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David Cozy
Japan Times
Events / Events Outside Tokyo
Mar 9, 2007
Richie turns painter again
"Donald Richie: Still Lives and Nudes" will come as a pleasant surprise to those under the impression that Richie's substantial oeuvre begins and ends with his writing.
CULTURE / Books
Feb 25, 2007
In fallen cities, where money trumps love
Love in a Fallen City, translated by Karen S. Kingsbury and Eileen Chang. New York: New York Review Books, 2007, 321 pp., $14.95 (paper) Money and the scramble to get it are at the center of many of our best novels, and this is nowhere truer than in the work of Jane Austen. The financial security that...
CULTURE / Books
Dec 3, 2006
Magic in the ordinary world
BLIND WILLOW, SLEEPING WOMAN by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel and Jay Rubin. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006, 334 pp., $24.95 (cloth). Just as fiction that is purely mundane can be, well, mundane, fiction that is only fantastic is often only dull. Authors such as Paul Auster and Jonathan...
CULTURE / Books
Nov 12, 2006
No ordinary guide to China
SHENZHEN: A Travelogue From China, by Guy Delisle, translated by Helge Dascher. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2006, 152 pp., $19.95 (cloth). Surely those dinosaurs who believed that comics were suitable only for stories of men in tights have all died off. With the popularity of comics growing by leaps...
CULTURE / Books
Sep 24, 2006
Dark tales of a neglected Tokyo underclass
ABANDON THE OLD IN TOKYO by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, edited and designed by Adrian Tomine, introduction by Koji Suzuki. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 200 pp., $19.95 (cloth). An old man is reduced by the debt that has ruined him to performing like a dog ("Why don't you spin around three times and bark?")....
CULTURE / Books
Aug 27, 2006
Cultural insight past the twaddle
FULL METAL APACHE: Transactions Between Cyberpunk Japan and Avant-Pop America, by Takayuki Tatsumi, foreword by Larry McCaffery. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 272 pp., 2006, $22.95 (paper). Literary theorist and critic Takayuki Tatsumi's new book, "Full Metal Apache," is both good and bad....
CULTURE / Books
Jul 30, 2006
Strip down and soak up some Japanese culture
GETTING WET: Adventures in the Japanese Bath, by Eric Talmadge. Tokyo: Kodansha, 255 pp., 2,400 yen (cloth). In the last few years we have seen books about cod, salt and potatoes, and the authors of these tomes appear to have employed a roughly similar method. Settle on a topic, learn everything -- and...
CULTURE / Books
May 21, 2006
The search for a legendary sword
MISHIMA'S SWORD: Travels in Search of a Samurai Legend, by Christopher Ross. London: Fourth Estate-HarperCollins, 262 pp., £14.99 (cloth). On Nov. 25, 1970, Yukio Mishima committed seppuku or, to employ the term he preferred, hara-kiri. He did so with a great deal of fanfare (he had hoped to have...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Mar 19, 2006
Myths behind the rise of the mobile
PERSONAL, PORTABLE, PEDESTRIAN: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life, edited by Mizuko Ito, Daisuke Okabe, and Misa Matsuda. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 357 pp., $39 (cloth). Consider the refrigerator. The changes this appliance brought in its wake are monumental. Thanks to that big humming machine in the kitchen,...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Jan 29, 2006
Graphic view of Pyongyang
PYONGYANG: A Journey in North Korea, by Guy Delisle, translated by Helge Dascher. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2005, 176 pp., $19.95 (cloth). A consideration of North Korea must be, one supposes, a howl of rage, a moan of despair, or some combination, and this anger and despair must certainly be...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Sep 25, 2005
What could have been from what was seen
KANNANI AND DOCUMENT OF FLAMES: Two Japanese Colonial Novels, by Katsuei Yuasa, translated and with an introduction and critical afterword by Mark Driscoll. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 2005, 193 pp., $19.95 (paper). The odd rightwing extremist excepted, it is difficult to find anyone...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Jun 26, 2005
Intriguing mix of loose ends and aimless youth
THE METHOD ACTORS, by Carl Shuker. Washington, D.C.: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005, 512 pp., $16 (paper). There has been a great deal of discussion and debate about where literary modernism ends and postmodernism begins. The confusion arises in part because, far from being something entirely different...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
May 8, 2005
The urban underclass of a modernist Tokyo
THE SCARLET GANG OF ASAKUSA, by Yasunari Kawabata, translated by Alisa Freedman, foreword and afterword by Donald Richie. Berkeley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press, 2005, 231 pp., $17.95 (paper). "Art is bad," Guy Davenport posited, "when it is poor in news," and it is not surprising...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
May 2, 2005
Memoirs of an activist
RESTLESS WAVE: My Life in Two Worlds, by Ayako Ishigaki. New York: The Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2004, 286 pp., $16.95 (paper). Those who know something about Ayako Ishigaki (or who have cheated and read the afterword to "Restless Wave" before the text proper) will find the first...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Feb 27, 2005
Where there's magic, there's Buddha
THE DHARMA OF DRAGONS AND DAEMONS: Buddhist Themes in Modern Fantasy, by David R. Loy and Linda Goodhew, foreword by Jane Hirshfield. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2004, 155 pp., $14.95 (paper). David R. Loy and Linda Goodhew's "The Dharma of Dragons and Daemons" is subtitled "Buddhist Themes in Modern...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Dec 12, 2004
Nostalgia is a green monster
GODZILLA ON MY MIND: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters, by William Tsutsui. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, 240 pp., $12.95 (paper).
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Aug 22, 2004
Looking for an idyllic tribe, finding cultural revelation
DREAM JUNGLE, by Jessica Hagedorn. New York: Viking, 2003, 325 pp., $23.95 (cloth). In 1971 a wealthy Filipino, Manuel Elizalde, discovered a lost tribe in a jungle on Mindanao living in a manner apparently unchanged since the Paleolithic period. This group of hunters and gatherers, called the Tasaday,...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Jul 18, 2004
The literary perfect crime
SAYONARA, GANGSTERS, by Genichiro Takahashi, translated by Michael Emmerich. New York: Vertical, Inc., 2004, 311 pp., $19.95 (cloth). A poet is talking to a refrigerator. The refrigerator with whom he is conversing is Virgil -- yes, that Virgil, author of "The Aeneid" and later Dante's guide through...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Dec 28, 2003
Burning passion in Shirley Hazzard's 'Great Fire'
THE GREAT FIRE, by Shirley Hazzard. Virago Press, 2003, 320 pp., £15.99 (cloth). As much as we may enjoy the pot-boilers and penny-dreadfuls we pick up to keep us company on the beach or on the bus, the pleasures they afford always pale when placed next to the real thing: literature. Literature,...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Dec 14, 2003
Harboring American memories
DATE WHICH WILL LIVE: Pearl Harbor in American Memory, by Emily S. Rosenberg. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2003, 236 pp., $24.95 (cloth). History is not a record of facts and just the facts, but rather a collection of significant tidbits plucked from among the accessible data and then...

Longform

Traditional folk rituals like Mizudome-no-mai (dance to stop the rain) provide a sense of agency to a population that feels largely powerless in the face of the climate crisis.
As climate extremes intensify, Japan embraces ancient weather rituals