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Eulogies to Kazuko Takemura (3): The Letter That Will Never be Delivered by Chizuko Ueno

2012.07.31 Tue

To honor the memory of the late Kazuko Takemura, a feminist famous for her activism as well as introducing theorists such as Judith Butler to Japan, WAN is posting a series of eulogies delivered by her fellow activists and scholars both from Japan and overseas.

Even though I call your name, I guess you are not going to reply to me anymore.
I am sure many people will write about your work, so I’d like to talk about you as a person— a side that not many know about
And also how you left me in such awe.
Our mountain cottages were close, and we would often visit each other during our times off.
Sometimes I would have you over for my home cooking, and sometimes you would treat me with your exquisite skills.
Your persistence, called “perfectionism” by many, was evident in your cooking. Each time I visited, I was presented with food that seemed fitting of a kaiseki restaurant.
I always looked forward to your invitations.
I’m truly happy to be one of a select few, lucky enough to have been treated to your cooking.
One thing that astonished me was your expert knowledge of mechanics. It was when I drove my car into a ditch in front of your cottage in a rather spectacular way.
A young man from the service station came and pulled out my car matter-of-factly. I stood awestruck as you casually uttered those words…. “You should get your alignment checked, too.”
I knew nothing about the workings of a car and had never even heard of the word “alignment,” but I was able to guess what it meant.
Your unassuming advice was something that would never occur to me, and I didn’t even know the terminology.
You sounded as though you might even perform your own auto maintenance. You were an expert user of personal computers, too.
I later heard that you majored in the sciences, and I remember being very impressed with your versatility in being outstanding at whatever you do.
In a period of remission during your battle with disease, you e-mailed me to say that there is some work you must do now — that there is something only you can write after having been through your hardship.
What unexplored sceneries would you show me? The prospect was thrilling.
But you had to leave us prematurely.
How I wish you could have lived just a little longer — to finish your final work.
What would you have shown us? How I wish I could have read your final work. Such a shame.
Translated by Naoko Hirose
Original article by Chizuko Ueno (July 29)