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■ Featuring "Essays," May 31 to June 29







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Yes, I Can't Swim
Decicated to Those Who Can't Swim
Date:31, May, 2019
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


Good day, everyone. This year again, summer is coming to Japan. When it is very hot, I often desire to go to pools or the ocean for swimming. Don't you? Anyway, talking about pools reminds me of an essay. It is "Yes, I Can't Swim" written by Takahashi Hidemine.

Takahashi Hidemine is a Japanese non-fiction writer who was born in 1961. "Yes, I Can't Swim" is one of his essays, published in 2005. And in 2007, it was released in the paperback edition. I'm pretty sorry that both are out of print now in 2019.

Why does it say "Yes, I Can't Swim?" It should be "No, I Can't Swim," you might guess. I know. Usually, in English, we don't use "Yes" on a negative sentence. But we often use in Japanese language. Why? It is going to be difficult to find any linguistic grounds, I think. Anyway, we Japanese people usually sympathize with somebody and deny. Takahashi Hidemine is a Japanese man as mentioned above. Then, it was named as "Yes, I Can't Swim." I am sorry if you are hard to understand.

Hidemine was unable to swim, as it says. To say correctly, he was so afraid of water. In Japan, swimming is almost unnecessary in spending everyday life. So he had spent his life being unable to swim. Far from water as possible, he had spent everyday life. One day, he met a point of change. A woman told him to be able to swim. He didn't disagree with her. That brought Hidemine to a swimming class in Tokyo. "Yes, I Can't Swim" is a record of his learning to swim.

Reading this essay will make you understand what water means to those who can't swim. In the essays, appear many who can't swim or fear water. One of them says almost insensitive are those can swim. Water is what we should be afraid of. But they hardly feel fear and dive into water easily. Unbelievable!

Hidemine also gets a question. Hard is to be able to swim. Then, what will be there when he can swim? He had spent everyday life in peace without a swim. For what must he be able to swim?

Can that person become able to swim? you might wonder. Reading will take you to where he reached to. The introduction says "dedicated to those who can't swim," by the way.

About Yes, I Can't Swim

・Written by Takahashi Hidemine
・Published by Shincho-sha (2005 & 2007)





 

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