22 August, Tahi Saihate

文字数 4,140文字

Mr. I Love You


Mr. I Love You has had the name I Love You ever since he was born, and the central challenge of his life is to manage somehow to convey, whenever he introduces himself, that he doesn’t in fact love the person whom he is addressing. When I first met him he announced to me, I’m I Love You—not that I’m saying it to you, you know. Mr. I Love You’s name makes no distinction between family and personal names. He’s been simply I Love You since birth, and even if he meets someone, falls in love and marries he will have no choice but to continue to be simply I Love You forever. (Personally, I support the introduction of a bill allowing couples to have separate surnames).
  Mr. I Love You and I rob banks together. Though actually, since cash is so seldom used these days, it’s not money but vast numbers of stars that we extract from banks, and given this, we decided that a more peaceable outcome would surely be achieved by procuring our stars in the wild. And so we had come to the upper reaches of the Yagasaki River, apparently famed for its many falling stars. Mr. I Love You was standing with wet feet, staring fixedly at the bottom of the stream. It’s a difficult matter to distinguish stars from stones, and word has it that only the giant salamanders kept by the Bank of Japan can do it. In which case Mr. I Love You is, in effect, a giant salamander. He has a roughly one-in-three success rate in picking up stars rather than stones.
  I’ve said ‘I love you’ too many times, that’s the reason I can now tell stars from stones.
  It doesn’t make sense. It would make more sense if you said ‘I’m a giant salamander’.
  Did you know stones are very like human brains? Though maybe it’s rivers that are like human brains. The emotions that humans disgorge are like the river’s water, but actually the bottom is covered with countless stones lying there, just longing to see blue or red, or to touch silver cutlery, and down there you’ll find the sensations that think cherry blossoms are beautiful or summer is nostalgic. It’s hard to get the words I Love You out of a place like that, you know, harder than to extract them from the pit of the belly. I Love You happens to be my name, so I can announce those words as information. And the words are actually amazingly sincere and deep, they lie deeper than the I Love You that fishes up the heart of another, and that’s why I can tell stars from stones.
  So you’re a giant salamander, right?
  Uh-huh.
  What do you mean ‘uh-huh’?
  I said ‘uh-huh’ because you asked. If you have something to ask, you idiot, just ask it properly and I’ll answer.
  Like Are you for real? or Are you sane? for instance? They’re all questions where I’d doubt the answer if it was uh-huh.

  Regardless of questions of doubt or belief, in the simple realm of freedom, I’m happy to be with someone so long as I can hear him talk. Given his name, Mr. I Love You hasn’t the slightest intention of eliciting belief, and I’m grateful for that. Though mind you, he doesn’t seem in the least aware of it. I too have a central challenge in life, though I can’t really say that my name is Mr. I Believe You.
  All the stones I tried picking up turned out to be simply grey pebbles.
  I guess I’ll stick around, just as long as he can keep on picking up stars the way he does.


Translated by Meredith McKinney/Arranged by TranNet KK

Tahi Saihate
Born 1986. Poet. Has won many awards including the Nakahara Chūya Prize and the Hanatsubaki Award for Contemporary Poetry.

Shindeshimau

kei

no

bokura

ni

(To those of us who are the type to die), a collection of poetry published in 2014, led to a new movement in the field, while the 2016 collection

Yozora

wa

itsu

demo

saikō

mitsudo

no

aoiro

da

(The night sky is always the highest density of blue) was adapted into a film, which received many film awards. His writing spans a broad range of mediums, including poems, song lyrics, novels, essays, translations, picture-books, among others. His most recent work is

Conpurekkusu

purizumu

(Complex prism).

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