Excerpt from Narrow Road to the Deep North
Days and months are travelers of eternity. So are the years that pass
by. Those who steer a boat across the sea, or drive a horse over the
earth till they succumb to the weight of years, spend every minute of
their lives travelling. There are a great number of ancients, too, who
died on the road. I myself have been tempted for a long time by the cloud-moving
wind — filled with a strong desire to wander.
In this little book of travel is included everything under the sky — not
only that which is hoary and dry but also that which is young and colorful,
not only that which is strong and imposing but also that which is feeble
and ephemeral. As we turn every corner of the Narrow Road to the Deep
North, we sometimes stand up unawares to applaud and we sometimes fall
flat to resist the agonizing pains we feel in the depths of our hearts.
There are also times when we feel like taking to the road ourselves,
seizing the raincoat lying near by, or times when we feel like sitting
down till our legs take root, enjoying the scene we picture before our
From The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel
Sketches, translated by Yuasa Nobuyuki (Middlesex, England: Penguin Books,
Ltd., 1966), 97, 143.