Sharpe

Tickets: $10 Asia Society & PEN members; $12 students & seniors; $15 non-members.
http://asiasociety.org/new-york/events/monkey-business-japanamerica-writers-dialogue-0

[PEN info]
Matthew Sharpe and Laird Hunt join Hideo Furukawa and Toh EnJoe, two of Japan’s most exciting writers today, for another intriguing cross-cultural encounter. The conversation will be facilitated by Motoyuki Shibata and Ted Goossen, the editors/translators of Monkey Business, the acclaimed English-language anthology of newly translated Japanese writing, the fourth issue of which is scheduled to coincide with the Festival.

Co-sponsored by Asia Society, The Japan Foundation, A Public Space, and Monkey Business.

[EVENT 2] Monday, May 5, 2014, 12:50-2:05pm
Baruch College (Room to be fixed later)
One Bernard Baruch Way
(55 Lexington Ave at 24th St)
New York, NY 10010

Toh EnJoe, Hideo Furukawa, and Roland Kelts (commentator)
The Japanese writers discuss and read their work to Prof. Suzuki’s students.

[EVENT 3] Monday, May 5 2014, 7pm-
BookCourt, 163 Court Street, Brooklyn
Readings by EnJoe, Furukawa, Hunt, and Sharpe

Moderated by Kelts
http://bookcourt.com/

If you weren’t in Seattle, and won’t be in New York, you can at least play the home game. Several EnJoe stories have been translated into English and are available free online.

“Harlequin’s Butterfly” at Asymptote.

“The History and Decline of the Galactic Empire” at Words Without Borders.

“A to Z Theory” (from Self-Reference ENGINE) at Strange Horizons.

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SELF-REFERENCE ENGINE is a Philip K. Dick Award nominee!

Well well well, the Philip K. Dick Award nominees, which is for the best science fiction published originally in paperback (just as Dick’s own works were), have been announced. And lookie-lookie, my milk and cookie:

A Calculated Life, by Anne Charnock
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Self-Reference ENGINE, by Toh EnJoe, translated by Terry Gallagher
Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie
Life on the Preservation, by Jack Skillingstead
Solaris Rising 2: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction, edited by Ian Whates
Countdown City, by Ben H. Winters

I’m sure Toh EnJoe is especially happy, as his friend Project Itoh was nominated for, and received the Special Citation, for the PKD Award for the novel Harmony a few years ago. Congratulations, and we’ll see you all in Seattle!

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