Seoul buildings

Distant and Far Apart

August 25, 2018

Watching painters work was something I’ve always been drawn to. How they licked their lips. How their eyes never seemed to blink. How they paced alone in cluttered rooms, stared at things as if defusing bombs, and every breath was a hiccup from boom…

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Xu Lizhi Eleanor Goodman Chinese factory worker Kyoto Journal poetry Zhan You Bing

Left Behind: A Selection of Poems by Xu Lizhi

August 24, 2018

Xu Lizhi’s work is steeped in the vocabulary and experiences of the factories, a world in which he himself lived. The selection of poems presented here show his sense of desperation and acute observations of his internal psychology and the larger world.

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john gohorry ostrich cadenzas kyoto journal

Ostrich Defies Containment

August 23, 2018

Adventures and fates of seven birds freed in the town of Okuma, Japan, following the Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima, 11 March 2011.

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Meditation on Sarasôju

August 19, 2018

sarasôju blossoms       

in the morning
shining with dew
in the evening

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Pachinko Min Jin Lee

A Universal Korean-Japanese Story

August 19, 2018

Lee opens this epic narrative of the lives of Korean immigrants to Japan in the fishing village of Yeongdo—“a five-mile-wide-islet beside the port city of Busan”—in 1910, the same year that Japan formally annexed Korea. She concludes it in Tokyo in 1989…

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The Green Summer Wind

August 19, 2018

The old man opened his travel pouch and removed a roll of rice paper. He lifted out his writing kit—a bronze tube ending in a bulbous bronze pot fitted with a tight lid, like a metallic leek with a metallic ball-onion fused on at one end. The tube held his writing brush, and the onion-pot was stuffed with wadded cotton fibers soaked with ink.

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John Einarsen Sacha Idell fiction

Moon Landings

August 17, 2018

I let Grace pick where we lived. No, Grace had opinions about where we lived, and I did not. We were together because we had nowhere better to be.

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magda rittenhouse shanghai kyoto journal

Look How Far the Sun Fell

August 9, 2018

Bathwater swallowed the tube with a nervous plop and the ripples lapped gently at Yasi’s stiffening chest. The once comforting smell of tobacco was swiftly replaced by the tang of burning hair and he could not fight through the powerful clench of his jaws to scream…

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Korean shaman painting

God in Pictures

January 10, 2018

I was baffled by her effort to pay homage to a large, framed (glass, metal) painted image of the mountain spirit (a wizened old man with a tiger and young attendant) that was up a pathway on the north side of Manisan Mountain peak, when we could actually at minimum address the spirits of the peak in front of us.

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Buddhism Engaged

October 24, 2017


Buddhist teachings, Loy believes, can help us to understand the true nature of lack and the havoc it causes, and because they can perform this necessary function, he feels it is important that Buddhism remain vital in the twenty-first century.

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Ties that Bind

September 15, 2017

The relationship between Grandpa Thong-in and Grandma Jan became more intense, to the point that on some days he would arrive at dawn and not leave until after dusk.  This very much upset Grandma Jan’s daughter, who felt utterly ashamed by her mother’s obnoxious behaviour…

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The World, the World

December 21, 2016

Monks and horsemen
move through wind-churned ice crystals
scaling vertical circles of sound.

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Rediscovering Kyoto

November 13, 2016

I work as a guide for foreign tourists and though I mean to introduce them to the charms of Japan, instead it is often they who remind me of my country’s beauty.

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Turtles All the Way Down

October 15, 2016

To add credence to our myths, we enmesh them in Big Stories, such as the Bible and Buddhist sutras. These Stories try to explain it all, but inevitably fall far short. Their promise of absolute truths is empty since these Big Stories too were (and forever are) constructed.

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September 11, 2016

Dalai Lama Awakening is a documentary film by director Khashyar Darvich. In what the director claims is an uncompromised version of his previous film Dalai Lama Renaissance, 40 Western thinkers gather in India to meet with the Dalai Lama to transform the world.

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Facing Self, Reality

October 26, 2015

Naikan, which means “introspection” in Japanese, implores us to look not merely within but beyond ourselves by routinely asking a set of three questions…

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Partitioned Views

September 15, 2015

Kyoto, described by photographer Ben Simmons in Kyoto Gardens as, “a unique treasure of concentrated beauty and spirit found nowhere else,” is a good place to start an exploration of the Japanese garden.

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Kyoto Journal geisha

Real Geisha Real Women

June 27, 2015

“Real Geisha Real Women,” is a remarkable documentary that opens the shojifor us all, if only for 52-minutes. It allows us a peek into the private lives of 10 active and retired Kyoto geisha…

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Vietnam War Poetry

May 7, 2015

Teresa Mei Chuc reads her poetry from Remembering Viet Nam.

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Better Would Be Ume

February 3, 2015

Come Spring I’ll choose a tree
to fill the emptiness
and celebrate the birds’ return with flowers.

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi Review Kyoto Journal Lauren Deutsch

We Are What We Eat…So It Might As Well Be Delicious

January 31, 2015

There is general consensus that “You are what you eat,” yet there are many interpretations of what “you” and perhaps also “we” actually mean. At a minimum, what, and even how, humans eat creates our corporeal selves. Looking deeper, we can see that our choices of foodstuffs and, it appears, foodways, also enable us to know who we are, how others know us and, even further, who we think others might be…

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