phonon_belt: (Hirasawa - Cookie)
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Mr. Hirasawa's sporadically updated "Phantom Notes" blog is an interesting place. I won't even try translating more than a tiny percent of it simply because it's too much work (even though the archives as far as I can tell go back to "only" 2003). Still, I am going to try to pick out interesting things from it now and then and translate or summarize them here. Hence these entries will be called "Phantom Notes Notes" or "PNN." :D

Today's PNN features two key bits of important Hirasawa vocabulary:

1. Theta and Beta:

At the top of all his Phantom Notes posts you'll see the symbols θ and β, plus some random numbers. What do they mean?

Translation of excerpt from July 8, 2003 (original post here):

I'll go ahead and explain the meaning of θ [theta] and β [beta]. These broadly represent Hirasawa's psychological inclinations on a given day. Both numbers together will add up to 10. When theta is high, my mental state is suited for creation and imagining; when beta is high, I am best able to process reality. It may be interesting to examine things like which mental state is more dominant when I'm in the middle of recording music, which mental state I have when I write interesting lyrics or statements, etc. The theta and beta numbers will be written at the top of each post. I may even post only the numbers sometimes, depending on the circumstances.

On that post, both theta and beta were at 5, evenly balanced. I am going to hazard a guess and say that he's basing this on brain wave patterns. Theta waves apparently are associated with "quiet wakefulness," meditation, and learning; beta waves, on the other hand, relate to muscle motion. That would sort of match up with Mr. Hirasawa's use of theta for creativity and beta for activity in his blog. He's also expressed interest in the use of music and sound (specifically binaural beats and the like) to induce certain brain wave patterns in humans for meditative and even therapeutic reasons, so this isn't actually all that random. I wouldn't be surprised if he is actually somehow measuring his own brain waves with some weird device.

2. U-Turn Commute:

Mr. Hirasawa often posts on Twitter and elsewhere that he's going out for his "U-turn commute," which makes no sense unless you know what this piece of Hirasawa Language means.

The following post also mentions a "dagonfai," which is how Hirasawa says Thai speakers pronounce the English word dragonfly. Presumably he thinks this is cute. I don't know. At any rate "dagonfai" = "dragonfly."

Translation of post from August 6, 2003 (original post here):

Dagonfai on My Commute

θ=6 β=4

My U-turn commute on my recumbent bicycle is part of my daily routine. I set out from my studio and then ride back to my studio. That's a "U-turn commute." It was raining for the past few days so I had been working without doing my commute. Meanwhile, lotus flowers appeared along my commuting route without anyone knowing. Huh? Did they bloom here last year, too? I captured the beautifully reposing lotuses on the verge of blooming with my cell phone camera. It would be uncouth of me to just return to my studio after that, so I sat down and gazed at the flowers for about an hour. That, too, is part of my work.

Thus the machine sat down and gazed at the lotuses. I have in my head a number of materials about the symbolism of the lotus, how that relates to Hirasawa, and the like. But I wondered about the dagonfai that kept landing on the lotus buds before flitting away again (though you can't see it in the photo I posted here). I'm practically ignorant when it comes to dragonflies.

When that sort of thing happens, I turn to the following book:

Dictionary of Symbols and Imagery by A. de Vries


● Represents the spirit of a deceased person. Also represents rebirth or immortality.

That much is possible for me to fundamentally agree with. However, what's written after that is problematic:

● Represents male dominance.
● Among countries, it symbolizes Japan.