Saturday, July 12, 2014

Vapour Trails

We watched the Miyazaki movie "The Wind Rises" tonight.  It's a fictionalized biography of the life of Jiro Horikoshi (1903–1982), designer of the Mitsubishi A5M and its successor, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

As my own father was an aeronautical engineer who did a lot of design work on aircraft during World War II (in particular a famous American bomber), it struck a deep chord with me.   Most especially how it must have felt to be an engineer endeavoring to produce a work of art - a thing of beauty - which was ultimately to be used for destruction. Not that such people are not happy to contribute to the war effort (unfortunately), but rather that war is not the point of their work. Love of flying is.  

Pandabonium with the Mitsubishi A6M Zero at Yasakuni Shrine October 2012.

The song at the end of the movie is quite lovely.     In the film, Jiro's wife is dying of tuberculosis, which adds a poignant meaning to the words.

Here is BEBE performing it with an English translation of the lyrics following:

Vapour Trails
The white slope continued on to the sky
Wavering, ephemerality envelops her
Unnoticed by anyone, all alone,
She is ascending
She fears nothing, and soars up high
She admires the sky, is dashing through the sky
Vapour trails are her life
At that high window, even before her death,
She looked to the sky, and now they don’t understand
Other people don’t understand
They only think that
She was too young, but she is happy
She admires the sky, is dashing through the sky
Vapour trails are her life
She admires the sky, is dashing through the sky
Vapour trails are her life

Like many good stories, it makes me cry.

Until next,  sweet sailing.


Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Thanks for the lyrics! These days I've come to accept tears as so age-appropriate that they are almost a laughing matter.

Martin J Frid said...

I cry a lot esp. when movies are as good as this one.

Thanks for the note about your father.

Incidentally, when I was back in Sweden in 2012, we started to talk about the Spitfire flyers and my dad, who is a retired history teacher... he started crying.

bonnie said...

What a beautiful song. I hope the film makes it here!

Pandabonium said...

I must admit that I started my toast at my daughter's wedding with "I know you all didn't come all the way here to see a grown man cry..." then proceeded to be choked up throughout my remarks. We should embrace our emotions - it is part of our humanness. Perhaps us older folk have learned not to repress our feelings.

Bonnie - no doubt about it. It was released in US theaters in February of this year. I don't see it as available on DVD in the US quite yet. We got a Japanese DVD from Amazon Japan which includes Japanese or English dubbing and subtitles in either language - so it exists, just wait for Disney to offer it there!

Pandabonium said...

Martin - thank you for taking the picture of me in front of the Zero. Was it really 20 months ago? Time flies faster than any airplane it seems.