Kyoto Journal Issue 68 (Sold Out)



Gen-Fukei – The Primal Landscape
In the House: A Foreign Wife in Rural Japan
The Ingenuity of Local Culture in the Cambodian Countryside
Of Singing Clams & Soccer Camp: Searching for Japanese Children’s Literature in English Translation


This issue starts out literally in the backyard of one of our editors — amidst frogs, bees, butterflies and mantises — leading into a passionate exploration of environmental aesthetics by Brian Williams, a leading Shiga landscape painter, and an investigation of Natural Agriculture by writer/photographer Lisa Hamilton. Other rambles, poems and profiles take us as far afield as back-country India and rural Cambodia; we meet multi-ethnic students in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, a comedian family in Mandalay, Burma, and two women doctors from Iraq as they visit Japan. This issue’s In Translation feature looks at how publishers present Japanese children’s books in English, with the bonus of a delightful modern fable by Awa Naoko, translated by Toshiya Kamei. Fiction is set in the mountains of Vietnam, as well as a mikan-growing village in on Japan’s Pacific coast. Blogology introduces vital links for anyone interested in homesteading in Japan. Finally, we return to Kyoto, strolling the contemplative Philosopher’s Walk.


Mokichi Okada believed that purifying the spirit improved both the life of the individual and the world he or she inhabited. He saw three ways to enact that purification. First was to be in the presence of beauty, such as fine art. Second was to receive what he called Jyorei, God’s light, a spiritual healing reached through prayer. This he referred to as the art of life. Finally, he believed purification would come from living harmoniously with nature. This was called the art of agriculture.

Lisa Hamilton, Spirit in the Soul

How seldom we think of what the land truly is, what it is saying to us, what it means, what it asks of us. We used to listen; now we talk. Turn things around to the way they really are: we belong to the land, as we find now and then, when the land changes its mind

. –Robert Brady, The Land

The Moustache Brothers, three plastic-faced comedians — Par Par Lay, Lu Zaw and Lu Maw — and their band of family members and friends have spread laughter across Myanmar for decades. But, in this bizarre, benighted land, if the joke’s about the generals, laughter can be dangerous. Par Par and Lu Zaw each served six years as political prisoners, including hard labor and solitary confinement.

–Roy Hamric, In Mandalay, Frank Kafka Meets Lenny Bruce.

Published December 22, 2007


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