| Apr 30, 2006

Shower of light on Eastern philosophy

LIGHT FROM THE EAST: A Gathering of Asian Wisdom, by Frank MacHovec. Stone Bridge Press, 175 pp., 2005, $16.95 (paper). The notes to this book tell us that author Frank MacHovec is a retired psychologist who began his study of Eastern philosophies as a ...

| Nov 6, 2005

A modern master of an old tradition

MIREI SHIGEMORI: Modernizing the Japanese Garden, by Christian Tschumi, photographs by Markuz Wernli Saito. Stone Bridge Press, 128 pp., $18.95 (paper). A revival of interest in the dry landscape garden of Japan both domestically and internationally took place during the early Showa Era (1926-1989), ...

| Sep 18, 2005

Sweet Mysteries of the Orient

THE ASIAN MYSTIQUE, by Sheridan Prasso. Public Affairs Books, 437 pp., 2005, $27.95, 2,850 yen (cloth). Apparently, there are still Western men who believe that the East is an obliging seductress, mass producing an endless line of voluptuous women, whose laconic sexual pliancy is ...

| Jul 31, 2005

Breach the defenses of marriage with a smile

FORTRESS BESIEGED, by Qian Zhongshu. Penguin Classics, 2005, 426 pp., £18.99 (cloth). 1937 was a rotten year for China. Japanese forces moved their operations from the Peking to the Shanghai region, the Nationalist lines in Nanjing collapsed, and the remnants of the resistance moved ...

| Jul 10, 2005

Where Zen is perfectly at home

ZEN AND KYOTO, by John Einarsen. Uniplan Co., Inc, 2004, 135 pp., 2,381 yen (paper). Like heaven and hell, or the elements of earth and rock, Zen and the city of Kyoto are joined at the hip. Having made it his real and spiritual ...

| May 2, 2005

Coating the truth to make fiction

THE COAT THAT COVERS HIM AND OTHER STORIES, by Michael Hoffman. Authorhouse, 2004, 632 pp., 2,940 yen (paper). Japan, having contrived the image of itself as a manifestly gentle society, the spiritual home of garden gnomes and all that is cute and cuddly, is ...

Jan 9, 2005

Life in the land where boredom is not an option

Writer, commentator and film specialist Donald Richie has had a good year, on that saw, among other things, the publication of “The Japan Journals” and his receipt of the Rising Sun With Gold Rays, a prestigious award honoring a lifetime of achievement in the ...

| Jan 9, 2005

The occupied days of the ultimate observer

THE JAPAN JOURNALS: 1947-2004, by Donald Richie. Stone Bridge Press, 2004, 494 pp., $29.95 (cloth). In “The Japan Journals,” American writer Donald Richie has acted to the letter on Rimbaud’s conviction that the first study for the man who wants to be a poet ...

| Dec 12, 2004

Brewing emotions and desires

GREEN TEA TO GO: Stories from Tokyo, by Leza Lowitz. Printed Matter Press/SARU Press international, 177 pp., 2004, 1,500 yen (paper). Is there such a thing as women’s literature — books that authorize a unique take on life, as opposed simply to literature penned ...

| Nov 14, 2004

Two Zen portals: different yet the same

ZEN INKLINGS, by Donald Richie. IBC Publishing, 132 pp., 2004 (new edition), 1,400 yen (paper). THE NEW ZEN GARDEN, by Joseph Cali, photos by Satoshi Asakawa. Kodansha International, 87 pp., 2004, 3,500 yen (cloth). One opens a book by Donald Richie with certain expectations ...