Dictation in Berlin

June 27th, 2014, 3pm

It was 25°C with few clouds. The wind was light.

“Sepp,” my mentor from graduate school, still writes me back once in a while. He always begins his letters like this: “I am dictating this letter in Berlin.” It can be from Paris, Madrid, Kyoto, or Rio. He dictates his letter and his secretary Margaret in Palo Alto types it up and mails it to me in Tokyo. This particular line reminds me of his deep baritone voice and laugh that sounds like he is about to have a fit. I don’t have a lot of good memories from graduate school, except Sepp’s seminars and “philosophical reading group” every Thursday evening. When I left my teaching position at Penn State, he was the only academic mentor who bluntly asked me “Was it that bad?” and would maintain our friendship. I just hope that his dictation recorder will keep running wherever he goes.

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Shu Kuge

Woodcut printmaker

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