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MUSINGS / May 2, 2017

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s May 2 issue.

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Sadao Shoji’s essay “Shoji-kun no Nippon Haiken” was published by Bunshun Bunko with commentary by the late writer Akiyuki Nosaka at the end. The commentary posed the question, “What should a column be?” and said, “First of all, a column should be inspired by three ‘mi’ — ‘netami,’ ‘higami’ and ‘sonemi.’” These three Japanese words have almost the same meaning as “envy and jealousy.”

The three “mi” are ordinarily heavily evoked by a dream almost within reach. But when it comes to a certain luxury beyond the reach of ordinary people, I do not feel the “mi.” Though it seems to run counter to Mr. Nosaka’s teaching, I only long for it with a calm mind. The luxury is a four-day, three-night tour on a deluxe sleeper for up to ¥950,000 per person, according to the organizer.

The Train Suite Shiki-Shima, a luxury sleeper operated by East Japan Railway Co., went into service on May 1, leaving Ueno Station for a tour of Hokkaido and the Tohoku region.

The sleeper train has a room that includes a bath made of hinoki Japanese cypress, providing services like a luxury hotel. Yet even now, when foreign tourists have increased, Tohoku tourism spots have not ridden the wave of the trend, partly due to groundless fears about the nuclear accident. I hope the Shiki-Shima will support Tohoku’s tourism. To all the passengers on the first Shiki-Shima train, I hope you enjoy a memorable tour.

There is a tanka poem by Jun Yoshitake: “Being left behind in Tokyo is blissful; I opened a collection of poems in a train car in the morning.” At any rate, it is a small pleasure for me to find a vacant seat in a commuter train car. Oh! I wonder if this is “mi”?Speech

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