- an archival site on the life and world of Shunryu Suzuki and those who knew him.

home        what's new        bibliography         interviews        stories     and more if you look around

4/11/03 - Errata in Thank You and OK!

Today I post comments in two past emails from alert readers. I love stuff like this. - DC

In March of 2003 - Scott Stambler wrote and brought to light this inexcusable error from Thank You and OK! Thanks a lot for the heads up Scott. I'll get to fixing it in the book at some point. Until then let me expose this mistake to the world. Gratefully, DC 

PS - this reminds me of another error about the moon in one chapter that another alert reader mentioned years ago. I'll get to it too.

BTW Ė In Thank You and OK! you quoted from Treasure of The Sierra Madre (one of my all time favorite films) and you attributed the line to Fred C Dobbs (Bogart) but it was Curtin (Tim Holt) who told Howard (The great Walter Huston Ė if you havenít seen Dodsworth you must) that the "Monster, once it bites it never letís go. You can cut off itís tail and it still wonít let go, ainít that right Howard?" "Yeah, I reckon" ........

Scott was referring to the following paragraph from  page 134 of Thank You and OK! an American Zen Failure in Japan:

Taizen had said, "Oh mukade [centipedes] aren't so bad, but they don't let go. Once they've clamped down on you, it's hard to get them off." It reminded me of "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" in which Humphrey Bogart claimed that if a gila monster bites, you can cut off its body but the head stays clamped on till sunrise.

Thanks Scott. Clearly my fact-checking was slipshod.- DC

And two TY&OK errata comments from a 5/02/02 email of last year from Nancy B

Hi David,

Reading the last pages of CC was difficult through my eye tears - very moving. Beautiful book to say the least.

okay, here are the pages in Thank You

p.295 said, The glow of the sun was almost entirely gone but I could see some lines on my palms which I held facing the direction of the sunset...just then a slight glow appeared on the crest of the opposing hills. I looked in that direction. A quarter moon popped over the top and rather quickly rose white and bright in the clean mountain air.

aw, that's such fine describing, only it couldn't be a quarter moon if it came up at that time and place!!! but it sounds better to say quarter than full, right? and no one has said anything in all those years, so....

and p.67 says, Tatami are about three feet by six feet, so an eight-tatami area is about 12 square feet.

you meant, 12 feet square!

but we knew what you were saying and are grateful...

DC responds - Thanks so much for the errata. "12 square feet" was corrected to "12 feet square"  (with many other changes) in the 3rd printing. So you read one of the first printings. 

But the moon mistake! Obviously I just got caught embellishing the story. As I remember it, I did check on the moon in order to date that chapter correctly - but I can't remember what aspect of the moon I checked on - when it rose or when it was full - and I didn't realize that there was more to check on and understand. How could I fix this I wonder? Ah - best to leave it as is, an imperfection in a sea of imperfection should have a good hiding place - except from the likes of Nancy B! 

                               Go to What's New