2005/08/23

`Costa Rica' term refers to politics, not nation

 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

`Costa Rica' term refers to politics, not nation

08/22/2005

Costa Rica-born Maricelle Futaba, 50, is a Tokyo resident of 23 years. She can read and understand the gist of what Japanese newspapers say.

Recently, she began noticing stories that contained expressions such as "Kosutarika shometsu" (Costa Rica vanishes) and "Kosutarika hokai" (the collapse of Costa Rica). She thought with alarm that something cataclysmic must have happened in her native country.

2005年08月14日(日曜日)付
【天声人語】

 中米コスタリカ出身の女性マリセル・フタバさん(50)は東京在住23年、日本語の新聞も大意ならわかる。「コスタリカ消滅」「コスタリカ崩壊」。先週そんな記事が目に飛びこんできた。母国で何か大変なことが起きたらしい。

When she asked her husband, Shinichi, 58, a restaurant owner, she was told that Japan has a unique election system named after Costa Rica.

Specifically, her husband explained, this formula was devised to prevent the cannibalization of votes when a party fields more than one candidate from the same electoral turf. Under this formula, the candidates are allowed to run alternately from a single-seat constituency and a proportional representation district.

The explanation confused her more, as there is no such system in her native Costa Rica.

 料理店を営む夫の二葉新一さん(58)に尋ねた。「コスタリカ」は日本独自の選挙用語で、同じ党で地盤も重なる候補者が共倒れを防ぐため、小選挙区と比例区に交代で立つことを指す。言われていっそう混乱した。私の国にそんな制度はない。

Costa Rica has a unicameral, 57-seat national assembly. All candidates are elected by proportional representation.

According to Taku Takemura, a Toyama University professor specializing in Latin American politics, no Costa Rican legislator may seek consecutive terms in office. Politicians must wait four years after their term has expired to run again. This system is meant to prevent political corruption.

Takemura went on to note that whenever he explains Japan's Costa Rica formula to Costa Ricans, they look displeased.

 コスタリカ国会は一院制で57議席すべてが比例式で決まる。中南米の政治に詳しい富山大の竹村卓教授によると、腐敗を避けるため議員の連続当選が禁止され、任期を終えたら4年待たないと再挑戦できない。日本のコスタリカ方式の実情を現地で説明すると、だれもが「誤解だ」「印象が悪い」と困った顔を見せる。

When Japan did away with medium-sized constituencies and switched to the current single-seat system in the 1990s, political parties had trouble paring down their candidates to just one per constituency. The Costa Rica formula was introduced to solve this problem.

A newspaper article from that period says this was the brainchild of former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, a big shot in a Japan-Costa Rica friendship association formed by Diet members.

Mori hinted then at following the Costa Rican system of barring legislators from seeking consecutive terms in office, but it is now obvious that he had an ulterior motive in pushing this election system.

 日本で中選挙区が廃止された90年代、候補者の一本化が各地でもつれた。編み出されたのがコスタリカ方式だ。日本コスタリカ友好議員連盟の重鎮、森喜朗前首相が提案したと当時の記事にある。連続当選禁止が念頭にあったようだが、いかにも強引なこじつけである。

This summer, the "Costa Rica" system's spirit of "coexistence and co-prosperity" is being ignored. Former Liberal Democratic Party members of the Lower House, who voted against the postal privatization bills, have been denied party endorsement and are being pitted against pro-privatization, party-anointed candidates on their home turfs.

 共存共栄のコスタリカの誓いがこの夏、相次いで破られつつある。郵政法案に反対した前議員が公認を得られず、小選挙区で同じ自民党の賛成派候補に正面からぶつかる。

Ominous expressions that suggest turbulent times, such as "assassin," "repression," "mass arrest" and "forced transfer to an undesired region," are being used.

Costa Rican President Abel Pacheco visited Japan recently. One wonders how he viewed the upcoming election here.

 刺客、弾圧、大獄、国替えなど乱世を思わせる言葉が飛び交う。おりしも今月半ば、コスタリカから来日するパチェコ大統領の目に、日本の選挙はどう映るのだろう。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 14(IHT/Asahi: August 22,2005)

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Koizumi's twist on the Kabuki double-suicide

 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

Koizumi's twist on the Kabuki double-suicide

08/20/2005

In any contest, force of numbers decides the winner. But there is something pathetic about people who scurry around trying to get the numbers up at any price.

2005年08月19日(金曜日)付
【天声人語】

 争いごとでは、数が勝ち負けを左右する。しかし、やみくもに数を取りにかけずり回る姿には、うらさびしいものがつきまとう。

The Sept. 11 Lower House election campaign kicks off later this month, and the unfolding political contest is starting to look increasingly like an action-packed drama or a cutthroat power struggle being acted out before the voting public.

 有権者の前で繰り広げられている公示前の争いは、多彩な活劇とも、いつにも増してぎらつく政界流の芝居とも見える。池波正太郎さんには申し訳ないが、作品のタイトルを連想した。

I do not mean to be disrespectful to novelist Shotaro Ikenami (1923-1990), but the ongoing "drama" reminds me of the titles of some of his works: "Banken no Heikuro" (Heikuro the watchdog), "Kubi" (The head), "Sakuran" (Derangement), "Abare Okami" (Out-of-control wolf), "Katakiuchi" (Revenge), "Kancho" (Spy), "Butaiura no Otoko" (Backstage man), or "Oni-bozu no Onna" (The fiend-monk's woman).

 番犬の平九郎、首、錯乱、あばれ狼、かたきうち、間諜、舞台うらの男、鬼坊主の女……。短編「刺客」は、信州、松代藩のあくどい家老の手先になってしまった男・児玉虎之助の物語である。まっとうな藩政への改革をめざしている別の家老職の屋敷から江戸へ向かった密使の殺害を命じられる。

"Shikaku" (Assassin) is a short story about Toranosuke Kodama, a man who was made to serve the evil head retainer of the lord of the Matsushiro clan in Shinshu (present-day Nagano Prefecture). Toranosuke is ordered to eliminate an emissary, being sent to Edo by another senior retainer, a decent man seeking to reform the clan. Being an assassin is nothing to boast about in public: "Toranosuke smiled wryly, a sad and desolate smile." (From a complete collection of Ikenami's works published by Kodansha.)

Images and words right out of samurai costume dramas, such as "assassin," kunoichi (female ninja) and so on are flying around the political nerve center of Nagatacho as the process of selecting candidates gets under way.

But what is happening there today could not be farther removed from the world depicted by Ikenami, a master at bringing out the pathos and emotional subtleties of ordinary people in feudal Japan.

 刺客とは、表だって胸の張れる存在ではない。「虎之助は苦笑した。淋(さび)しく哀(かな)しい苦笑である」(『完本池波正太郎大成』講談社)。「刺客」のほかに「くノ一」や 「印籠(いんろう)」が飛び交う永田町かいわいは、池波さんが描いた人生の悲哀や機微の世界からは、かなり遠い。

A recent article on the Japanese political situation in the Economist magazine noted that most Kabuki plots look the same to the uninitiated: every story ends with "a double love suicide." But, the article observed, the Kabuki staged by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi had a different ending--namely, Koizumi drew the curtain unexpectedly and, out of hatred for legislators who opposed his postal privatization bills, chose the path of "double hate suicide." The article went on to laud the outcome as a rare departure from Japan's political tradition.

 芝居といえば、英誌エコノミストにこんな見方が載っていた。「歌舞伎はどれも、門外漢からは、同じ筋書きに見える」。最後は相愛の心中で終わるが小泉歌舞伎の結末は違った、という。「小泉首相は突然幕を引き、郵政法案に反対する議員らと相憎んでの相互自殺に至った」。日本の政界では珍しいドラマで歓迎すべきだと述べている。

Is this situation welcome for Japan? The outcome is to be decided by voters. How this political drama will end--with a "double love suicide" or "double hate suicide"--is really quite irrelevant.

 日本にとって、本当に歓迎すべきことなのかどうか。それは、「相愛心中」か「相互自殺」かという政治的な芝居の結末ではなく、有権者の選択という結末で決まる。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 19(IHT/Asahi: August 20,2005)

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Hoping for strong ceilings in future quakes

 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

Hoping for strong ceilings in future quakes

08/19/2005

While I am not pleased that Shinkansen bullet trains were out of service for hours in some areas, I am truly thankful that not a life was lost in Tuesday's earthquake off Miyagi Prefecture.

I imagine this good fortune was due to the preparedness and quick measures taken by people in the regions that have been repeatedly rocked by big temblors.

2005年08月18日(木曜日)付
【天声人語】

 新幹線の混乱が長引いたのは残念だが、宮城県沖の地震で犠牲者が出なかったことは不幸中の幸いだった。大きな地震に繰り返し襲われてきた地域の人たちの、日ごろの備えや、とっさの踏ん張りが利いたようにも思われる。

In contrast, there was no staying power in the ceiling of Spopark Matsumori, a sports facility in Sendai that opened in July. The jolt caused the ceiling panel to crack and fall in chunks on to an indoor swimming pool. A father who grabbed her little girl and jumped in the pool said she was hit on the head and shoulders. Many others there were also injured.

 それとは対照的に踏ん張りが利かなかったのが、仙台市内のスポーツ施設「スポパーク松森」の天井である。大きな揺れと同時に、割れた天井のパネル板がバラバラと落ちてきた。とっさに娘を抱きかかえてプールに飛び込んだ人の場合、頭と肩にパネルが当たったという。

For people who felt exposed and defenseless for being clad only in swimwear, the broken ceiling panel pieces that showered on them relentlessly were just like flying weapons.

How could this have happened at this brand new facility? Obviously, the safety standards for installing the ceiling, the design and how the inspection of the facility was carried out must be closely re-examined.

 人々が服を脱ぎ、気持ちの上でも無防備になっているところに容赦なく降り注いだパネルは、凶器そのものだっただろう。新しく開いたばかりの施設で、なぜこんなことが起きたのか。巨大な天井を設ける際の安全基準や設計、施工、検査について、十分検証してもらいたい。

A building of this style-a cavernous space with practically no pillar to support the vast ceiling-is not uncommon. But when I am in that kind of place, I do sometimes feel a bit nervous. I wonder if the ceiling is attached securely to the roof structure.

 柱はほとんどないのに、天井が大きく広がっている施設は珍しくはない。しかし、天井の裏側で何かとしっかりつながっているかどうかが気になることはある。

In a traditional Japanese house-raising ceremony, a card called munafuda is inscribed with the building's description and the names of its architect and carpenters, and nailed to the ridgepole above the ceiling. In the olden days, munafuda sometimes bore the owners' wishes or prayers, such as "harmony in the world," "transparency and purity always," "calm under the ground," "long life free of calamities" and "peace in the family."

According to "Tenjoura-no Bunkashi" (Cultural history of attic crawl space), a Kodansha book authored by Masahiko Sato, one old munafuda was inscribed with a short poem that read: "Cranes and tortoises do not live forever/ The only things that are permanent/ Are the mountains and the flowing waters."

 建物の棟上げなどで、工事の由緒や建築者、工匠などを記して天井裏の棟木に打ち付ける札を棟札という。古い時代の棟札にはこんな願いが書かれている。「天下和順」「日月清明」「地下安穏」「息災延命」「家族安寧」。歌を記した棟札もある。〈鶴亀は かぎりありけり いつまでも つきぬは 山と水と流れ〉(佐藤正彦『天井裏の文化史』講談社)。

People in charge of public safety must pay special attention to dark and hard-to-see places such as attic crawl spaces.

 暗くて見えにくい天井裏のようなところにこそ、安全を担う人たちは目を光らせてほしい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 18(IHT/Asahi: August 19,2005)

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We're closer to our neighbors than we realize

 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

We're closer to our neighbors than we realize

08/18/2005

South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun made no reference to Japan-South Korea relations in a speech he delivered on Liberation Day, the holiday South Koreans celebrated on Monday to mark liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

In China, anti-Japanese demonstrations were canceled.

In Tokyo, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi refrained from visiting Yasukuni Shrine. He also issued a statement expressing his feelings of "deep remorse and heartfelt apology" toward Asian countries.

2005年08月17日(水曜日)付
【天声人語】

 日本の植民統治からの解放を韓国が祝う光復節の演説で、盧武鉉(ノムヒョン)大統領は対日関係には言及しなかった。中国では反日活動が中止された。小泉首相は靖国参拝を見送り、アジア諸国への「痛切な反省とおわび」を談話で表明した。

Aug. 15 was the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Japan, China and South Korea each marked the anniversary in their own way. The day was observed calmly.

The question is whether the prime minister and members of the Cabinet can embody the idea expressed in Koizumi's statement. The leaders and ministers of the three nations are urged to visit one another to actively advance dialogue.

 日中韓3国が、それぞれの事情を抱えて迎えた8・15だったが、ともかくも冷静さが見られた。問題は、首相や閣僚が談話の趣旨を体現できるかどうかだ。首脳や閣僚は互いに行き来して、対話を重ねてほしい。

Two poets from Japan and South Korea exchanged letters and ideas over four years. This correspondence was published in a book titled "Ajia no Nagisa de" (On the shores of Asia) by Fujiwara Shoten.

Ko Un, a prominent South Korean poet, has been devoting himself to the democratization movement even though he was imprisoned and tortured. He accompanied then-President Kim Dae Jung to North Korea when the leaders of the two Koreas met in 2000.

Gozo Yoshimasu, meanwhile, has been creating poems brimming with life and compassionate words.

 日韓のふたりの詩人が、対談や書簡で対話を4年続け、それが『「アジア」の渚で』(藤原書店)としてまとめられた。高銀(コウン)さんは、韓国の代表的詩人で、投獄・拷問を受けながら民主化運動に力を尽くした。00年の南北会談では金大中(キムデジュン)大統領に同行した。対する吉増剛造さんは、言葉へのいとおしさのこもる表現で、豊かな生命力を宿 す詩を紡いできた。

Ko said poets from Northeast Asia should get together and compose poems on a ship while plying the open waters of Northeast Asia.

"We should not only stick to our own land, which is exclusive territory, but also sing the praises of the magnanimous spirit of the ocean, which belongs to everyone," Ko said.

 高さんは、東北アジアの公海上に浮かぶ船で、東北アジアの詩人たちが一緒に詩を詠む日のことを語る。「われらは自分たちだけのものである陸地ではなく、みんなのものである海の大きな魂を謳歌(おうか)するはずです」

Yoshimasu said: "Let us scoop up every drop of the ocean."

 吉増さんは「海を掬(すく)い尽せ」という印象的な一句を発する。掬い尽くせるはずのない海の、はかりしれない大きさへの畏(おそ)れが感じられ、高さんの句と響き合う。

In his statement, Koizumi said Japan is "separated only by a strip of water" from China and South Korea.

Although geographically this is true, the distance between us seems to be increasing these days.

Why not think of the ocean as coastal waters that link countries and peoples, not divide them?

 小泉談話は、日本と中韓両国とを「一衣帯水の間」と述べた。一筋の帯のように狭い海や海峡を間にして近接した間柄、というのだが、最近は隔たる一方だった。海を、国と国、人と人とをつなぐ渚(なぎさ)として見直してみたい。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 17(IHT/Asahi: August 18,2005)

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For war-displaced, the scars never heal

 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

For war-displaced, the scars never heal

08/17/2005

Dainari Adachi was a 12-year-old middle school student in occupied Manchuria when World War II ended. His family lived in a small town near the border of the Soviet Union. On the day word arrived that Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, had admitted defeat in the war, he was playing outdoors as usual.

When Dainari returned to his home, his mother told him that Japan had lost the war. He was too young to know what that meant in practical terms.

2005年08月16日(火曜日)付
【天声人語】

 安達大成(だいなり)さんは「終戦の日」を旧満州で迎えた。12歳の中学生だった。ソ連との国境に近い小さな街で、いつものように外で遊んでいた。家に帰ると、母親から「戦争に負けた」と知らされた。えっ、それ何、という感じだった。

A few days later, Soviet warplanes appeared over the town. One shot at the boy without warning, and he fled into nearby woods. "Although the war had ended in Japan, you might say the war actually started for me on that day," he recalls.

 その数日後、ソ連の飛行機が現れた。上空からいきなり機銃で撃たれ、林の中に逃げた。安達さんは「日本では戦争が終わっていたが、私にとっては、この日から戦争が始まったようなものです」と話す。

Soon, Soviet ground troops arrived. Dainari's father, a civil engineer, had died of illness several months before. With his mother and two younger brothers, Dainari was moved through a succession of internment camps. During this period, his youngest brother, a 2-year-old, died while being carried on his mother's back.

Food was scarce. It occurred to young Dainari that if he were not around, his mother and other brother would have more to eat. He left without saying even goodbye.

 まもなく、ソ連軍が街にやって来た。土木技師だった父は数カ月前に病死していた。母と2人の弟とともに収容所を転々とさせられる。その途中で、2歳だった下の弟は、母に背負われたまま死んだ。食べものにも事欠いた。自分がいなければ2人が助かる。そう考えた少年は黙って姿を消した。それが母や弟との長い別れとなる。

The boy found work on a frontier farm. Early in his 20s, he met his future wife, a woman named Motoko.

Motoko was the daughter of a Japanese farmer who had settled in the former Manchuria. She had fled with her mother from the invading Soviet forces. After her mother died, she was raised by Chinese foster parents.

It was not until 36 years after the end of World War II that the two war-displaced Japanese who married in China set foot in their mother country.

 辺境の農場で働き、20代の初めに出会ったのが妻の素子さんだ。素子さんは開拓農民の娘だった。母と一緒にソ連軍の侵攻から逃げたが、母は亡くなり、中国人の養父母に育てられた。異郷で結ばれた2人の残留孤児が母国の地を踏んだのは、終戦から36年後だった。

At the surrender, about 1.5 million Japanese were living in the former Manchuria. In the turmoil that followed, at least 200,000 are estimated to have died in raids by Soviet troops and Chinese residents, group "suicides," illness and other circumstances.

Their stories graphically illustrate how the wheels of fortune turned in different ways for these individuals, according to where they were on Aug. 15, 1945.

 旧満州には約150万人の日本人が住んでいた。そのうち、ソ連軍や地元民の襲撃、集団自決、病気などで、約20万人が死んだといわれる。同じ日本人でも、どこで「終戦の日」を迎えたかで、運命は変わった。

Today, Adachi and his wife live in Chiba Prefecture on a 60,000-yen monthly pension. His wife cannot speak Japanese. Being five years her senior, the husband wonders anxiously, "If I die before my wife does, what will become of her?"

 安達さん夫妻はいま、千葉県で月に6万円の年金で暮らす。妻は日本語が話せない。5歳年上の夫は「私が先に死んだらどうなるのか」と心配する。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 16(IHT/Asahi: August 17,2005)

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Obsessing blindly over our `assigned duties'

 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

Obsessing blindly over our `assigned duties'

08/16/2005

Because I was born two years after the end of World War II, obviously I was not around to experience the day of Japan's defeat 60 years ago on Aug. 15, 1945.

I can say, however, that this date has always been at the back of my consciousness.

Whenever I came across something that was related to this date or the days that preceded it, I was invariably compelled to ponder its meaning.

2005年08月15日(月曜日)付
【天声人語】

 終戦の翌々年の生まれなので、その日のことは直接には知らない。しかし昭和20年、1945年の8月15日は、頭のどこかに住みついているような気がする。この日を、あるいはこの日に至る日々を伝えるものに接する度に、その意味を考えさせられてきた。

Various people have noted their thoughts and feelings about Aug. 15, 1945, in their diaries.

Each observation is striking in its own way, but the one I would like to dwell upon anew in this 60th anniversary year is a passage from "Haisen Nikki" (Journal on defeat in war) by novelist Jiro Osaragi, published by Soshisha.

 さまざまな人の日記に、その日の思いが記されている。それぞれにひかれるものはあるが、「戦後還暦」の年に改めてかみしめたいのは作家・大佛次郎の『敗戦日記』(草思社)の一節だ。

Referring to his loss of sleep over worrying whether Japanese soldiers would be able to bear the indignity of defeat, Osaragi notes in part that the soldiers "had been taught to remain blind to anything other than their assigned duties ... ."

But this was not the lot of soldiers alone. The great majority of Japanese citizens had also been conditioned to focus solely on their "assigned duties."

 「自分に与えられし任務のみに目がくらみいるように指導せられ来たりしことにて……」。軍人たちが敗戦という屈辱に耐えうるかどうかを思い惑って眠れないというくだりだが、ことは軍人に限らない。

When the war began, every soldier, politician, parent and child blindly sought to live up to their respective ideal images.

Missing the crucially important overall picture-namely, where the nation was really headed-the Japanese people withdrew into their rigidly defined roles.

 「与えられた任務のみに目がくらんだ」のは、国民のほとんどだった。戦争が始まり、ことここに至っては軍人は軍人の、政治家は政治家の、あるいは親は親の、子は子のあるべきだとされる姿に向かって突き進んでしまった。国そのものの向きがどうなっているのかという肝心なことは見ず、それぞれに与えられたと思う狭い世界に閉じこもった。

There is something painfully pathetic about the intensity of their resolve.

But it was also this collective frenzy that allowed the nation to run amok and sacrifice the lives of a tremendous number of its own people as well as those of neighboring nations.

And I am pained to be reminded, too, of how the media pursued a grossly misguided cause.

 国民の、ある種のひたむきさには胸がつまる思いもするが、歯止めの無い奔流は、自国民だけではなく周辺国などを含むおびただしい人の命を奪い去った。メディアもまた、本来の任務を踏み外していたと自戒する。

Aug. 15 should be a day for each one of us to not only remember and mourn the dead, but also to ask ourselves once again whether we are still obsessing blindly over what we imagine to be our assigned duties.

I pray that our present postwar era will never go down in history some day as another prewar era.

 今日は追悼というだけではなく、与えられた任務のみに目がくらんでいないかどうか、それぞれの場で問い返したい。この今を「戦前」などと呼ぶ日の来ることがないように。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 15(IHT/Asahi: August 16,2005)

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Rent-a-cow system keeps everyone content

 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

Rent-a-cow system keeps everyone content

08/15/2005

Four black wagyu Japanese cows graze contentedly on common weeds-kudzu, pigweed and overgrown goldenrod-effectively acting as "live weed eaters" in the fallow rice fields of Yanai city, on the Inland Sea coast of Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The cows are part of the city's "rent-a-cow" system for local farmers. Many of the farmers are elderly and ready to retire but do not want their fields to become overgrown with weeds and infested with pests. They fear those pests could ruin their neighbors' crops.

2005年07月31日(日曜日)付
【天声人語】

 のんびりと、牛が草をはむ。おいしそうに食べているのは、クズ、シロザなどふつうは雑草と呼ばれる草木だ。伸び放題の黄色いセイタカアワダチソウも平らげる。

 草刈り用に牛を貸し出す。その名も「レンタカウ制度」。瀬戸内海に面する山口県柳井市で、ことしもやっている。人影の少ない、山あいの休耕田に、4頭の黒毛和牛を放っている。

Hiring people to cut the weeds can be an expensive proposition, even if done through the city's "silver personnel agency," a program for retired people who want to take on odd jobs and make themselves useful to the community.

Even if "silver personnel" would undertake the job, working under the scorching summer sun would be extremely strenuous for them.

 牛を借りるのは、年老いて農作業がつらくなった農家が多い。周りの田んぼの稲が青々と育つなか、草だらけにしていては害虫がわく。迷惑をかけまいとして、草刈りをシルバー人材センターに頼むと、金がかさむ。炎天下での作業は、請け負う人もきつい。

A solution to the problem of overgrown rice paddies came four years ago. Yanai Mayor Tetsuro Kouchiyama, 47, suggested during a meeting with farmers that perhaps cows could do the job. At the time, the city's shrinking farmland and declining stockbreeding industry were cause for serious concern in the farming community.

Letting cows graze in the paddies would mean eliminating the costs of labor and as well as feed-a perfectly happy solution for landowners and cattle owners alike. The local agricultural association acted on the mayor's suggestion at once. This summer, seven farming households are taking advantage of the rent-a-cow system.

 ならば、牛に食べさせたらどうだろう。4年前に、市長の河内山哲朗さん(47)が言い出した。農地が減り続け、畜産も振るわない。ため息が重なる農業関係の集いでのことだ。牛を使えば、人件費も、えさ代も浮く。借り手も貸手も都合がいい。さっそく農協が事業化した。今夏は7軒の農家が利用する。

The system is hassle-free. All the user has to do is corral the grazing area with two electric wires hooked up to solar batteries.

According to the city's estimates, it would take two people working two days to cut all the weeds on a 5,000-square-meter property. The bill would come to 50,000 yen, including transportation and disposal costs.

If the same job is done by two cows, however, they would eat all the weeds in about 50 days. The bill would come to around 24,000 yen, including the cost of equipment.

 手間もかからない。放牧地の周囲に2本の電線を張る。そこに太陽電池で電気を流すと、さくになる。持ち運びも取り外しも簡単だ。市の試算では、5千平方メートルの草刈りを人間がやれば、2人で2日かかる。運搬処理費も含めて5万円なり。牛なら、2頭がそこに寝泊まりして約50日で食べ尽くす。機材費込みで2万4千円ほど。

There is something serene and soothing about the sight of grazing cows. How pleasant it would be if such a scene were common on fallow fields around the nation. Just when I had this thought, my eyes met a cow's innocent stare.

 牛はもぐもぐと黙々と働く。こんなのどかな光景が全国の休耕地に広がったら気持ちよかろう。そう思った瞬間、きょとんとした眼の牛と目が合った。

--The Asahi Shimbun, July 31(IHT/Asahi: August 15,2005)

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Let there never be another major air disaster

 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

Let there never be another major air disaster

08/13/2005

Twenty years have passed since the disastrous crash of a Japan Airlines jumbo jet that killed 520 passengers and crew members.

"So many things have happened in the last 20 years," says Kuniko Miyajima in "Akanegumo Soshuhen" (Scarlet clouds: Complete edition), a collection of essays by bereaved families, published from Honnoizumisha to mark the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.

Miyajima's essay is addressed to her 9-year-old son, Ken, who perished in the disaster.

2005年08月12日(金曜日)付
【天声人語】

 あれから二〇年、本当に、いろいろなことがありました-。520人が死亡した日航ジャンボ機の墜落事故から、今日で20年になる。それを機に出版された遺族の文集『茜雲(あかねぐも) 総集編』(本の泉社)で、美谷島邦子さんは、9歳だった息子の健君に語りかけるように文をつづっている。

"I still have your pencils and notebooks with me. For your summer holiday project, you grew sponge gourds and observed their growth. You wrote the final words in your diary on the day before the accident: `Aug. 11: The tendrils are getting long, and I saw little buds.' Your father is still unable to look at your handwriting."

 「今も、君のノートや鉛筆がここにあります。夏休みのヘチマの観察日記は、『八月一一日つるがのび、小さいつぼみがみえた』という事故の前日に書いた文字で終わっています。お父さんは、この文字をいまだに見たがりません」

Fujiko Ikeda, who lost her younger brother and his wife and a niece, attached a tanka poem to her essay. The tanka goes: "My brother passed away so young/ My heart aches/ Every time I count his age."

Ikeda's brother had two other children who were left behind. Looked after by many people, they have grown into adults and are now happily married, Ikeda notes.

At the end of her essay, she identifies herself as an aunt of Keiko Kawakami-one of the only four survivors of the crash.

 弟夫婦とめいを亡くした池田富士子さんは、文に短歌を添えた。〈あまりにも 早きに逝きし弟の 歳をおりてはまた胸あつくす〉。弟夫婦の遺児ふたりは大勢の人に支えられて成長し、今は結婚してそれぞれ幸せに暮らしていますとあり、末尾には生存者のひとり川上慶子さんの伯母と記されている。

Survivors were found on the day after the crash. I heard the news at the Asahi Shimbun head office, and I can still recall that moment vividly. An emotion, too deep to be said out loud, overtook my colleagues and me. We had been busy filing stories for the evening edition.

 事故の翌日、生存者発見の報が本社に届いた時のことは、今もなお記憶に新しい。あわただしく夕刊の記事を書いていた記者たちの間にも、言葉にならない感動が走った。

The pages had to be remade at once, because we had more or less given up on the possibility of anyone surviving that crash. I understand that a staff member in charge of inputting copy from the city section into the company computer had to fight back tears as he typed.

 絶望的な色合いの濃かった紙面を取り換える。直後に社会部から原稿を受け取った入力担当部員も、涙をこらえながらキーボードを打ったという。

A major accident like this must never be repeated. Miyajima, who has served as secretary-general of an association of bereaved families, concludes her essay: "Thank you, Ken, for these 29 years.... Together with you, I want to keep tolling the bell of air-travel safety."

 二度と繰り返してはならない巨大事故だった。遺族の会「8・12連絡会」の事務局長を務めてきた美谷島さんは、文をこうしめくくっている。「二九年間、健ありがとう。……これからも君と一緒に空の安全の鐘を鳴らし続けていきたいと願っています」

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 12(IHT/Asahi: August 13,2005)

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Hurdles overcome, on the track and in space

 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

Hurdles overcome, on the track and in space

08/12/2005

Human imagination takes a humorous bent when it creates the rules of sports. This is clearly the case with hurdles. I mean, it's kind of funny that running on flat ground is deliberately made difficult by placing obstacles one after another.

2005年08月11日(木曜日)付
【天声人語】

 平らな地面に、わざわざ高い枠を置く。ひとつだけではなく、その先にもそのまた先にも置いておく。ハードルが立ち並んだ障害競走のコースには、人間がスポーツのルール作りで見せるユーモラスな一面が映っている。

According to "Haadoru" (Hurdles), a book by Ken Miyashita from Baseball Magazine Sha Co., this particular sport originated in Britain. The rise of the Enclosure Movement for pastoral land, which peaked in the 18th and 19th centuries, gave birth to an equestrian race using the enclosures. The first hurdle race as we know it today took place in the mid-19th century as an Oxford-Cambridge collegiate competition event. Sheep enclosures were used as hurdles.

 英国に源流があるという。牧羊業などで土地の「囲い込み」が起きた後、できた垣根を使った馬による競走の時代があった。現在のような競走の元は、19世紀半ばのオックスフォード対ケンブリッジの大学対抗戦のレースだった。羊の囲いが使われた(宮下憲『ハードル』ベースボール・マガジン社)。

In the wee hours of Wednesday, I awoke from a restless sleep and switched on the TV. The 2005 World Track and Field Championships were on, and Japan's Dai Tamesue was just about to run in the final of the men's 400-meter hurdles. It was raining in Helsinki. While I thought that the weather itself was a hurdle of sorts, the starting gun boomed.

 昨日の未明、寝苦しさで起きてテレビをつけると、陸上の世界選手権を中継していた。為末大選手が出る400メートル障害の決勝が始まるところだった。ヘルシンキはどしゃぶりだ。これも一つの障害かと思った時、号砲が響いた。

Athletes' legs are beautiful as they leap over each hurdle. One leg is fully stretched while the other is lifted swiftly. The upper body is bent forward, and the eyes are trained on the track ahead. I was reminded of a lithe animal hunting down its prey.

 選手がハードルを越える瞬間の形が美しい。足を思い切り伸ばし、一方の足を素早く持ちあげる。前傾した上体と道筋を読む目が、獲物を追うしなやかな動物のようだ。

When Tamesue was nearing the finish line, his lips parted slightly as if in a smile. The race became a dead heat just before the end, and Tamesue collapsed across the finishing line to win a bronze medal. For him, this was a triumph that came in the wake of a long slump and other personal misfortunes that included the death of his father. His face was wet with tears, sweat and rain.

 最終コーナーを回る頃、為末選手の口がかすかに開き、ほほえんだように見えた。最後はもつれたが倒れ込んで銅メダルを手にした。不振、不運、父の死を経て「勝利」をつかんだ。雨と汗と涙の入り交じるゴールインだった。

Meanwhile, the space shuttle Discovery landed safely Tuesday in the United States. Astronaut Soichi Noguchi's beaming face mirrored his satisfaction with the completion of a tough mission.

Noguchi's performance was in space and Tamesue's was on the ground. But having cleared their respective hurdles, both men gave encouragement to those who watched.

 宇宙からは、野口聡一さんたちのスペースシャトルが、無事ホームインした。難しい任務をしっかり果たしたという満足の笑みもいい。天と地と、ふたりの道は違っても、ハードルを乗り越えた姿には、周りをも力づける輝きが宿っている。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 11(IHT/Asahi: August 12,2005)

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2005/08/12

Virgin Mary statue witness to atomic bombing

 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

Virgin Mary statue witness to atomic bombing

08/11/2005

In Nagasaki, a monument stands at ground zero of the atomic bomb explosion. Standing there, I looked up into the sky at 11:02 a.m. Tuesday, the dazzling sun causing my eyes to blink. Precisely at that moment 60 years ago, the bomb detonated about 500 meters above the city.

2005年08月10日(水曜日)付
【天声人語】

 9日午前11時2分、長崎市の「原子爆弾落下中心地」の碑の下から空を見上げた。太陽が目を射る。60年前のその時、地上約500メートルの所で原爆が炸裂(さくれつ)した。

The atomic attack is said to have made the world look as if the sun had come down on it. I tried to imagine the hellish scenes.

I closed my eyes to think, recalling pictures taken just after the attack, eyewitness accounts and exhibits at the local peace memorial museum, a mental exercise I do every time I visit Nagasaki.

As before, what I could imagine fell far short of what really happened. The gulf made me wonder if I had no choice but to repeat what other people have said: An odious act far exceeding the human imagination in its cruelty was committed by man.

 太陽が落ちてきたようなありさまを想像する。直後の映像や被爆した人たちの証言、原爆の資料館の展示などを念頭において周囲に目をこらし、また瞑目(めいもく)して考える。来るたびにそうするが、実際に何がどうなったのかを想像できたというところには、とうてい至らない。やはり、人間の想像をはるかに超えるおぞましい行為が人間によってなされた現場というしかないのか。

On Monday, I met a woman on the premises of Nagasaki University, about 1 kilometer away from ground zero. She was watering flowers in front of a memorial for bomb victims. She said she was turning 70 this year. She was a fifth-grader in elementary school when the bomb was dropped. Though exposed to radiation, she survived because she was at her home, rather removed from ground zero.

Her father died, though. He was working in a now-defunct arms manufacturing factory in Nagasaki. "Even his body was not found," she said.

 8日、爆心地から1キロ余りの所にある長崎大学の構内の慰霊碑の前で、花に水をやる女性がいた。今年で70歳という女性は、小学校5年の時に被爆した。爆心からやや離れた自宅に居たため生き延びたが、当時この地にあった兵器工場で働いていた父親を失った。「遺体も見つかりませんでした」。60年間、父は行方不明のままだ。

A statue of the Virgin Mary that was damaged in the blast was unveiled Tuesday at Urakami Cathedral standing on a knoll near ground zero.

Originally, the statue adorned the cathedral's altar. The blast nearly leveled the building, leaving only side walls standing. Later, only the upper part of the wooden statue was found and retrieved.

 9日、爆心地近くの丘に立つ浦上天主堂で「被爆マリア像」が公開された。もとは大聖堂の祭壇に飾られていたが、あの日、わずかな側壁を残して建物が吹き飛んだ。後日、木の像の胸から上だけがみつかった。

Up close, I saw that the statue was burned on the face and head. Bereft of eyeballs, the eye sockets were just black hollows.

 間近に見ると、ほおや髪が焦げている。眼球が抜け落ちた両の目は、黒くうつろで、底知れない二つの闇のようだ。

The pathetic figure let out an unaccountably strong life force, however. It occurred to me that the lost part of the wooden statue symbolized what happened to Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The statue, a witness to the atomic attack, seemed to be trying to convey memories of that 1945 day to future generations.

 いたましい姿だが、不思議な生命力を感じさせる。像の失われた部分は、長崎であり、広島ではないか。マリア像はその存在の証しであり、その記憶を未来に伝えようとしているように思われた。

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 10(IHT/Asahi: August 11,2005)

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