Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

2011 Year of the Rabbit
Image: "Carrot the Rabbit!" courtesy of flickr user: TheBusyBrain

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

'Holidays on Ice' by David Sedaris

Essays/stories, 1997/2008
Back Bay Books (Hachette Book Group), pb, 164 p.
From the publisher:
David Sedaris's beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy's elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris's tales of tardy trick-or-treaters ("Us and Them"); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French ("Jesus Shaves"); what to do when you've been locked out in a snowstorm ("Let It Snow"); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations ("Six to Eight Black Men"); what Halloween at the medical examiner's looks like ("The Monster Mash"); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry ("Cow and Turkey").

Monday, December 27, 2010

Let there be cake!

If you read my post, A Japanese-style Christmas, you'll know that in Japan Christmas cake is big business, and the must-have food for the event. On December 24th, the cake shops or cake counters are crowded with people picking up their pre-ordered confections, or purchasing something then and there.

Takano Christmas cakes
Takano counter in Kokubunji, a cake shop chain famous for its high-quality fruit.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Book Blogging in Japan

Just a quick post to let you know that I'm featured today on Leeswammes' Blog as part of her weekly Book Bloggers Abroad series. "Every week a book blogger from a different country is featured who talks about what it’s like to be a book blogger where he or she lives." And this week, it's me! I talk a little about how I came to Japan (and ended up staying so long!), my favourite bookstore in Tokyo, and a few of my favourite books. So please head over to Judith's blog to find out what it's like to be a Book Blogger Abroad in Japan.

Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge 2011


After pondering it for awhile, and getting some encouraging feedback on twitter not too long ago when I threw it out there to gauge interest, and even getting Bellezza's blessing (Because you know I would never want to take away from her awesome Japanese Literature Challenge but I hope you'll agree that the two challenges can complement each other), I want to let you know that you can now sign up for the Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge 2011.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What I've been reading

I haven't posted what I've been reading the last couple weeks, mostly because I wasn't doing much. Reading, that is. I got a bit bogged down in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, which I still haven't finished to be honest, as I set it aside over a week ago and haven't looked at since. I left it over half-read though and I do still want to finish it, so I think that will be my goal for later this week.

Instead, I picked up The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, which I kindly received from Sourcebooks. She's a Canadian author, that I'd only heard about recently. But what I'd heard was lots of rave reviews of her books. The Winter Sea was a very enjoyable mix of historical intrigue and romance, and it was the perfect antidote to that Japanese classic. I devoured it over the space of a couple days. Click on the book cover to read my review.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

'The Winter Sea' by Susanna Kearsley

Historical Fiction, Originally published in 2008, this edition by Sourcebooks in December, 2010, trade pb (ARC), 508 p.
(also published as 'Sophia's Secret' in the UK)
From the back cover (ARC):
History has all but forgotten…
In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.
Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine names for one of her own ancestors, and starts to write.
But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who can know the truth of what really happened all those years ago – a tale of love and loyalty… and ultimate betrayal…

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Japanese-style Christmas

First of all, thank you to Kailana from The Written World and Marg from Adventures of an Intrepid Reader for organising, once again, the Virtual Advent Tour. I've posted about the Japanese-style of Christmas before, but I hope you'll enjoy hearing, perhaps again, a little about what it's like to spend Christmas here in Tokyo.

Christmas in Japan basically boils down to the following:
If you're an unmarried couple, it's like Valentine's Day.
If you're a kid, it's like your Birthday.
And for everyone else, there is cake and KFC.

December 25th is just a regular day here in Japan. Although there is a national holiday on December 23rd, to commemorate the current Emperor's Birthday, the holiday period doesn't officially begin until closer to the end of the year. It's hardly surprising though that Emperor trumps Jesus in a predominantly non-Christian nation. So Christmas is a completely borrowed celebration. And as with everything, Japan likes to take something from the West and then make it their own.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Persephone Secret Santa 2010

Last year I jumped at the chance to take part in the Persephone Secret Santa as it was the perfect excuse to finally give, and receive, one of these grey beauties that I'd been admiring from afar for a while. Because even though I knew of their existence before last Christmas, and secretly coveted them, I hadn't yet had the pleasure of ever holding one in my hands. Many thanks go to the lovely Karen of Book Bath for giving me my very first Persephone last December! The book she chose for me was Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski, which I read, and thoroughly enjoyed, during the Persephone Reading Week earlier this year. A Persephone fan was born. And since then I've also treated myself on a couple of occasions so my little stack has started to grow.

Persephone Books

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Guest post: Jacob Ritari on Japanese historical figure, Sakamoto Ryōma

I'm very pleased to share with you another guest post from author Jacob Ritari today. For anyone just tuning in, Jacob's debut novel, Taroko Gorge, was published earlier this year, and during the month of September he shared some of his unpublished short stories with us here on In Spring it is the Dawn. If you haven't read them yet, there are links to the stories at the end of this post. He's currently living just outside of Tokyo as he continues his Japanese studies, and every couple of weeks or so he continues to share his thoughts with us on all things Japanese. Today he talks about a famous historical figure, Sakamoto Ryōma (Japanese-style of surname first), who has recently been getting a lot of attention.

Ryomaden

Sunday, December 05, 2010

JLit Book Group Discussion: 'The Temple of the Golden Pavilion' by Yukio Mishima

Welcome to the Japanese Literature Book Group discussion of The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima.

About the author
Yukio Mishima
Yukio Mishima
Image source: unknown
Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫) was the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威) born on January 14, 1925. He was a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor and film director, and is also famously remembered for his ritual suicide by seppuku on November 25, 1970, after a failed coup d'état. He was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. His avant-garde work displayed a blending of modern and traditional aesthetics that broke cultural boundaries, with a focus on sexuality, death, and political change.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Hello Japan! mini-challenge: November link round-up

Hello Japan!

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Hello Japan! mini-challenge for November. November's Hello Japan! task was a little different from previous months, the Hello Japan! meme, and it was a lot of fun reading everyone's answers to the five questions.
Here are some of the highlights:

Bellezza at Dolce Bellezza is working on folding 1000 origami cranes! She's promised to show us the final result and I can't wait to see it!

Sam at Sam Still Reading would like to visit Tokyo Disneyland and her favourite city is Sapporo.

JoV at Bibliojunkie's favourite author is Yukio Mishima, and she'd love to have her own Japanese garden.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Five Questions, the Hello Japan! meme

Hello Japan!

Somehow it's the end of November already! How did that happen? But I couldn't let the month pass by without doing this month's Hello Japan! mini-challenge, the Hello Japan! meme. I also thought it might be fun to ask my husband the five questions and get his answers, so I've included them below with my own. Here goes:

1. My favourite Japanese ________________ is ________________ because ____________________________________.

H: My favourite Japanese food is ramen because it's delicious!

Me: Perhaps not surprisingly, my favourite Japanese season is spring for the plum and later the cherry blossoms. The Japanese celebrate spring and the cherry blossom for good reason. It's such a pretty time of year here. Autumn is a very close second for me though for the beautiful red Japanese maple leaves.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Monday, what are you reading?

Well, since last week's check in on what I've been reading, I've finished one book, and am still working on another.

Last Friday on my commute home (good timing!) I finished reading the ebook, Heat Wave by Richard Castle. The writing wasn't anything amazing but it really was a lot of fun. On every single page I was picturing the characters from the TV show and there were lots of little comments and bits of dialogue here and there that made me chuckle. Now I can't wait to watch Season 2 of the show, as only Season 1 has aired so far on TV here in Japan. Especially since I hear the book makes an appearance!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Guest post: Jacob Ritari on Japanese writer Osamu Dazai

I'm happy to share with you another guest post from author Jacob Ritari today. For anyone just tuning in, Jacob's very enjoyable debut novel, Taroko Gorge, was published earlier this year, and during the month of September he shared some of his unpublished short stories with us here on In Spring it is the Dawn. If you haven't read them yet, there are links to the stories at the end of this post. He's currently living just outside of Tokyo as he continues his Japanese studies, and every couple of weeks or so he continues to share his thoughts with us on all things Japanese. Today he talks about one of his favorite Japanese writers, Osamu Dazai.



“Love is Revolution”: Osamu Dazai

In an earlier guest post here, I touched on the story of Sen no Rikyuu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi; the contemplative, aesthete tea master and the brutal warlord; the former of whom eventually fell victim to the philistine envy of the latter. In one of his autobiographical fragments, the great Japanese writer Osamu Dazai recasts the story humorously, with himself as Rikyuu and his forward-thinking, practical elder brother as Hideyoshi.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What I've been reading


It's been about a month since I last posted about my current reads but sadly even though I've been reading I haven't been reading all that much. I do have a few books I can tell you about though. First of all, since that last post near the end of October, I finished reading Purple Jesus by Ron Cooper, and posted a review. I really wanted to like it and it's had some great reviews, but I think I just wasn't the right audience for it.

Then this month I finally finished my leisurely re-read of The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon and I just need to post my final thoughts on it. Plus I also read Japanese Gothic Tales by Izumi Kyoka. Earlier this month I posted about the first two stories in the collection, for the Classics Circuit Land of the Rising Sun: Meiji-era Japanese Classics tour. Kyoka isn't as well-known as some others but he's apparently been a big influence on several Japanese writers and I enjoyed getting a taste of his stories and his style.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

'The Pillow Book': Week Eighteen (Things that delight)

The 
Pillow BookThis week I'm looking at entries 261 to 297, plus the 29 supplementary entries in the McKinney translation of The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon. As always, I've included the corresponding entry numbers in the Morris version too, when possible, for anyone reading along with that version. For more information on the different translations, please visit the 'Pillow Book' Friday page. Please scroll down for my thoughts on this section. Also, apologies to anyone who was looking for this to be up much earlier, as it has been delayed more than once.

Week Eighteen
McKinney: Entries 261 - 297 (p. 230 - 249) + Supplementary entries 1-29 (p. 249 - 256)
Morris: Entries 151 - 159 (p. 235 - 243), 161-169 (p. 244 - 252), 173 (p. 254), 176 (p. 256), 182 (p. 260-1), 184 - 5 (p. 263)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Chrysanthemum Exhibition


Every year in November, a chrysanthemum exhibition is held at Shinjuku Gyoen.
From tokyojapanguide.com:
In the first part of November thousands of people gather in the park to admire the blooming of chrysanthemums cultivated according to traditional methods as well as new techniques. The chrysanthemums were introduced into Japan from China around the eight century. The Chrysanthemum Exhibition was an annual court function performed at the Akasaka Imperial Villa from 1878 until 1929, when it was moved to Shinjuku Gyoen. During the war the exhibitions were not held. But the chrysanthemum stock wasn't lost and in 1949 full-scale gardening resumed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

'Purple Jesus' by Ron Cooper

Fiction, 2010
Bancroft Press, hardcover, 214 p.
Purvis Driggers is a South Carolina Low Country loser
With little judgment and even less chance for a decent life beyond his parents’ house, home town, and whatever part-time work he can scrounge up, he’s sure he’s figured a way out: Rob an old man of the rumored millions hidden in his house. But all he finds is the old man dead and the money, if there was any, already gone.

Disappointed and defeated, Purvis is drawn to the sound of music across the creek. There, he discovers a beautiful woman in a white gown being baptized in the water. Surely Martha, beautiful Martha, will give Purvis the escape he imagines. With the Martha boat come to his rescue, Purvis decides, he’ll never have to worry about drowning.

But Martha Umphlett is trapped, too. Married and just as quickly divorced, Martha’s been condemned to return to the home she’d once escaped. Made to take care of her obese mother and forced to participate in a baptism she has no interest in whatsoever, Martha, in her own way, is every bit as desperate as Purvis, but far more capable and a good deal more dangerous.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Guest post: Jacob Ritari on ... Ramen

I had to laugh when I opened up the attachment and read the guest post that Jacob has written for us this week, in which he shares with us his love, or maybe that should read, his obsession, with one of the most revered foods in Japan. Ramen. I have to admit that I don't share this passion but I live with someone who does, my husband. He finds a way to have ramen at least two or three times a week. And it was the Japanese food that he missed the absolute most when we were living in England. But here is Jacob to tell you more about it.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Japanese Gothic Tales by Izumi Kyōka ('The Surgery Room' and 'The Holy Man of Mount Kōya')

Izumi Kyōka (泉 鏡花) was the pen name of Kyōtarō Izumi (1873 – 1939), a Japanese author who wrote during the late Meiji era and the early Shōwa periods. He was known primarily for his short stories and plays and "developed a reputation for writing about the grotesque and the fantastic". Drawing on "Edo period popular fiction, folklore and Noh drama, more than half of Kyōka 's works incorporate some form of supernatural element." Unfortunately very little of his work has been translated into English.

Four of his stories have been collected into the book, Japanese Gothic Tales, translated by Charles Shiro Inouye. Today, for the Classics Circuit Land of the Rising Sun: Meiji-era Japanese Classics tour, I'm going to talk about the first two, 'The Surgery Room', and 'The Holy Man of Mount Kōya'.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Hello Japan! November mini-challenge: Five Questions (a Japan meme)

Hello Japan!
Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there will be a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. Anyone is welcome to join in any time. You can post about the task on your blog. Or if you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment on the Hello Japan! post for the month. Everyone who completes the task will then be included in the drawing for that month's prize. For more information, just click on the Hello Japan! button above, or if you have any questions please feel free to email me at inspringthedawn AT gmail DOT com.

November's Topic

It's hard to believe it's been just over a year already since I started the Hello Japan! mini-challenge (in October 2009) with a little help and enthusiasm from you! The idea behind it was simply to give you the chance to experience a little taste of Japan no matter where you live, and to learn more about the fascinating country that is Japan, regardless if you're already familiar with Japan, or just discovering it. Heck, I've lived here for several years now and am still learning new things. Some of the mini-challenges and topics were more popular than others, but I hope that you have all enjoyed sharing some of your adventures with Japanese literature and culture over the past year, and I hope that you'll continue to do so.

Hello Japan! mini-challenge: October link round-up

Hello Japan!

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Hello Japan! mini-challenge for October. October's Hello Japan! task was to read or watch something scary, spooky, or suspenseful.
Here's what you came up with:

Novroz of Novroz' Favorite Things definitely showed her enthusiasm for all things Japanese and spooky by sharing 4 posts with us! I love it when people get excited about a topic!
First she commented on the anime series of Yuyu Hakusho: The Dark Tournament (Yuyu Hakusho translates into English as "Ghost Files").
Next she wrote her thoughts on the manga Doubt by Yoshiki Tonogai, about a deadly game the characters are forced to play.
Then she wrote a review of the detective crime novel The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada. A serial murder story that she couldn't put down!
And finally, she tells us about a Japanese vampire movie, Moon Child.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guest post: Jacob Ritari on Meitantei Conan (Detective Conan)

It's my pleasure to have another guest post for you today from author Jacob Ritari. Jacob's debut novel, Taroko Gorge, was published earlier this year, and last month he shared some of his unpublished short stories with us. If you haven't read them yet, be sure to check out the links at the end of this post. He's currently living just outside of Tokyo as he continues his Japanese studies. Today he has a recommendation for us, for our reading and watching pleasure.

Meitantei Conan

Detective ConanI’m always on the lookout for ways to draw people into the world of anime and manga. I’ve discussed elsewhere the current reason for my interest in the medium: not that it offers anything revolutionary in terms of ideas, plots, imagery (though it frequently does); but that it’s churned out in such huge quantities and read and watched so avidly. While the American publishing industry is collapsing beneath its own dead weight, manga artists are thriving, and instead of reaching after some muddled idea of “literature,” providing people with stories they need to live. What’s more, the way in which manga series become anime mirrors the current triumph of HBO dramas over the novel: imagine if every bestselling novel became a TV miniseries. That potentiality might cause certain authors to craft stories people might actually, gasp, care about.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Case of the Missing Book Blogger

Actually it's not at all mysterious and there's been no hint of foul play. (You can blame the title of this blog post on the historical mystery I just finished reading!) I've simply been under the weather lately and haven't been online barely at all, but I hadn't intended to just disappear like that. I have still been reading though, spending some quality time with my sexy red Sony Reader.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guest post: Ghouls, Goblins and Hungry Ghosts by Jacob Ritari

Today I'm very happy to welcome author Jacob Ritari back to In Spring it is the Dawn. I hope you enjoyed the short stories he shared with us last month, and if you haven't read them yet, be sure to check out the links at the end of this post. Jacob recently moved to Japan to continue his studies and currently lives just outside of Tokyo. This time he has been inspired by the season, and talks about his visit to the National Museum in Ueno and in particular some ancient scrolls he saw there. Coincidentally his guest post ties in nicely with this month's Hello Japan! mini-challenge, which is focusing on all things spooky. So without further ado, here is Jacob on...

Ghouls, Goblins and Hungry Ghosts

All Hallows Eve is soon upon us, and while it may not yet have the currency in Japan of Christmas (a popular day to book a room at the local “Love Hotel”) or Valentine’s Day (another fine opportunity to induce feelings of anxiety and inadequacy among high school students), Hall’ween still carries a higher profile than Thanksgiving or Easter. The Peko-chan mascots outside the local eateries are festooned with witch’s hats, and the ground floor of the Yokohama Tokyu Hands displays a rather lovely Michael Jackson mock-up, while further back, latex masks depicting Japan’s last five disgraced prime ministers are on sale.
Japan of course is known for its wealth of ghost and monster lore. Intelligent, ambivalent spirits such as the kitsune (fox) and tanuki (raccoon) are staples of fiction; traditional ghost stories find new life in film; and one of my favorite guilty pleasure TV shows, Destination Truth, recently traveled to Japan in search of the river-dwelling kappa. Wikipedia provides a laundry list of such creatures; but recently one in particular caught my attention.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What I've been reading (and Read-a-thon Wrap-up)

I hope everyone who participated in Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon this weekend had a blast! I know I did. I spent a lot of my time visiting blogs and cheering but I did fit a little reading in as well. I read the novella, The Following Story by Dutch author Cees Nooteboom, which Dutch blogger Gnoe of Graasland also read during the read-a-thon. Yes, we planned that! I struggled a little bit with the book at first, especially as I was quite sleepy and the narrator did go on and on a bit. But the ending was perfect and it has made me want to go back to reread some of the earlier parts now with a better understanding.

I also read most of the stories in Vanishing and Other Stories by Deborah Willis. The read-a-thon officially ended at 9PM Sunday, Japan time, so after a late dinner, dishes and other stuff, I couldn't bring myself to get back on the computer so I headed to bed with it and have now finished off the last couple stories. I know not everyone likes short stories but if you even remotely do, try these! These were all truly wonderful stories. I'm going to work on getting a review up this week.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Read-a-thon: The post-nap update

I ended up staying up much later than I'd expected last night but I finally decided to get to bed at around 5AM, and then showered and stuff and read to about 6. Slept for about 4 hours and have now been breakfasted and juiced and am working on waking myself up properly despite the fact that it's almost noon on Sunday here. I'll do another round of cheering in a bit but first a little update.

I've spent a good portion of the read-a-thon so far (when I've been awake that is) on the computer visiting and commenting on other blogs. So the reading hasn't been progressing all that quickly but I figured as much going in so that's ok. Along with my breakfast (a pumpkin bagel, with orange juice - a very orange-coloured breakfast!) I did finish the last 20 or so pages of The Following Story by Cees Nooteboom that Gnoe and I read together. Now having reached the end, I think I need to go back and read some of the earlier parts again with a better understanding of where the story is going. But I'll leave that for another day when I don't have all the distractions of the read-a-thon.

24 Hour Read-a-thon

It's a little past 5PM on Saturday afternoon here in Tokyo. The read-a-thon officially begins at 9PM Japan time but I've finished off the chores and other things I needed to get done today so I'm going to begin reading now, to take advantage of some quiet time before the craziness begins.

I'm taking a pretty laid back approach to the read-a-thon this time. I'm looking forward to reading, especially since I haven't been doing all that much of it the last couple weeks, but I'm not at all worried about how much, or how long exactly I spend reading. I have no specific goals. So I'm not going to keep track of the numbers (pages read, time spent reading, etc.) this time. And I plan to post just a couple of updates. I'm guessing near the halfway point, and at the end. My main purpose is to have fun!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Hello Japan! mini-challenge: August & September link round-up

Hello Japan!

Thank you to everyone who took part in the two-month double Hello Japan! mini-challenge for August and September. August & September's Hello Japan! task was to compare two works, or other elements, of Japanese literature, culture, or entertainment.
Here's what you came up with:

Violet of Still Life with Books compared the short story, Tony Takitani, by Haruki Murakami, and the film based on the story.
The film is faithful to the story, and is lovely to look at, being all muted tones of grey and brown; still, quiet, beautifully shot.

Novroz of Novroz' Favorite Things did a triple comparison. She talked about Ringu, the original book, the Japanese film adaptation and the later American movie remake.
Reading the book and watching the movie is like enjoying 2 different stories with the same outline.
As for the American remake, well...

Hello Japan! October mini-challenge: Japanese spooky

Hello Japan!
Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there will be a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. Anyone is welcome to join in any time. You can post about the task on your blog. Or if you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment on the Hello Japan! post for the month. Everyone who completes the task will then be included in the drawing for that month's prize. For more information, just click on the Hello Japan! button above, or if you have any questions please feel free to email me at inspringthedawn AT gmail DOT com.
October's Topic

Ringu anthologyHorror is very popular in Japan, from books to movies to manga and so on. Like I mentioned last year, summer is usually the peak season for horror films (a way to cool down from the oppressive heat) but you're bound to find something on offer any time of year. And there's something so right about reading scary, atmospheric stories in the autumn (which it is in the Northern Hemisphere anyway). I know I'm not alone as there's no shortage of related blog projects and challenges going on. Carl V.'s R.I.P. V Challenge, Jenn's Fright Fest, Rob's 31 Shots of Shock, and no doubt plenty of others as well. I have to admit I don't really care for outright scary, gory movies (except for a brief period in my teenage years) but I do quite enjoy psychological, spooky, gothic, suspenseful, and otherwise thrilling stories. I'm also happy for any excuse to read something Japanese and spooky. So for this month we're going to repeat the challenge we did one year ago, for the inaugural Hello Japan! mini-challenge. (Can you believe it's been a year already?)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tokyoites (Edokkotachi): City of Dreams, a short story by Jacob Ritari

Inari statueEach Wednesday in September, author Jacob Ritari is sharing with us one of his unpublished short stories set in Tokyo. This week's story is City of Dreams. This story is structured a little differently from the previous ones and as you'll see it's not the story of one or two main characters, but rather a whole eclectic handful of them. You might also recognise a particular name, and a kind of re-telling of the old folk tale from which it comes.

If you've looked at the calendar, you'll have realised as well that today is the last Wednesday in September, and therefore today is the fifth and last of Jacob's stories to share with you this month. However, I hope you'll be as thrilled as I am that Jacob has agreed to entertain us with further guest posts, every couple of weeks or so, when the inspiration strikes. To that end, he'd also be very happy to respond to any of your requests. If you have a topic or question relating to his writing, or his life being newly back in Japan, or something else that you'd like to hear his take on, please don't hesitate to leave a comment, or to email me, and I'll be sure to pass them on to him. I know I'm certainly looking forward to hearing more from him. But for now, on to the story...

Monday, September 27, 2010

JLit Book Group Discussion: 'The Sound of the Mountain' by Yasunari Kawabata

Welcome to the Japanese Literature Book Group discussion of The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata. (My apologies for the delay, it took longer than expected to put together the links for this post).

About the author
Yasunari KawabataYasunari Kawabata, son of a highly-cultivated physician, was born in 1899 in Osaka. After the early death of his parents he was raised in the country by his maternal grandfather and attended the Japanese public school. From 1920 to 1924, Kawabata studied at the Tokyo Imperial University, where he received his degree. He was one of the founders of the publication Bungei Jidai, the medium of a new movement in modern Japanese literature.

Kawabata made his debut as a writer with the short story, Izu dancer, published in 1927. After several distinguished works, the novel Snow Country in 1937 secured Kawabata's position as one of the leading authors in Japan. In 1949, the publication of the serials Thousand Cranes and The Sound of the Mountain was commenced.  The Lake (1955), The Sleeping Beauty (1960) and The Old Capital (1962) belong to his later works, and of these novels, The Old Capital is the one that made the deepest impression in the author's native country and abroad.