Mishima: Creation, Love, Patriotism, Death

May 22, 2014

Persona is like a flashcard pastiche, much of it based on interviews and private correspondence fused with the historical events through which Mishima moved. Mishima’s lifelong obsession with death and suicide and his sensational death by seppuku at forty-five, haunts the biography.

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Edo Expansion in Hokkaido

May 13, 2014

The sheer lack of general information in English on the indigenous peoples of Hokkaido (formerly known as Ezo) and this book’s focus on two endangered intangible aspects of human survival – ecology and culture – attracted me. But this is no travelogue of pretty pictures and nifty rituals.

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The Korean Way of Tea

May 12, 2014

Korea has had a “Way” of tea but it hasn’t been widely seen, much less described or studied by foreigners. This new guidebook full of color illustrations, created by Brother Anthony and Hong Kyeong-Hee is a welcome edition to one’s tea or Korean culture library.

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Mekong River poetry Terea Mei Chuc Vietnam War Kyoto Journal

Mekong River

May 7, 2014

Today’s flowers let me inside
into their vase-shaped bodies

Today, I swim this river
with its fish and turtles
and crocodiles…

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“The Fortunate Earth is Happy”

April 12, 2014

As I sat down to read On Freedom: Spirit, Art, and State, one of the first thoughts I had was how difficult it is to peg a term as loaded as “Freedom.” At about the same moment as I had this thought, the chorus of the jaunty Calypso song on my stereo sang out, “Always remember somebody suffering more than you.

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In Memorium: David Jenkins

April 12, 2014

David Jenkins, a longterm resident of Kyoto, translated medieval Japanese poetry (with his co-translator, Yasuhiko Moriguchi) — and made it timeless. He passed away on April 10th, 2000, surrounded by fully-blooming sakura; is still missed by friends and colleagues here at KJ.

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Dog Boy Kris Kosaka fiction Kyoto Journal etegami Deborah Davidson

Dog Boy

March 23, 2014

Today I start school. Mother pulls back covers, flings aside the rumpled futons, prods us with rough fingers. She wrenches my brother from sleep. I watch through slitted eyes. Today I start school

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The Pilgrim Journey: A Myth Of Buddha

February 1, 2014

In 1973 I went looking for a Buddha to come to my, and even maybe our, rescue. I wanted to actually meet the guy, hear his voice…Of course, I didn’t find him. I found me looking for him.

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To Uphold the World Bruce Rich Ashoka book review

Ashoka’s Dream

January 25, 2014

Years after an unexpected encounter with the remarkable reign of Emperor Ashoka Maurya, Bruce Rich has written an insightful meditation on the relevance of the ancient Indian ruler to our own age of global discontent.

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Nuclear Japan and the Four Noble Truths

January 17, 2014

Despite considerable inertia in a religion well known for its conservatism, the protagonists in this book are seizing this opportunity to apply Buddhist values in opposition to nuclear power, and also to respond to the crisis in ways that invest Buddhist values with new relevance to contemporary society.

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Blood on the Tracks Brian S Willson

The Rhetoric of Life: S. Brian Willson’s Blood on the Tracks

January 5, 2014

Willson and two other men were sitting on the tracks in a public right-of-way to protest the shipment of arms…Willson’s protest at the Concord Naval Weapon’s Station was textbook civil disobedience. He had read his Martin Luther King, Jr., his Gandhi, and his Thoreau. Willson had fully expected the train to stop.

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Karen Ma Excess Baggage Cover Karen Ma

Excess Baggage

December 29, 2013

“Now that you’re in Japan, you must do what the Japanese do. Otherwise, it would be meaningless for you to have come here.”

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Judith Clancy Machiya Restaurant Guide

Kyoto Machiya Dining

December 18, 2013

Machiya, the old wooden townhouses of Kyoto, once dominated this city’s urban landscape. Long sturdy structures of simple grace, they closely lined the narrow streets of the city, their tiled rooftops rolling in waves to the surrounding hills and lapping at the edges of the great temples, shrines and villas that rose among them.

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Everything You Need to Know about Japanese Wood and Woodworking

October 21, 2013

While reading Wood and Traditional Woodworking in Japan my initial reaction was visceral and immediate: why wasn’t a book like this available much earlier?

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Japantown: Lancet’s First Novel

October 17, 2013

The novel, as the title indicates, is concerned with Japan, and this places it as one of those detective novels that aims to provide, in addition to the standard thrills and spills, an introduction to another country and culture…

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Songs in the Garden

The Poetry of the Gardens

June 24, 2013

Connecting gardens and poetry, author and garden designer Marc P. Keane illuminates something that is unique to Japanese landscape-art history.

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Women In-Between: Asian Women Artists 1984-2012

June 15, 2013

What does it mean to connect the fifty women artists of sixteen different Asian countries and regions represented in this exhibition by calling them “Women In-Between”?

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Knowing Nature

May 27, 2013

A rambling conversation between two of America’s most original poets –– clear-eyed, unsentimental outsiders, both outdoorsmen who have spent their life probing the nature of nature.

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A Taste of Zenbu Zen

April 17, 2013

In Search of Kyoto’s Epicurean Culture

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What the Trees Say

April 16, 2013

Listen to this poetic ode to trees…

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Japlish Whiplash

March 24, 2013

Japlish Whiplash is a book that gleefully transgresses boundaries — the boundaries between the United States and Japan, between English and the Japanese language, between academic poets and slam poets, between “artistic” and “plebian,” between “high” and “low,” and between “avant-garde” and “urban.”

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