Jan 13, 2008

'The Third Party' is a charm

THE THIRD PARTY by Glenn Patterson, Blackstaff Press, Belfast, 2007, 169 pp., £7.99 (paper) An unnamed businessman and a well-known novelist, both from Belfast, meet while checking into a hotel in Hiroshima. The recognition of a shared home, so far away, is awkward and ...

Need something to read in the new year?

Dec 30, 2007

Need something to read in the new year?

OUR SHARED JAPAN: An Anthology of Contemporary Irish Poetry, edited by Irene De Angelis & Joseph Woods (Dedalus Press) Tokyo Tower turned green on St. Patrick’s Day in March to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland, and this anthology ...

Dec 25, 2007

'A Happy Winter Holiday' to you one and all

In many places, celebrations will be getting into full swing. But if you’re in Japan, by the time you read this, Christmas (kurisumasu) will have already been forgotten. Like everywhere else, in the runup before, there have been carols sung and trees and lights ...

Dec 16, 2007

When traditions attract: finding Japan in Ireland

OUR SHARED JAPAN: An Anthology of Contemporary Irish Poetry, edited by Irene De Angelis and Joseph Woods. Dublin: Dedalus Press, 2007, 232 pp., 20 euro (paper) The Irish writer Oscar Wilde spoke more than a century ago of something called “the Japanese effect,” in ...

Oct 28, 2007

A friendship's influence across Asia

Another Asia: Rabindranath Tagore and Okakura Tenshin, by Rustom Bharucha, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006, 236 pp., $35 (cloth) This book examines the friendship engendered between two significant thinkers — one Indian and the other Japanese — who were highly representative of their ...

Oct 2, 2007

Giving Japanese names as tricky as picking buns

When you see an obvious mistake, should you point it out or just keep silent? It was coming up to Christmas, and I was in the bakery beside the station getting a sandwich for my lunch, when I noticed something new on the shelves: ...

Jul 29, 2007

Details from the British Museum

Japanese Art in Detail, by John Reeve. British Museum Press, 2005, 144 pp., £14.99 (cloth) FLOATING WORLD: JAPAN IN THE EDO PERIOD, by John Reeve. British Museum Press, 2006, 96 pp., £9.99 (cloth) Museums frequently produce books, calendars and postcards based on the exhibits. ...

Feb 4, 2007

Drawing on some humorous animal characteristics

A JAPANESE MENAGERIE: Animal Pictures by Kawanabe Kyosai, by Rosina Buckland, Timothy Clark and Shigeru Oikawa. London: The British Museum Press, 2006, 112 pp., £16.99 (cloth) The Meiji Era artist Kawanabe Kyosai (1831-89) is said to have had his first memorable encounter with an ...

Jan 7, 2007

Searching for the perfect personal haiku pen-name

The Haiku Apprentice: Memoirs of Writing Poetry in Japan, by Abigail Friedman. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press, 2006, 235 pp., $14,95 (paper) The story in this book begins with a chance encounter. As the author later explains, she was living with her family in Japan, ...

Nov 5, 2006

The Emerald Isle in a very different light

ON TWO SHORES: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, by Mutsuo Takahashi, translated by Mitsuko Ohno & Frank Sewell. Dedalus Press, Dublin, Ireland, 2006, 126 pp., 12 euro (paper). We are only too familiar with those books in which a foreign visitor, usually from a Western ...