2005/06/27

Firefly experts tend to be a breed apart

 僕は英辞郎を使って英語を読みまくり、インターネットラジオのNHKのラジオジャパン英語ニュースで時事英語を聞きまくってます。(^^;また、VOAでヴォイスレコーダーにDLしたMP3音声とテキストも楽しんでます。
参考「こんな感じで英辞郎を使ってます

Firefly experts tend to be a breed apart

06/27/2005

"Hotaru" (fireflies), a scholarly book published in 1935, is regarded as the bible of firefly experts. Turning the pages, I was taken aback by the author's near-obsessive love for these bugs.

2005年06月19日(日曜日)付
【天声人語】

 ホタル研究家の間で、聖典と呼ばれる本がある。昭和10年刊の『ホタル』という学術書だ。ページを開くと、ホタルに寄せる偏執的な愛情に圧倒される。

Sakyo Kanda, the author, was a bona fide eccentric. According to Masayasu Konishi, an entomologist, Kanda had zero people skills. That didn't bother Kanda at all. Also, he never had a steady job nor income. Whenever he caught an error in someone's academic paper, he attacked it relentlessly, even if the author happened to be a big gun in the world of academia.

He never married, insisting he intended to "form a suicide pact with fireflies."

 著者の神田左京は、相当な奇人だった。昆虫研究家の小西正泰さんによると、とにかく偏屈で人と交わることができない。定職定収のないまま、学界の大御所の論文でも誤りと見れば徹底攻撃した。「私はホタルと心中する」と妻帯もしなかった。

Even though he constantly bemoaned his misfortune, his scholastic achievements were hailed abroad. A British academic society practically begged him to become a member, and he was asked to give a lecture to members of the Japanese imperial family. But he snubbed both, declaring his disdain for "authority" in any form. He died at age 65 in 1939.

 たえず不遇を嘆きはしたが、業績は海外までとどろいた。英国の学界から「ぜひ会員に」と誘われ、日本の皇室からは進講を頼まれたが、「権威は嫌い」と応じない。昭和14年、65歳で没した。

One of his achievements was the discovery that the genji botaru (luciola cruciata) in western Japan glowed every two seconds, whereas the same species found in eastern Japan did so only every four seconds.

The mystery continued to baffle post-World War II researchers, the majority of whom now believe that the time lag owes to differences in the genetic makeup of the western and eastern fireflies.

But Norio Abe, a civil servant in the employ of Tokyo's Itabashi Ward, has challenged this with his own theory. "East or west, they are the same bug," he asserted. "Fireflies glow at shorter intervals when the temperature rises."

 功績の一つは、西日本と東日本でゲンジボタルの発光間隔が倍ほど違うと発見したことだ。西では2秒ごとに光るのに、東では4秒おきなのはなぜか。戦後の研究家は、彼が残した難題に取り組んだ。東西の遺伝子の違いと見る説が支配的だが、東京都板橋区職員の阿部宣男さんはこれに新説で挑む。「西でも東でもホタルは同じ。温度が上がれば明滅が早くなる」と。

A college dropout, Abe was a member of a motorcycle gang while in high school. In Itabashi Ward, his job is to breed fireflies to teach the importance of ecology to residents. He fell in love with his work.

This spring, he received a doctorate from Ibaraki University for his dissertation. Titled "Hito no Kansei to Hotaru no Hikari" (Human sensibility and the glow of fireflies), it was a compilation of his research findings over 16 years.

"As a researcher, I certainly don't fit the mold," he said. "But I must say I find Kanda's rebelliousness really cool."

 高校時代は暴走族に入り、大学は中退した。就職した区役所でたまたまホタルの飼育をあてがわれ、のめり込む。16年間の成果を「人の感性とホタルの光」という論文にまとめ、茨城大で今春、博士号を受けた。「僕も研究者としては異色だけど、左京の反骨ぶりにはしびれます」と笑う。

Fireflies have fascinated people since time immemorial. Their mysterious glow is beautiful and bewitching. Our ancestors associated it with love and the human soul. Their glow can sometimes even change people's lives, too.

 はるか昔からホタルは人々を魅了してきた。先人が恋や魂を連想したように、神秘の光は美しく妖(あや)しい。時には人の生き方すら変えてしまう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 19(IHT/Asahi: June 27,2005)

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