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Confirmed: Einstein was tight


In 1922, Einstein was in Tokyo giving a series of lectures. A courier delivered a message to him in his hotel and Einstein, who didn’t have any local currency in his pocket, took out a piece of hotel stationery and wrote, “Stilles bescheidenes Leben gibt mehr Glueck als erfolgreiches Streben, verbunden mit bestaendiger Unruhe” and gave it to the man in lieu of tip. It means, “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

Einstein had just won the Nobel and wasn’t super famous yet, so really this is like that one old auntie who gave you a piece of lame advice instead of a birthday present. Particularly as the Japanese man probably couldn’t read it.

Who knew Einstein wrote fortune cookies?

It worked out. Last week, the courier’s nephew sold the autograph for $1.56 million.

Oh, he also gave him a piece of paper that said, “Wo ein Wille ist, da ist auch ein Weg.” (Where there’s a will there’s a way.) Now, that’s just sad.


Comment from Ric Fan
Time: November 2, 2017, 10:54 pm

He’s lucky that it didnt go up in smoke when we dropped the bombs.

Nice calligraphic lettering on the stationary.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: November 2, 2017, 10:58 pm

Too bad Al couldn’t work the equation “E=mc²” in there somewhere.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: November 2, 2017, 11:22 pm

I expressed an interest in Mont Blanc fountain pens and was given one for my birthday along with a bottle of ink. I used the pen to sign some legal documents, and later learned that the ink fades over time leaving those legal documents appearing to be unsigned.

If you write someone a note like this one, be sure to use permanent ink or there will be no millions for your nephew.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: November 2, 2017, 11:35 pm

Ah, Einstein’s theory of relatives-
“If your parents didn’t have any children, chances are you won’t either”.

So, did Albert think much of himself that a note he wrote in German given to a Japanese man was a sort of remuneration, or am I foolishly assuming late 20th century modes of thinking are appropriate for a 19th century genius who’s shoes I’m not bright enough to polish?

The answer is….42

Comment from OldFert
Time: November 3, 2017, 12:29 am

Interesting that they used Papyrus font for that letterhead…

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: November 3, 2017, 3:24 am

Interestingly enough, that Papyrus front was probably used because of Frank Lloyd Wright. He designed the second Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The first Imperial Hotel burned down in April 1922 while the Prince of Wales was visiting, Fortunately construction of new hotel had begun in 1919…. and the design was by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The North wing of the new hotel and a partially completed center section opened on 2 July 1922, in time to host the reunion of the Annapolis class of 1881. At this point, estimates were that it would only take about 6 weeks to complete the hotel, and since the South wing was a mirror image of the North, Wright decided that he could leave the completion to be supervised by Arato Endo. Wright left Japan on July 22, never to return. The hotel took another 11 months to complete, and officially opened in June 1923. The Frank Lloyd Wright annex was destroyed in the Great Kantō earthquake on 1 September 1923.

So Einstein was at the Frank Wright Lloyd Wright design Imperial Hotel during the very short period it existed and was open – a little more than a year.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: November 3, 2017, 4:19 pm

Can I change my dead pool entry to Donna Brazile?

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: November 3, 2017, 8:49 pm

Thank you very much to SomeVeg, for (likely-unwittingly) answering for me not one, but two, questions that came to my mind when (as a former architectural-design student) I read this post by Ms. Sweasey…to-wit:

1) Was that the Imperial Hotel Tokyo that was designed (and the construction of mostly-closely-supervised) by Frank Lloyd Wright? – and,

2) Is that self-same hotel (given the sometimes-historically-uncertain seismic nature of the Japanese Islands, and the length of time since then) still in existence and (perhaps) still in service?

(Just as a “by the way” – you might want to do a bit of closer proof-reading on your Comments before posting, SomeVeg; in that last sentence, two Wrights definitely make a wrong…)

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: November 3, 2017, 8:50 pm

Is that the one built to ‘float’ through the quakes?

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: November 4, 2017, 1:33 am

I think that was the original intent, yes…if so, rather obviously that part didn’t go so well…

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