Kanto Maigo – Foreword

One would think that after so many trips, planning for a trip would be a matter of going through the motions and things would no doubt go smoothly.

 

經過這麼多次旅行,可能會認為規劃旅程已經是駕輕就熟,按步就章輕而易舉的事。

 

It’s actually the other way, I think. The more experience one has the more one knows how things could go wrong and begins to consider all of the factors. Overthinking, is just much a headache as ignorance.

 

事實上正好相反,我想。經驗越多,也越知道可能出錯的地方,也會開始去考慮這些因素。想太多跟天真無知同樣令人頭疼。

 

That’s how things ended up being quite messy for this trip’s planning. A lot of back and forth, a lot of indecisions, and way too much shifting around.

 

這就是為什麼這次規劃上變得如此混亂。反覆不斷的決定,很多猶豫不覺,還有太多調整修正。

 

Initially the trip was prompted by the Shinkai Makoto exhibition, a celebration looking back at the road which the director took over the decade from the humble debut of Voices of a Distant Star to the phenomenon hit Your Name.

 

一開始會有去旅行的念頭是因為新海誠的展覽,回顧導演從出道的『星之聲』到爆紅鉅作『你的名字』十多年來經歷過的路途。

 

The exhibition was touring around Japan, starting from the Z-Kai Kotoba Museum which had hosted the previous Shinkai World exhibit, to Koumi Museum near Shinkai’s hometown in Nagano, Tokyo in Nov-Dec then to Sapporo in Jan-Feb 2018.

 

這個展覽正在日本巡迴展出,首站是上次展出新海誠的世界展的Z-Kai的大信交流館,到新海誠長野老家附近的小海藝術館,東京11-12月,到2018年1-2月在札幌展出。

 

The Sapporo date overlapped with the Sapporo Snow Festival so the idea came about. Why not hit the snow festival and the exhibition at the same time, can also throw in the penguin parade at Asahikawa zoo.

 

札幌的展出日期與札幌雪季正好重疊,於是想說何不展覽和雪季一次解決,再丟進旭川動物園的冬季企鵝遊行。

 

Planning initially went smoothly. The trip would either be Sapporo in-out, or Hakodate-Sapporo in-out. Or if time permitted, perhaps even enter via Tokyo or Sendai.

 

I really miss that milk curry ramen in Aomori.

 

一開始安排得很順利。可能札幌進出或札幌函館進出。若時間允許的話乾脆東京或仙台進。

 

真的太想念青森的那碗牛奶咖哩拉麵了。

 

A friend Y also indicated an interest in being dragged along which I happily agreed to. Travelling by oneself was very exhausting and sometimes demoralizing. Having a companion would help keep things interesting and keep from slacking off back to the hotel early as I had done several times before.

 

這時一個朋友Y表示有興趣當個旅行跟班。我當然是再歡迎不過。一個人玩真的很累,有時心情上也會很失落。多一個人很多事情都會有趣的多,也不會像前幾次偷懶提早回旅館。

 

There was always a nagging problem though. Hokkaido is really hard to plan in winter.

 

不過一直有個小煩惱。北海道在冬天真的是不好安排。

 

Hokkaido in winter is cold, the daylight short, and the weather unpredictable. Since it’s the off-season many tourist spots either don’t open at all or has shortened hours. Combined with the long travel distances between the main towns, it makes planning meaningful trips a headache.

 

北海道在冬天很冷,白天很短,天氣也不穩定。冬天是旅遊淡季,許多觀光地不是沒有營業就是縮短營業時間。加上幾個主要城鎮間長距離舟車勞頓,要安排充實的旅程實在令人頭痛。

 

Since daylight is limited, travelling during the day is really not desired, problem is most locations do not have enough attractions to warrant a full day. Otaru maybe just over half a day, Asahikawa however long one can spend in the zoo, Hakodate has enough for a day except one would want to arrive early enough to see the nighttime scenery which either means giving up one morning or one afternoon travelling to/from Sapporo.

 

由於白晝短暫珍貴,要盡力避免白天坐車,問題是大多地點並沒有足夠玩上一整天的景點。小樽大概夠半天多,旭川看能在動物園混多久,函館雖足夠玩上一天,但為了早到欣賞夜景,要就放棄早上或下午從札幌去回。

 

Within Sapporo itself it’s not much better, outside of the Sapporo Beer Museum and Shiroi Koibito Park, there’s shopping, eating and… that’s more or less it.

 

札幌市內也沒有多好,除了札幌啤酒博物館和白色戀人樂園外,有的就是逛街…吃東西…大概就這些吧。

 

What are at best C list tourist spots in other areas ends up on the B list for Hokkaido, and there just aren’t that many A grade spots in Hokkaido. So one either force oneself to spend too much time at one location to make the most of the day given how long it took to get there, or spend less time at each place and waste most of the trip on the trains.

 

其他地方只算的上C咖的景點在這也能算B咖,北海道算的上A咖的景點真的不多。所以只有兩個選擇,要就強迫自己為了不浪費珍貴的白天和抵達此地花費的交通時間,而在一個地點待太久,不然就是每個地方待短一點然後旅程大部分時間浪費在電車上。

 

Extra considerations also had to be built into the schedule in case blizzards stopped the trains or worse flights. There had to be a few flexible days that could be shuffled around for the Asahikawa zoo day trip, and the first and last night had to be in the city.

 

此外還必須在行程上排入暴風雪電車停駛或更糟一點班機停飛的可能性。一定需要有幾天可調度好一天來回去旭川動物園,第一和最後一晚也一定需要在市區。

 

Nevertheless, planning continued and hotel bookings were made with a few additional days on either side to be adjusted closer to the date.

 

不過怎樣,行程規劃繼續著,旅館也先訂了下來,兩頭還另多卡了幾天等比較接近出發日時再調整。

 

Then I started looking at flights, and it was clear that it was going to be too difficult.

 

然後開始看機票,才發現這是最困難的關卡。

 

Despite still almost half a year away, the tickets prices were getting high and the seats getting few. Unless the flight could be locked down within a week or two it was quite possible for the more suitable dates to be sold out.

 

即便還有近半年,價錢已經開始飆高,機位也所剩不多。若不能在一兩周內確認機票可能適合的日期會一票難求。

 

The decision was made then to scrap the idea of going to Hokkaido and bring the trip forward to visit the exhibition in Tokyo.

 

所以才決定不去北海道了,把旅行計畫提前去看東京的展出。

 

That caused its own sets of problems. Namely I’m not particularly fond of Tokyo – too much shops, not enough other stuff. Some people can spend an entire day (or days) doing the strip at Omotesando or Shinjuku. Something that will barely last me two hours.

 

這安排也有另一批自己的問題。首要的就是我不是說很喜歡東京。太多逛街,沒太多其他的。有些人光是表參道那一條或新宿就可打發一整天(或許多天)。我大概兩小時都未必撐的到。

 

The other thing that Tokyo had plenty of are places to eat. Problem is they all tend to require queuing up. Something again I am terrible with.

 

東京當然還有的就是美食。問題是大多需要排隊。這點我也不太擅長。

 

So I decided to aim for either the Christmas lights in early December, or the autumn leaves in late November.

 

所以我決定看是12月出的聖誕燈飾,或是11月末的紅葉。

 

Two set of plans were thus drawn up, targeting the different periods. More lights, or more leaves.

 

於是規劃了兩套行程,分別針對兩個不同的時段。一個燈多一些,另一個紅葉多一些。

 

Things started looking up. The Shinkai Makoto exhibition was going to take half a day, maybe a few hours doing the pilgrimage around Shinjuku visiting spots that appeared in Your Name. Throw in a day in Hakone, a day in Kamakura, a half day out to the west to visit a sake brewery followed by half a day being healed by penguins in the aquarium plus some sightseeing/snacking in Ginza. Fits in fairly well for a 5-6 day trip.

 

看起來還不錯。新海誠展大概半天,另外花幾個小時在新宿附近電影場景朝聖。丟進一天去箱根,一天去鎌倉,半天去西邊參觀清酒廠然後半天水族館看企鵝治癒心靈,另外塞一點銀座逛街吃點心。作為5-6天行程恰恰好。

 

In fact, Tokyo had changed quite a lot since I visited in 2011. There were a lot of new spots to visit, such as the Skytree, the Daikanyama T-Site, the Manseibashi complex beneath the former station platforms, even Asakusa had changed quite a bit (not that I did it justice the last time).

 

事實上東京在我2011那次去之後有了許多改變。多了許多景點,天空樹,代官山的T-Site,万世橋利用舊車站設立的新商店街,連淺草也有多許多變化(上次去也沒好好逛就是)。

 

Then Y mentioned that only 2 days off was possible, meaning including weekends at best 4 days.

 

然後Y提到說只能請兩天假,含週末頂多只有四天的時間

 

Around the same time I also realized that it was possible to book what was called open jaw flights, that is a return flight to Taiwan cost the same as a flight to Japan then a return flight from Taiwan, I only had to book an additional single flight from Japan to Taiwan. This meant compared to what I had done before, booking a Taiwan return from Sydney, then a Japan return from Taiwan, doing a triangle flight of Sydney->Japan->Taiwan->Sydney saved an entire day and the cost of a single flight.

 

差不多同一時間我發覺國泰可以訂開口機票,也就是說台灣來回的機票跟飛日本,台灣回的機票價格是一樣的,這樣就只需要多定日本回台灣的單程機票就夠了。跟我以往的飛法比較,雪梨台灣來回再另外台灣日本來回,用開口機票飛雪梨->日本->台灣->雪梨這樣的三角形不但省錢還可省上一整天。

 

This presented me with a different problem. I was suddenly presented with additional days compared to what I had previously planned for. Whereas before it might have been Tuesday to Sunday, I was now looking at Sunday to Sunday.

 

這也給了另一種不同的難題。突然間在日本的天數超出預期。原本可能只是週二到週日,現在看來卻變成週日到周日了。

 

The trip became two halves. The first half I would be on my own, then meet up with Y for the second half.

 

行程上分成了兩半。第一半是獨自旅遊,然後跟Y會合後是另一半。

 

The exhibition was of course moved to the first half, then I had the vague idea of doing the kanto area using the Kanto Area pass. Kusatsu Onsen maybe, since I always wanted to visit it but never did find the time, at this stage not sure about the rest.

 

新海成展自然移到第一半囉,然後有個模糊的概念,用關東pass晃晃關東景點。可能草津溫泉吧,一直都想去但都沒有機會去,至於剩餘的天數如何利用目前還沒有想到。

 

The sudden opening up of options aside, I decided to aim for the early 20s of November for the later half, a bit of a gamble between autumn leaves and Christmas lights. It turned out to be a good choice too as came December comes the off peak season and many shops would have been closed in Hakone and Karuizawa.

 

暫且不管多出的許多選項,先選定日期為11月20幾,算是楓葉和聖誕燈飾折衷的賭注。結果上選這日期還是對的,進入12月淡季連箱根和輕井澤的店家也有許多會休業。

 

Ideally a week earlier would have been better for autumn leaves in Hakone, but that risked being too early for Christmas lights in Tokyo. By picking the 20s, I figured even if I missed out on the autumn leaves, we’d get to see the ginkyo leaves in Tokyo at least.

 

若可以的話再早一周看箱根的紅葉會比較適當,但那樣可能東京的燈飾還沒出來。選20幾號,想若真的沒有紅葉了也可以看東京的銀杏。

 

Tiger Air offered a red eye flight with arrival in Haneda at 4am, so thankfully Y’s first day can be a full day, if a very tiring one. Since I wanted to keep day 2 and 3 flexible for Hakone in case of weather, I allocated the first day for the trip to the sake brewery as its english guided tour required advanced reservations.

 

虎航有一班清晨4點到羽田的紅眼班機,所幸這樣雖然Y第一天到還是可以有整天可以安排,雖然會比較累。由於第二天和第三天要是天氣安排箱根,第一天就先安排參觀釀酒廠了,酒廠的英文導覽需要先預約。

 

With a vague timeline drawn up, I moved on to securing accommodations.

 

時間上大致有個底後,開始處理住宿問題。

 

The usual places to stay in Tokyo was either west side (Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Shibuya), or east side Ueno/Akihabara or area near Tokyo station/Ginza/Nihonbashi.

 

一般來說東京主要住宿地點分西側(新宿,池袋,澀谷),或是東側(上野,秋葉原或東京車站一帶,銀座,日本橋)。

 

Shinjuku was discarded as I had no desire of risking Kabukicho. If I was on my own it might have been fine, just had to skirt around the edges and stick to the main road when getting to and from the hotel, but I was responsible for more than myself on this trip. Outside of Kabukicho the hotels tended to be some distance away from the station, not to mention expensive. Shinjuku station is also a nightmare to navigate.

 

新宿一開始就不考慮。主要是不想想避開歌舞伎町。若只有我的話或許可以考慮,來往旅館時盡量走大路,但這次還需多付一個人的責任。除了歌舞伎町外新宿的旅館離車站有點距離,也較貴。新宿車站本身也很容易迷路。

 

Tokyo accommodation prices have really gone up since I last visited.

 

話說東京住宿價格比上一次又貴了許多。

 

Ikebukuro and Shibuya I saw little reason to stay at, since they were a little out of the way for the places I had planned on visiting.

 

池袋和澀谷好像沒什麼住在那的理由,跟想要去的景點不是那麼順路。

 

That leaves the east side, which had better access to airports anyway.

 

所以就考慮東側了,機場交通也比較方便。

 

Last time I had stayed at Ueno, looking at it now with more experience, it was surprisingly poorly situated if one wasn’t heading to the north east. Yamanote line was slow, to access the west side it was generally much faster to take the Chuo line or pick one of the metros (which Ueno had especially poor access to). Akihabara was well situated but hotel choices were few.

 

上一次來是住上野。現在比較懂了,發覺若沒有要往東北郊區的話上野其實交通說不上很好。山手線太慢了,要去西側還是中央線比較快,或是直接用地鐵(上野地鐵轉接不方便)。秋葉原地點很好但旅館選擇不多。

 

Kinshicho, which I had never even heard of before, stood out as a place that’s surprisingly convenient despite being outside of the central areas. It has access to both Chuo and Sobu line meaning it can access Shinjuku and Tokyo station without transfer. The metro Honzomon line north south through it giving it access to Skytree and Shibuya and easy transfers to other lines. For the cost of 10 extra minutes getting into Tokyo central, one could get some really cheap hotels.

 

錦糸町,從前從沒聽過的地點,在眾多可能性中意外的顯目。雖然屬外圍區,但有中央和總武線,不用轉車就可到新宿和東京車站。地鐵半藏門線走南北向,北通天空樹,南往澀谷,轉到其他線也都很方便。交通上要進入市區多10分鐘,價錢可省不少。

 

The other focus was along the Asakusa line, which has direct access to both Haneda and Narita airport now that there is through service to the Keikyu and Keisei line.

 

另外瞄準的區域是淺草線沿線,現在跟京急和京城有直通後可直接到羽田和成田機場。

 

During the search I also ran across the Shin-Nihonbashi/Mitsukoshi-mae area, which while not having access to the Asakusa line, did provide decent rail access if usually requiring transfers. It traded some convenience for cheaper prices.

 

在搜尋時也看上了新日本橋/三越前這一帶,雖然不在淺草線上交通上也不算差,需要轉車就是。沒那麼方便但價錢也相對低一階。

 

The focus though, really fell to Shinbashi. It’s very much an office area and not a shopping area, which is probably why it doesn’t usually rank very high on people’s radars. The hotels here were slightly more expensive, more than places like Ueno but cheaper than Shinjuku/Ikebukuro/Shibuya. It does however have amazing access for what I had planned.

 

真的看上的地點還是新橋。主要是個商辦區域而不是百貨購物區,大概也是為什麼一般人中不太受歡迎。旅館算是比較貴的,比上野這類地點貴,但比新宿等副都心便宜。但對我考慮的行程來說是太方便了。

 

Yamanote line. Via the Asakusa line direct access to both airports and of course, Asakusa. Ginza line gives it access up the Ginza strip and out west to Shibuya and Meiji Jingu Mae. A short walk to Shiodome and we get the Christmas lights at Caretta and the Oedo line goes west to Roppongi and Shibuya and east to Tsukiji.

 

山手線上。通過淺草線直通羽田成田,當然的了,也到淺草寺。銀座線可到銀座,往西到新宿和明治神宮外苑。稍微走一點到汐留就是Caretta的聖誕燈飾還有大江戶線,可到六本木,澀谷,往東則是築地。

 

The Shinbashi/Shiodome combination gave access to Yamanote and JR main line, 3 metros, 4 if one counted the Mita line which is also within walking distance. Outside of Ikebukuro it had direct access to every location I had potentially planned. There is also the Yurikamome line to Odaiba, providing the option of going to the Oedo Monogatari Onsen early morning on Y’s arrival if the situation called for rest and recovery.

 

新橋和汐留合起來有山手和JR本線,三條地鐵線,若算附近也走得到的三田線就有四條。除了池袋外其他我有在考慮的地點都可不用轉車。另外還有通到台場的百合海鷗線,Y到的當天視情況有需要也可一大早去大江戶溫泉物語休息。

 

Access to the airport is of particular importance. Since Shinbashi is so near to Haneda it allowed me to go to the airport to pick up Y and allowed dropping off the luggage as soon as possible. On the last day we can make use of the morning without checking out, returning only when it’s time to go hop on the train directly to Narita.

 

機場交通對這次安排上很重要。因為新橋離羽田很近,我可以一大早去機場接Y,也可很快安置好行李。最後一天也可一早出去晃而不用check out,只要時間到了回來,跳上直達成田的列車就好了。

 

There is also another critical factor which led to ultimately choosing Shinbashi, that is outside of Shinjuku, this was the one location that could realistically do a day trip to Hakone.

 

另外選新橋還有決定性的一點,那就是除了新宿之外,這裡大概是唯一可以一天箱根來回的地點了。

 

In the end as I had often done and perhaps too much so throughout this trip, I opted for convenience over cost over most things, and Shinbashi was settled on as the place to stay for the second half.

 

最後決定,跟這次旅行中各種取捨上同樣的,可能做了太多次的,還是在方便和價錢中選了前者。

 

Once the second half was more or less outlined, I looked back to the first half. Kusatsu Onsen was going to take basically 2 days since it takes 3-4 hours just to get there. The remaining day was going to be either Karuizawa or Kamakura. It was going to be a day trip and was left open ended while I worked on more pressing parts of the schedule.

 

行程第二半終於大致有譜了,此時才回頭安排第一半。草津溫泉基本上需要兩天,因為光去就需要3-4小時車程。剩下的一天大概會是輕井澤或是鎌倉。當天來回所以就先擱著了,當務之急是處理其他必須確認的細節。

 

Incidentally I had some air miles up for expiry and instead of trading them for gift cards, I decided to look into what I accomodation I could get for them. Turned out I could get some really good deals, about 3 times what I could have gotten with gift cards. Either they had really good discounts with the partner hotels or they bought the rooms on a fixed rate that was less subject to seasonal fluctuations.

 

碰巧這時我有一些國泰里程數快過期了。一般來說里程數都是換禮卷,不過這次我想說看看能換什麼住宿。結果才發覺換住宿挺划算的,大概是能換禮卷價值三倍的住宿。要不是他們與打契約的旅館能拿到很好的折扣,不然就是打契約時用的價格比較不受旺季影響。

 

Sunday in Kusatsu, Monday, Tuesday in a separate hotel booked using air miles, then Wednesday in Shinbashi, a day earlier than Y to check out the area beforehand and also provide a place to throw luggage on the day.

 

星期天住草津,一二住用里程數換的住宿,然後星期三住新橋,比Y早一天好確認周遭,當天也好有個地方丟行李。

 

Unfortunately my manager had dragged his feet on approving my leave so not only did I miss out on the cheapest fair, I also missed out on the Saturday red-eye with Sunday morning arrival. I had to settle for a Saturday day time flight with 9pm Haneda arrival instead and had to book an extra night close to the airport. Considering possible delays I was expecting check in possibly after 11pm. Given the circumstances, I decided a capsule hotel was probably the best, despite my reservations about them.

 

有點不幸,我的主管在准假時拖延了好幾天,所以我不但錯過了最好的機票價格,也沒能拿到週日一大早到的週六紅眼班機。只好求其次選了週六飛白天,晚上9點到羽田的班機,需要多一晚住機場附近。考慮到班機誤點還有通關延誤之類的,check in時大概會是11點之後。考慮這狀況,我決定最好是住膠囊旅館,雖然一直對這種形式的旅館有所保留。

 

With accomodation and flight locked in, planning fell back into an endless loop of adding and removing, at the same time keeping a close eye on the autumn leave forecast.

 

住宿和班機都訂下來了,剩下的就是不斷的添加刪除景點,同時注意紅葉的預報。

 

An unusually late typhoon brought after it an early cold front, crashed the thermometer and started the autumn leave this year a week or two early. It looked like Hakone may be entirely out of autumn leaves by the planned dates. Worse, the typhoon blew away all the snow on top of Mount Fuji, leaving its peak barren and a sore sight.

 

一個異常晚的秋颱過後帶來了一個寒流,溫度計急降,今年的紅葉季因此早開始了一兩週。看起來箱根在計畫的日期時可能葉子已經掉光了。更慘的是颱風把富士山上的雪全吹走了,山頂變的光禿禿的。

 

A backup to Hakone was hurriedly planned. Centered around possibly going to Tofuya Ukai Shiba, followed by maybe a walk of the old districts of Nippori, plus several gardens in Tokyo famed for autumn leaves.

 

我連忙規劃了若不去箱根的備用計畫。考慮去豆腐屋芝,然後去日暮里周遭的懷舊區,加上東京內幾個可賞楓的公園。

 

The backup plan turned out to be fruitless as I was not able to secure a booking at Tofuya, and the autumn leaves in Hakone turned out to be surprisingly resilient.

 

備用計畫結果沒用上,因為沒有訂到豆腐屋,箱根的紅葉也出乎意料的耐。

 

Nevertheless all the backup plans took most of the attention and I was glad that neither Kusatsu Onsen nor Karuizawa required much researching.

 

就算這樣,準備備用計畫用上了我大多心神,幸好去草津溫泉和輕井澤並不需要研究什麼。

 

Let’s talk Heike Monogatari 談談平家物語吧

Let’s talk Heike Monogatari

談談平家物語吧

 

Or called Tales of the Heike. But I prefer to say Heike Monogatari, as the word monogatari provides an extra dimension that tales fails to fully capture.

英文又翻做Tales of the Heike(平家故事)。但我喜歡稱Heike Monogatari, monogatari相較tale含意上更多一層次。

 

To begin, I read the English translation by Helen McCullough, which is written in more plain narrative than the original sung performance. A Chinese translation will no doubt retain more of its original colour, someday I hope to come across one.

 

首先,我讀的是Helen McCullough的英文翻譯本,在撰寫上選擇比較白話的敘述,而非原本來詠讀的詞語。中文翻譯會更貼近原文的韻味,希望有天能讀看看。

 

The tale follows the rise and fall of the Taira clan (also called Heike, House of Hei, as Taira can be read as Hei), their ascent to power enough that eclipsed the throne, to their final destruction, the very last of their blood extinguished by their long time rival Genji clan (also called Minamoto).

 

故事描寫了平氏家族的興衰,他們勢力的擴展,到足以顛滅皇室,到最終毀滅,最後的血族被對手源氏誅殺殆盡。

 

The book consists of 3 phases. The gradual build up to the death of Kiyomori and of open warfare, the back and forth till the last battle at Dan-no-ura, and the last third where the remaining Heike meets their end. Within each are several chapters, each a collection of passages of various lengths, ranging from half a page to 5-6 pages. Some tightly follows, others loosely related, and some travels back in time to provide context to events or characters.

 

整本書可分三大段。慢慢鋪陳到平 清盛之死,戰火燃起。雙方來回爭戰到最終的壇ノ浦之戰。最後一段為剩下的平氏成員最終的下場。每段有許多章,內另細分許多小節,有的只有半頁到有的五,六頁。有的間故事直接延續,有的有所相連,有的則回朔到過去,解釋當下事情或人物的緣由。

 

It’s an epic tale that not only depicts some of Japan’s most iconic historic characters and events, but more significantly for me, it illuminates the culture of the time when the tales are performed.

 

這是宏大的故事,書中描繪的不只是日本數個最有名的人物和事件,對我而言更具有意義的是它所呈現出催化出這作品的時代的文化。

 

I started the book expecting it to be similar to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms which I am well familiar with. Gradually I came to the opinion that perhaps the Water Margin is the more apt comparison, with a wider cast of characters, the focus on martial prowess. But even that is drawing a loose line, there is nothing in Water Margin akin to the expertly crafted short passages which while not adhering to one tight narrative nor structure, yet at same time harmoniously fits together thematically. Heike Monogatari is very much its own style, comparisons cannot be drawn easily.

 

一開始我預期的是跟熟悉的三國演義類似的一本書。慢慢的我覺得水滸傳或許比較接近。比較廣泛的角色,注重打鬥上的描述,但這也只是牽強的比較,水滸中沒有如此巧妙雕琢的段落。缺乏一貫的敘述或組織,卻又能互相呼應,融入故事主題。平家物語自成一家,很難跟其他著作比較。

 

What really struck me was not so much the tales and characters, but how much references to Chinese there are. The courtier would cite Confucian ideals, the three sovereigns and five emperors, and of the Emperors of Tang as precedent. Or draw analogies to Liu Ban and Xiang Yu, of Wang Man of Han, of the rebellion of An Lushan. There was even included an entire passage of the story of Jing Ke’s failed assassination of Shihuangdi of Qin.

 

真讓我意外的並不是故事或角色,而是其中提及中國的次數。朝臣們會引用儒家思想,借三皇五帝,唐朝皇帝為前例。或比喻,劉邦與項羽,竄漢的王莽,還有安祿山之亂。甚至有一整段是敘述荊軻刺秦的故事。

 

I had always known Heian period was strongly influenced by Chinese culture, but never thought it to be to this degree. The book would have been an incredibly hard read for foreigners, not only having to face unfamiliar Japanese names and locations, but also characters and events of a place different than the one currently being read about. Infact, I wonder how much of the Chinese references will be understood by Japanese.

 

雖然在這之前就知道平安時代的日本受中國文化影響甚大,但從未想到是如此深遠。這書對外國人肯定相當艱澀,不但要面對不熟悉的日本名和地點,還要了解與正在讀的完全不同的人事物。老實說,我很好奇當中提到的這些中國古人事物,有多少現在日本人懂得。

 

Given the incredible amount of Chinese references, it is surprising, and also unsurprisingly, that there aren’t any to the Three Kingdoms period. Probably the best known Chinese period in modern times thanks to the popularity of the aforementioned Romance of the Three Kingdoms in related media if not, sadly, the original book.

 

既然含有這麼多中國的成分,另外讓人意外,或許也不是太意外,並沒有提到三國時代。三國大概是現代人最熟悉的中國時代,感謝於三國演義的人氣,至少在各種改編作品上,即便原作未必享受相同待遇。

 

It makes sense of course, when one consider that Romance of the Three Kingdoms was not written until the Yuan-Ming period ~1300. And Heiki Monogatari had taken shape in some form in the Kamakura period, also around ~1300, likely predating the books. Without the Romance it was likely that the period did not hold enough influence to be considered iconic events to be referenced.

 

這是可理解的,三國演義誕生於元明,而平家物語在鎌倉年代已有雛形,差不多同一時代,甚至比三國更早一點。沒有三國演義的宣染,三國時代可能還沒出名到可當先例引用。

 

The book is interesting in that there are no protagonists to speak of. The Romance had the three brothers, Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, after their fall the lead was taken up by Zhuge Liang, then his protege Jiang Wei. And the Water Margin strictly followed the core heroes of the 108.

 

這書有意思之處在沒有主角可言。三國有劉備,關羽,張飛三兄弟,後有孔明和他的接班人姜維。水滸有一百零八好漢中宋江為首的幾個核心頭領。

 

While Heike also passes focus from Kiyomori to Koremori, Yoshinaka and Yoshitsune, the narrative does not treat them as favourites. It does not paint the Taira nor the Genji as being in the right (as Romance does for Shu), nor wholly wrong. Even the imperial house under Go-Shirakawa could hardly be considered pillars of righteous virtues. The story is about them, but also not about them. It is this air of impartiality that differentiates it from the other novels.

 

而平家物語雖然焦點從平清盛移至平維盛,源義仲與源義経,敘述上並未偏愛任一方。平家和原家皆非善者(不同於三國演義中讀愛的蜀國),也非絕惡。就算是後白川太上天皇底下的皇室也非善德榜樣。故事講的是他們,但並不是他們的故事。這絕妙的旁觀視點是他與眾不同之處。

 

As the monogatari begins in its very first sentence. The sound of the Gion bells echoes the impermanence of all things; the color of the sala flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind.

 

如物語開卷第一句。祇園精舍的鐘聲,有諸行無常的聲響。沙羅雙樹的花色,顯盛者必衰的道理。驕奢者不久長,只如春夜的一夢,強梁者終敗亡,恰似風前的塵土。

 

The story can best be characterized by a fatalism of fate and fleeting nature of things. An almost tranquil, matter of fact stating. Rather than brought to cheer for or dislike any particular characters, one is led to pity and worry, for in defeat speckle of honour and bravery shines, and even in triumph an air of sorrow permeates.

 

故事染著宿命和歲月流年的消逝。平淡的敘述。並不刻意激起讀者對任何角色的支持或反感,帶來的只有惋惜和憂愁,慘敗裡閃著英勇的花火,勝利中瀰漫著哀傷。

 

Kiyomori, the tyrant of late Heian court. The narrative paints a dark image of the man, as a man full of anger and bereft of humble sense. His wanton acts led to the death of his son and hope of the people Shigemori. Without Shigemori’s restraint on his father, Kiyomori’s full fury is laid bare. His last dying words, instead of some longing for his family or retrospection of life, were ones wishing for death upon his adversaries.

 

平清盛,平安晚期的朝廷暴君。敘述中描繪的是一個凶殘的人,滿是憤怒,毫無謙卑。他的貪婪導致他兒子,也是人民寄託的希望,平重盛之死。少了平重盛對他父親的牽制,平清盛的狂爆展露無遺。他死前的遺言不是對家庭的緬懷,或是對一生的省思,而是盼望將對手處死。

 

The weight of his sins were carried by his sons. While they, too, were party to the Taira’s indulgences and cruel acts, towards the end I was moved to feel for their suffering. Fathers, husbands, sons, brothers. Poets, musicians, scholars. People of qualities, courageous, skilled, masterful. Who amongst us is not human. Frail people caught up in the fortunes given.

 

他的罪孽回報在兒孫身上。雖然他們同樣參與了平氏的各種貪欲和暴行,接近尾聲時我不禁為他們受到的苦難感到不捨。父親,丈夫,兄弟。詩人,樂師,學者。皆是擁有特質的非凡之人,英勇,精明能幹,老練。人非聖賢。脆弱的人們在一時的好運中迷失了。

 

And what of Yoshinaka? The Genji that first defeated and drove the Taira out of the capital? A masterful tactician whose sin was being an uncouth man from the countryside. The man fought to the end and died bravely with his brother Imai who killed himself by leaping off his horse with holding the sword in his mouth.

 

源義仲呢?源氏中第一個擊敗平家並將其趕出京都之人。一身之謀略敗在出身山野不習禮儀。他與義兄今井兼平並肩奮戰到底,最後今井咬著劍尖從馬上躍下自裁而死。

 

Or Yoshitsune? A small man who destroyed the Taira and brought order to the country, then driven to rebellion by his suspicious brother.

 

或是源義経?一個身材矮小卻殲滅平家的將軍,給國家重新帶來和平,卻遭兄長猜忌最後走上反叛一路。

 

So many deserved death yet lived, so many deserved life yet died. Some are rewarded by their compassion, others died by the very those they spared. Some found peace before their ends in the buddha, others laughing as they went in storms of glory.

The world’s nature is one of fleeting beauty, life is but an illusive dream. The flowers of spring after a night’s rain carpets the earth. The red of autumn after a gust welts and scatters amidst the mountains and rivers. Such is the essence of Heike Monogatari.

 

多少應死卻過得好好的,又有多少該活下的卻走了。有人因仁行而得善報,他人刀下留情卻反死其人之手。有人在路途盡頭遇佛得安,他人風暴中的吋燭光芒萬丈狂笑倒下。

 

世間無常,人生渺無虛幻。春天的花朵,一夜雨睡落滿地。秋天的紅葉,一陣風枯散河山。乃平家物語的精隨。