Marseille-Tokyo-Osaka-Bucharest by Elena Diaconu | SEMI SILENT


Elena Diaconu
A sound stop-over in Japan, in between homes

(2’48”, August 2020)

Marseille-Tokyo. It starts almost like a game, I’m looking for plane tickets as I don’t know what else to do. I try other destinations, Taipei, Seoul, but they work less well. Tokyo rhymes with everything, even with a return to Bucharest. Marseille-Tokyo-Osaka-Bucharest is surely a more interesting story to tell than Marseille-Bucharest. By taking this trip, I have, at least, the merit of having chosen a good title for my story.


Photo: Elena Diaconu, 2014


Elena Diaconu works with words, sounds, languages. She translates Romanian news into French, wrote a children’s book while she was working in a book shop and generally tries to articulate thoughts, ideas and feelings in different sonic ways.


Recording, editing and mixing by Elena Diaconu for the contest Cet été-là… organized by ARTE Radio.



Transcript & translation to English:


Aaaah. Mosquito. Mosquito? Hai (yes).
Itchy/ichi (one)! Ni (two), san (three). Shi (four). Go (five). Aaaa. I stop at go. Miyajima guesthouse.
That summer was freedom. It is freedom.
Full. Guesthouse, guesthouse full.
The freedom to stay or to leave.
Chotto mate. What is chotto mate?
I don’t have a job anymore,
Please wait a minute.
nor a house,
Give me a time.
nor a boyfriend.


“That situation is when the person is somewhat shaken, old interpretations are tilted back, meaning is jolted, torn, drained…”
Roland Barthes


(korokke street seller – deep-fried croquettes)


That summer I picked garlic at a farm in the north, I was caught by a typhoon in the south, I hiked a bit everywhere, I tasted everything, I attended a Buddhist ceremony and a kabuki play, I went to a love hotel and I did volunteer work for a matsuri – a festival of some sort.




Rumania? Rumania tte iimashitaka?
Romania? Did you say Romania?


Ohayo gozaimasu
Good morning


I laughed, smiled, prayed, yawned, ate, slept, fucked, read, saw, drank, repeated a ridiculous number of times (some restaurant order) “this is so beautiful!”. I bathed in the sea, in mud, in crowds, I posed, I photographed, I bought, spent, scattered.


“The purpose of the nomadic state (Nicolas Bouvier) is not to supply the traveler with trophies or purchases, but to remove through erosion the superfluous, which is almost everything.”


(train stop announcement)


The day before leaving, I miss a train, the only one during the entire trip. I’ve been in Japan for 70 days. I don’t want to leave anymore.


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