2009年5月 2日 (土)
ご存知、 ＳＭバギオの 吹き抜けホール。
ＳＭバギオの一番人が込み合うホールに でで～～んっと 重量級の「壁」を造り、 そこに どでかい写真を バン、バン、バン と並べるところなんぞが、流石に 広大な国土を誇る アメリカらしい。
こんなにデカイと 持って行く？ のも難儀だし、 子供がべたべた触っても 屁でも無い・・・・・
いろいろ心配しなくても いいような造りになっているのが めっちゃ凄いね。
開催会場が マニラの モール･オブ･アジア と このバギオだってこと。
ちなみに、開催期間は ５月３日までです。 一見の価値あり！！
させ たもつ著 短編小説「ソルヴェイグの歌」が 英語・タガログ語版になりました。
Yamamoto was walking along the street with a row of trees in the countryside. He was in tropical country but dusk was quite comfortable in the farm belt. Though, he was in the battlefield. Yamamoto’s unit had been besieged with anti-Japanese guerrillas for these few days. The US army was about to land to counter attack.
A melody of the piano wafted out from nowhere. Bayombong is one of the towns in Nueva Vizcaya where Japanese residents and the injured evacuate when Manila fallen by the U.S. army.
The melody of the piano was getting closer. The slow, pathetic and weak melody stopped Yamamoto. As if the melody was calling for Yamamoto, he was standing under eaves. He remembered the piece. It was “Solvejg's Song”, one of the suites of incidental music “Peer Gynt”, composed by Grieg.
Dhang Dizon was still 3 years old but he still remembers the melody. Dhang gazed his mother’s fingers sweeping the keyboards. Her fingers were thin but sinuous. His mother, Maria, was a pianist. When Maria finished her piece, she heard a voice came from a doorway.
“Could you play it once again?” A Japanese officer was standing in the doorway with a cap in his hand. It was Yamamoto. Dhang knew that his mother was frightened at the moment. However, his mother silently opened the piano as if nothing had happened. White dressed Maria started playing the piano. Dhang saw his mother’s fingers were shaking.
Although tensions in Manila were running high in 1944, Bayombong was still calm at that time except sporadic raids of guerilla. Bayombong had huge rice fields, coconuts, pomelo, and guyavano and so Japanese settle this place as their food supply station for the long drawn-out battle. Although there were a backup base, military hospitals and evacuation villages for Japanese troops in Biyombong, there was still some time before Japanese residents and soldiers in Manila move to this town.
Dhang moved away from the entrance and hid behind his mother. He saw Yamamoto sitting down at the cane chair and listened to the melody with his elbow put on his lap. Maria’s fingers were not shaken anymore. Dhang was also relaxed but he still held his mother’s dress.
Maria’s house has an atmosphere of noble family race. The house was mainly made of bamboos but it was a sturdy and stately residence in the town. Mountain’s ranges are turning into dark red and there were some rain cloud. There were two soldiers standing out side and guarding.
Yamamoto has remembered an orchestra disc he had listened in Japan. He was recommended this piece from his ex-schoolmate Yasuko Kawanishi before he left Japan.
“I got a very nice disc” Yasuko told Yamamoto and they listened together in a music room after school. Yasuko was a music teacher. “This is my favorite piece in this disc.” It was Solvejg's Song. Maria’s melody was more beautiful and pensive than the disc Yamamoto listened in Japan.
Yasuko explained Yamamoto about the story of “Peer Gynt”. “Peer Gynt” was a story of adventure written by Henrik Johan Ibsen, a Norwegian great writer. The lead character Peer left his loved Solvejg and departed for his adventure. Solvejg believed Peer to come back and had waited until she got old. At the end, Peer innocently went back to Solvejg.
Maria ended her piano and silently looked at Japanese officer. Officer bowed down his head and did not move but it could also seem his shoulder was jiggling. There were small spots on his military uniform due to his tears. The officer forced himself not to jiggle but he was definitely sobbing. Dhang still rounds his arms to Maria. Maria touched Dhang's hair and went to kitchen without a word.
Baby chicks were cheeping and following their mother eating their bait. The sound of boiled water spread allover the room and overlapped Yamamoto’s sob. Maria stood in front of boiled water and looked at rows of grain from the window for a while. Next moment, she made up her mind and placed tea leaf, tea cup, sugar pot and spoon on the tray. She brought tea to the living room where Yamamoto seated. Dhang send off his mother by looking Maria’s face.
The living room was already dark but there was slight sunset light in the house. Maria tried to turn on the light in the living room but after she thought something, she put tea tray on the table and served to Yamamoto. Yamamoto had already calm down but Maria could not see his face because Yamamoto still put his cap as if he is hiding his face.
“ Tsa po.” Maria’s voice was dried up and she couldn’t find next word. She silently backed away and went back to Dhang’s place and took her son’s hand.
Yamamoto quickly put his hanky in his pocket and took a sup at sugarless tea. He glanced at English letters on the tea can. He noticed that tea was assistant goods for Anti-Japanese guerillas from US troops. Maria noticed his glance and sweated. But it was late.
“Thank you very much. I would like to listen to your piano again.” Yamamoto took off his cap and at first time he saw Maria and bowed his head. Sunset colored Yamamoto’s eyes and Maria saws his eyes was brightened.
“ Let’s go!” Yamamoto turned around and called his men and clasped his samurai sword and made his way.
Maria spent restless night on that day because she had connection with Carlos, command officer of anti-Japanese guerilla.
Few days had past peacefully. Dhang stays under the mango tree waiting for his frog cooked. Calros wore short-pants made from grass sack and was troubled with smoke irritating his eyes. He wiped his sweat while he process frog’s meat and fire.
Calros, Maria and her husband Jose was good music friend since they were student. Dhang’s father, Jose joined US-Filipino joint army as a volunteer soldier but he died in Bataan’s death march on April 1942, two years ago. When the 70 thousands US-Filipino army surrendered at Mariveles in Bataan, Jose had already developed Malaria. April is summer in Philippines. During the transfer of prisoner's camp, Japanese army forced more than 70 thousands captives to walk 100 kilometers away under the burning sun. With malarial body, Jose was not able to finished his way to War Camp in O'Donnell, Capas ,Tarlac. About 10 thousand people died during this transfer and Jose’s name was also in the victim’s list but Maria was not able to find his body. And so, Maria couldn’t believe Jose’s dead and she was still waiting for him to come home.
When Carlos was done grilling five frogs, a Japanese officer and two soldiers came into their garden. As if he already knows their visit, Carlos didn’t surprise and gave one grilled frog to Dhang and put other one in his mouth.
The Japanese officer was Yamamoto. Yamamoto took a sack from his men and passed to Carlos. Yamamoto requested Carlos. “Can you grill this too?” The sack was heavy and something is moving inside. Carlos opened and checked the sack. There were plenty of frogs. There maybe twenty or more.
“Madami eto ah.” Carlos stared at Yamamoto and told him.
“Nakita ko kasi hinuhuli ninyo ang palaka kanina kasama yung bata. Pasalubong ko nga lang eto para sa bata at sa kaniyang nanay. Nahirapan ang dawala kong kasama para hulihin ang mga palaka. hahaha” Yamamoto and 2 soldiers’ pants were dripping wet until their waist.
“Ok, masyadong madami na eto para sa atin lang. siguro ibibigay din natin sa iba.” “Maria, tawagin mo sila Edwin, Bobit, Maryanne….” Maria puzzled her face with Carlos’s request but muttered for a while with her nephew and told him to call them. “few days ago, I enjoyed wonderful piano performance of that woman.”
“Ah, number 1 pianist kaya si Maria sa buong Barrio.”
“So, her name is Maria. I am Yamamoto.”
“Carlos. Kaibigan ko si Maria noon estudyante pa kami” Carlos showed his dirty hands to explained Yamamoto not to shake hands.
”What is his name?”
”Ah, si Dhang. Anak ni Maria.” Carlos checked grilled frog and passed one stick to Yamamoto.
“So you are Dhang, nice to meet you. Dhang.” Yamamoto toasts his frog stick to Dhan’s stick. “Magandang hapon po…” Dhang answered weakly.
At the first time, Dhang saw Yamamoto’s face. He saw small eyes smiling in the dark face.
“Nasaan ang Asawa ni Maria? ”
“Namatay na ang asawa niya. Mag-dadalawang taong na.”
Carlos gave the last sticks to two soldiers and did not continue his story. Yamamoto also did not ask anymore. When Carlos shaped bamboo stick and prepare Yamamoto’s frog for grill, few men and women come to the garden. They brought guitar and small drums. Edwin seems older than Carlos. He easily opened the local gin and poured it to glasses. After he served gin, he quietly helped Carlos to grill frogs. Yamamoto tossed off a drink and gave his glass to Carlos. Carlos was puzzled with Yamamoto’s glass but allow Yamamoto to pour the gin in the glass.
“This is Japanese style. Drink it.” Yamamoto watched Carlos to finish his gin and he also noticed Carlos smiling. Maria and young women were boiling beans and the smell came out from the house. High school looked Bobit started to play a guitar. It was Spanish folksong. He started singing with his high-pitched voice and people enjoyed his song.
Yamamoto noticed that Maria’s nephew was not yet back. Everybody enjoyed grilled frog and the boiled beans was also served. While they drunk gin, two men played guitar and the drum joined the gigs.
At next moment, they heard gunshots followed by machine gun fire. All young men stopped the gigs and looked at one direction.
”Silipin mo muna, Yoshida." Yamamoto commanded his man. The soldier runs towards the other direction. It was direction of elementary school where Japanese headquarter was set up.
”Let’s continue Carlos. That is scheduled attack.”
“……sige, Bobit, patuloy ka na.” Bobit was still nervous with sound of gunshots but continued his song. Tone of his voice was even higher than before.
“Carlos, don’t you think this is silly?” Yamamoto murmured in low voice.
“What are you talking about?” Carlos poured gin to glass and looked at Yamamoto.
“I didn’t come here to fight with Filipinos.”
“What do you mean?”
“My enemy is Americans.”
Bobit weaken his voice and Maria and other women went inside the house. Sunset was almost there.
“…………” Carlos screwed his face as if he carefully tastes the gin and waited Yamamoto to continue his word.
“Carlos, have you visited America?”
“Hindi pa ako nagkarating.”
“I’ve been before. Actually, I was businessman before. …so, I know the result of this war already.”
“Sinasabi mo ba ang mga Hapon ang mananalo?”
“Hahaha, baliktad kaya.”
“Kung alam mo, bakit ka nandito?”
“Alam mo ba ang Solvejg's Song?”
“ah, tinutugtug ni Maria. Sa Peer Gynt.”
“Oo, parang ganoon nga yata.”
“Ano nga ngayon sa solvejg’s song?” Carlos added gin to his glass and slowly sit down on a log.
“Si Peer Gynt. Hindi mo naisip na selfish ang mga lalaki?”
“Nangangarap tayo ng saliring pangarap kahit hindi mo alam kung ano talaga siya. Pero hinahabol mo pa rin ang pangarap mo.”
Yamamoto took off his samurai sword and prop against mango tree. He sat on carved chair with a sigh of relief.
“Does your mother live in this town? ”
“not in this town.” Carlos did not explain well.
“Ilang tanong na siya.”
”63 na ang nanay ko. Pang-apat ako sa lalaki pero wala na ang mga kuya ko.”
”Namatay na sila?”
“Sa laban sa China. Nangarap sila sa china. At hindi nila natupad ang mga pangarap nila.” Carlos put beans on his mouth and said stressfully.
“Sana gusto ko na rin. However, it is hard to wake up from this kind of dream until you are hurt. Also for the soldiers involved in schedule fight. Serious people tend to dream. They will totally devote to their dream. But when the scheduled attack came we have to react.”
”Are you saying that I should stop schedule fight?”
“It is fine to dream but you should know that there will be victims. It is not right if Filipinos died because of the fight between Americans and Japanese. It is war over its colony after all. Added to that fact, Filipinos have to kill each other for other’s profit. If you call this dream, it is silly dream.”
The night had already fall. There were lights from neighbors. They can also see wavy flame lighting in Maria’s house. Women were chatting and men kept distance from Yamamoto and Carlos and drinking gin. The sound of the piano wafted out from the window. From the first line, Yamamoto already knew the title of this piece. In the dark garden, Carlos thought about Maria and Jose while he blankly looked at Yamamoto listening to Maria’s piano. There was reason why Maria always played “Solvejg's Song”.
When Jose heard Maria’s piano during the high school fiesta, he was touched with her piano. After fiesta, he visited Maria time and time to ask her to join his music group. When Jose visited Maria, she always played this Solvejg's Song. After their marriage, Jose joined US-Filipino joint army as a volunteer. Maria didn’t cry in front of Jose but the day he left their house, she played this piece. Maria is still waiting for Jose who was past away two years ago. Carlos noticed her feeling for Jose and felt sorry for her but he didn’t dispute the truth.
Carlos also had girl friend named Maryanne. Maryanne was one of the members in their music group and everybody thought this couple will get marry. But after Jose’s death, nobody talked about their marriage. All women in the group knew that as Maria is waiting for Jose, Maryanne is also waiting for Carlos.
When Maria’s tone became slowly and weak, Yamamoto slowly stood up and stepped towards the Mango tree where he put his samurai sword. Yamamoto stood behind shadow of Mango tree and looked up at sunset sky. Carlos can not see Yamamoto’s expression. Yamamoto put on his cap again and next moment, he heard Carlos’s voice close behind his back.
“YAMAMOTO.” Yamamoto felt sharp substance in his back. It was his samurai sword. He regrets himself at that moment. But his men were outside of the gate. Yamamoto quietly lifted his hands. Maria is still playing piano. Other men held their breath and hang up with sudden occurrence.
“Yamamoto-san. Muntik ka na.” Yamamoto put his cap again and turned around. “Muntik na muntik ka. Yamamoto-san” Carlos softly smiled. Yamamoto sweated badly and tried to smile back but his facial expression was clearly hard. He was still stunned with Carlos’s behavior. Carlos also noticed the trace of tears in Yamamoto’s face.
Next moment, Maria finished her piece and women clapped their hands. Carlos sheathed a sword and hand back to Yamamoto. Men were also relief and draw cheers and explode with applause. Women in the house showed up to check outside. Yamamoto just put his cap and hides his face and walked away.
“Let’s go!” Yamamoto yelled at his men and quickly stepped out.
The next day, the scheduled attack came as usual. However, attack from guerrilla was different. It was even violent than the other day.
Bayombong is placed in Cagayan valley area in northern part of Luzon Island. It is basin range and Cagayan River flows. On the northern part, there are mountain ranges of Ifgao and mountain provinces. Later on, Japanese army and residents will push into these ranges and suffer from starvation. On the east, there is sierra Madre and west is Cordillera range which includes Baguio.
On January 9, 1945. leaded by general MacArthur, 190 thousand US army and more than 700 battle ship, transport craft arrived at Lingayen bay, where is in south China sea down at the east of Baguio. US army gradually proceeds to north by using paved road and Route 5 which is originally build by the Americans. US troops break through Balete and Sakurasaku mountain pass after the 100days battle. This was actually last machine powered battle of Japanese army. On June, US army proceeded to Bayombong where just 50 kilometer away from there the passes. But as of this time, none of Japanese thought about that. Anti-Japanese guerrilla was active in Nueva Ecija province where southern part of Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga and Tarlac. There were also guerrillas in mountain areas in northern Luzon and they were supported by US army.
Bayombong was evacuation town and it was between southern and northern guerrillas active area. On that day, guerrillas attacked from mountain range across the Cagayan River at the southern area in the town.
“If you attack that way, we have to react to that…” Yamamoto had no alternative but to request for support troops. The number of victims in his troops was larger than other day but he also knew that there were also many victims on guerrilla side.
“Kenpeitai might react to this occurrence.” Yamamoto had philosophy that if Japanese want to colonize the Philippines, it is not good idea to make enemy in local people. Even more, this town is evacuation area for wounded soldiers and other Japanese residences.
The next day, Yamamoto put garrison troops on alert but there was no scheduled attack. And also the next day, there were no schedule attack from guerrilla. Bayombong got this strange peace for a while. Yamamoto went to Maria’s house. He had to meet Carlos before Kempeitai will take an action. When Yamamoto entered Maria’s compound, there was an old woman crying under the big fire and appealing something to Maria. When she noticed Yamamoto and other soldiers, she gave them stink eye and went back to Maria’s house. Yamamoto made a reverence to Maria.
“What happened to that woman?” Maria hesitated.
“Wala naman po. Pero pwede po ba umuwi muna kayo ngayon….?”
Yamamoto noticed uncomfortable mood in the atmosphere. Even maids and Maria’s nephew doesn’t want to look Japanese soldiers.
“Can I see Carlos? I need to see him now.” Maria thought something for a while and answered Yamamoto.
“I understand. I will send my nephew to call Carlos. That boy. Are you in headquarter? ” She pointed a boy at the corner of garden.
“Yes, we stay there. I need to meet him as soon as possible. Just tell him Yamamoto is looking for him.”
“Sige po. Sabihin ko na lang po.”
It was already night when the boy visited Yamamoto. Yamamoto quickly proceeded to Maria’s house. In the garden, Carlos was sitting beside the bonfire. He placed gin on the side and drinking already.
“Sorry to bother you. But I am in hurry.” Yamamoto bowed to Carlos.
“Anong gusto mong malaman?”
“About the heavy attacked the day before yesterday. What was that? Please give me any information that you have now.”
“Wala akong alam diyan.”
“Please don’t say that. If Kempeitai start to take an action, it is too late. I think you know already. Filipinos have to kill each other.” Carlos served a glass of gin to Yamamoto.
“uminom ka muna”
“And why there is no attack for these two days?”
“There are men who are dreaming. They want to dream until they die. But there will be no attack in Bayombong. For sometime….”
The anti-Japanese organization Hukbalahap, known as Huks, was formed in a mountain village in southern Nueva Vizcaya and it was boundary of 3 provinces in central Luzon where. Japanese troops made inroads into Philippines on January 3, 1942. Philippine communist party was formed two months after the invasion and Hukbalahap was anti-Japanese people’s army of the party. US army consider that the enemy of their enemy as their friend and used this people’s army during the Japanese invasion and they will clamp down on Hukbalahap after the war.
“Have you seen an old woman this afternoon?”
“Yes, what happened to her?” Carlos served gin to Yamamoto and answered.
“She is mother of Edwin. He had past away.”
“The quite man who grilled frog with me last time.” The violent attacked flash into Yamamoto's mind.
“He joined the scheduled attack 2 days ago….”
“Yamamoto-san. I talked to Edwin that night. He was party member of Nueva Ecija. He came Bayombong to lead us.” Carlos continues while adding woods to fire.
“Yamamoto-san, you told me it is silly dream. But for Edwin it was not silly dream. I don’t either think it is silly but I know it is not the time. Even Americans or Japanese, they don’t come for Filipinos. They just wanted to get the resources from our country. Two robbers are ransacking our land. We can not die for them.”
“Nag-away ba kayo ni Edwin?”
“I think it is not right if Filipinos fight each other and hate each other. I advised for cease fire in Bayombong. Local member agreed with my idea but….” Bonfire heats Carlos’s face.
“Since Edwin was assigned to lead the battle of Bayombong, he couldn’t agree with your idea.” Yamamoto looked at bonfire and continued Carlos’s word.
“Bunso si Edwin. Tatlo sila magkapatid ng lalaki. Namatay na ang dalawa niyang kuya sa laban sa Nueva Ecija at Tarlac. Kaya, Edwin was last child of that woman. All her children die for the…. ”
Next moment, the door opened and a black shadow came out from the house. It was Edwin’s mother. She straightly walked towards to Yamamoto and cried out.
“Give my son back! Please give my children back! Return my Edwin, my Mark…Stephan!” The old woman clutched at Yamamoto. Yamamoto leave old woman to push him. He felt light weight of woman. She pushed Yamamoto with thin arms. Yamamoto just stood there and looked up the dark sky.
“Lola, this man was just advised me not to fight….” Carlos pulled woman away from Yamamoto and sent a sign to Maria to bring woman inside. Old woman was terribly crying and two men looked her going inside the house. The lights from house illuminate her white hair. Carlos picked wood and put it into drying fire and sent air in the space. Small flame risen up.
“Yamamoto-san, as long as we stay here, let’s stop fighting.” Carlos mumbled. Yamamoto passed back a glass to Carlos and answered.
“I am thinking same way. Please. I don’t know when I will send to front line and Bayombong might be firing line someday.”
“ But how about Kempeitai?….?”
“Ako na ang bahala diyan.” Carlos touched his glass to Yamamoto’s.
Maria’s piano enfolded the sobbing old woman in the dark night. Carlos stood up and saw the moon over the big fire tree. Yamamoto looked at the western sky and gazed at the direction of Baguio’s mountain range. He thought of his mother and Yasuko Kawanishi. At this time, he never thought that US army will proceed to the Bayombong soon and he have to suffer from hunger in the mountain.
As peer returned to Solvejg, can Yamamoto go back to his Solvejg? The melody of Peer Gynt’s “Solvejg's song” flow in the town of Bayombong as if the song carries the prayer of old woman, Maria, Carlos and Yamamoto. It was also melody of fugitive peace.
Written by : Tamotsu Sase
Translated by : Mai Aoki
This story is a fiction that was created based on a memory of Filipino boy during the World War II in Bayombong, Philippines.
For the Japanese written Orijinal story, please visit this page.
This story was translated to English/Tagalog in order to use as one of the materials at workshop for Japan-Philippine International Theater Art Festival.
Japan-Philippine International Theater Art Festival will be held on September 3, 2009, in celebration of Baguio Centennial and Baguio Peace Memorial Day(Yamashita Surrender Day or the End of World War II).
The Tearter Art Festival is organazed by JAPITAC (Japan-Philippine International Thearter Art Festival Committee) in cooperation with Baguio Centennial Commission and Filipino Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon. And the event is granted by Japan Foundation and Sojitz Foundation in Japan.