This page exists to commemorate my dear friend Fall Rose, also known by Rose Padgett, who passed away on .
She was, and is still, beloved girlfriend to Jackie and Laevos, as well as a light to so many people involved in translating manga and visual novels. Below, I’ve compiled some things we’ve all written about her. Think of this as a shrine to hold her memories.
sayonara, soshite arigatou
thank you everyone
if i ever live again,
i pray i learn my lessons early this time
and perhaps can be friends with some of you again
This was the last message left by my friend Fall. I think this was scheduled, and she was already gone at the time.
Fall was… an incredibly sweet and generous person, and the world never gave her a break. She survived a series of truly horrific experiences, well beyond what would break almost anyone, and she remained true to herself through all that. She was so passionate about languages, always eager to share some little tidbit of Japanese knowledge and help others learn. And she thought about so much more, poetry and history and theory. She could see all sorts of surprising connections. She never stopped caring; she was just such a sweetheart.
The image is from Haibane Renmei, a series that affected her very deeply, to the point that she named herself ‘Fall’ after the main character 落下. Like the Haibane of Old Home, her Day of Flight came suddenly and unexpectedly. But I hope that, like the Haibane flying over the wall, it’s a sign found she her freedom from the traumas of the past. I know at least that, in the last few years she at long last found more connection. Reaching out to people was not easy for her, but she braved that anyway.
I miss her so much.
I wish we could have gotten more time together. I wish we could have met in person. I wish we’d had more of a chance to open up and talk about all the things we both cared about.
I’m so so glad to have known her at all.
Jackie wrote a beautiful post about her memory of Fall, reproduced here with permission:
my girlfriend Fall killed herself this weekend. i don’t know how to grieve; all i do is write. writing is, in some sense, thinking. Larry McEnerney (2014) says that you have to write to think at a certain level of complexity, and if you aren’t writing, you’re not thinking at that level. writing is, therefore, not a way to record my thoughts, or to express my thoughts, my writing is my thoughts. but thoughts are not feelings, and writing is not feeling, so writing cannot be grieving. that feeling can only indirectly condition my writing; subject selection, tone, word choice and so on. a lot of mostly uninteresting variables, and the writing will survive that feeling though i may no longer feel it. then why write when i’m grieving? it’s not just me—almost everyone, even people who don’t normally write, will start writing when they grieve. writing is with you throughout every step. the suicide note, the memorial, the eulogy, the epitaph. the tearful letters to your loved ones breaking the news. you see, writing is a desire, and grieving is a desire. and one only desires within a landscape of desire. Deleuze (1996) uses the example of a woman looking at a dress in a shop window. what she desires, he says, isn’t the dress, it’s to wear the dress on a beach, on a sunny day, and so on. when i grieve, i don’t ‘grieve’ abstractly. i cry. i shake, beg, plead, wail, storm off to my room to hide under the covers, wrap myself up with my own arms and breathe too fast. i shake myself out of it. i think about my breathing. i say ‘get it together.’ i resign to that feeling in my stomach and i lie very still. i won’t eat, i won’t move, i won’t get up. but i need to eat. i should eat, so i go down and make breakfast. then i write. and on the other side, when i write, i always feel; i conjure feelings or exorcise them while writing. these two desires are not the same, but neither are they always separable.
“Do you realize how simple a desire is?” (ibid). that became one of our favourite quotes. the last few weeks she has been saying it to herself as a maxim, which was something we liked to do. she had also been saying “not awakey, can’t mistakey.” why say that one? we didn’t get the opportunity to have a conversation about it. i think it’s because the next line of that quote is “sleeping is a desire.” she enjoyed things like that; the wandering of the intellect through rhymes and puns. she kept a numogram on her desk. she was not, in her mind, ever a writer, yet she wrote all the time. she dutifully kept a dream journal all her life. the day she was found her roommate was looking through her room and they told me they found some journals full of writing. they didn’t seem to make much sense, they said, so we decided they must have been more dream journals, because dreams don’t make much sense either. but i realized today what they were—they were zuihitsu. she told me she was writing it. but we didn’t get to have a conversation about it, either. that’s the way it is with us. we used to say we had so much to talk about we couldn’t fit it all in. and we were so impulsive, we’d always start something new, and probably never finish it. so everything i know about her is an unfinished story; i don’t know how it ends because we always got distracted talking about Marx or Laozi, class society in Louisiana or the cosmology of the Neiye, the next episode of Azumanga Daioh or the last time we played Rance. we never finished either of those. when we last hung out i was showing her Ridge Racer 4, which was ‘our game’, which i finally beat on the hardest difficulty when Bryn was here. i was showing her how much better i got, and she translated the hard mode story (she could translate on the fly like that; it was incredible). but we got distracted because she was talking about willpower, and i started telling her about how German Wille meant something different to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche than what ModE will conveys. her reflections on that conversation led to this post on her blog, which i didn’t see until today. what was i talking about? sorry, i got distracted.
when we first started dating she had this idea she wanted to do. you see, in 9th century Japan there was a tradition of courtly poetry with elaborate formal rules. there was a bit of a courtship game at that time using these poems. you wouldn’t exchange romantic poems as such; the poems were about nature and things like that, but it was a romantic gesture to write and send it. we sat down and learned all the rules—the style of poetry is called waka—and we wrote our poems for each other. but we didn’t quite follow all the rules the way we found them. they’re intesively erotic poems, intimate and romantic, stuffed full of our fetishes. i can’t really show them to anyone. those poems examine our own personal mythology, the semi-fictionalized relationship roles we’d keep up all the way to the end. even though by then we’d been dating for, i don’t know, two weeks? but we both tried to include the nature theme. you can’t really ‘think’ in Japanese poetry if you aren’t thinking about those things; the passage of seasons and their pantomime. the sakura tree that blooms and dies in one week, the geese that depart and the geese that fly back, the rivers which freeze and thaw. the first waka of Fall’s poem (we cheated a bit again, and used multiple waka as multiple verses) contrasts the natural enviornment outside—the sun and trees—with the synthetic indoor enviornment of her bedroom—LCD screens and water-cooling tubes—described in the same way.
that’s what i was talking about; her writing. i was listening to Stewart Lee on Alexei Sayle’s podcast (2021) talking about how the music hall, which was the British equivalent of vaudeville, was or had room for a lot of avant-garde acts with absurd premises. there was a performer, he said, named J. H. Stead who’s performance was to jump up and down on the spot as fast as possible while singing. another act was the Man who Sings Danny Boy, where the performer would stand up and sing Danny Boy except that his arms were prop arms, which would be set up to grow imperceptibly longer over the course of the performance, until his knuckles reached the floor at the end of the song. Lee says those music hall performances were a sort of proletarian surrealism, and no one’s really analysed them using the right conceptual tools. it reminds me of エロ・グロ・ナンセンス, ‘ero-guro nonsense’, the first wave of guro in Japan which developed after the first world war in the 1920s. this time around it was mostly literature, rather than visual art or cinema. it was published alongside socialist papers on small presses, with a small distribution and circulation. when they were censored the law didn’t always distinguish between socialist pamphlets and ero-guro literature. there’s a book by a guy called Aratsuki Hiroshi called Proletarian Literature is Incredible which i’m desperate to read, but i can’t find it anywhere (wiki). since i was talking about it, Fall wanted to try and find and translate some of that stuff and share it with me; another project we never got around to finishing. anyway, that’s how i’ve been thinking about Fall’s writing. in all the photos that i have of her, every surface in her room is covered with index cards with writing on them. some are to-do lists, some are reminders, and some are mental maps and monologues. she devised this game played with cards which represented all of us in her circle, where we all had different cards representing different relationships she had with us. she had some rules for the game which she’d play, and she’d let it organize how she interacted with us. she kept those dream journals, filling scores and scores of notebooks, recto verso and scribbling in the margins, with dream-memories. and as i said in the last few weeks she took to making zuihitsu, a 14th-century Japanese technique for writing stream-of-consciousness prose about the impressions and sensations of immediate experience.
none of this she ever shared with anyone. why write like that? why record your dreams, play games of chance with your psyche, and pursue unbundled impressions? why keep such an immense and secret library? we’re reminded of the “Twentieth Century exercises in willed subjectivity” that Frére talks about (2020), “fold-downs, jump cuts, tape loops, automatic writing, oneiric or compulsive reference, detournment or collage” which he calls “the basic manoeuvres in the performative arms race of self-alienating consciousness.” for the surrealists the point was to let the creative process gainsay conscious experience and leave all the organizing power for the unconscious. that’s because they believed in psychoanalysis, hypnosis and spiritualism and the occult powers of the deep psyche. while Fall was interested in psychoanalysis—she had been reading Heinz Kohut’s Analysis of the Self—she wasn’t especially credulous towards it. her closest intellectual companion was Laozi. she kept the Feng & English translation on her desk and read it every day. recently, because we were learning Mandarin, she was reciting it out loud in the original language. that was something she had an incredible knack for. she taught me how to read IPA in about thirty minutes, and she seemed to be able to pronounce any unfamilliar word first try. the first week we began learning Old English she read our favourite verse from Maxims.
- wel mon sceal wine healdan on wega gehwylcum
- oft mon fereð feor bi tune þær him wat freond unwiotodne
- wineleas, wonsælig mon genimeð him wulfas to geferan
- felafæcne deor
Maxims I, lines 144-147, Exeter Book, fol.88b-92b (read on sacred-texts). we love that verse. we went back and forth glossing and translating it until Fall penned this translation,
- a man must hold tight to his partners on whatever road
- often a man travels far by town where friends are uncertain
- the unfortunate, unpartnered man takes wolves for companions
- crafty animals
and i settled on this one,
- a man should hold well to his friends on all roads;
- often a man travels to distant cities where he is not certain to have friends.
- a man without friends or fortune gets wolves for his companions,
- very crafty animals.
i didn’t know much about translation then, nor do i now. and remember these are translations we produced to learn the material, and we planned to revisit it and revise it as we went. but it’s interesting to reflect on the different drafts we settled on. some things are artefacts of our infancy in the language; we weren’t sure if ‘gets’ or ‘takes’ was the right translation of genimeð in line 6 (Fall had the right of it; it’s a form of niman, to take—i didn’t understand the prefixal function of ge-). but our translations of wega gehwylcum have an interesting disagreement. wega is the plural of weg, ‘road’. gehwylcum (dative form of hwylc with the ge- prefix) is our word ‘which’. a genetic translation would be ‘which ways’, but it has the sense of every road individually, as in the phrase ‘each of which’. i interpret it as ‘all roads’, which is idiomatic but loses specificity. Fall translates it as ‘whatever road’, which is to say, any given road. i think this is a great translation because it preserves the ‘gnomic’ quality of the Maxims, which are all little declarations in a continuous mood, implicitly constant or reoccuring.
that’s something else about Fall. she didn’t just keep dream journals and play the tarot. she translated. that was her job—desperate work, with constant deadlines, stress and exhaustion, the weight of which she mentioned in her final email to me—but it was also something she loved. if she loved you she would translate your favourite song, from Japanese or Spanish. here’s one she translated for me recently, called Crazy Love For You by Marina Saito (portions which are English in the original are rendered in capital letters, because the medium of exchange was a plain .txt file with no other stylization options):
- you open the car window
- and let the wind blow through your hair
- i want to ask if something’s been on your mind
- but i can’t find the words the whole way round the city loop
- in the place fading into the background
- what did you leave behind?
- you were telling me about someone you knew
- and for a moment, you seemed sad
- i want you to finally open up to me
- and then distract me with a cunning kiss
- i can’t help but have these sweet little fantasies
- i must have lost my mind
- CRAZY LOVE FOR YOU OH OH OH
- i want to be closer to you, MY DESTINY OH OH OH
- my heart will never stop pounding now
- i want you to know I SING FOR YOU so bad i can hardly contain it
- before this summer is over
- before i know it
- the high tide’s roaring in my ear
- i can smell the sun
- when we take off our shirts
- we bound for the beach
- and embrace the sun
- and when you let your hair down
- and look back at me
- CRAZY LOVE FOR YOU OH OH OH
- i won’t give up, MY DESTINY OH OH OH
- i want us to keep having moments like this one
- i want you to feel this love that no words can express
- without fear of new beginnings
- so so strong (the sun’s rays)
- the waves wash away (our unmatching footprints)
- let time just stop here
- WOO CRAZY LOVE FOR YOU
- i want to be closer to you, MY DESTINY OH OH OH
- my heart will never stop pounding now
- i want you to know I SING FOR YOU so bad i can hardly contain it
- before this summer is over
- let this MELODY reach you, only you
something which was difficult to convey, which she settled for explaining to me, was that Marina is singing from the boy’s perspective, who is fantasizing about her. she translated this in about ten minutes after i showed her the song. she was just like that. of course anyone can love translation, but now that i reflect—i didn’t put it together until now—on her translation next to her lifelong tradition of experimental writing, i can’t help but see them as a related project. earlier we asked: why record your dreams, why play games of chance? let’s add: why translate a song? why speak or think in another language? why move everything you love from one to the other? there’s this book i’ve got called Alchemy and Amalgam: Translation in the Works of Charles Baudelaire by Emily Salines. i haven’t read too much of it, but she talks about how much Baudelaire translated. he translated Edgar Allen Poe, Thomas de Quincy and some other contemporary English-language authors. yet these translations have never recieved much critical attention from Baudelaire scholars. her book is about trying to operationalize translation as a kind of creative activity, the analysis of which is worth doing on a literary level, and which forms an important component of the overall analysis of an author-translator. i hope she does a good job, because when i get around to it, i’d like to find a framework like that; it would help me learn about Fall and appreciate the things she did, for me, for our circle and for herself, even more.
i’ve been writing this post on and off all day. thismorning i could barely suffer to eat. i wrote a little, then i went and lay in bed for four hours and couldn’t be moved. then i came down to eat again and wrote a little more. my girlfriends took care of me, and as word got around i had some conversations with our friends about Fall. we shared memories and cried. we’re all grieving. then i sat down to write some more, and now i’m writing into the wee hours. and right now i’m a little excited; about the journals (which i hope i’ll get my hands on), about the translations, about working on those projects she and i started together. soon i’ll sleep, and tomorrow i’ll probably feel horrible again. perhaps intellectualization is just my defense mechanism of choice. but. well, Fall was struggling a lot with her psyche these last few weeks, and she got this awful sensation that there were multiple versions of me, and that she never knew which one she was talking to. so one day she asked me if there were multiple of me, and i gave her this ridiculous, unhelpful reply (not knowing that she meant it very literally), where i talked about how Marx distinguished between the Darstellungsweise and Forschungsweise in the writing of Capital—that’s the ‘method of presentation’ and the ‘method of research’, that while his method of presentation might have the ‘a priori’ appearance of Hegelian philosophy, the method used to uncover the theory is an empirical method which starts with matters of fact. but he was not, i think, dismissing the method of presentation; rather the gap between these methods is productive. so i told her that maybe it is appropriate to talk about an identifiable ‘me’ as a locus of thoughts and ideas, that is, a method of me, but that i am governed by a method of presentation particular to every kind of encounter (’whatever kind of encounter’, to borrow Fall’s phrase from earlier), so that in any objective acitivity—talking, playing, writing—you are encountering someone meaningfully different. i gave an example about how when i write on google docs i tend to unconsciously make short paragraphs, meanwhile when i write in notepad i tend to make long ones, and that’s because google docs imposes margins which make the paragraphs look larger. well, all of that was not quite what she wanted to hear. but i talked myself into it. and so what i am trying to do now is cultivate some habits—around my writing, research, and in my lonely moments—through which i can keep being a Jackie who can say that Fall is my girlfriend and i love her. because Fall is my girlfriend, and i love her.
My friend Charity wrote a beautiful post about her memories of Fall. “The mundane stupid things that make up a friendship”. I’m so grateful to read about them.
For most of her life Fall worked as a manga translator. At work, she went by the name Rose Padgett, and you can see her Anime News Network page here. She started to teach herself Japanese at school, and eventually studied it formally at university to a high level. She became aware of the possibility of working in translation sometime before 2016, through a ruthlessly exploitative middleman agency. Eventually she realised the raw deal she was getting and became a freelance translator in 2016.
Translation is a sacred art in my mind, and translators should be celebrated everywhere. But in practice, translating manga is instead a terrible industry. The publishers will still give translators little pay, tight deadlines and often no credit - against which they have little recourse since much like animation, most are on short-term freelance contracts and reputation is everything. Translators must work under the shadow of intense surveillance, ordered to maintain such strict NDAs that often they are not even allowed to know who else is working alongside them. Lines of a visual novel will be presented without context in a spreadsheet, leaving the translator to make their best guesses as to how everything must fit together.
Despite all this struggle, for Fall, it was a life’s passion. She was always overflowing with enthusiasm to draw links between ideas in different languages. I remember her telling me all about how the research she did to understand an allusion or idiom and make sure she got the nuances of the translation as well as she could. My friend Devon told me how, when they had to stop working on Peach Girl NEXT, Fall made a point to get in touch to share notes and keep the translation seamless.
Shortly before she died, she created a language learning server where we could come together to study and share advice. She could see so many connections. In one of our last conversations we had been talking about the Japanese word 脳内変換 and how it compared to the term confabulation. And I only got to hear a small part of her feelings.
So to celebrate her her life’s work, here is a partial list of stories she’s translated. This is based on three sources: her old Neocities website, her Anime News Network page, and two I’ve learned are currently still on their way to publication.
- Beauty and the Beast of Paradise Lost by Kaori Yuki
- Knight of the Ice by Yayoi Ogawa (11 volume series)
- KaraKara 3 by calme (visual novel)
- Chasing After Aoi Koshiba by Hazuki Takeoka and Fly (volume 2)
- Peach Girl NEXT by Miwa Ueda (volumes 4-5)
- Initial D by Shuichi Shigeno (volumes 34-42)
- Again!! by Mitsurou Kubo (12 volume series)
- Land Lock by Ai Odahara (chapters 1-5 and 15-22)
- Red Riding Hood’s Wolf Apprentice by Sayaka Mogi (volumes 1-2)
- Shojo Fight! by Yoko Nihonbashi (volumes 1-6)
- Beauty Bunny by Mari Yoshino (8 volume series)
- Cosplay Animal by Watari Sakou (volumes 1-8)
- The Full-Time Wife Escapist by Tsunami Umino (9 volume series)
- Peach Heaven! by Mari Yoshino (13 volume series)
- A Springtime With Ninjas by Narumi Hasegaki (4 volume series)
- Boys Run the Riot by Keito Gaku (volume 4)
- A Galaxy Next Door by Gido Amagakure
- Knight of the Ice by Yayoi Ogawa
- Last Gender by Rei Taki
- Shōnen Note: Boy Soprano by Yuhki Kamatani
- various Harlequin comics
If you know of any more, please get in touch.
I was her friend. I am her friend.
I will always be her friend.
I hate the way the whole language you have to use changes all at once. I catch myself telling people ‘Fall lives in america’ and I have to correct it to lived. was instead of is.
But here at least we can say: I am her friend. Jackie and Laevos are her girlfriends. That is still true now. Until the end of time.
My friend Frog wanted to share something she made with Fall:
one of the last conversations we had at any length was when i was doing those pixel sigils. she wanted me to do one about Sarazanmai and the general concept of interpersonal connection. i think it represented her connections to others, the ways in which we were connected to each other, and so on. hard to explain it exactly, in the way it’s hard to explain weird magic stuff
i was thinking i wanted to make another one to commemorate her, but (a) it seems impossible and (b) that one communicates everything i have left to say anyway
Here’s a cute thing Fall made…
In March this year, Fall started building a webserver, hoping to host things like Pidgin chat and YGoPro (a Yu-Gi-Oh engine) to share with Jackie. To start with, she went to make a website, taking inspiration from Jackie’s site stupid.tw, and Jackie’s own inspiration, the Situationist website notbored.org. Her site was a tribute to the oldschool geocities style she adored. She put it online at, where else? chuuni.moe.
One day soon I’m afraid they’ll shut down the server on her desk. So here’s a copy that can live forever:
Here is something Fall wrote on one of her last days, which I have been thinking about:
if you lie to yourself, you’ll lie to others even if you don’t mean to. if you run from your past, you’ll loop right back into it, like a level in an old-school video game. the stakes in life are very high, and every person you come into contact with, you affect in some way. if you try to hide from life, you won’t get the experience you need to face the challenges that are coming. it’s okay to take what you need, but you have to give back, or one day you’ll find that everyone you’ve been taking from has nothing left to offer, and you can’t give them what they need either. other people are your source of life, and you are theirs. give them what they need before you destroy yourself. you are their source of life, give yourself what you need before you destroy your friends
I don’t know if Fall ever truly knew how much she gave back to us. I wish I could show her now, just how many lives she made better in some way, how many people remember her fondly.
Her Tumblr may be found still at fall-doll, where (if logged in to Tumblr yourself) you can see some of the thoughtful replies she gave to all her friends on there: me, Jackie, Anomie, Eris, Ash…
I will never really know why Fall had to die when she did. Nothing about it makes sense; I can’t believe she was truly planning to die, but to suddenly turn to suicide in the middle is just incomprehensible. I could understand more easily had a meteorite struck her. Perhaps there is another Everett branch where she’s just fine, and we’re playing a game again, or she’s eagerly telling me about an unusual kanji, and one day in that timeline we’ll meet up and hug tight and have no idea how closely we avoided tragedy.
It will do me no good to think of that. So instead, I just try to hold on to this: in every timeline she was here, she was loved, and I would never give away the short time I got to spend with her.
I hope, against all reason, that there is another world, kinder than this one, for her to wake up in. Meanwhile, here, she continues to affect this world, living in our memories. We will go on, and not truly without her.
Please, if you remember Fall in some way, and would like to write something about her on this page, let me know. I am going to add links to any posts I hear about, and copy words here with permission. You can use the comment form below if you want to, or email or DM me.
For Fall’s sake, let’s live.