In Praise of Death

The Deadvlei finds itself in Sossusvlei of the Namib Desert. Vlei means a marsh in Afrikaans. Deadvlei is an extremely dried up marsh where dead trees are left out and their trunks are turned into charcoal grey due to relentless scarcity of water. Life as we scientifically define it is absolutely over. However, the dark trees firmly rooted into the thirsty land abundantly emit flow of energy which touches me warmly. I lay my whole body on the white pan and softly put my right ear on it. The warmth absorbed from the morning sunshine caresses my skin. The endless high red dunes draw breath-takingly elegant skylines between the clear blue sky and the paled salt clay. The Deadvlei casts a smell of death odorlessly and leaves me speechless in awe of its hidden beauty.


I experience for the first time in slaughtering animals as part of the volunteer program at the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary. In total six of cows, a horse, and a donkey for the lions, hyenas, and black leopards to be fed. Local farms in the area donate their cattle to the sanctuary when they are dead due to deceases and aging. Usually it costs quite a lot for the local farms to treat their dead cattle. Therefore, giving it away to the sanctuary is a win-win situation.


With a big sharp knife, I slice the skin off from a dead cow and support sanctuary staff in cutting off the body into pieces. Unless you know the anatomy of the animals, the process of slaughter gets harshly bloody. Not only blood but also whatever liquids that you can imagine flood out of the body. Unbearable stench of putrid flesh and bare internal organ fills in the air. Overnight severe thunder storms often kill wild animals such as impalas which tend to sleep under trees. They are another important source of food for the predators living in the sanctuary. Everyday, phone calls come in to tell the sanctuary “our cows died” “dead antelopes were found.” The staff drive down to pick them up and slaughter them as soon as possible to keep the meats as fresh as possible. Heads, bones, and skins are burned to soils. Internal organs are dumped away for vultures and crows to eat off. In the sanctuary, dead animals are reduced to particles and elements, and return to the cycle of the earth.


Death is detestable in our society. Our socio-cultural system is developed in a way that occupations related to death are ranked the lowest with disrespect and veiled so that none of us have to be aware of it in our daily life. Longevity and elixir of life become our foremost values, even ethics. Our dreadful effort of avoiding death is tremendously extended and enlarged beyond our bodily consciousness. In return, our intrinsic physical ability of sensing death deteriorates.

Should death be the taboo? Do we have to avoid and procrastinate our death? It is primary instinct of living organisms to avoid death and live out. However, our fear for death is unreasonably intensified. Deluded, distorted emotions and mind which are drifted away from our “animal instinct” weaken our capacity in survival. How often is our false “civilized” fear for death and loss actually lead us to death? Losing a job. The number in your bank account decreasing. Worrying about the others’ judgement on yourself. Becoming an outlier in our group. There is a crucial difference between two: 1) the truly functioned instinct that enables us to sense a risk of death and desperately try to live out; 2) the avoidance of death resulted from our illusionary fear for it because we objectify and externalize loathsome death. We who have evolved in the secluded human empire that institutionalizes our fear and hate for death are missing resilience for life. When death visits us, that’s our turn for departure. It’s an inevitable fate.

I witness various kinds of death through my journey in Africa. Mummified plants and trees in Sossusvlei stand still in the harden white pan. Dead impalas and sheep hit by thunders whose eye lids are hollowly open and necks are completely knocked off like a marionette. Two Lions incredibly easily tear apart an impala’s body for a few seconds. When I enter into their enclosure for cleaning after their meal, nothing but bones is left. The dead one becomes part of the living ones, reincarnated.

What I receive from a myriad of death is my pure surrender with awe towards indispensable beauty. Vitality in corpses. There definitely is energy that death gives and rejuvenates us who are still alive.


Our lives are based on dead plants and animals. Regardless of vegan or frutalian, our life is gifted upon harvest of death. As soon as we chew, what we put into our mouth can’t help but dying. Dead creatures become our nutrition, blood and flesh. Death fuels life. Black magic worships blood of scapegoats. I feel that our life is by nature somewhat characterized with the essence of black magic. For that there is no good and evil.

My existence is based on my father’s death. (I do NOT mean that his death allows me to grow further or a loss of his life yields a new gain.) Simply, I grope and crawl for all that are generated by a phenomenon of his death, whether it’s negative or positive. It’s beyond dichotomous judgements. Whatever shit it is, every fxxking thing becomes a crop for my living (yes I’m using “negative swear words, I know.) I grapple with my desperate life until the last drop of tears. After a while, I swim in the sea where his ash is spread, looking unconcerned.


Of course I mourn. Never healed scars of sorrow are curbed deep. So deep as a bottomless swamp. Nevertheless, what has sprouted from the seed of his death, whether it is once regarded as despair, karma, or mercy, ought to be praised. Kudos on death.

A rosy song for life

The second night of South Africa.
A squall wrathfully has the land soaked and wet.
Lightnings ripple the dark sky.
Thunders roar onto the yellow Earth.



A little girl around the age of 5 in the next room is amusingly inquisitive.

“What’s your name?”
“Why are you alone?”
“What do you do?”
“Why do you eat dinner?”
“Why do you get hungry?”

Then all of a sudden she bends her knees and sits on her butt on the floor, telling me “Oh! Something is pushing me down! So heavy that I can’t move my legs. Can you pull me up?” She extends her arms towards me to invite my hands to hold hers. By holding her underarms, I lift her up and have her jump back to the standing position. We repeat this new play a few times.

Her dazzling questioning continues.
“Do you have daddy?”
Unlike to the other questions, this one freezes my mind for 0.0001 second.
“Yes, I do.”
“What language do you and your daddy speak?”
“Why Japanese?”
“Because we lived in Japan,” noticing myself mixing the present and past tenses, which clearly reflects my psychology. Different voices debate in my head, how honest shall I be to this little girl who I most likely won’t see again?

“I have daddy but he is now gone. Up in the…” pointing my index finger upward, while I feel awkward to complete my sentence with the word “heaven.” I skip it by replacing with the gesture. I ain’t sure which words to use to the girl. At the same time, I laugh at myself who is automatically about to using a cliche explanation about death to a kid. Is that me? Nooooo.

She asks, “why is he gone?”
“Because he is dead,” said I, without hesitance.
“Why is he dead?”
Another pause my mind has to take. That’s an interesting question. I wanna know, too. Why?

“That’s a good question. …..Because he was called.”
“Why was he called?”
This question really really gets me like lightning strikes.


(A deep breath)


A riddle yet to be solved.

“That’s another good question honey. …..He was called because it was his timing. Everybody is called at their own timing. I will be called someday. You will, too.”

Her name is Rosy.
A minstrel with a rose sings for his life (which is equal to death).


Dad asked a riddle to me before his departure from this world
which I have been guessing since then.

It’s ever to be solved.
The answer will be unknown.
however I’ve resolved.

A bard ridicules me,
hiding clues in his ballade.
A bard ridicules me,
masking the truth in his facade.


A minstrel leaves own time
following a trace of old verses once mattered
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Flying over straits of the salt water

A minstrel seeks own rhyme
A thorn of a rose: she merrily sings
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
A faint scent of pink colors her wings

A minstrel retrieves own chime
Ripples of a sound echo in the blue yonder
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Until the honey due crescent will she wander

A minstrel is asleep in own time
Breathing out the tail of ancient lyrics
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Her dream is as lucid as acrylic


This morning, I was awakened from a decade-long dream. A clear realization struck me, that he will never ever come back. As a matter of fact, it’s a simple obvious fact which I knew from the beginning. Well, I should say, I knew it as a piece of knowledge. But my deep inside didn’t realize what it really meant. Until today’s awakening, I’ve lived in a long long hazy misty dream where I was totally blind and didn’t grip the reality of an eternal separation. I knew. But I didn’t.

Needless to say, I didn’t believe a freaky thing that the deceased would revive. I understood that he was dead and that was it. Nonetheless, my life since then has been shaped around his death, or existence. I’ve devoted all my time and energy to accept, fight back, reflect on, heal, mad at, get devastated, and get out of his dying and passing. I disparately longed for and missed him in sinful regret, self-hatred, and despair. Without thinking of and being aware of impossibility of our reunion in this world, I exhausted what I had on the relationship with him. The magnitude of my missing him actually gave me the tremendous amount of energy to do things. I bestowed all of it on making my life and proceeding.

Upon the realization, I was astonished with the fact that I had been so lost in my world in relation to him. I gazed into space in my room as if I had been connected to emptiness.The experience of awakening from this immense dream was exactly the same as the every morning waking up from a dream or sleep and as the waking in a lucid dream while sleeping. “Oh! I was dreaming, and I am awake now.”  I never see him again.

No longer do I have to be driven to fill in the gap, which I would keep failing for good because it’s simply impossible. I miss you. But I can’t see you. I can’t change the past. I’m not meant to desire for what I can’t have. My life force isn’t for something that I can never fulfill. From now on, I’m able to beacon my energy, apart from the identity with him.



A summer blue flower

wishes to be a butterfly

puts out many buds to the sky

petals in bloom like wings

A summer blue flower

follows a butterfly that flutters in the sky

petals in the dark flickers like wings

ever shining

needled in a box

A summer blue flower

wishes to be a butterfly.






















“Dieses Haus stand früher in einem anderen Land.”







photo (3)

photo (1)




今日はドイツがパブリックに提供しているコミュニティカレッジへ語学学校の質問をしに行きました。Volkshochschule -フォルクスホフシューレ-と言います。どんなクラスがあるか、タームの途中からでもレジスターできるのか、料金体系はどんなか、といったベーシックな質問をしたかったんです。


あー、そうだった!この国、The 待ち時間だったじゃん!と思い出す。









ちなみにドイツのサービスは全く画一化されてないのが特徴のようです。さすが、ホフシュテッド(超古典w)の比較異文化研究で “individualistic” の強度がダントツ高いドイツ。個々人のニーズが満たされるまでマンツーマンで話し合いがなされます。 Super customized とも言えるかしら。だから長い列になるんだね。待たせることが「サービス上の悪」と捉えない。1人1人とじっくり話す。ここがサービスの質。その人が終わったら次。とてもシンプル。





ドイツは違うのだ。こっちが用件言わないとシーンとしたまま。向こうはむっつり待ってます。恐らく、何か用事があってここに来てるんだから、わざわざ “how can I help you today?” なんて美辞麗句を言う必要がないって感覚なんだろうな。そして、用件は自分は知るよしもなくお客さん本人が知ってるんだから、さあどうぞ言ってください。それに応じて動きますよ。というスタンス。





マホガニー製の巨大な円形の水で渦を作る装置(水の動力を利用している。渦の中心に人が立っても水がかからないように設計されている)の小型版がスタジオにおいてあったので、水を入れてもらいました。作った動機は「渦の中心にいるのがどんな気分かを溺れることなく体験してみたかった」からだそう。さすがアーティストな発想!水は一番早く流れる道筋を選ぶ性質があるそうです。Water naturally chooses to move the fastest. I’m very fascinated with the fact!








彼はAcci Babaというアーティスト。2010年6月の記念すべきTEDxTokyo yzキックオフイベントで、ベルリンからわざわざ来日してくれた。不思議な縁のある人。















いくらわけがわからないと言えど、素の私の文章を見て「いい」と感じて返信くれる人を望んでるから、日本でCommunication Process Designerという職業を自分で作ってやってきたこと、ベルリンに渡ってアーティストビザを申請し、生きる実験をアートとしてやっていくことは書いてました。そこはまったくいじってないんだけど、1行「アートファンドをもらってベルリンに来ている」と添えたんだよね。私がやっている暮らし実験は厳密にはfundとは違うかもしれないけど、見方によってはそうだし、文脈に合わせて相手が解釈しやすい言葉で説明していけばいいのかなと思っています。ルームメイトを探している人たちが求めているのは何より支払い能力。ベルリンでアーティストビザ申請中って書くと、=お金ない。になるのです。