Ms Ice Sandwich, Mieko Kawakami

It is not often that I so blindly stumble upon a Japanese author without knowing anything beforehand. In this case, I was quite literally browsing library shelves and came upon Ms Ice Sandwich. What a quirky title, I thought, and a Japanese name. I guess I’ll read this. Browsing library shelves, it turns out, has…

Japanese Curriculum in Review

At the end of November, I designed my self a curriculum for the fall centered around Japanese culture. I’ve been fascinated by the country of Japan for most of my adult life. Where this fascination springs from is a mystery, though it likely began with playing numerous Japanese video games as a young person. That…

Film Review – Tokyo Story

During the few times this past summer when I’d visit White Yarrow Farm, Farmer Dale and I would wax poetic about all things Japanese. We would most often talk while harvesting potatoes, sometimes having hours-long conversations about film, literature, pop culture, and of course, food. More than once Dale would talk whimsically of his favorite…

Book Review – Premodern Japan, by Mikiso Hane and Louis G. Perez

In considering the full curriculum of Japanese culture that I’ve undertaken, it became clear to me as soon I as finished Premodern Japan that I should have read it before doing anything else. It is such a comprehensive look at Japan from its earliest written records up to the Meiji restoration that it puts anything…

Book Review – Precarious Japan, by Anne Allison

Precarious Japan is a book published in 2013, not long after Japan’s┬ámassive earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown tragedy in March of 2011. It’s a socioeconomic look at modern Japan, where it’s at and potentially where it’s headed. What struck me most while reading through Precarious Japan was how familiar it felt. I live in the United States, a…