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November 8, 2010 8:30 AM   Subscribe

"Hokkaido Green," a lovely short story for the overworked and the stressed this Monday morning.
posted by jbickers (29 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
Lovely. Thank you.
posted by tommasz at 8:45 AM on November 8, 2010


That was really nice. Thank you for posting it.
posted by Malor at 9:08 AM on November 8, 2010


Much better than working, thank you.
posted by palacewalls at 9:08 AM on November 8, 2010


Very nice. I can't make up my mind about the ending - happy? sad? Or simply the best that Hitoshi can have after ignoring his family for too long?
posted by niles at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2010


That was really nice--ambiguous yet somehow reassuring.
posted by Tesseractive at 9:51 AM on November 8, 2010


Beautiful little story, thank you. I think I'm going to close my cubicle for a few minutes.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 9:55 AM on November 8, 2010


"Every action creates opportunities. Every action limits your choices."

Torschlusspanik - GermanTranslated literally, this word means “gate-closing panic,” but its contextual meaning refers to “the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.”

My life has been a study in balancing the fear of closing gates against the fear of inaction. Until this fall, when I started taking action by intentionally closing a few gates. And then I removed my shoes and started running, and I have never looked back.
posted by Eideteker at 10:05 AM on November 8, 2010 [15 favorites]


That was lovely, thanks for posting!
posted by carter at 10:06 AM on November 8, 2010


Thank you. That was just what I needed.
posted by YAMWAK at 10:19 AM on November 8, 2010


Piling on the love. It's a lovely short story, and the ending was perfect. I think it is a good example of what separates good writing from mediocre.
posted by indiebass at 10:26 AM on November 8, 2010


This reminds me of the Terry Bisson short story, "Bears Discover Fire," for an obvious reason, but also for other reasons.
posted by KITTYFLOWER at 10:45 AM on November 8, 2010


Lovely piece. I think it's nice because in our own personal narratives we aren't often asked to sacrifice something good in order to get something great, but that concept is worth reflecting upon once in a while.
posted by jnrussell at 10:55 AM on November 8, 2010


My life has been a study in balancing the fear of closing gates against the fear of inaction. Until this fall, when I started taking action by intentionally closing a few gates. And then I removed my shoes and started running, and I have never looked back.

I highly recommend you read the book Predictably Irrational. For a taste, check out this article and pay close attention to the "Vanishing Door" experiment they did at MIT. Even MIT students -- whom you would expect to be extra-rational -- performed incredibly irrationally!


"Colors are like dreams: if you try and reproduce them, you'll only be disappointed."

I absolutely love this line!

I think this is maybe why I don't use my ~$1,000 of camera equipment as much as I would like to... Because I miss out on so much of the the experience by expending so much energy trying to capture it "on film" (so to speak).
posted by StarmanDXE at 11:13 AM on November 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Strange Horizon's annual fund drive ended yesterday a couple thousand dollars short of their goal. But they accept donations all year round (and they're an official 501(c)(3) organization, so donations are US income tax deductible.) So if you like this, consider helping them buy and publish more stories.
posted by Zed at 11:34 AM on November 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


StarmanDXE, I just attended a concert (OK Go!) where I deliberately left my camera in the car, determined to be in the moment at all times (I'm usually shooting everything in sight). It was a great show, and at one point Damian Kushlar was in the audience, singing less than a foot from me, a crazy opportunity for great pics. Instead, I soaked up the moment undistracted. I'm kinda sorry I didn't get pics, but oh, it was so worth it.

This was a great story. Thanks to jbickers for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 11:35 AM on November 8, 2010


Hokkaido Green is peeeeepul!
posted by oneironaut at 11:58 AM on November 8, 2010


Thanks for depressing the hell out of me :(
posted by d1rge at 12:24 PM on November 8, 2010


That was a wonderful story. It really does capture that mix of the beautiful and the temporary, the quality of being alive yet as a part of it dying.
posted by strixus at 12:46 PM on November 8, 2010


kinnakeet: I'm kinda sorry I didn't get pics, but oh, it was so worth it.


I think the whole "Facebook-ization" of our generation has led to wanting pictures for the sole purpose of making your friends (and "friends") jealous of you and what you've done.

I've noticed that, as I get older, I'm starting to care a whole lot less about what other people think of me and a lot more about just appreciating my life and getting the most out of it. (And my pictures are more along the lines of "isn't this funny?!" or "here are those pictures you asked for" as opposed "hey! check out what I got to do, and you didn't! Ha ha!")
posted by StarmanDXE at 1:19 PM on November 8, 2010


Reminds me of Murakami, not least because of the Watanabe (though I understand that's a very common name in Japan, so it could just be a coincidence).
posted by robertc at 3:43 PM on November 8, 2010


I think the whole "Facebook-ization" of our generation has led to wanting pictures for the sole purpose of making your friends (and "friends") jealous of you and what you've done.

There's a funny thing there, yeah. I find myself taking fewer snapshots of places and things because I know I can find someone else's picture of whatever it is if I want to show someone.
posted by mendel at 5:59 PM on November 8, 2010


i just wanted to mention that i had this playing in the background from another metafilter post while i was reading and it turned the whole thing into a VERY SURREAL EXPERIENCE
posted by raw sugar at 12:13 AM on November 9, 2010


Thanks for the comments everyone.
I'm glad so many people enjoyed the story.

The hot spring waterfall in the story is a real place. I visited there in 2007 when I lived in Japan.
You can see some photos on my web site.
http://www.aidandoyle.net/2010/11/08/the-real-hokkaido-green/

Bears Discover Fire by Terry Bisson is one of my all-time favorite stories. It's well worth reading. And I also read Predictably Irrational. The closing doors experiment did stick in my mind. And I'm also a fan of Murakami, but the name Watanabe was just a coincidence.

I've travelled a lot and I enjoy taking photos - it helps me remember my experiences. But I'm also aware of people that don't are too busy taking photos (videos are even worse) to actually experience the event firsthand.
Perhaps the worst example I saw of this was a tourist at Versailles who didn't even walk into the rooms, he just stuck his camera into the room and took a photo without seeing what he was photographing.
posted by aidandoyle at 4:27 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aidan, welcome to the blue! So glad you've joined.
posted by jbickers at 5:53 AM on November 9, 2010


"You can see some photos on my web site.
http://www.aidandoyle.net/2010/11/08/the-real-hokkaido-green/"

I can't get them to load.
posted by Eideteker at 5:58 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


This story was the right thing at the right time. After a few years of just trying to keep my life, I'm ready to take myself in a direction I hope and think will bring some satisfaction, peace, and a sense of accomplishment. I will find my bear. Cross your fingers for me please! Thanks jbickers and thanks aidandoyle.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:24 AM on November 9, 2010


I don't know if it's just a coincidence, but I just recently watched Kurosawa's Ikiru and the protagonist's name is also Watanabe. It just added another layer to the story for me even if they are not in any way related.
posted by spec80 at 9:24 AM on November 9, 2010


Thanks jbickers. And thanks for posting the link to the story.

@Eideteker.
My web host has been a lit bittle unreliable lately, so the site might have been briefly down, but otherwise the photos are available and other people have seen the.

@Daddy-o
I'm glad the story was helpful. Good luck with finding your bear!

@spec80
I haven't seen Ikiru, so that's just a coincidence with the name. Watanabe is a very common Japanese name.
posted by aidandoyle at 2:24 AM on November 10, 2010


"My web host has been a lit bittle unreliable lately, so the site might have been briefly down, but otherwise the photos are available and other people have seen the."

Dude! It's your own story I'm referencing! =D
posted by Eideteker at 8:16 AM on November 10, 2010


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