Tali's Page

In 1996, I had an opportunity to have a foreign colleague in our workplace for the first time. The new colleague from the UK seemed to be interested in Japanese culture. However, my English vocabulary was so poor that I could make only trivial conversation with him. So I decided to try to increase my vocabulary by reading Japan-related English-language Websites.

At the time, there were not so many Japan-related websites. One of the sites that I found at the time was "Tali's Page" run by an Israeli girl Tali Cohen. According to the site, Tali was interested in Japanese culture after reading a translation of an old Japanese novel "The Tales of Genji". Her ambition was to become a geisha (!). She had been writing various essays related to Japanese culture, all of which were so pleasant to read that I frequented her site to read her essays using an English-Japanese dictionary.

However, one day in the June of 1997, I was bewildered finding that the top page of her site had been suddenly changed to an unfamiliar one. The new top page was announcing the followings.

This was the site of the homepage of Tali Cohen, a vivacious and very special girl whose grand ambition was to become a geisha. Her homepage was built around this theme, and it delighted all who visited it.

On the evening of June 6, 1997, Tali was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Medical help was called but she died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital as a result of massive internal injuries. She was four months short of her twentieth birthday. Her ambition of becoming a geisha was never realized.
After a year or so, Tali's Page was deleted from the server. But fortunately someone has been keeping a mirror site. Some of the essays there still make me get in tears. What saddens me most is that she is still asking a question in an essay on cherry trees,
I am a flower, but can I be a cherry blossom? an almond blossom? Can I ever be so delicate that I would symbolize the transcendence of life and its momentary glory? You ... my guest ... can you ever think of me as such a flower. I would bloom for only a week or so and then gently expire in a shower of snow-white petals. Is that the sort of flower I should be? Only you can tell me. Am I a blossom in your eyes?
Cherry trees will start to bloom in about two weeks. I remember her site in this season every year. You can read Tali's Page from here.

May her memory be blessed!

(The photo at the top was taken in the Kyoto Prefectural Botanical Garden on April 10, 2005.)


Blenster said...

I remember her still. I think of her nearly every day.