We human beings are only a part of something very much larger. When we walk along, we may crush a beetle or simply cause a change in the air so that a fly ends up where it might never have gone otherwise. And if we think of the same example but with ourselves in the role of the insect, and the larger universe in the role we've just played, it's perfectly clear that we're affected every day by forces over which we have no more control than the poor beetle has over our gigantic foot as it descends upon it. What are we to do? We must use whatever methods we can to understand the movement of the universe around us and time our actions so that we are not fighting the currents, but moving with them.
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I'm not sure this will make sense to you, but I felt as though I'd turned around to look in a different direction, so that I no longer faced backward toward the past, but forward toward the future. And now the question confronting me was this: What would that future be? The moment this question formed in my mind, I knew with as much certainty as I'd ever known anything that sometime during that day I would receive a sign. This was why the bearded man had opened the window in my dream. He was saying to me, "Watch for the thing that will show itself to you. Because that thing, when you find it, will be your future.
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Here's the thing: this eel spends its entire life trying to find a home, and what do you think women have inside them? Caves, where the eels like to live... when they find a cave they like, the wriggle around inside it for a while to be sure that... well, to be sure it's a nice cave, I suppose. And when they've made up their minds that it's comfortable, they mark the cave as their territory... by spitting.
To the eyes of the American soldiers who drove past, I looked no different from the women around me; and as I thought of it, who could say I was any different? If you no longer have leaves, or bark, or roots, can you go on calling yourself a tree? "I am a peasant, " I said to myself, "and not a geisha at all any longer." It was a frightening feeling to look at my hands and see their roughness. To draw my mind away from my fears, I turned my attention again to the truckloads of soldiers driving past. Weren't these the very American soldiers we'd been taught to hate, who had bombed our cities with such horrifying weapons? Now they rode through our neighborhood, throwing pieces of candy to the children.
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Couldn't the wrong sort of living turn anyone mean? I remembered very well that one day back in Yoroido, a boy pushed me into a thorn bush near the pond. By the time I clawed my way out I was mad enough to bite through wood. If a few minutes of suffering could make me so angry, what would years of it do? Even stone can be worn down with enough rain.
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I cannot tell you what it is that guides us in this life; but for me, I fell toward the Chairman just as a stone must fall toward the earth. When I cut my lip and met Mr. Tanaka, when my mother died and I was cruelly sold, it was all like a stream that falls over rocky cliffs before it can reach the ocean. Even now that he is gone I have him still, in the richness of my memories.
Once when I was a little child of six or so, I watched a spider spinning its web in a corner of the house. Before the spider had even finished its job, a mosquito flew right into the web and was trapped there. The spider didn't pay it any attention at first, but went on with what it was doing; only when it was finished did it creep over on its pointy toes and sting that poor mosquito to death. As I sat there on that wooden floor and watched Hatsumomo come reaching for me with her delicate fingers, I knew I was trapped in a web she had spun for me.
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I knew even then that she was right. An en is a karmic bond lasting a lifetime. Nowadays many people seem to believe their lives are entirely a matter of choice; but in my day we viewed ourselves as pieces of clay that forever show the fingerprints of everyone who has touched them. Nobu's touch had made a deeper impression on me than most. No one could tell me whether he would be my ultimate destiny, but I had always sensed the en between us. Somewhere in the landscape of my life Nobu would always be present. But could it really be that of all the lessons I'd learned, the hardest one lay just ahead of me? Would I really have to take each of my hopes and put them away where no one would ever see them again, where not even I would ever see them?
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ora so che il nostro mondo e¨ tanto instabile quanto un'onda che si innalza in mezzo all'oceano. Quali che siano stati i nostri conflitti e i nostri trionfi, per quanto indelebile sia il segno che questi abbiano potuto lasciare su di noi, finiscono sempre per stemperarsi come una tinta ad acquerello su un foglio di carta.
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that droplet of moisture that had slipped from me like a tear seemed almost to tell the story of my life. It fell through empty space, with no control whatsoever over its destiny; rolled along a path of silk; and somehow came to rest there on the teeth of that dragon. I thought of the petals I'd thrown into the Kamo River shallows outside Mr. Arashino's workshop, imagining they might find their way to the Chairman. It seemed to me that, somehow, perhaps they had.
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I can see you have a great deal of water in your personality. Water never waits. It changes shape and flows around things, and finds the secret paths no one else has thought about -- the tiny hole through the roof or the bottom of the box. There's no doubt it's the most versatile of the five elements. It can wash away earth; it can put out fire; it can wear a piece of metal down and sweep it away. Even wood, which is its natural complement, can't survive without being nurtured by water. And yet, you haven't drawn on those strengths in living your life, have you?
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From this experience, I understood the danger of focusing only on what isn't there. What if I came to the end of my life and realized that I'd spent every day watching for a man who would never come to me? What an unbearable sorrow it would be, to realize I'd never really tasted the things I'd eaten, or seen the places I'd been, because I'd thought of nothing but the Chairman even while my life was drifting away from me. And yet if I drew my thoughts back from him, what life would I have? I would be like a dancer who had practiced since childhood for a performance she would never give.
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In the instant before the door opened, I could almost sense my life expanding just like a river whose waters have begun to swell; for I had never before taken such a drastic step to change the course of my own future. I was like a child tiptoeing along a precipice overlooking the sea. And yet somehow I hadn't imagined a great wave might come and strike me there, and wash everything away.
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Autobiography, if there really is such a thing, is like asking a rabbit to tell us what he looks like hopping through the grasses of the field. How would he know? If we want to hear about the field on the other hand, no one is in a better circumstance to tell us-so long as we keep in mind that we are missing all those things the rabbit was in no position to observe.
His face was very heavily creased, and into each crease he had tucked some worry or other, so that it wasn't really his face any longer, but more like a tree that had nests of birds in all of the branches. He had to struggle constantly to manage it and always looked worn out from the effort.
Here's the thing: this eel spends its entire life trying to find a home, and what do you think women have inside them? Caves, where the eels like to live...when they find a cave they like, the wriggle around inside it for a while to be sure that...well, to be sure it's a nice cave, I suppose. And when they've made up their minds that it's comfortable, they mark the cave as their territory...by spitting.
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It's your duty to use what influence you have, unless you want to drift through life like a fish belly-up on the stream" "I wish I could believe that life really is something more than a stream that carries us along, belly-up" "Alright, if it's a stream, you're still free to be in this part of it or that part, aren't you? The water will divide again and again. If you bump, and tussle, and fight, and make use of whatever advantages you might have-" "Oh, that's fine, I'm sure, when you have advantages." "You'd find them everywhere, if you ever bothered to look!
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