No, I haven’t. Have you, Kato?
Yes, I have. As a matter of fact, I’ve travelled around over 30 countries.
Yes, I am. I visited the famous Egyptian city in the summer of 2010.
Oh, yes. I met Cleopatara. he, he, he…
You must be kidding.
I know you cannot believe it.
Nobody can, Kato. Cleopatra has been long dead. Everybody knows that.
I know, I know…, but I met Cleopatra. Actually, the woman I met believed that she was a born-again Cleopatra.
C’mon, Diane. She wasn’t crazy at all. Actually, she turned out an intelligent woman.
By the way, Kato, you told me last Saturday (April 2, 2011), you would tell me a story that was based on the brochure I’d handed out to you.
Oh, yes, this is the story based on your brochure.
But the brochure I gave you has nothing to do with Cleopatra.
No, it doesn’t mention the name of Cleopatra. However, when you read the story to the end, you will know for sure that the nitty-gritty of the brochure has something to do with the love and death of Cleopatara.
Yes, of course, I do. You’ll definitely find the story thought-provoking.
Then, tell me.
Actually, I posted the story on January 27, 2011. I translated it into English for you. So, take your time and enjoy reading it:
Kato woke up at 9:00 am, then went over to McDonald’s near the hotel and took a late breakfast.
Kato ordered something like a shish kebab and ate it curiously. Then, with a guidebook in hand, Kato walked to the fortress. After viewing the old fortress, he ventured south into a back street, on both sides of which stood small houses and shops closely packed like sardines. Kato thought that he’d stepped into the world of Ottoman Turkey that had flourished between the 16th and the early 20th century.
The shops sell various kinds of colorful spices and herbs. Kato sensed the indescribable smell mixed with dusty air like the quirky “smell of Egypt”.
Near the canal that flows south of the city of Alexandria stand the tenements where the poor people live. The windows seem to be decorated with a colorful laundry. When Kato saw a donkey pulling a cart in the narrow passage, he thought he’d flown back into the ancient days. However, he couldn’t find any remains or past glory that reminded him of Cleopatra. He just felt quite tired of walking through the narrow back streets.
When Kato felt hungry, it started to gather darkness. Fed up with fast food, he went to one of the ubiquitous Chinese restaurants and ordered both “a bowl of noodles in a brisket soup” and “a dish of fried rice with eggs, greens, and beef”. Eating like a starving pig, Kato could hardly move, but managed to walk back to his hotel room, and lay down on the bed. He soon dropped into a deep sleep.
Middle in the night, Kato suddenly woke up, and rubbed his eyes.
Then, he was startled!
A naked woman sitting on a chair by the window was staring at Kato.
He thought he was still in a dream.
He rubbed his eyes again. However, the woman didn’t disappear.
In fact, she was smirking with her mouth covered by her right hand as if to show politeness.
Kato rubbed his eyes again.
However, the naked woman didn’t dissapear.
She didn’t look like an Egyptian woman he often saw in Alexandria.
Even in the moon-lit hotel room, her skin gleamed whitish-blue like that of a French or German woman.
The naked woman gave him a discreet smile.
“Who … who the hell are you?”
“Cleopatra…hu, hu, hu…”
Rubbing his eyes again, Kato stared at the woman, who laughed merrily as ever.
He turned on the light at the bedside stand.
The light turned her white skin into light-orange color.
With an ornamental cobra in the center, a golden hairband held her black hair like an Egyptian queen.
Slightly below the shoulder, her left arm showed a gilt bracelet that looked like a coiling cobra.
Except for the hairband and the bracelet, she wore nothing.
To his surprise, the naked woman remained still in the antique armchair like a nude model with her left leg drawn up on the edge and right leg stretching out. Naturally, the clean-shaven ripe peach between the legs was on full display.
Although Kato considered it rude to be staring between her legs, he couldn’t help but hold his peering eyes.
From the crack of peach bloomed a pair of pink petals that looled like a cockscomb.
With the petals Joining together at the top, the peach boasted a gleaming pearl.
The woman really looked like a voluptuous Venus.
Wow! What a woman!
Kato gulped down a thick drop of saliva or two.
“But…, but, she cannot be that famous Cleopatra,” thought Kato.
“Does she tell me that she is a descendant of Cleopatra?”
As if to read his mind, she stood up and stepped forward.
Smiling like an innocent girl, she stopped in front of Kato.
“What are you thinking of?”
“How… how come you’re here with me?”
“’Cause you’ve been thinking of me for so long.”
“How do you know?”
“You’ve been looking for me in this town, haven’t you?”
“Give me a break. If you were Cleopatra, how could you possibly speak English?”
“I learned English for you.”
The woman sat down right beside Kato.
A sweet smell of perfume tickled his nostrils.
“What kind of smell?” He thought.
It definitely stimulated him sexually.
He had never sensed it before.
However, somewhere in his heart, the watchful self told him, “Do not be fooled!”
Are you still in doubt?
Well…don’t you think, you’re a bit out of your mind when you meet me like this…in the stark-naked for the first time?
Jeez…are you saying, I’m out of my mind?
Yes, I am. If you aren’t out of your mind, you don’t have commen sense.
You’re talking nonsense. I have more common sense than you have.
Yes, of course. You don’t have a common sense to attend the funeral of your own father.
How do you know?
I told you. I’ve been watching you such a long time that I know everything about you.
But why have you been watching me?
‘Cause you wrote about me.
Did I write about you?
Yes, you did. Don’t you remember it?
Give me a break. I met you tonight for the first time. How could I possibly write about you?
Actually, I’ve seen you so many times that you’re quite familiar to me…so much so that you’re like my husband. hu, hu, hu… Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to appear in the buff like this.
Do you really want me to believe all this?
So, you’re thinking I’m telling a fib, aren’t you?
The smile vanished completely from the face of the woman for the first time. The cold look floated up on her face as if to face her cheating husband.
Kato pulled himself from her for a moment.
But the woman got closer to challenge him.
Although it was hot and humid in Alexandria, Kato felt a chill deep inside.
Her breasts hardened slightly with the nipples turned up.
The big nipples were those of a mother who gave birth to a child.
Kato saw goose bumps on the skin around the nipple, it was not that cold, though.
He wondered if its cause was anger or lust.
Since you don’t seem to believe me, I jot down the story right down here so that you can recall.
When I was an adorable third-grade pupil, 350 pupils of the same grade went to the movie theater near my elementary school to view the animation film called “Son Goku”, which is a story about an adventurous monkey. One of the unforgettable scenes was as follows:
The monkey stands on the palm of the giant Buddha who remains seated. The monkey looks up and talks to him. “Hey, you! I’m a great monkey just like a superman. I flew to the end of the world and now I’m back on your palm.
Full of friendliness and mercy, Buddha smiles. “Oh, are you? You can fly from one end of the world to another like a superman, can’t you? Why don’t you show me some proof?”
“No problem. I can show you the proof. I flew over to the end of the world and wrote my name on the stone pole that stood like a giant finger. If you don’t believe it, you should also travel to the end of the world. But I don’t think you can do it ‘cause you’re always sitting like this.”
Buddha keeps smiling. “Well, some people see me fly like a superman.”
“Don’t be silly. You’re always sitting like this. How could you possibly fly like a superman?”
“So you’ve only seen me sitting like this, haven’t you?”
Then Buddha slowly expands the palm of the other hand. The middle finger shows the name that the monkey wrote some time ago. “Is this the name you wrote when you flew to the end of the world?”
Dum-founded, the monkey stares at the name, which in deed he wrote, thinking that he reached the end of the world.
But it turns out to be the middle finger of Buddha.
“You said you flew over to the end of the world, but in my eyes you just jumped from my right hand to left hand.”
It was such a thought-provoking scene that I can still remember it clearly.
If I were Buddha, I might have told Cleopatra the following:
“You certainly enjoyed a string of love affairs, soaked and immersed in politics, gathered a great deal of power, and boasted the unmeasurable treasure. But, after all, you are not so different from the monkey. In my eyes, you have been moving around on my palm.”
“Is that so? Anyway, I’m so tired.”
“Are you really tired of living in this world? If you say so, you might as well kill yourself. I wouldn’t prevent you from doing so. It’s up to you.”
“I’m tired anyway. I did do my best. In your eyes, I might have done as the monkey did on your palm. Although all my effors seem to be a futile struggle, I cannot think of any other way to lead my life. And now I’m really exhausted.”
“Every man or woman dies soon or later. Simply, it’s the difference between being early or being late. You think you did do your best, don’t you? If you really think so and there’s nothing you want or desire, it might be a good idea that you finish your life and take it easy at this point. Nobody has a right to say otherwise.”
Even if you lead a flashy, colorful life of Cleopatra, your life is nothing more than that of the monkey who, from the Buddha’s point of view, only wriggles around on his palm.
Although Cleopatra did her best, she didn’t achieve what she really wanted.
Nobody is perfect; so yo might feel hopeless and sigh in disappointment from time to time.
You might say, “I’m really tired to death.” just as Cleopatra did.
And if you ask Buddha what to do, he has to say the same thing:
“Every man or woman dies soon or later. Simply, it’s the difference between being early or being late. You think you did do your best. If you really think so and there’s nothing you want or desire, it might be a good idea that you finish your life and take it easy at this point. Nobody has a right to say otherwise.”
SOURCE: “Love Affairs”
(September 21, 2006)
I accept what Buddha said. But, Kato, you fogot the important thing.
Important thing? What’s that?
So, I have come out this way. I stay here with you until I tell you the important thing. Then I’ll go home.
You go home? but where?
Of course, back to Heaven!
Do you really want me to believe this?
“Those who believe will be saved.”
Kato, there must be the same saying in Japan, is there?
Yes, there is the same saying in Japan, but I’m free of dire lament, great distress, acute regret or anything like that. I feel fairly contented with myself. So I don’t have to join Heaven. By the way, where did you get the above article?
I searched for it on the net, of course.
But the original article is written in Japanese. Did you learn Japanese?
Yes, of course, I did.
Look! Cleopatra didn’t speak English nor Japanese!
You’re right, Kato. Cleopatra didn’t speak both languages till her death in 30 BC. However, she spoke many languages of her neighboring countries. Indeed, without an interpreter, she communicated with Ethiopians, Arabs, Hebrews, Syrians, Medes, Parthians…You see, I have a talent for languages. Naturally, I’ve got a knack to learn Japanese.
And do you really believe, you’re Cleopatra?
Yes, of course. Do you, Kato?
Listen! We are in the year of 2010. Cleopatra died in 30 BC. And if you are the real Cleopatra, your age is 2040 years old. Who would believe such a nonsense story?
I’m not saying I’ve been here in Alexsandria for all those years. I was born again as Cleopatra. Kato, have you ever heard of “reincarnation”?
Yes, I have. But I don’t believe in reincarnation.
Then, start believing it. Judging from all those articles you wrote, I thought you should be able to understand reincarnation.
Yes, yes, yes… I understand reincarnation, but understanding is one thing; believing is another. Anyway, I’ve never thought that Cleopatra would read my articles on the net.
So, I told you I was reborn.
Don’t be silly! No jokes anymore, please. You’re suffering from delusion. You’re talking gibberish. Is there a mental hospital near this hotel?
There isn’t such a thing! Have you ever thought, Kato, why I know the article you wrote?
No, not by intuition. I’ve been watching you for a couple of years. Think about why I showed up in the nude.
‘Cause I know you. You aren’t an indecent womanizer, are you?
No, of course not. But, what you’re saying is misleading my readers. Do you know that?
‘Because you’re saying there’s no chance for you and me to get romantically involved. Some readers may think that I am impotent.
No, of course not.
You don’t have to worry about such a thing. hu, hu, hu…
Since I arrived here in Alexandria, I’ve been thinking about a romance with a charming woman like Cleopatra. And here you are. I might just as well hold you in my arms, and wanna turn tonight into a memorable night.
I know, I know…
Then let’s make it!
Let’s make love, shall we?
Don’t be ridiculous, Kato. You’re here to search for Cleopatra, aren’t you?
Oh, yes, I am…but your nude is too much for me.
Okay. Then get up and stay away from the bed.
What do you think you’re doing?
I’m gonna take off the bed sheet, then wrap myself with it like this. Voila! How do I look now?
I don’t think you’re a reborn Cleopatra, but I can sense that you’re quite knowledgeable about the queen. Tell me how you became intelligent enough to attract Caesar and Antony.
It’s a long story. Here’s an excerpt from the book you might be interested in:
Cleopatra had passed her early childhood in the royal women’s apartments. She was educated according to the centuries-old program established for the pharaoh’s daughters, who were raised to rule alongside their brother-husbands—the girls’ curriculum was, in fact, the same as the boys’.
The pharaotic tradition had given a great deal of importance to scholarship, and the Ptolemies honored and even intensified this tradition. Like all the Hellenistic rulers, they sought to nurture the child’s general culture, or enkukleios paideia—the phrase from which we get the word “encyclopedia.”
The Ptolemies developed a nationwide system of primary and secondary schools, for the Greek elite of girls and boys who would be called upon to maintain the pharaoh’s power over the native masses.
In Cleopatra’s time, the course of study was based on Greek literature, especially the works considered masterpieces, which scholars had painstakingly assembled into a fixed canon, or collecction of texts.
Thus, the child read and studied Homer’s epics, which were much admired at court; the poems of Hesiod and Pindar; the tragedies of Euripides, considered superior to those of Aeschylus and Sophocles; the comedies of Menander; and the Histories of Herodotus and Thucydides; Cleopatra learned the art of rhetoric from the speeches of Demosthenes. Her education in the sciences was equally thorough: she took courses in arithmetic and geometry, astronomy and medicine, disciplines that flourished in the Alexandrian schools. A gifted amateur, the young queen also learned to draw, play the seven-stringed lyre, and sing. She was an excellent horsewoman—a sure sign of Hellenism in a “barbarian” land.
Her intellectual abilities were remarkable, but the queen displayed a particular talent for foreign languages, though Plutarch, the Greek historian, may have exaggerated somewhat.
pages 32 – 34 “Cleopatra”
Author: Edith Flamarion
Published in 1997 by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Cleopatra was a language genius, wasn’t she?
But Greek and Roman historians wrote a lot of bad things about Cleopatra.
For example, the Jewish historian Josephus wrote about Cleopatra in the first century AD as follows:
This greedy and ambitious queen killed her relatives in a cruel way, and if one of them survived, she turned her violent rage to other people.
So, do you think that I’m greedy and cruel woman?
No, not really. But I don’t think Cleopatra was a 100%-flawless women, either.
You know, Kato, history is written by the winner.
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. I know the winner sometimes wrote the history to his advantage.
The Greek and Roman historians described Antony and me as the indecent enemy—worse than necessary—of the fisrt Roman Emperor Augustus (Octavian) so that they could praise the performance of the winner.
Yes, I know.
But even the harsh critique, Dio Cassius (the Roman historian;circa 235 ー 150 AD), wrote about me as follows:
She was brilliant to look upon and to listen to,
with the power to subjugate every one,
even Julius Caesar, a love-sated man already past his prime.
She also possessed a most charming voice
and a knowledge of how to make herself agreeable to every one.
Her seductiveness, the ancients tell us, lay not only in her voice,
but in her vivacity and intelligence.
However, she also knew how to make the most of clothing, perfumes and jewels.
So, Dio Cassius actually praised you.
You’re telling me, Kato.
But, Plutarch wrote, “Her actual beauty…was not in itself so remarkable that none could be compared with her, or that no one could see her without being struck by it.”
Well, since nobody is perfect, no judgement is perfect. One could praise me, and another would disgrace me. But look at me, Kato. What do you think of me?
Listen, lady! Plutarch also wrote, “Cleopatra had the strange ability to attract people. The contact of her presence was irresistible, and the attraction of her person, joining with the charm of her conversation, and the character that attended all she said or did, was something bewitching. When she spoke, her grace in conversation, the sweetness and kindness of her nature, seasoned everything she said or did.”
So, Kato, can you believe Plutarch?
Well, taking into consideration the education she received, I would say that Cleopatra attracted men not by her beauty, but rather by her character and intelligence.
I’m glad to hear that, Kato.
Look, lady! Tell me the most memorable words you said to a man you loved so much in the past?
I don’t like to disclose that kind of secret, but you don’t seem to believe that I’m the reborn Cleopatra. So, I’ll tell you this. First of all, Antony was an obstacle and nuisance in the eyes of Augustus, who had told me that, if I would kill Antony, he would save my life.
Oh, really? But I hear that Cleopatra refused his offer. Is that right?
Yes, I refused it.
Home come…? Everybody thinks his or her life is the most important thing in this world. If I were you, I would have definitely killed Antony to live the rest of my life.
I remember that you wrote, “To live is to love.”
How do you know?
I read the following articles:
■“Do you wanna love to live?”
(December 18, 2010)
■“I’m loving to live”
(December 26, 2010)
Yes, yes…, I wrote the above two articles.
Do you still believe that to live is to love?
Yes, of course, I believe it.
That’s why I’ve disclosed what Augustus told me.
Then, What happened between you and Anthony?
Antony might have known about Augustus’s offer through the rumor.
But Cleopatra decisively rejected the offer of Augustus. Right?
Yes, I did. But Antony was an incredulous man—just like you, Kato. Hu, hu, hu…
I wanted Antony to know the truth in my heart—my real intention.
So what did you do?
A week later after Augustus’s offer, I dressed myself to sit at the supper table.
To dine with Antony?
Yes, that’s right. Saying “I’m thirsty”, Antony took a glass of wine in hand. And to attract his attention, I talked about a well-trained pet lion.
Antony listened to me with a touch of interest. Then, I picked up a flower from my tiara and put it into Antony’s glass.
The flower was sprinkled with poison.
That is, Antony’s wine got mixed up with poison. Is that it?
Yes, his wine was mixed with poison. When I was finished with the lion story, Antony was about to drink his wine.
So, did you watch Antony drink his wine?
No, of course not. I grabbed his glass from his hand.
I told the lady-in-waiting, Charmion, to bring one of the prisoners in death row.
A prisoner in death row? Why…?
I handed his glass over to the prisoner and told the prisoner to drink it.
Then the prisoner must have died. Did he?
Yes, he died. The prisoner was to be killed sooner or later. Drinking wine, he sank into a happy death—better than thirsting himself to death, I suppose.
I told Antony. “If I could live without you, I wouldn’t have grabbed the wine glass from your hand.”
I see. So, Antony got to know your true heart, and he began to love you more than ever before? Is that it?
Hu, hu, hu,… Eventually, you seem to understand that I’m the reborn Cleopatra, don’t you?
“Cleopatra’s most memorable words”
(January 27, 2011)
Interesting!…an interesting story, Kato.
Yes, I do, but you told me earlier, Kato, you would tell me a story based on the brochure I’d handed out to you.
Yes, I did.
I see. So, the death of Cleopatra is not the end of her life, is it?
No, it isn’t. The pain of Cleopatra is our pain too. Our loves and lives are interwined on the same planet at present as well as in the past. Cleopatra indeed lived and will live to the future, not poisoning Antony but saving his life, to tell us to perfect our humanity.
Amazing!… so, Kato, you actually attended the service at the church with me on March 20, 2011, didn’t you?
Yes, I did as an invisible man. He, he, he,…