Kyoto Journal Issue KJ93
INSIGHTS FROM ASIA
Kyoto Journal is an award-winning
quarterly English magazine founded in Kyoto, Japan,
presenting cultural and historical insights from
all of Asia since 1987.
- FICTION, POETRY & REVIEWS
- HIDDEN JAPAN
- IN TRANSLATION
- INSIGHTS FROM ASIA
- OUR KYOTO
Down and Out in Late Meiji Japan by James L. Huffman. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 362pp., $68.00 (cloth). James Huffman’s 2018 study of poverty in industrializing Japan is, in one sense, an extremely straightforward book. It seeks to answer that most naïve of historical questions: What was it really like to…
Re-evaluating Connections Between Food Waste and Hunger
The Japanese government reports food surplus at 3-4 million tons each year. In comparison, annual rice consumption is roughly 8 million tons. This is the equivalent of one bowl of rice being discarded for every two bowls eaten. Food banks will never be able “overfish” the vast ocean of food surplus that is available.
The Garden on the Table
Frozen pea and potato chip casserole. Long before I came to Japan, that dish, symbolic of all those Family Potluck church dinners of childhood, had cemented in my mind the basic incompatibility of religion and good food. Years, later, the experience of Japanese temple food, or shojin ryori, came as a revelation to me…
Satori in the Conbini
I stopped at the neighborhood 7-Eleven conbini on my way home nearly every night. It became a strange little ritual. Each night I could shed my mousy English-teacher-in-Japan existence with fellow worshippers at the altar of consumer goods..
The Hungry Ghost
She told me we wouldn’t eat any of the dumplings. That, it was bad luck to eat food left out for hungry ghosts. It would make them angry. I remembered reading about hungry ghosts, wasted, mouths too small to eat. They tried to possess people, sometimes the emotionally weak, so as to be able to taste the food they craved…
I left the comfortable and unchallenging world of my childhood when I was in my early twenties, eventually settling in Japan where I married a farmer. We are resident in rural Shikoku, and I have got acquainted with the roots of cooking through my relationship with my husband’s mother, whom I call Okaasan.
Their faces twisted in a permanent grimace. With scimitar like tusks and beady eyes that darted from face to face, the Oni advanced slowly into the crowd. Two bony horns protruded from their manes of coarse, filthy hair, and each had a different shade of scaly skin – one red, one yellow, and the last blue…
The Jomon sugi is so mammoth, and contains so many crooks and crannies in its branches and trunk, and such an abundance of rotted pockets, that it is host to a number of other trees and bushes growing high up in the air. And within breathing room of the Jomon sugi are other giants, also harboring their own families of trees.