Tagged: Manhattan

Happy Hour with Ethics class, 3-semester is too short / 駅のおじいさんを抱きしめたい

October 19th, 2013, Saturday

Today was the last day of Healthcare Ethics class by Professor Heather Butts. She’s a wonderful teacher and the class was the best for me this semester. Last week and today each of us did presentation on case each of us chose by ourselves, related to ethics. Each of classmate’s presentation was interesting. Those who had clinical background presented about some cutting edge surgical technology to deal with difficult condition with ethical dilemma caused by uncertainty on possibility to save or prolong life, difficulty in trials to evaluate, and ethical debate to justify it or not. Other one presented about HIV, introducing a video narratives by HIV patients on the advocacy website SERO.

Since I don’t have any clinical or medical background as specialist, all of their presentation was impressive for me. So, I, as a writer or community activist, thought how to contribute to this class, then chose one favorite movie “Never Let Me Go.” It is a story of three young persons, grown up in a isolated house “Hailsham.” In a fictional world where medical breakthrough achieved beyond 100 years human lifespan, they are told to keep them healthy, being told that “you are special,” but they exist only as organ donors for transplants and will die in their early adulthood. They are human clones, and have ‘originals.’ I touched those points (but didn’t go into details of the movie cos I really wanted them to watch it by themselves. Professor Butts also loved this movie, or original novel), and mentioned to three ethical perspective to judge social justice, utilitarianism, liberalism and communitarianism. I was happy to hear that they and professor enjoyed my presentation and some of them said “I will watch the movie.” Professor Butts told me she will put the novel as a reading material for the next year class.

As I liked this class so much, I suggested to the professor to have a happy hour after the last class, today. We went down Broadway, and entered one pub near the campus, and had beers and cocktails.

There was another guy in class who made presentation also focusing on philosophical theories or philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, or Spinoza. He is a film writer. I talked to him at the pub, and said we or our interests are not on the mainstream. Academic or scientific debate needs to cut each components as small as possible, with internally validate definition, but process of writing is opposite. We learn from and pick up lots of stuffs, and harmonize them into whole one context or story. But it’s still good for us to be in MPH program, cos we can learn from real-world, field practices, as I mentioned above. I think philosophy or ethics is a centerpiece of public health field, where theories and practice intersect, and that’s why at this ethics class, both of us physicians and writers can make good discussion.

I will graduate in this december (but may stay until March), and will be back to Japan for my new job from April. So they said “let’s have dinner before you go!” I felt so happy about that. At the same time, I felt 3-semester was too short. Especially for international student like me, the first semester was a terrible time. I was overwhelmed with courseworks (readings and exams), and didn’t have time to talk with classmates so much. Also, it took time to enable me to actively participate in class discussion and be accustomed with presentation, being relaxed. But from the second semester, I was gradually fit into the campus life or NY life, and rapidly made friends with them. But, oh my god, it’s already the final semester for me. If I had time more, I could know about my friends more… But anyway, time is irreversible, what I just can do is do my best in the limited time, and enjoy the time with friends.

そんなわけで、土曜日のHealthcare Ethicsの授業は今学期一番楽しい授業だったので、今日も良い日だったのだけど、昨日から開いた吉本ばななが尾を引いてか、内面は並行してstill messed upであった。そんな時に限ってやっぱり泣きたくなるような出来事は起こるわけで。それは42nd Street, Aトレインに乗り換えるPort Authorityのホームでのことでした。

階段からホームに降り立つと、背の低くて丸い身体のおじいさんが取り乱し気味に、”How can I get to Queens!? Tell me what to do!!”と言っている。聞くまでもなくここはQueens方面Uptownの電車が来るホームであり、それは看板にも書いてあるのだけど、そのおじいさんの様子を見るに、それはたぶん、彼がなんらかの精神疾患か障害かを抱えているゆえの不安と取り乱しであるようだった。


それで泣きそうになっていたら電車がやってきて、やっぱりおじいさんは”Is this train to Queens!? Tell me!”と不安がっていて、ドアの前でオロオロしている。僕は駆け寄って一緒に電車に乗り込み、肩を抱き支えながら、「大丈夫、大丈夫、きっとQueensへ行きます、信じましょう」と一緒にオロオロしたかったのだけど、あぁなんということだ、その電車はEトレイン!僕はこれからAトレインに乗って大学に行かなきゃならないのだ!



Fallen leaves, Stressless paperworks, Party@Brooklyn / 落ち葉拾い・この街の人たちはオトナだ

October 18th, 2013, Friday

In the morning I cleaned up a street in front of my apartment building, gathering fallen leaves by bloom. Realizing, more and more autumn is deepening, I felt this kind of time, cleaning, is good for my mind. Living in NY, with much works and studies, tends to make my breath and thought shallow. Sometimes I need to stop by, breath deeply, and enjoy tiny but important daily houseworks.

Before going to campus, I stopped by 108th street Absolute Bagels, and bought and ate one bagel with salmon and cream cheese. I had heard about this store as one of the best bagel store in NY, but never had time to visit. As it was lunch time, a long line continued to out of the entrance. I waited for about 10 or 15 minutes to buy, but it was worth for that, tasty!

At Morningside campus, I visited ISSO to get signature to enable us to travel abroad during the semester, and also I asked about OPT, which enables us who graduating soon, to stay longer for job hunting. Then I visited the Language Resource Center to finish my paperwork to work as a language tutor. Though I was confused and sometimes stressed with such paperworks when I first came to NY last year, now I already have an idea to save time and finish as quick as possible them. Most of the time we are required to show same documents, such as I-20, I-9, Passport, SSN card, etc. If you forget to bring any of them, you need to visit there again and again. This time I brought all of them and the officer said ‘perfect!’

At night, we held a reception party at a building where I live now, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Now I’m working as a staff at J-COLLABO, a New York-based NPO which facilitate collaboration between artists in Japan and NY, by inviting Japanese artists to NY or sending NY artists to Japan, and holding lots of cultural or educational events and performance. This year we moved our office to Brooklyn, and are opening a residential space and event space for artists’ use. Fundraising, cleaning, constructing the space, event staff etc. are my jobs. Our event space will open in December but tonight was a pre-opening party for announcement. Lots of artists (not only Japanese), and local people came and had good time with sake and food. Living in NY, not just studying at Columbia, give me such wonderful opportunity and meetings.


モーニングサイドキャンパスでこまごました事務仕事を終えてから、今年SIPAに来た日本人の友達と会ってほんの15分話をした。お互い次の用事があったのだけど、ちょうど同じdisaster management/preparednessの分野に関心があって、彼女からFBチャットが来て、ちょっとだけでも会おうかとなって、いそいそと。防災や災害対応はほんとに分野横断的で横串を刺す視点が必要なのだけど、コースワークでなかなかその要望が満たせるかというと難しく、自分らで色々機会を探したり作ったりしながら動かなきゃなんない。はぁ、もうすぐ卒業か。面白くなってきたんだけど、短い、短いよ。


NYで過ごしているとキャンパスの内外で、ほんとに色んな民族、職業、社会経済階層の人びとと交わっては別れを繰り返すのだけど、とりわけ好きだなと思うのが、「ニューヨークの日本人アーティスト」と一緒に時間を過ごすとき。このカッコに囲まれた3つの要素が相まって形作られる、彼らのなんとも言えないバランス感、人としての魅力。表現者としての自身の内的世界を追求しながらも、産業としてのアートの世界で経済的にも自立して稼いでいる人たちだから、independentという言葉がほんとうによく似合うし、ニューヨークの開放的な空気の中で生きている人に共通した絶妙なオトナの距離感とkindnessを兼ね備えていて. そこに同じ日本人としての共感?連帯意識?が少し注ぎ込まれて、僕との関係ができる。彼らは他人によっかからない。自分の力で生きていく、そういう前提を共有していて、だから他人の実力もフェアに評価する。だから僕に対しても自立した「大人」としての付き合いをしてくれて、そこでは年齢は関係なく、お互いにできることを持ち寄って仕事をするのだけど、なおかつそこにドライでもウェットでもない絶妙なレベルで「日本から来た元気な青年」に対するかわいがりを混ぜ込み、(期待してくれてるかどうかはわからないけど)色々なチャンスをくれるものだから、嬉しさとやる気で背筋が伸びる。僕も同様に、自立した大人としての気概・振る舞いと下っ端・弟分気質を混ぜ合わせて仕事に取り組む。




そう、現実はすごいのであって、現実の慌ただしさのおかげで生きていられるのだけど、ふと我に返ると不安と混乱と昔の色んなトラウマでmessed upである。なんてこった!

Kenny G @ Blue Note / ケニーGの演奏・エンキョリレンアイの話とか・不思議な夢の話

October 17th, 2013, Thursday

Yes, I’m already fit in my life in NY, but sometimes, especially such a night today, I’m surprised to realize to be here, or wonder “Why am I seeing Kenny G, a super star I never dreamed to see in the past? Oh, here’s Manhattan, I’m in Blue Note…” First I heard about him when I was in a brass band club in junior high school. Our teacher told us about his technique, circular breathing, which enables him to play as if endlessly, and introduced to us music videos of his wonderful performance. What I watched and listened tonight was, so amazing. I don’t have good vocabulary to describe it, but just so awesome…! Sometimes moody, melodious, other times dynamic. I had no chance to be tired. It felt the time passed so fast, despite his endless sound by circular breathing.

Not only the performance, his talk was also fun. He told us that he and his band members are ‘by-products of public school education,’ with a soprano sax on his hand, which he used for more than 20 years since his high school. He talked about an episode at White House when he performed for President. Humorous and warm, his talk reflected his attractive personality, in line with his sound.

I never forget such as wonderful night.


6pmの開場前に合流して列に並んだ。ブルーノートはバー席(予約なし早い者勝ち入場料$45)とテーブル席(予約ありだけど場所は早い者勝ち入場料$75)があって、しがない大学院生の僕らはバー席にしたのだけど(値段も演奏者によって微妙に違う。Kenny Gみたいなスーパースターは高い)、運良く座ることができた。









Practicum Day / 舞台ではみな平等

October 11th, 2013, Friday

It was a Practicum Day, when every MPH student gather for each department and make presentation about each of their own experience and learning during the summer internship (called as ‘practicum’). We met up at a large lecture room, and broke out into a small group of 7-8 students and 2-3 faculties. It was a whole day long event. Each student spend 15 minutes for presentation and another 15 for Q&A. In my group, most of classmates worked in US hospitals, consulting firms, and community services, one went to Uganda and conducted Qualitative research analysis, and I worked at an unique venture think tank focusing on social marketing of health promotion in Japan.

A common challenge those worked in US large organizations was a fragmentation of US medical system, and bureaucratic decision making process that blurred who’s in charge of what. It happens also in Japan.

I talked about my research project of international comparative study on home nursing service in Europe. For comparative study, merely collecting data on interested service (home nursing in this case) is not enough, because historical and cultural background and health systems behind the service are hugely diverse. To find lessons that are actually applicable to my own country, I need to develop common standard for comparison based on understanding of whole systems in each country. My presentation was the last one, and they looked enjoying it, with comments of ‘terrific presentation’ from professor.

今日はあれだ、Practicum Dayっつって、MPH生は夏休みにどこかしらへインターンするのが修了要件なのだけど(それをPracticumと呼ぶ)、その報告会的なやつ。小グループに分かれてひとりずつプレゼンして、夏の経験をシェア。まぁ、fun eventだよね。

HPM(Health Policy and Management)の学部単位でみんな同じ日時に開催。朝早くに集まって、朝食を食べてから担当教授のイントロトークを大教室で。その後7,8人の小グループ10,11組ぐらいに分かれて小教室へ。夕方までひとりずつプレゼン&質疑応答30分ずつでどんどん回していく。僕らのグループは、そのPracticumの担当教授が当たった。恰幅の良いアメリカのおじちゃんって感じなんだけど、けっこうバシバシ鋭い質問を浴びせていて、みんな割りとタジタジになってた。

MPHって、実務と学問の重なりあったような大学院だから、ビジネススクールと違って、バリバリ実務って人ばかりでなく、アカデミアよりの人もけっこういる。プレゼンもアメリカ人だからってみんな上手ってわけでなく、字数多すぎの詰め詰めスライドに、抑揚なく速いテンポでひたすら喋るだけって感じの人もいた。あんまりオーディエンスを意識してないんだなぁという感じ。研究発表とかならそれぐら情報量詰めても良いんだろうけど。質疑応答の時に教官に「Executiveに報告するつもりで3つの要点だけ言え」って言われて、まぁあんまりスラスラ答えられなかった人が、”You are not a student now, here you are a professional”って言われてひえーってなってた。


終わったあとはまた大教室に集まってwrap up. 各グループの担当教官がグループごとの全体講評をしていった。なんつーか、こっちの先生、みんなキャラ立ってて魅力的だって思うよね。日本の予備校講師ほど濃くはないけど。最後のグループの教授が、”Now I’m standing between you and matini”とか言ってて、気の利いたジョークだなと思った。


Dental clinic at school / 親知らずを抜いたこととか、気になったニュースあれこれ

October 8th 2013, Tuesday

At last I enrolled a student dental plan and went to a dental clinic at Columbia Dental School. Even after taking an antibiotics, swelling of my gum didn’t get better. I knew the cause, wisdom tooth left long time. The lower right wisdom tooth had grown in a bad angle. Early in the morning, I submitted an registration form, made a payment for the insurance, and told a staff my pain is urgent. They treated me as emergency, so soon I was directed to be diagnosed by doctor. Though I had to pass a class in the morning, I could successfully let the tooth pulled out. So now, my under right cheek is a little large. Nothing I could eat today…

By the way, I rarely go to hospital, because I’m generally in a good health. But whenever I go there, I feel a little tragic, or nervous, by seeing someone suffering. While I was waiting on a seat, an old lady groaned frequently. I didn’t what’s wrong with her teeth, but could guess her mental wasn’t in good state. Another lady kept putting her hand on her cheek. It must be painful. Every people coming to hospital have any kind of pain, anxiety, or fear. I know that is a hospital, but I’ve never accustomed with such mood.

In the evening, I attended an meeting of CJR, Consortium for Japan Relief (though friends told me “Why you come today!? Keep in bed!” by seeing my cheek), and discussed our activities this fall. We’re planning to hold some documentary film screening and panel discussion event this and next month. Now we think it is a time to further collaborate with other organizations, not exclusively related to Japanese 3.11 disaster, but more generally, persons and organizations that dedicate themselves with a field of disaster relief or management. Lessons from 3.11 disaster in Japan must be utilized to other countries’ cases, and on the other hand, we can learn something from others.

I came back home at late night. I like the mood of night Brooklyn, with trees along the street dimly illuminated by light.

先週抗生物質を処方してもらったものの、1週間たっても全然腫れがひかない。夏に同じ状況になった時は数日飲んだらおさまったのだけど、これはいよいよ限界か、と、朝イチで大学のDental Schoolに駆け込む。アメリカでは医療保険と歯科保険は別々。入学した時に学生向けの医療保険には入らされたのだけど、ここでStudent Dental Planというものに改めて申し込むことに。Emergencyだと言って、その日の午前中に抜歯手術をしてもらうことができた。保険加入で$180(年間プランのみだけど、12月卒業3月帰国だからちょっともったいない…)、今日の手術はディスカウントされて$108。安いんだか高いんだか。まぁ良心的な値段にはなっているのだろう。



先日、東京でNoh×Contemporary Artのワークショップ&コンサートを主催した青木涼子さんが、今日からスペインのマドリッドでオペラに出る。テアトロ・レアル王立劇場の「メキシコの征服」という演目だそうだ。青木さんの役はマリンチェという女性。演目はメキシコの最後の王モンテズマとスペインの将軍のコルテスとの出会いが描かれたもので、マリンチェは、実際に存在していた、二人の通訳を務めていたメキシコ人女性で、コルテスの愛人であったとのこと。青木さんからのご案内のメールでは、”オペラでのマリンチェの役割は、movement(動き)とsilence(沈黙)で、二人の間を行ったり来たりします。モンテズマとコルテスが西洋人のキャストなので、それと全く違う次元からの素材がマリンチェには必要である、またアントナン・アルトーが能に影響を受けていたこともあり、日本の能の役者、そして女性であることから、今回のキャスティングが決まりました。”とのことだった。先日観に行った東京でのコンサートは、まさmovementとsilenceの芸術で、とても感動した。

アピタル 内部被爆通信 《83》 診察に来たあるお母さん 坪倉正治 (つぼくら・まさはる)





毎日新聞 生きる物語:「弱さ」の向こう側/6 研修医の大きな壁 2013年10月08日




The Diplomat, “In Japan, Will Hafu Ever Be Considered Whole?” J.T. Quigley
記事でも紹介されている映画監督(彼女自身もハーフ)が、『ハーフ』 というドキュメンタリーを撮った。10/9-10/18に渋谷UPLINKにて上映。くそー行きたいなこれ。

Back to Big Apple

2013.09.07 Sat.

I’m back to NY and fall has come! It is a time of “Hello!” to new comers, and “Welcome back!” or “Good bye” to friends (of course I know it happens every time, every season under the Big Apple, but…).

Immediately after being back to NY, I started the Fall semester with jet lag, finding that some of friends of our class are still working abroad (for global internship), some had already graduated in May and no longer there. On Friday, I met a friend from Burma (he graduated another school in May), spent just an hour with a cup of coffee before he’ll go back to his country. He got a job in his home country, with great passion for the future of Burma where a lot of changes are happening towards development and democratization and market is opening to foreign capitals. It won’t be an easy task to handle power games between and within countries and seek for decent society, there must be light and shadow. But anyway, I send my best cheer to him and other Burmese friends, hoping they’ll be fine and seek for their dreams.In turns, new students have come to campus, including my friends from Japan. I was surprised that already one year had passed since I came to NY. It is now a funny memory, but during the first semester I felt pretty nervous and depressed. Now I know rainy days never stay. On Saturday, I met one of my friends from Japan and had lunch. We studied at the same undergraduate college but it may be already about 2 years since we last met, though we had Skype talks. Given her interests and personality, the mood in this city may fit her.

Artists, designers, businessmen, students with ambition and dream come from everywhere and leave here anytime. Hard competition and huge disparity, but still this chaotic, crazy but lovely city welcomes everyone. Nothing normal, nothing special. We are allowed to do anything, and with any luck, can enjoy 15 minutes of fame.


[Exhibition] Rain Room at MoMA – Lark with gentle rain and light

Went to a special exhibition “Rain Room” at MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York with my friends. Inside the dark room, we played with gentle rain, backed by a light.
友達と一緒にMoMAの特別展”Rain Room”へ行ってきた。暗室の中の、光と雨と、人の戯れ。


From May 12 – July 28 2013, there is a temporary room for this exhibition next to the museum building.

Once entered, you see it is raining in the room. You make a line and wait for a while. The number of people who can walk under the rain at one time is limited.

When you walk in, rain upon you wisely and gently avoid getting you wet. So you can walk as if you were Moses. The reason why they regulate the number of entrance at one time is, if too many people get into, all the rain will stop.

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There is only one light that illuminate us and rain drops.

If you stand between the light and rain, you may see a small rainbow.

You can see each rain drop falling clearly. I felt, they were like lines on a broken TV. With the consistent sound of rain, I happened to hear a favorite song, which sings love in a small garden, inside my head.

Instant harmony on S-train

11th May 2013, Saturday
S in S-train stands for “Shuttle.” The horizontal line runs 42nd street and takes me from Times Square to Grand Central only within a few minutes. In the afternoon I got on the S-train to go back to Times Square after cutting my hair at a salon in Midtown-East, and found there a man playing the guitar. Before the train starts, he lightly played his original song, and after that, as usual for train-performers, promoted his $5 album and called for donation. The train started, then he chose “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson for our short run to Times Square. He played intro, mocking drums by his voice and playing a string line by his guitar. One guy on the same train said to him something (I couldn’t hear well though) and he replied casually, and then skipped several lines and jumped to the part “People always told me Be careful what you do” cos soon the train was arriving to the station. Most of the passengers looked enjoying his song and talk. Finally he sang “Don’t go around breaking young girls’ hearts” and said “everybody say!” “””Heee!””” we replied. “Thank you, thank you! Have a nice weekend!” We got off the train and he remained. I really love such an “instant harmony” in our daily Manhattan life.

Sound of A-Train

4th May 2013

It is no longer surprising for me to meet performers who suddenly play music or dance on subway in New York City since I’ve already stayed here more than 8 months, nor even no longer annoying. It never happens in Japan, but now I enjoy such performance without being irritated even though they interrupt my silent reading. To be honest, I do not like aggressive breakdance performance using pipes on the train by young boys so much, but still it’s ok unless they accidentally kick me. Most of the sounds of such subway songs and dances jolly and boisterous ones. But today’s sound I met in the afternoon was a little different, and therefore comfortable for me.

I was on an express A-train and going down to Canal Street in SOHO from 168th street in Washington Heights. I like A-train, cos he lightly passes most of the station within Upper-West Manhattan. I was reading an interesting book about “soundscape” by Raymond Murray Schafer, while the A-train was running through Upper-West without stopping from 125th to 42nd. At first I was concentrated on the book, but gradually become aware of a moody music coming to my ears, and I found one guy was singing the song with his CD playing. For a change, it was an R&B music, which I rarely hear on subway. He’s from Puerto Rico. His moody and melodious sound matched today’s mood of myself combined with a dark, continuing express road. I closed my book and listened to his sound, while looking out of the window from my seat, which was put parallel to the direction of the train. Outside of the window was almost dark, but sometimes blue light on the wall of tunnel cut across. I saw my face reflected on the window without thinking anything. Stable clickety-clack sound of the subway wheel made a session with percussions of his CD, and he sang on that. Whenever I meet such a gift from NYC, I imagine if you like this town.