Amphibiology Lectures: The Third Century (No.2)

To Move or Not to Move

 At the previous lecture, I raised various dichotomies relating to mobility and immobility as an introduction for the “Third Century” of the Amphibiology Lectures.

The forked point over “to move, or not to move” seems to have decided the essential direction of our life in the way which, regardless of recognising so or not, involved everyone inescapably.

In my early twenties, I was also standing at the forked point exposing myself to the common appetite called “world hitchhiking” – the first version of “backpacker travel” nowadays – among the young generation at the time.

I remember that when I was spending every day as a wage earner after my graduation, I saw one of my best friends off, who was about to kickstart such journey courageously alone, with bearing my unmanegable complex mind.

I wrote it in my serial semi-biography, Sohgo-kaikoh (1), as follows;

(1): English tile of the essay is “I am a Multitude” whose translation is not completed yet except for the first eight episodes. 

I envied him who was leaving so much. It was possible for me too to start like him depending upon only my decision. However, the reason which I saw it a leap made me can’t. I found a discontinuity in myself if I leapt so and resisted myself who might accept it.

Thus it was that I chose to “not move” at the time.

Shortly thereafter, I married with the second daughter of a rice farmer family in Niigata(2) whose born and grown circumstance was different greatly from mine; a wage earning family moving among big cites. And then I, through the marriage, found a view anew that I was primarily a typical case of the “mobility” in terms of the dichotomy; “mobility or immobility”.

(2) : a famous rice farming area in Japan

That is because, after our marriage, I visited her home repeatedly as a matter of course. It was an ancestral house on a woody land. Then one day in an early summer, she brought me to the backyard and said “this is my blue sky” with looking up the sky which was seen through fresh green treetops of zelkova to introduce it to me. I who was shown such herself felt that she was the person who had held trees rooted deeply in her heart. But I was, in contrast to her, a small animal at best moving around a city without taking in any tree and root.

This metaphor of “animal” and “tree” symbolised not only the “mobility and immobility” but implied also the trend of the times.

As forests are disappearing one after another from the earth, to maintain rice farming is sufficient enough by the only work of her brother who is single son of the family. Moreover, it was possible only by nailed this brother down to do so. The current age provided no longer her an opportunity to survive there.

She, however, lost her health in the city life and made up her mind to leave there and go Australia with me with the expectation of healthy effect.

Then, even though we made the departure from the home country by holding hands together, we as an animal and a tree eventually became to live distanced in Sydney on the East end and Perth on the West end of the continent, as if materialising the difference between us. Further, a number of  years later, we confirmed that our legal marriage had become useless anymore.

Australia which became like the second home country for us in this way has the nation made up by “animal” totally. To be precise, except for the black men who had been treated like literally animal by the white “animal” who had immigrated to there in droves, this country was the really a new world for the moved in  animal where  had become  one of those countries symbolised by modern, rational and materialistic prosperity. In other words, these countries built up by immigrants were, even though they had a long prehistory before their immigration, they did not experience any feudal era and the middle ages. They must be anomalies in the history.

For instance, the very large scale agriculture that has been operated there was totally different from that in the corner of Niigata although both are called by the same name; agriculture. The agriculture in Australia should appropriately be called as a business which has not any relationship yet with the indigenous nature of the land. It is a literally a modern agriculture. That is, it may be seen as anther anomaly in agriculture. Their crops and farming methods are both not indigenous, and which were brought in from alien lands and artificially planted on there by the immigrants.

Therefore these animals as rootless plants could have built up a new world which was seen as a place freed from historical bondage at first glance.

I who is the similar animal species moved to the land was attracted by the rational society developed there and have be assimilated to the nomadic culture.



One once commences a foreign living after leaving from one’s home country, the first person inevitably being close is normally early comers to there who can be a psychological midpoint between the arrived place and the left country. They have already established a living there anyhow by utilising the advantage of their previous experience. A classic case is various types of Japanese restaurant which had managed there. So, newcomers who came there later at first may rely upon them and get a temporally opportunity to survive.

In this way, those people who escaped from the uncomfortable ties with the home country for some reasons – let’s call them “escapees” or “social refugees” – secure the means of living on the unfamiliar land by utilising each own resources.

One, who completed a study and got a degree in the foreign land as an overseas student can join a new version of wage earning life of the land, is attracted to the novelty.

The other one, who was sent to a foreign country as an overseas expatriate for a Japanese company which begins to expand abroad, is planted on the land like a new species of tree as an organsation man. It is common that most of the man is planted again on the home land after a certain length of the time of patience.

However, a case which is not wanted to be planted again on the home land may happen after completion of such a patient period. Or, one may intentionally find a job for such an international company in order to escape to a foreign country and eventually he/she performs the primary purpose by using the occupational position and experiences. Of course, those international companies utilise such a desire to be escapee in order to cost down their overseas operation in the way that they hire locally those short-term stayers like working holiday takers and short term overseas students who urgently fled from home country.

Nowadays it is sure that to be an escapee from home country represents a strong desire of those people who find freedom in being “animal” or being “rootless plants” even not among young generation. Many types of travel can be seen as an easy version to materialise that desire.

However a problem which one may encounter inevitably is that how he/she can manage to survive in the destination although to be an escapee per se is not too difficult as mentioned above.

These escapees surely are not political refugees from developing countries. Yet, even if this is true, they are not economic refugees who are so hungry for the materialistic affluence in developed countries.

In other words, they can be “social refugees” who seek a foreign life in terms of the change in so-called lifestyle or way of life.

For these escapees or social refugees, to ensure how to survive is the core issue of whether they can keep to achieve the appetite.

On the contrary, a country to host those social refugees or escapees can attract and classify them by issuing a variety of visas. They are ranged from tourist visa for pure visitors and student visa for the customers of education export, to a number of business visas depend on the amount of funds which bring in, and permanent residence visa which is issued to someone who can have a stable job and be long-term good taxpayers. That is, as if they are the business for the host county in order to acquire immigrant animals as a method to collect necessary workforce and money.

A classical method to resolve the difficulty to securing life in such destination is moving activities with consumption style and limited period like a variety of short- and long-term travels supported by saved money in the home country.

But these days, in order to persist escapee far longer by fulfill the both necessities of the objective and support of living, a new style is appearing. It is those people who may be referred to “working monad”.

They are keeping endlessly the geographical movement by using full advantage of internet technology in recent years – which does not matter where you are – to make income. (But it may be rare that 100 per cent income is made by such a way – Haruki Murakami may be the case. Rather most of them seem to fully mobilise domestic and abroad sources of income).

Beginning of October, I made début the new design for the “Ryosei Aruki” website. The design work – overall design including technical reviews which took into account the future plans – was done by those “working monad” designers. They can be called as “travelling specialists” who are establishing both necessities of movement and income making. They have provided me the outstanding unique work which fully utilised the network environment by embodying their own experience and passion of movement.



Internet is, fundamentally, the world which makes physical distance virtually zero. The method called “working monad” which this lecture has taken up is the way which creates both of the endless mobility and the rootlessness, and makes the question of “to move or not move” headed in this session almost unquestionable.

On the other hand, the more we pursue the endless mobility and the rootlessness the more emerge the opposit side of the enhanced mobility, i.e. the missing of fixing place, like human being cannot survive in the outside of the earth.

Let’s go back to the theme “to move or not to move” by referring my experiences in terms of the dichotomy of animals and trees. In the era in which neither of the pure species of the dichotomy is difficult to exist any more, some weak awareness smoldering in my mind seems to be able to be the hearing sense listening to whispers of the fixed matters which tends to be left behind in the era of such freedom.

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