⟨ Book ⟩

Only Small Talks

Yodan Lab

Words and Photography / Ron Lam
Translation / hott 何比

在名古屋一家專門派發免費雜誌的書店裡,找到這份《余談 Lab》。「余談」是指廢話、閒話,翻開細讀,還是讀不出一個頭緒來。內裡全都是篇幅短小的碎碎唸,在2019年6月號裡,有人談家裡製作梅子糖漿的習慣;有人說起在看電影時發現字幕的誤譯;有人說年長以後,才發現自己喜歡橙色;有人最近在讀一本叫《我和鱷魚和妹妹的房間》的書;有人收到花農送來的花,抽出其中一種玫瑰來畫⋯⋯都是只有數十字的雜談,全是輕於鴻毛的瑣事。究竟,這份小雜誌,想傳達甚麼訊息呢?

「以往曾在新聞中看到,日本的父母都希望子女能提高學習能力,固然不想子女的學校成績不理想,也不希望他們做出脫軌的事。但脫軌是多麼有趣啊!創辦《余談Lab》的其中一個原因,便是想傳達這想法。」《余談 Lab》的創辦人永井雄太郎解釋說。

《余談 Lab》的撰稿人,大部份都來自仙台、宮城等日本的東北地區,他們全都不是專業的寫手,而是當地的餐廳老闆、麵包師傅、庭園師等等,用簡單的文字,記載他們的小日子,同時,輕輕柔柔地展示著東北地區,在飲食、住宿、自然、人文等方方面面的魅力。

日本東北在2011年經歷了前所未有的災難,至今災難的陰霾仍未散,翻著集結了他們的雜談的《余談 Lab》,更覺得尋常的小日子彌足珍貴。

I found Yodan Lab in a Nagoya bookstore which distributes free magazines. In Japanese, “Yodan” means bullsxxt or gossip. When I turned the pages, I could not really figure out what I was reading. The magazine contains only murmur-like scattered passages. In its June 2019 issue, someone shared her habit of making ume syrup; someone pinpointed a mistake in the translation of the subtitle when watching a movie; someone said she realised that orange is her favourite colour after being a grown up; someone was reading a book called A Room for Me, the Crocodile and my Sister; someone received flowers from a farmer, then picked a rose and started drawing it… Nothing but small and trivial talks. What sort of message is this little paper delivering indeed?

“I read from the news that all parents in Japan aim high on their children’s learning capability, they don’t want their children to perform poorly at school, not to mention doing anything out of the box. But hey, It’s fun to act out of the box! This is one of the messages I wish to deliver by founding Yodan Lab.” Yutaro Nagai, the founder of Yodan Lab explained.

Most of the writers for Yodan Lab are from the Northeastern part of Japan like Sendai and Miyagi. They are all amateurs coming from all walks of life: a restaurant owner, a baker, a gardener, etc. They use simple words to record their daily life. The charms of Northeastern Japan reflecting in different aspects: cuisine, accommodation, nature, culture and so forth, are subtly on display.

The Northeastern part of Japan hasn’t been fully recovered from the unprecedented disaster since 2011. When you are flipping through their small talks printed in Yodan Lab, you would treasure even the most ordinary moments of peace.