On the Pain and Pleasure of Looking at a Glass, Tanikawa Shuntaro On a wooden table stands a transparent glass which contains water. Right now a 60 watt bulb on the left, shining obliquely from above, throws a prism of light on a portion of the glass cylinder, but that in no way modifies the glass and the water. The contained water is not meant to slake thirst, but it seems that some family member (probably a child) may have put it there for no reason at all or, therefore, as it were, just for fun, and although it is a highly commonplace sight it compels a kind of tension in anyone who looks at it. This tension, it would seem, arises neither from the fragility that the feel of the glass suggests nor from the possibility of its being transformed suggested by the feel of the water, but, to the contrary, from the sense of their immobility. Although the cup and the water (and the soft shadow they cast on the table) could be destroyed in an instant by anyone's extended hand, the fact of their prior extistence could not be denied. Their immobility, even though having no relation to eternity, yet looms as a riddle to all men; therefore, there can be no language in which to describe or explain them, and no painting or sculpture, either, with which to picture or mold them. This fact, however, does not make them any more ambiguous. On the contrary they become for that all the clearer. And indeed because they are so clear they even tempt anyone who looks at them little by little towards the notion of poetry. Yes, reader, for my part I can see nothing there now except poetry. My mute mind is filled with a too blinding, utterly unreachable poetry, so that, far from being impatient, I come finally to a plateau of calmness akin to inebriation.