Yoshizen's Blog

Foreign Notion

09剣 001

 —————-          — Tsurugi-dake 剱岳(富山県) (2999 m high)in Winter.

Among the old members of our Alpine Club, since one of member lost 4 of her friends in

avalanche in the Tsurugi mountain —– some Email conversation has been taking place.

In there, famous words of George Mallory = “Why you go to mountain ?”

“ Because it’s there” quoted again.

Though, the nuance in Japanese is slightly different. = It has been treated somewhat

special philosophical words   🙂


—– If there is a field near house, kids or whoever walk into the field. If a river running,

kids or adults alike may jump into and have a fun, swim or even fishing.

—– Is it anything special ? = Mallory meant exactly the same. He meant,

it is nothing special even goes to mountain is just another activity of the

daily life = why not   🙂

But, when it was translated into Japanese “何故なら,山がそこに在るからだ/ Naze-nara,

Yama ga soko-ni arukara da” it started to have (or misunderstood) something special.

(One of the reason was, as the translator configured the words in formal “Translation style”

and no Japanese says like it in a casual conversation = more likely they say

“Datte, soko-ni aru ja nai ?” or “Soko-ni arukara sa”

—– from its style and a heavy connotation (because, Mallory was a famous man = not

a man on the street) the people took “It should have something heavy extra meaning” 😀


When I read the English translation of [Heart Mantra] in the first time, it

literally astonished me how it was simple and plain.

No ghost, no mambo-jumbo left there at all. —– In certain extent,

Buddhism seemed to have lost its mythical connotation to me.

Japanese read Buddhist’s mantras in Chinese written form (with a lots of unfamiliar

complicated characters :-)) therefore the word itself sound literally foreign, not

mention the vagueness of its meanings => giving very mythical connotation.


The situation is the same in most of the foreign cultures, even in a cooking.

= Western people complains, when Japanese boils pasta, it was over boiled to too soft.

In the same time, eastern people complains “Why westerner cook noodle so soft and

make it soggy” —– as they didn’t know what it should be in the original form, they

tend to think “If it was still raw, it must be awful, so that it is safer to cook longer”

and end-up eating quite unlikely food   😀 

Mimic the action is easy though, to know where to stop the action needs

to be grown-up in its culture. 

(I’ve learned this while clapping the hand in the Flamenco-dance Music  😀 )


On the time of Lord Buddha, I don’t think the most of his followers were literate. And

Lord Buddha didn’t teach them in sophisticated Sanskrit but in colloquial Pari.

And, I don’t think it was a complicated philosophical or mythical thought but more likely

plain wisdom in the daily life. —– it’s mean, when the teachings were written down

after 200 years lapse, it is easy to guess, the teachings were much more formalized and

glorified by the person who were well educated (hence familiar with Sanskrit = Vedic

notions) while following the Sanskrit literature and its notions as a model.

This must be the reason why even in the earliest scriptures still having many

contradictory descriptions especially in the point,

Lord Buddha has denied the existence of the perpetual soul (Atman in Vedic belief) why

the past or future life exists = Mix-up with Brahmanism (Hindu) occurred in very early stage.


It happens even within the same culture, it would be inevitable between foreign culture.

To drink a tea with different mix of formula, such as in India, garlic in a tea believed to be

good to cure the cold.   Chinese treat the tea as a herbal drink, though to make it as a level

of Ceremony seems to be an over-boiled pasta 😀

So, I wouldn’t go to the idea if Mallory believed that the mountain has

a holy spirit.—– “It’s just there” 

(The reason why the Buddhists treat the Dharma mythical is because

the most of it is unknowable and invisible to our humble eyes.)




4 Responses

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  1. sophia said, on January 27, 2013 at 13:20

    Why does Captain Kirk climb the mountain? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU2ftCitvyQ

  2. Lemony (Gr)Egghead said, on January 28, 2013 at 15:35

    “I can’t understand why men make all this fuss about Everest — it’s only a mountain.” 田部井 淳子 🙂

    • yoshizen said, on January 28, 2013 at 15:57

      Thank you Lemony.
      I know Junko Tabei 😀 —– Quite number of Japanese women had reached to the top
      but not her. = If she says, “Don’t bother” why she says this ? = don’t bother to say.
      ( it’s the same “Only me is not speaking” 😀 ).
      Then, I realized, later (1991) she did climb Everest — I don’t know if she said so,
      why she bother to climb it. 😀

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