No Natural Circadian Rhythm

It’s fall. Every fall, I seem to start a new project. True to form, I’m starting a new study tentatively called the Kokinshu Project.┬áMy brother recently immigrated to Japan, and while the Bluegrass has deepening connections with Japan (there are many Japanese-owned factories, like Toyota, where I live), I have to admit that I have spent my time studying Latin America, not Asia. So I have been trying to learn about the country the best way I know how: through a literary study. I originally thought that I would just read some poetry and couple poems with photographs that I had taken on various travels, but after giving it more thought, I decided that I would also add a brief commentary to better connect with the literature and this way, maybe anyone stopping by my website would learn something along with me. I also hope to include prose, non-Japanese writing inspired by Japanese style, etc.

Feel free to give me reading recommendations.

6 Comments

  • Brett says:

    I’m no expert on Japan but the one book (aside from the Kokinshu, which you’ve already mentioned) would be Hiroshima by John Hershey. It’s non-fiction and hyper-depressing, but a great read.

    And probably Murakami, of whom I’ve never read a word. (Blasphemy, I know.)

  • carrie says:

    i used to like a book called “kitchen” by banana yoshimoto. i haven’t read it for years, but i remember it being strange and interesting.

  • Elizabeth Powers says:

    As an undergrad, I actually went on a ten day traveling writing workshop in Japan (which, by the way, was hilarious, because we were all a bunch of lit majors, no one really spoke Japanese, and we had not expected to get the grant when we applied for it.) Anyway, to get ready, we spent the summer reading a bunch of Japanese fiction and then had to report in on what we thought. I wish I could tell you more about what I thought was good, but I honestly can’t remember as much as I’d like. However, two of the books I kept, Confessions of a Mask and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion are both by Yukio Mishima, and I remember my boyfriend at the time loving I Am a Cat by Natsuma Soseki (although his taste is questionable…) Also, everyone really enjoyed the Kenzaburo Oe we read, Somersault, although I’m told some of his other work is perhaps better.

    • amaris says:

      That sounds like an amazing time. I would love to do a lit vacation in Japan. Walk in Basho’s footsteps kind of thing. Thanks for the recommendations–I’ll look in to them and add some to the list!

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