As you know, if you've been following my blog, I've been trying to read more Japanese Literature over the last couple of years since we moved back to Japan. As it's not a passing fancy, and I'd like to learn more about this place I call home (at least for now), I've decided instead of a yearly challenge, I'm going to approach it as a long-term personal project. I won't set myself a set number of books to read in a certain time but I'll keep it in mind and fit in the books whenever I can or am in the mood to. I figure a button on my blog can't hurt though as a reminder. I'll also continue to list my reads in case anyone is interested, especially after Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge has got us motivated. And since my interest is not only in Japanese authors but in all things Japanese, I'll include books about or set in Japan but written by non-Japanese writers on my list too.
In addition to my general plan to read about Japan, I've also decided that 2008 will be the year that I finally read The Tale of Genji, all 1200 or so pages of it!
Why this year? While it's under debate exactly when she lived and died and wrote Genji monogatari, 1008 often comes up as the year it may have been completed. In fact, while we were taking the shinkansen back to Tokyo after our New Year's holiday, the scrolling news reader at the end of the car mentioned that this was the 1000th anniversary, so speeding through the countryside at 300 km/h I decided that being the anniversary year, it was meant to be.
To get in the mood, I think I'll read Liza Dalby's The Tale of Murasaki first, historical fiction about the life of the author, which I've had and have been meaning to read for ages, and then read Genji over the course of the year, along with a study guide this time. When I tried to read this a couple of years ago I got quite lost with all the characters and eventually put it back on the shelf after having only read a couple hundred pages. If anyone is at all interested do let me know as I'd love to have someone to read along with. Wish me luck!