Monday, March 30, 2009
I realized that on this blog, my fascination for Russia and Iran has overshadowed another culture I am in love with, Japan's...
When I was living in Hong-Kong as a teenager, my mum traveled to Japan and brought back in her luggage many Japanese treasures; even the simplest things were exquisite, and even the most precious items, such as lacquer trays, were simple yet refined. She also brought back many Japanese novels, and I delved with delight into the works of of Kawabata, Kenzaburo Oe, Kobo Abe (a genius!), Ibuse, Inue, Soseki Natsume, Tanizaki and more. Years later, when I was 21, I spent a summer in Japan that I remember as a dazzling and intense experience.
Last week an article in The New Yorker made me want to read more about Bunraku - an ancient type of puppetry.
I got this book by the great Japanese scholar Donald Keene...
New to Japanese literature? Start with a novel with Kawabata, before graduating to Tanizaki's weighty Makioka Sisters, preferably in the translation by Edward G. Seidensticker.
Another wonderful way to delve into Japanese history and culture is Kimono: Fashioning Culture, by Liza Crihfield Dalby.