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13才のときにグレン・グールドのピアノに 出会う。以来抱き続けたグールドに会うという夢を追って28才でカナダへ。後追い日記はその記録である。
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カテゴリ:後追い日記81年( 82 )

Diary Entry 1981-34 : Tchaikovsky / The Seasons Part 2


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by mhara21 | 2018-02-20 08:57 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(0)

Diary Entry 1981-33 : Tchaikovsky / The Seasons Part 1

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#A letter to the Editor of the Coterie Magazine

Dear Mr. K,
It has been a while. I am writing regarding your suggestion that I send the coterie magazine my diary and travel journal from Canada. I am barely managing to secure a place to live in, and my life at the moment looks dangerously like a gipsy’s.
I am very sorry, but I do not have talent for words like Kafū Nagai, the author of the “Stories from America” or “Stories from France”. Perhaps I am just worn down by the strain of getting a visa and living with unknown people under the same roof.

Regarding Gould, even if I do get to meet him, I do not plan to just go back to Japan afterwards. I have no idea what I want to do. I am worried that Gould might get ill from being an object of such an intense focus from a fan like me.

While writing the essay enclosed in this letter, I was recalling the sound of a music piece I often listened to in Japan and that I miss a lot. The length of texts comprised in the essay differs, but feel free to use anything you might find useful for the magazine.
Since I do not know where I will be living from now on, once the brochure is finished, please send it to my old address in Japan.


 The Seasons Japanese Translation Part 1 by Akiko Kondō/
        Interpretation by Masako Hara

    January  At the Fireside
   A little corner of peaceful bliss,
   the night dressed in twilight;
   the little fire is dying in the fireplace,
   and the candle has burned out.
              (A. Pushkin)
  
A beautiful melody that warms the body to its core. The ballet of phantasms and spirits of the fire world is very much worth hearing. In Part B, young flame spirits are dancing wearing pink dresses, while a group of elder ones are wearing olive green dresses. In the final pianissimo posibile cords a spark spirit is saying, “Here I am. Won’t you notice me?”


    February  Carnival  
  At the lively Mardi Gras
  soon a large feast will overflow.
          (P. Vyazemsky)

The image the word “carnival” invokes in Japan is that of summer. So a carnival in February comes as a surprise. It seems that the Russians find much excitement in merrymaking around ice. The main motif in Part A is joy suspended in ice. The sound of bells reverberating from a horse harness is depicted in Part B. The melody is dynamic and brings to mind an orchestral composition.


    March  Song of the Lark
   The field shimmering with flowers,
   the stars swirling in the heavens,
   the song of the lark
   fills the blue abyss.
            (A. Maykov)

G-minor. A melody that demands little energy to perform. The bright “Song of the Lark” in G minor is included in Tchaikovsky’s “Album for the Youth”. The version for children is a sheer and simple song of the lark.
The “Song of the Lark” written in The Seasons is a song of unrequited love.
Part A is about pure melancholy.
In Part B, feelings turn into a passionate bird that is pecking at the glass door of her beloved one saying, “Look over here!”
This part then ends in triads as if the bird mutters, “This is not funny. It’s boring.”


    April  Snowdrop
   The blue, pure snowdrop — flower,
   and near it the last snowdrops.
   The last tears over past griefs,
   and first dreams of another happiness.
               (A. Maykov)
 
A boy and a girl among snowdrops. They lick morning dew and always live happily alone with each other.
They love playing tag together. The girl, who is being chased by the boy, is always just a bit quicker. Therefore, he never catches her. And then, in the evenings, they gather the light from the Moon and the stars, and go to sleep inside a flower.


    May  Starlight Nights  
   What a night!
   What bliss all about!
   I thank my native north country!
   From the kingdom of ice,
   snowstorms and snow,
   how fresh and clean May flies in!
               (A. Fet)
  
The opening arpeggio is like a harp, the goddess of music. Part A gives a skilled expression of a simple melody spreading the skies, and Part B illustrates a dream.


    June  Barcarolle
   Let us go to the shore;
   there the waves will kiss our feet.
   With mysterious sadness
   the stars will shine down on us.
               (A. Pleshcheyev)

This is a song about boatmen of the gondolas of Venice. Chopin, Mendelssohn, Burgmüller and other Romantic composers wrote works in the form of Barcarolle.
There is an energetic switch from G minor in Part A to G major in Part B. It represents the freshness brought by the wind that blows above gondolas, and the dramatic arpeggio that follows has an animation effect.

next page : 1981-34 : Tchaikovsky/The SeasonsPart 2




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by mhara21 | 2018-02-10 00:00 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(0)

Diary Entry 1981-32 : A Chat with Mr. Oyama

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#A Chat with Mr Ōyama

I went to visit Mr Oyama who lived in Vancouver in order to take over my plane ticket refund and pick up my winter clothes.

“You know, Mako, the title of Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain in Japanese is the Demon’s Mountain, ‘Ma* no yama’. I think such title puts a general reader off. They should’ve translated it as ‘Mahō** no yama’, because it’s meaning is closer to ‘magic’.

“I agree with you Mr Ōyama. The Japanese title’s confusing, it sounds like something demonic. The concept of a demon originates from Greek poet Hesiod (he was active at the end of the 8th century BCE and wrote epic poetry), and Germans interpret it as something often found in literary and music artists who make deep impressions on their readers or their audience. This concept doesn’t mean ‘devil’ since a demon appears affirmatively as a guardian spirit.”

“No wonder Schopenhauer calls translators traitors!”

I agreed with him, “It’s similar to performers not being able to play a music piece well. Some meanings are completely out of translators’ grasp.”

“That comment is so like a musician.”

“Well, Gould’s not accomplished only as a musician, but has since his youth cultivated knowledge in literature and philosophy too.
In liner notes, he wrote an excerpt from a Baudelaire’s poem that reflected the mood of the Goldberg Variations.
But, back to the topic, Gould highly esteems Thomas Mann.”

“By the way, Mako, do you read Mann’s works?”

“Nah… Heidi is the best I can do in English… Though, I really hate people who look down on others just because they haven’t read some precise book. There are, like, millions of books, and we all have our reading preferences.”

“Hahaha, strong-minded as always, aren’t you Mako!”


Translated by Saiko


ma* = a demon, a devil, an evil spirit
maho** = magic, witchcraft, sorcery


Previous page : 1981-31 :
Next page : 1981-33 : Tchaikovsky/The Seasons Part 1



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by mhara21 | 2018-01-31 00:00 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(0)

Diary Entry 1981-31 : Visitors from Japan

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# Visitors from Japan

“Long time no see, Mako. I mean, really, I can’t believe you’re managing all by yourself this far from home! I lived in London for a few months last year and English totally killed me,” were the first words my friend Nishimura said when we met.  

My first visitors from Japan have just arrived to Toronto. Mr Nishimura and his eldest daughter Akemi.
“You were rather painful to look at when you were in Japan, but here you seem quite lively and vigorous. By the by, has anything happened about Gould?” my friend goes on.
“He sent me a record a while ago.”
“Wow, that is great!”

“Let’s go to Niagara Falls as soon as you settle,” I suggest.
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A photo of my friend Nishimura, his daughter and me during our sightseeing on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls

It is said that droplets flying from falls ionize the surrounding air turning in effect human brain waves to alpha waves and bringing it into a meditative state. Yet, I can’t feel anything even standing directly next to this immense waterfall now spoiled by human activity.
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I am standing in a gift shop, unable to decide if I should buy three Turkey-made wallets or just two. “It’s a really great bargain,” the shop attendant is assuring me about the third wallet, but I give it up because three gifts are beyond my means.

On the bus on our way back I suddenly realised that the scenery beyond the white veil of the falls reminded me of a mountain from the otherworld where a spirit took me in the winter of my 16th year. When something like this happens I simply can’t keep quiet, so I enter a deep discussion about it with Akemi.

“That mountain appears in Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, and I got really surprised when I read it. The idea of “the overman” cannot be carried out unless combined with eternal recurrence.
When I was 20 years old I realized now is the eternity, and I was relieved from the burden of the idea of the overman I’d carried since I was 16.

I understood the first part of Zarathustra well. However, I didn’t understand anything about “eternal recurrence”. I haven’t the faintest idea what Nietzsche wanted to say with it. I was sitting down on August 1, shortly before my 20th birthday, and a feeling struck me that the time suddenly pushed Me forward, and from behind pushed Me back into Myself who was sitting at that same spot.

In my diary I wrote, “I have noticed that I am not only one point, but a part of a whole cycle. Since that cycle is eternity that means this current moment is eternity too. Therefore, eternity is already fulfilled in this moment.”

When I reached this cognition, I realised my life was the embodiment of the very torment of “the overman” Nietzsche wrote about in the first part of Zarathustra.
I was finally liberated from the yoke of the duty Zarathustra spoke to me – the duty to convey “eternity” to other people through playing the piano.

Gould also likes Nietzsche. How does he read it, I wonder. The German ‘Übermennsch’ has a meaning of the one climbing up, while the English word is “superman”. Don’t you find it strange?
I think of myself as a companion a companion who listens to Gould’s performances.”

“My painting teacher said once that the art is ‘in service of others’. I think being able to see things others can’t see, and hear things others can’t hear as you do is really splendid.”
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In Japan there is an idea of a waterfall as a place of ascetic practice in which religious meditation is conducted while sitting under the hit of a mild waterfall. This is called “shūkō” or “meditation under a waterfall”.
In the bus, away from the piercing autumn sun, I enjoyed the thoughts about waterfalls, protecting my head from ultraviolet rays.

My head is swimming with sudden and random ideas, which flow freely from time-transcending daydreaming that is separated from reality and thinking that rushes ahead of reason.
The waterfalls are turning into an ozone therapy and healing me now. A god lives in the two waterfalls, who gently cleanses spirits wandering around between the Unites States and Canada.
And there, on the other side of the water curtain, there is a big stage. When you go through the curtain, on that stage, you can see the heroine of this story Mako Hara.
I feel as if I’ve spent the whole day today in the company of Dragon God who lives in the waterfalls.

Translated by Saiko




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by mhara21 | 2018-01-25 00:00 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(0)

Diary Entry 1981-30 : My Diary

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#My Diary : October 15

They also offer a concert grand piano for rental on the underground floor of bookstore on the corner of Cowan Avenue. I worry about costs of heating in the church, so I use rental piano as well. However, they allow practicing twice a week per person, one hour per practice. Today, I ignore the time again. “You are over your time limit. Please respect the rules!” a librarian warns me. I ignore her completely. I want to continue playing on and on.

The other day I found Gould’s recording of the Goldberg Variations in A&A Records and G. Henle Verlag Goldberg Variations in a sheet music shop. I couldn’t help buying them.

I gam getting requests for babysitting from everywhere. I can’t refuse even though I am not in good health. Every time when the baby in my boardinghouse cries, for some reason I hear his crying as a version of Aria from Goldberg Variations.
Thomas Mann used “serenity, grace, harmony, empathy” to describe newly born babies. When it comes to music, nothing but this Aria can faithfully express the awe-inspiring innocent helplessness of that tiny being. The aura around a newborn baby is filled with light that we can but call god’s love.

I bring with me the Goldberg Variations record when I go babysitting, and listen to Gould’s piano with the children. Children find the swishing sound of the quick parts amusing.

While babysitting I remember the “Tale of Genji”, a novel written by Murasaki Shikibu*.
Spending time with small children who have especially nice fragrance, I am reminded particularly of Onna-sannomiya, a female character from the novel who was considered to have a wonderful body scent.

When I was a young girl the “Tale of Genji” was a special reading for me because it included many tanka** poems, also written by Murasaki Shikibu.
Since the “Tale of Genji” is very long for a general reader, it is considered that we can grasp the literary value and enjoy the whole work by reading the ‘Wakana (Young Greens)’ part of the novel, the 34th quire. I myself didn’t put much effort into the reading of the novel after the ‘Asagao (Morning Glory)’, the 20th quire.

~~~~~~~~~~~

*Murasaki Shikibu, (c. 978 – c. 1014) court lady and the author of the Tale of Genji, generally considered the greatest work of Japanese literature and thought to be the world’s oldest full novel.
**tanka (“short poem”), a genre of classical Japanese poetry, known best its five-line, 5-7-5-7-7 syllable form. Originated in the 7th century and is one of the major genres of Japanese literature.

Translated by Saiko

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by mhara21 | 2018-01-15 00:00 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(0)

Diary Entry 1981-29 : Speaking in English

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#Speaking in English

There is a big heater behind my back where I sit and play the piano in the church, so I am warm. I don’t recall anyone telling me to switch off the heater before leaving home, but I do it anyway.
I think people rarely remember the gratitude they feel when something has been done even though they haven’t actually voiced a request for it.
My time in church rarely coincided with the priest’s. He always said he enjoyed my piano practice, but I would return home out of consideration for him.

He offered me a gift of money as a sign of appreciation, but I told him, “It’s free.” I wanted to say, “I am sorry but I cannot accept that…” but I have no idea what I actually said.
My English was always incoherent. I always made mistakes like mixing “he” and “she”.

Martha gave birth to a baby boy on August 24. For a long time I thought the baby’s name was “Jane”.
I hadn’t noticed my mistake until they told me, “His name is James! Jane is a girl’s name.”
Speaking about that, I knew that in the US they give hurricanes female names. “Hurricane Jane” or “Hurricane Catherine”.
I also knew that James was a boy’s name, but that was not an active knowledge acquired through contact with real people.

My tongue gets tied when I need to stand and talk in front of other people even in my own language. Then I am not able to comprehend spoken language either.
The situation was the same with English. There was no way I could learn the English language through conversation with native speakers. It was precisely spoken language I had to learn in my own country first because unless I knew the proper use of words and shades of their meanings I could end up making idiots out of my speaking partners in the most unpredictable ways.
Learning the background of a word is a very important thing.

Since I had no other preparations in English except fully memorizing texts from the language learning radio programme, it was a rocky road for me. I had so much stress because of the language.
My head would be spinning, I would often get ahead of myself, I was unable to grasp the sounds.
In Miki Sawada’s book it was written that acquiring language knowledge was more valuable than possessing a handsome figure or precious gemstones. The ability to speak languages helps us reduce our fears. We can say a bit of something to convey our thanks or that we’re sorry. It is especially important to be able to say something in a polite way. In this manner we can reduce somewhat our speaking partner’s sense of mistrust that may arise in our communication due to language.

Except when communication concerns work, people of a similar mind and heart can communicate telepathically. It is better, however, to have the ability to converse well than not to have it. That is what language science is about. In that respect, successful application of that ability is as important as any of our other abilities when it comes to arranging our life in all its spheres.

Translated by Saiko 

Photo: James and his little brother and sister





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by mhara21 | 2018-01-01 00:00 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(0)

Diary Entry 1981-28 : Insect Disturbance

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#Insect Disturbance

Autumn leaves season in Toronto is beautiful.

And yet, for me, a new kind of torment began. My landlady Mrs Liang had some old lumber brought into the house and the house was soon crawling with insects or bedbugs or whatever that was. She wanted to get the repair cost for the kitchen reduced in this way.

I suffered a bite after a bite till my whole body was a complete mess. I don’t know if it was because the bugs like soft spots, but people who saw the bite marks on my chest had to avert their eyes. At first, I thought it was allergy so I refrained from saying anything. Also, the landlady claimed I got the bites in the church.

However, after a while other people in the house started to get insect bites as well, so the landlady got serious about the problem and apologized to me.
I always get the short end of the stick, though. I counted 40 bug bites in just one of nasty areas on my body. Even though there was a 4-month baby in the house as well. It was the baby who should have been bitten worst.
The insects start biting from the weakest person.
Which meant I had lower resistance than a baby!

At the pharmacy I got a medicine that should be diluted and applied to the whole body. This medicine was effective for the skin that was already scratched off. However, the bugs were still a problem.
Money solves many troubles. Had the hose owners invested more into buying a new building material, the bugs wouldn’t have been brought in at all.

The couple who owned the house were thrifty people.
Once they asked me to help them with the purchase of a piano. I went with Mrs Liang to examining the piano at the seller’s place. My landlord was late for the appointment, and when he finally showed up the first thing that came out of his mouth was, “Are you friends with the seller?”
“No, we just met today,” I replied.

I was relieved because I think he believed they might get cheated in the transaction if the seller were my friend.


Translated by Saiko


Previous page :1981-27 : A Gift from Glenn Gould Part 1
Next page : 1981-29 : Speaking in English

Japanese version of this page・後追い日記81年28・虫騒動 


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by mhara21 | 2017-12-23 00:00 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(0)

Diary Entry 1981-27 : A Gift from Glenn Gould Part 1

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#A Gift

I got a call from Francis at the end of September. “I have a record for you from Gould. A man who takes care of his affairs brought it over to our house. Unfortunately I was out at the time. He left a message that Gould can’t meet you because he’s very busy now. He’s mistaken you with an ordinary Glenn’s fan. How can we get through to him that you are different? Maybe we could write a letter to Glenn and tell him more about you?”

Gould’s reply to my inquiry I heard through Francis was just as I thought it would be. I understand. Even if he were not busy he wouldn’t have met with me.
However, since Robert and Francis knew me and trusted me, they wanted to do something for me. Because of our conversations and letters I’d sent them, they were well aware of my limitations when it came to the English language. I guess they thought it would not work in my favour to contact Gould directly. They were worried about my ability to communicate in English, so they suggested they sent Glenn a letter for me. I was deeply touched and grateful for this on the one hand, but felt peeved on the other.

The next day I had some business near Southwood, and since I was very impatient I dropped by the Smiths’ place before the agreed day and time. I was very sorry because I woke Robert from his sleep.

Thusly, on October the 4th the gift that looked like it had just arrived from Gould and that included 5 records with his autograph was placed into my hands. Gould died precisely one year later.

With my precious package in hands I took the subway to Dundas Street, changed to the streetcar, and went to let the glittering Lake Ontario about the records.

According to Ray Roberts, who had been working for Gould for 12 years, because of his superstition Gould made it a point not to give his records to other people.
Gould almost never listened to his own records, and when Roberts asked him for one Gould refused saying, “Today’s not a good day for that.”

My present was an autographed collection of Wagner’s compositions that was not intended for sale. It included records from “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Master-Singers of Nuremberg): Prelude to Act 1”, “Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods)” to “Siegfried Idyll”, and the Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos.

The Complete Beethoven Piano Concertos recording (a 4-record set in one album cover)

The back
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The description of the content on the left and right inside of the case
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It is written

 “For Promotion Only

 Ownership Reserved by CBS.

 Sale Is Unlawful”

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Translated by Saiko



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by mhara21 | 2017-12-17 12:00 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(1)

Diary Entry 1981-26 : Immigration Part 2

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#Immigration Part 2

The 1st of October was the Immigration day. An immigration officer would come out from one of their small offices into the waiting room to personally call the name of the next person in line.
One of them in particular caught my eye, and I was so happy he was the one who called my name when my turn came. I heard it was easier to deal with male than female officers, but I didn’t even dream how easy it would be.
Though I didn’t speak after entering the room, he just said, “Did you like it here during these 8 months?” and placed a visa stamp until the 15th of May 1982 in my passport. How generous he was!

I learned later that the Immigration kept records from the first time we register there, so I guess he thought my previous record good.

From the Immigration centre I spring straight to a department store. I bought a down coat made in China, for winter season. I also bought deerskin gloves fro no less than 26 dollars. I am a silly person who expresses both her joy and sadness through shopping.
I felt so happy I went around the town dressed in my new down coat. Nobody stared at me, not even when I rode on the streetcar. Foreigners normally gaze directly at people’s eyes or faces, but when someone acts differently or strange, few are those who show curiosity towards such person.



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by mhara21 | 2017-12-10 00:00 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(0)

Diary Entry 1981-25 : This and That of Toronto

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#This and That of Toronto

There was only one school class in the program of Hansa Language Centre.
I miss my classmate Marseille, who was then a live-in babysitter in North York.
I yearned for marriage, but her words would discourage me. “The kid who always sleeps with me is very cute. But, being a mother is a really terrible job,” she’d say.

In a beautiful building close to Hansa was the Metropolitan Library designed by Raymond Moriyama.
On the 2nd floor of the library I could find and listen to some good old records.

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I could go anywhere by myself in Toronto, to the zoo, the Science Centre, Ontario Place.

Once, I was looking in fascination at a horse in the Horse Palace when I heard a gentle voice, “It’s all right,” coming from above. I raised my head and saw that, of course, there was someone on the horse. I was so completely absorbed by the horse that I never noticed there was a human sitting up there.

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I could drink tap water in Toronto. It was cool and tasty.
I would boil two bundles of somen noodles and when I would rinse them in water they would look like a white kimono being washed in the river.
Vegetables in Toronto had a bit strong alkaline taste, but both vegetables and fruits were available in abundance.

When we live alone we spend time taking care of our own needs. On the other hand, it’s a lot of work to make proper meals three times a day.

The kitchen of the house I lived in was on the north side, facing west. The back garden was wide, and on the other side there was a shed that looked like a tiny house. I often used the stairs by the kitchen that led outside because they were close to my room.
There was a storage pocket under the stairs, but mice appeared and ate away the precious Japanese food I stored there. At another lodging, mice destroyed some of my clothes.
It seems that mouse infestation was a common occurrence in old houses. Although I was living in an urban area, I was able to experience and enjoy in those houses a lifestyle similar to that in the countryside.

In September, in order to deal with my allergies, I reduced the piano practicing time and tried to focus my attention to other things. As a result, I practiced only nine days, with the average practice time of 21 minutes per day. One of my allergy symptoms was what you call “rash” in English. This was one of medical terms I had no chance to learn through my radio language course.

This quite life of mine unfortunately went topsy-turvy when the kitchen remodelling started. I couldn’t make any food there for days, and the house got dirty with all the ancient dust and grime.



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↑A photo of the current Metropolitan Toronto Library.


Translated by Saiko





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by mhara21 | 2017-11-30 00:00 | 後追い日記81年 | Comments(0)