9/25/2017

When I Met You

Hi, everyone.
I'd lost my way in writing about David Bowie for a long while somehow, but I want to get the blog back on track again. I thought writing about how I got to know him in the very beginning would be one of the best ways to let myself get started again. And I'll tell you why.

I'd been writing this blog to introduce how David Bowie is publicly talked about in Japan. I'd like to continue to do this task from a objective point of view, but at the same time, I'd like to write about him subjectively from now on. What the Japanese media say about his works is sometimes different from how I perceive his works. I noticed the difference had been hindering my passion to write. So I'd like to follow my desire to be more selfish in writing from now on.

I became to know the superstar David Bowie on August 13th, 1988. The film 'Labyrinth' was televised in Japan on that day. I was attracted by his mysterious music, gorgeous voice and elegant motions. I was appealed to his dark mood and wondered why.



I had never listened to any music written in English then. So his analogs I bought one after another brought me brand new experiences.  I had studied English for a few years then, but his lyrics was very esoteric. Still I tried to translate it by myself and I sometimes found myself disagreeing with the Japanese translation written on liner notes, and I was interested in how people could be different in understanding those who write in different languages. Then, I began to have a dream of being a professional translator and interpreter in the future.

I was also fond of drawing comics modelling after him. I fact, there are quite a few talented Japanese cartoonists who are his big fans. I'd like to introduce a few, because I believe their comics influenced some of Bowie's works.



Belne-san is one of the most famous Bowie fan Japanese cartoonists. She depicts different characters modelling after David Bowie. A friend of mine, who was also drawing comics, informed me with her talent, and I was imitating the style with her, too. Doesn't it sound familiar? Yes, it sounds like the Vittel commercial. David was seen to act as each character of different periods himself. When I saw the commercial for the first time, I was shouting loud inside, 'Oh, David! Did you steal our style!?' And then, he says 'shhhhh....' I couldn't utter a word about it until today.



Tomoko Kousaka is also a famous cartoonist who depicts T. E. Lawrence modelling after David Bowie.



Also, I used to know a Japanese female artist who uses paper cutout technique to conjure up Bowie's soul. I was trying to imitate her style in drawing, so it was great she asked me to write an essay about Bowie for her fan magazine after I met him.

Bowie persuaded me into reading books. He made me discover Yukio Mishima. It sounds strange that a British rock star motivated a Japanese girl to read Japanese novels. Reading 'Kinkakuji' was quite hard for a silly high school girl. As I grew older and retry reading the novel, I gradually began to understand it. A boy has no choice but to live under suppression of culture, family and society wished to perish with something sublime, but he fails. I cannot help feeling compassion a little bit, though breaking out fire sounds awful.

As I knew how David Bowie had been inclined to absorb Japanese culture as if it were his own, I was also understanding why I was attracted by him so much. I was trying to understanding who I am through his works, and I'm still doing so still now.

Strange coincidences followed my academical path.  I majored in English at university, and when I was a freshman, the first novel I was assigned in the English literature was 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' written by Oscar Wilde, the writer that influenced Bowie so much. An American professor brought up Beatnik. She was delighted to hear I had been trying to read 'On The Road' since I was a high school student, and gave me copies of English books. A professor in charge of U.S. history picked up the topic of 'Leo Frank Case', which I believe was the origin of the character 'Leon Blank' from Bowie's album 'Outside', which was released around that time. It is also a wonderful coincidence that Bowie and his wife Iman met for the first time on my birthday. These coincidences helped me through the hardest time I experienced at university. His music rescued me out of loneliness I felt when I was living alone in Tokyo.

After graduating university, I started to get absorbed in internet. Then I started to learn computers myself. Bowie was on my side at that time. He created a community called Bowie Net on internet, so that his fans from all over the world can chat about music together at the same time. This was the time when I could talked to the very man that had accompanied with me on my mind for such a long time. Though it is true information technology had an addictive side, I had been coping with it somehow. I took advantage of my passion to develop a new career as an engineer.

This is what David Bowie is for me in brief. He lived when I was trying to grow up, and he was gone when I was eventually grown up. My immaturity still can hardly accept the fact he passed away, but I am trying to.

I hope I can write more and more as the time goes by. I have lots of things I want to write about. I think I'm losing sleep.

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