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Yosa Buson: Haiku Master

October 7, 2011

Yosa no Buson (1716-1783) was one in a triumvirate of haikai immortals of the Edo era in Japan: before him came the master, Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), and after him the “humanist” Kobayashi Issa (1763-1826).

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The Classic Kyoto Guide

October 3, 2011

For the traveler who wants to savor the hidden charm and beauty of this ancient city’s backstreets at a leisurely pace, Diane Durston’s updated and fully revised edition of her 1986 book, Old Kyoto, offers a warm and personable guide.

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Chronicling Japan’s Indelible Art

October 2, 2011

Traditional Japanese tattooing is one of Japan’s high arts and is widely recognized by the rest of the world as the pinnacle of the craft, though its virtues are widely denied in its native land.

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A Year at Eiheiji

October 2, 2011

Eiheiji’s reputation as the toughest Zen training center in Japan is born out in this memoir…after Nonomura passes through the Dragon Gate with seven other acolytes (three of whom will end up in the hospital within the first six months), he enters a kind of “boot-camp” hell…

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The Shape of Tokyo’s Art Scene

October 2, 2011

Art Space Tokyo charts the ever-shifting Tokyo art scene via essays and interviews with curators, collectors, artists, journalists, art fair directors, critics and bloggers.

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Stories of Forgetting, Remembering and Ritual

September 11, 2011

How do you deal with trauma until this or that civil society organization and tribunal comes to you with promises to heal your wounds? Mãnoa’s Maps of Reconciliation is a compendium of writings and images that grapple with this very difficult question.

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Tea Tourism and Trade

September 11, 2011

In addition to promoting stunningly beautiful rows of tea bushes and romantic “exotic” peoples, there’s money to be made welcoming eco-tourists to stalk wild tea plants, visit plantations, gardens, processing facilities, markets and auctions.

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Dear Leader

August 20, 2011

They met one afternoon in February twenty-three days after she left North Korea. An ethnic Korean marriage broker named Bong-il drove her to her new home near Yanji… “If you run away, we will find you, understand? He is paying good money for you, and we are men of our word…”

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Sex in the City and Memoirs of a Geisha: The Way of Tea(se)

July 7, 2011

Memoirs of a Geisha could have explored in good story-telling fashion the intimacy and fullness’s of one geisha’s life from the inside out. But no! The filmmakers fashioned yet another Orientalist representation of traditional Asian femininity crafted in the frozen imagination of a Western man…

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A Vital Occupation

June 29, 2011

At 1:30 I stop a random stranger on the street, and ask how to get to Akihabara. It may surprise you, but this is one of my special duties. I’m supposed to do one of these every three hours….

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I Sing the City Eclectic

June 21, 2011

Veteran resident John Dougill offers a peek behind Kyoto’s glorious façade to reveal the history and workings of a remarkable culture…

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Hatching Beauty: Life in Tonoharu

June 8, 2011

The art illustrating that plot remains exquisite…especially notable are the views Martinson gives us of mundane Japanese life, scenes that any resident will recognize.

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April 20, 2011

i have been a fern unfolding. in a forest of deep slanting shadows, close to the ground with its many tiny scratchings and slitherings, surrounded by the steady rumble and rush of a waterfall, i was a fern.

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A Swarm of Japanese Flies

April 17, 2011

…Flies, like crows, are generally not very well-liked. They are diurnal, but associated with the night and darkness; they are spawned in the heady days of summer but are attracted to the stench of decay…

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Clarity, Compassion, Peace

April 16, 2011

“Haiku mind” is a simple yet profound way of seeing our everyday world and living our lives with the awareness of the moment expressed in haiku — and to therefore hopefully inspire others to live with more clarity, compassion and peace.

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Lu T’ung and the Song of Tea

April 16, 2011

The “Song of Tea” is one of the most beloved poems known by tea-drinkers the world over.

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An Interview with Yiyun Li

April 15, 2011

“My characters are always very stubborn.  One thing all my characters want is connection with the world.  With other people.  But that connection, often times, is either disrupted or not provided or somehow messed up by the world…”

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Before you go, be sure to check out our latest issue:

KJ 95: Wellbeing