Somewhere Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu is a novel in poetry about the effect of September 11, 2001 about a Japanese-American girl living in Japan. As Ema prepares in her grandparent’s home for the arrival of a new sibling, she struggles with bullying in her school, as the other students tease her and she adjusts to a very Japanese
Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas is an appropriate book for reading just before our country’s Independence Day. It focuses on a Japanese American family during the early part of World War II, when thousands of people of Japanese descent were relocated to special “camps”. The Japanese internment is not someting I
Beginning with powdering a sweaty back and ending, quite literally, with diarrhea, The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki captures the intimate everyday moments of a once-powerful family in a rapidly changing 1930s and ’40s Japan. It was not an enjoyable read for me. Coming from both a Western perspective and a modern one, I found
Junichiro Tanizaki’s Naomi is about obsession. Joji, a mediocre businessman, lets his obsession of the mysterious girl Naomi overtake him. Yet, while the novel is full of sensual obsession, it is ultimately about obsession with Western culture, for Naomi is a Western-looking girl that personifies an idealization of the west.
Nobel laureate (1968) Yasunari Kawabata is obviously talented at describing scenes, and there was, in The Old Capital, something refreshing about a slow-paced story of a young woman coming into a realization of herself. In her free time, Chieko would see the cherry blossoms and visit the cedar forests. It was a celebration of the
Because of my positive experience reading Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book, I thought I’d try some more Japanese literature. Amanda wrote a positive review of The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa and I noticed that this was the selected book for the Japanese Literature Book Group run by tanabata at In Spring it
I first encountered Sei Shonagon in a college course about the personal essay. We talked about her tone in the essay “Hateful Things,” and I wrote about the credibility of her critique. “Hateful Things” is an interesting piece when considered as an essay because it doesn’t read like any other essay I read for that
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