Tuesday, February 12, 2013

いつも何度でも/Always with me

Lyrics:覚和歌子/Wakako Kaku
English lyrics: Julie Rogers
Composer: 木村弓/Yumi Kimura

The first dusting of snow this winter, last December
呼んでいる 胸のどこか奥で
いつも心躍る 夢を見たい
かなしみは 数えきれないけれど
その向こうできっと あなたに会える

Somewhere, a voice calls in the depths of my heart
May I always be dreaming, the dreams that move my heart
So many tears of sadness, uncountable through and through
I know on the other side, of them, I’ll find you

(Click on the photo to enlarge.)
The Yoshiki River, summer

繰り返すあやまちの そのたび ひとは
ただ青い空の 青さを知る
果てしなく 道は続いて見えるけれど
この両手は 光を抱ける

Every time we fall down to the ground, we look up to the blue sky above
We wake to its blueness, as for, the first time
Though the road is long and lonely and the end far away, out of sight
I can with these two arms, embrace the light

the view of Nara City from Mt. Wakakusa, early autumn

さよならのときの 静かな胸
ゼロになるからだが 耳をすませる
生きている不思議 死んでいく不思議
花も風も街も みんなおなじ

As I bid farewell, my heart stops, in tenderness I feel
My silent empty body begins to listen to what is real
The wonder of living, the wonder of dying
The wind, town and flowers, we all dance one unity

Tobihino Field, autumn
呼んでいる 胸のどこか奥で
いつも何度でも 夢を描こう
かなしみの数を 言い尽くすより
同じくちびるで そっとうたおう

Somewhere, a voice calls, in the depths of heart
Keep dreaming your dreams, don’t ever them part
Why speak of all your sadness or of life’s painful woes
Instead let the same lips sing a gentle song for you

Magnolia kobus at Sagi-ike Pond, spring

閉じていく思い出の そのなかにいつも
忘れたくない ささやきを聞く
こなごなに砕かれた 鏡の上にも
新しい景色が 映される

The whispering voice, we never want to forget, in each memory
Always there to guide you
When a mirror has been broken, shattered pieces scattered on the ground
Glimpses of new lie, reflected all around

Chogaku-ji Temple, early summer
はじまりの朝の 静かな窓
ゼロになるからだ 充たされてゆけ
海の彼方には もう探さない
輝くものは いつもここに

Window of beginnings, stillness, new light of the dawn
Let my silent empty body be filled and reborn
 No need to search outside, nor sail across the sea
‘Cause here shining inside me, it’s right here inside me
I’ve found a brightness, it’s always with me

Sagi-ike Pond & Ukimi-do Pavilion

Since I heard “Always with me” for the first time at the end of the film “Spirited Away” at the theater,  the song has been always with me.   I simply like it and my view of universe and that of life are reflected in the lyrics.  Here are some of my random thoughts associated with the song.

The blue sky is where I believe simple truth exists.  Why can't we look up at the same direction, the sky, instead of looking down or looking at mutual differences, to achieve our common goal?  I’d like to keep awake to the bluness of the sky.

"The silent empty body" could suggest parting, or death, but it suggests living, too.   We, humans, live to think and think to live.   However, I remember this that “Human beings, because of their own intellect, are living in the profound darkness.”   There must be things we can’t see without becoming silent and empty.

The late loved ones are always with me.  The past pleasures spent with them are full grown when remembered and I feel watched over and guided. 

We have light inside ourselves. We have light inside even when immersed in the darkness, and there are some people who keep emitting their light to warm up the surrounding people in misery.  In about one month, Japan is meeting the second anniversary of Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami which shattered the most of communities in that region on March 11th, 2011.

ruins of the leveled city of Minami-sannriku, image via here
Japan Earthquake: Before and After, Feb. 23, 2012 edition of The Atlantic


  1. Hello Yoko:
    This is such a beautiful post. The song itself has a very haunting refrain and the words, as you say, have an incredible intensity.Truly inspiring and beguiling.

    There are so many incredibly sad events across the world and yet, the human spirit seems always to be able to rise up once more.This is a perfect tribute to the sense of human endeavour and achievement and a higher spirit to whom we can all look.

  2. My favorite Yoko
    Very glad that you liked my photos!Thank you!
    What beautiful thoughts, accompanied by beautiful pictures!
    I totally agree with you. So meditate too.
    The song, lovely!
    I wish you the best for the baby and mom, for March.
    I hope everything will be okay for another baby and your daughter.
    And in beautiful grandgauhther, many kisses!
    A big hug!

  3. Dear Yoko - your images and words always have such a special magical quality to them.
    Japan's suffering in the years 2011/ 2012 was profound with such a huge loss of life as a result of both the Tsunami and the earthquake. How does humanity picks itself up after such terrible events?

    1. Since the severity of the damages is so enormous, I have watched the rehabilitation works, holding up my breath, but things are not so easy because of additional man-made disasters caused by the nuclear plants. People cleared up the mess, counted losses, and went on with their lives in spite of the worst sadness. However, Kobe, revitalized from 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, gives me a hope that Tohoku will surely resurrect.

  4. Looking at the aftermath of the tsunami, I am struck anew at how vulnerable humanity is to the elements as well as to its own follies and short sightedness. But although we seem to be no more than easily broken toys at times, in the larger scheme of things we share a connection to something that is big and wonderful and expressed so soulfully in the song.

  5. Bellas imagenes y un respetuoso homenaje para la gente que sufrió lo acontecido en los años 2011 y 2O12.
    Un abrazo.

  6. What you write is very moving. Unfortunately, the human tragedies happen and they hit you. This is very sad and I want to say that will never happen again. Regards warm.

  7. This poem is very touching and went straight to my soul - thank you Yoko!
    Your photos are beautiful, especially the first one...

  8. I like this song So I practicd to play a piano of the song before :)

  9. such beautiful images. love the sweeping branches, reflections and skies.

  10. I remember this song very well. I listened to this song and was moved deeply by it in a movie theater. “Spirited Away”evoked my nostalgic, sweet memories which everyone has experienced in his or her childhood. Your photos go well with the poetic words excellently and beautiful.

  11. The photos you chose (from all seasons) to illustrate the lyrics are very evocative. You are a thinker and a dreamer, Yoko. When I look to the blue tomorrow, I'll think of you.

  12. 何度聞いても心にしみわたってきますね。歌を聞きながら。ポスト読ませていただきました。

  13. I was drawn to the lyrics and photos which go well togetoher, and at last I found your suggestion about the victims and survivors of the triple disastors,
    earthquake, Tsunami and meltdown of nuclear station, and the aftermarth.
    It's still cold and I suppose they have to wait for coming spring longer than us who live in southern regions. I cannot shake off my pity for them. However the song gives me signs of hope.

  14. Such a beautiful and a lyrical post, Yoko, I felt like listening to rhythmic music soothing the mind and soul. How wonderful it would be if we all made an effort to look towards the brighter sides of life's ways and continue to move together in unison, as one. Your pictures and words are inspiring... nudging us to, in spite of all the adversities that we might face, continue striving to be a better person with each passing day.

  15. Beautiful words with beautiful pictures...all in harmony...

  16. I remember someone telling me that we, human beings, are the only living creatures gazing at the skies. Aspiring to something higher than us, superior, something lost but something wherein we will and have to return consciously, through our own efforts. The “unity we all dance”. Sadly, I've seen more people looking down than up to the blueness of the sky lately, with no question in their mind but full of ready-made answers, preoccupied with shallow things, barren compensation for an unlived life. Many have lost the exercise of thinking, of questioning the world around and questioning themselves in order to discover and understand new things. But most important they've lost the exercise of listening to what they feel… And until each of us wakes up and sees the world through his/her own eyes and heart not through rigid, outdated educational patterns I think we won’t be able to look up at the same direction.
    We can search for answers outside but we’ll only find it within ourselves. Providing we become silent and empty our mind as you beautifully explained it. In other words and to paraphrase Antoine de Saint-Exupery, to build a citadel takes time, patience, honesty, love and dedication.
    The bond with our long lost ancestors and essentially with all creatures that once lived on Earth (what I understand through Jung’s “collective unconscious”) has become very fragile, hence the strong fear of death many of us have. I’d say the occident almost lost it. Your touching testimony remembered me what an old and very talented Romanian actor said “I don’t pray to God, I pray to my sweet mother who I know watches me over and still protects me”.

    I think the concept of the light within us is profoundly oriental. And its derived attitudes towards life and community are the reason other nations consider the Japanese people a Phoenix-like people.
    I will finish by saying that I've always admired you Yoko, for the ability you have to express very deep, insightful ideas in such a concise manner. And also that I enjoy better the Japanese version of this beautiful song, even though I cannot understand the lyrics. The melody has a special profoundness that the English version somehow lacks.

    1. Thank you, roxana, for your time and a long comment. Again, you paraphrased nicely what I wanted to say and stimulated my thinking further by adding more fresh and thought-provoking views. The English lyrics conveys almost the same meaning with original Japanese but the arrangement of English version and Meja’s interpretation sounds different. I’m glad you liked the original. Music speaks universal language and touches heart even when we don't know the language.

  17. "When a mirror has been broken, shattered pieces scattered on the ground
    Glimpses of new lie, reflected all around".
    This is so powerful, Yoko. You have selected amazing images to cover deep thoughts about humanity. There is so much truth in what you write. I love visiting you.
    Cheers my dear,

  18. Thank you for this heartfelt post Yoko. I love how the pictures and words so beautifully complement each other. Also love the reflections on the temple pool,so peaceful. Thank you for sharing this.

    Have a lovely weekend,

  19. a wonderful little song! I found myself sining along! You pictures are beautiful! Has the communities of the devastated sunami started to recover? I just can't even imagine the horrible devastation they have suffered. It was so nice to visit your blog again.

    1. Thank you, Linda, for your concern. If the damages were caused only by the earthquake and tsunami, things would be easier, but nuclear problems make the recovery very slow. There has been slight recovery little by little but it’s still a long way to go to the full recovery.

  20. Your posts exudes peace and harmony.
    Dear Yoko, your posts are always full of knowledge and always so beautiful pictures. Ja.g appreciate to visit your blog and take part of the beauty of your country and your thoughts. I like the depth and it is real and true ..
    Here, my mother died just a few days ago, she was old, but of course leave a big void.
    Wish you a nice day.
    Hugs from your friend in Sweden.
    Do you know that Meja is Swedish. :)

    1. Sorry to hear about the loss of your loved mother. I think I know how you feel now, a big void in your spite of her accomplishment to live up to that old age, but remember she’ll be always with you from now on. Whenever you think of her, she’ll be very close to you. (Hugs)
      Yes, I know Meja is Swedish. She covers many Ghibri songs.

    2. Hi Yoko!
      Thanks for your word and your kindness. It is my husbands mother who died, but I met here when I was young so I know here for a long time, a good woman. My own mother is living but are also old now.
      My dogs name is Xavi, like a football player. (but on the blog I call him Mr X). :) He have such a lovely personality, kind, lovefull and I really love him. A true friend.
      I wich you health and good time.
      Hug from me.

    3. I've been reading the comments left by your friends and I think they have encapsulated well my reactions and feelings about this wonderful post - the photos and the music. I've been a songwriter in the past and the song is very similar to the kinds of music I've written.

      All of this was much appreciated. Lois Anne would especially resonate with the spirituality so present in the rich vibrancy of your words.

      Our best wishes to you as you continue on life's pathway.


  21. こんにちわ。





    1. 「世界の約束」も大好きです。谷川俊太郎さんの詩ですね。口ずさむことで生きていくことの励ましになってくれる曲です。”Why speak of all your sadness or of life’s painful woes / Instead let the same lips sing a gentle song for you”

  22. この歌はよく聞こえてきました。リズムは覚えやすかったのですが、歌詞がこんなに静かな希望を歌っているとは、しらなかったです。映像も一度テレビでみたきりですが、不思議な感じがしたのを覚えています。

  23. Dear Yoko! I've been reading this with tears. It might be your balancing between two polar ages in human life that prompted that mood. And this is so close, so clear to me. When you ask people when they last looked at the stars, most of them reply - Why? What for? You answer just the way I think. May God protect you and your family.
    Thank you for the comment, I replied to it.

  24. Your blog did make me feel very emotional. And thinking. I love to look at the stars when it's dark. I hope your country will be protected from this kind of deseasasters in the future. Have a wonderful weekend Yoko.
    Hugs from Holland

  25. The lyrics of this song is very intense in the range of emotions it covers. I feel very touched by it and the images selected by you evokes all these latent feelings. I hope your country will have the spirit to rise above all these calamities and may ill fortune be blown away.

  26. WOW!
    I admire your great photos.
    I am delighted.
    I send greetings from distant Polish.

  27. What a moving post - beautiful images to go with the words. I can see why the song haunts you.

  28. こんにちは。 有名な歌ですね。とても良い曲です。 star dust 様が ロマンチストでと改めて確認しました。

  29. Now finally... :-)

    Dear Yoko, it's Monday evening here in Germany, the first day of a long and challenging workweek is over - and now I've found some time "to visit my friends all over the world".
    I was impressed about the welcome change, otherness and profoundness of your current post. I felt blessed I was able to take my time to go through it completely - and although it's full of melancholia, I'm happy to read that you are one of these persons among whom a brightness and hope inheres, that’s always with you - for better or for worse.

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful as well as thought-provoking post!

  30. Yoko, you are an excellent photographer and your photos are of professional quality! They are superb. You have a wonderful eye - outer and inner - and your spirit of love and kindness and oneness with all things comes through clearly.

    Lois Anne is my beloved wife of 55 1/2 years. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer last September. She's had two surgeries and almost 4 months of chemotherapy and will have surgery to remove her bladder at the end of March. I'm finding this all to be very difficult -- she is truly one of the blessed that walk the earth and it breaks my heart to see her struggling through the chemo and the shots and all the rest. Yet her spirit remains strong and she has great hopes for the future.

    1. Thank you, Lowell, for the kind and supportive words as always, which have encouraged me a lot since I met you.

      Watching over the loved one’s pains and struggles is the hardest thing: I know from my experience. Lois Anne must be a woman of strength, I hope she’ll surely recover overcoming the ongoing pains with her ‘great hopes for future”, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. With best wishes to her and to you.

  31. So sorry to hear about your loss.

    This is a beautiful tribute.

  32. Hi Yoko! Thank you for your nice comment on our Stone Creek blog. Hope that all is well with you.

    The commentary on your posts is always so poetic. I'm not sure if I've mentioned my poetry blog's a mix of romantic, serious, satirical and comedic poetry. The blog is called Creative Confections. Many of the posts were written under my pen name of Jacob Anson. Here's the link:

    Hope that all is well with you and your family.

    1. When I found your poetry blog last week, I understood why your former name was Jacob. I’m so interested in your poems and look forward to reading them with your fabulous images from time to time when I have time. There are so many!

  33. What a beautiful post! It echoes so many thoughts I had while I was with my mother in South Africa, and since I've returned to Japan.

    She doesn't have a computer or the internet, but I'm going to print this post and mail it to her so that she can read it, too.

    Thank you!

    1. I’m glad you liked this post. Mother-daughter relationship is something special. You might be living far away from each other, but you’re not separated at all and I suppose your homecoming this time had a fresh and sweet impact on each other no matter how hard the parting was. Wish you mother’s wellbeing back in SA.

  34. You have captured the loveliness of the seasons so beautifully! I was very touched by this meaningful post. You are a very special, kind-hearted soul.

  35. my fav is the pciture with the blue sky and the tree! great reflections, so calming+peacefukk images (even the views of Nara)! wishing you agood sunday+a nice new week!

  36. Yokoさん こんにちは。
     素晴らしい日本の風景と共に、優しくそして力強い歌詞とその歌声を数度 聴かせて頂きました。「海の彼方には もう探さない」という歌詞に思わず目頭が熱くなりました。
     どんな絶望の中でも、側にいて癒してくれる美しい自然と人に感謝して 今を大切に、明日に向かって歩いて行きたいですね。 そしてきっとそんな想いを胸に頑張っている人々にできる事、無力な私にできる事が一体何なのか ずっと考えていきたいです。

  37. 最初に聞いた時より二度目の方がこの歌の意味が響きました。それ以来何度も聞きました。その度に心に深く染みわたりました。

  38. Beautiful,beautiful thoughts and images.

  39. This is a very powerful poem Yoko San ! I especially liked the last few lines
    輝くものは いつもここに
    It is true we have infinite strength and power within us we just need to discover it. I love the way you have used photographs along with the poems. Your explanation and analysis of the poem is excellent.
    Also, I think the English translation is impeccable! You have translated the poem without losing out on the essence. As a translator, I know how difficult that is!
    I was in India during the Tsunami and earthquake in Japan but I was very saddened to hear about it. But I was amazed at the resilience of the Japanese people.

  40. Thanks for taking time to see this post. The English lyrics is not my translation but by Julie Rogers as is written at the top of the post. I wish I could have translation skills that way.

    You are so lucky that you were not in Japan at the time of Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami. I’m sorry to keep you busy but if you feel inclined, please have a look at This is what I felt about Tohoku people at that time.

  41. Hi, I have arrived to this blog searching for comments about this song. The first time I saw this movie, quite some years ago, when I started to hear the song at the ending credits my eyes were filled with tears without understanding the meaning.

    Curiously this song english translation represents something recalling very familiar to me ... The path of letting go, break into pieces preconceived ideas, little by little being born again, in a fresh pure day

    May I suggest another song that to me apealls quite similar in its meaning, now that it's still summer, and it's いのちの名前 the name of life, Discovering the name of life would be another way to call the lotus flower...

    Thank you for this beautiful blog I've just discovered, I'll read the entries as much as I can!

  42. Hello, Solpatots! I understand why tear welled up in your eyes without knowing the meaning of the Japanese lyrics, perhaps because of the profoundness brought by the tune and the singer’s performance. “Music is a world within itself with a language we all understand.” Music evokes special emotion. Regarding about “The Name of Life”, I hadn’t known till now that there were lyrics to the instrumental “あの夏/That Summer". Let me post about it next summer. I’ll keep your thoughts in mind that “discovering the name of life would be another way to call the lotus flower...” I’m happy you enjoyed this blog.



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