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mandala

Icing on the Cake: A Week in the Life of a Tibetan Sand Mandala

Every day, a team of three to four monks, each with a dust mask covering nose and mouth to prevent an accidental breath from destroying their efforts, drew the exquisitely complex image, from memory without the benefit of even a sketch.

tonofreatureimage

Hatching Beauty: Life in Tonoharu

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.

curling

Curling

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.

*yakuza.feature

Insider Outsider: The Way of the Yakuza

During my first interviews, O-oyabun was particularly eager to talk about ideology: The ‘Way of the Yakuza,’ ‘violating the law’ or ‘doing wrong things.’

flies

A Swarm of Japanese Flies

…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…

*compassionfeature

Clarity, Compassion, Peace

“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.

songoftea

Lu T’ung and the Song of Tea

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

TheBarter

The Barter

The first day we met, he introduced himself with these words: “I am Heinrich, from Bavaria, located in the south of Germany.”

*setouchifeature

On Genji Monogatari: A Conversation with Setouchi Jakucho

“I started translating The Tale of Genji after turning seventy, though I had well prepared to start for many years by then…”

*maverick.feature

Maverick Mushrooms

In Japanese, the general word for mushroom, kinoko, means “child of the tree.”  Names of species then reflect specific trees plus the suffix –take (or dake), signifying “mushroom.” 

firefliesfeature

Fireflies

BY WINIFRED BIRD

…when the summer nights begin to resemble a damp wool blanket thrown over our house and the rainy season pounds relentlessly onward, my husband and I like to drive out to a village in the nearby mountains…

*big-fishfeature

Big Fish Eat Little Fish

After World War II, philosopher and critic Tsurumi Shunshuke started the highly-respected magazine Shiso no Kagaku (Science of Thought), serving for half a century as its editor and publisher. From the 1950s to the 1970s, he was an outspoken anti-war activist…

koreanprotest.feature

Korean Protest Culture

In Korea, the traditional protest repertoire of marches, sit-ins, stones and Molotov cocktails is evolving; some of the new techniques remain confrontational, even violent. Others rely on technology, subtlety, inner strength and community…

Chair in Taipei Woods

On Chairs

A time-darkened chair of oak, it stood among other chairs of other kinds, empty of all but time and craft, in a warehouse for antiques; a sign said the chair had been made in England a couple of hundred years ago.

*contenment.feature

On Contentment

Nothing like gazing upon your own well-stacked cord of firewood turning golden in the evening sun to get you feeling contented…

yiyunlifeature

An Interview with Yiyun Li

“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…”

dogs

Dogs Barking at the Full Moon

Comrade John is a mild-mannered person. I didn’t feel threatened or scared at all. In fact, I welcomed this encounter. It had been over a decade since I last spoke to them…

barber.feature

The Barber

My goatee and shaved head perplex many Vietnamese because in their country beards are for venerable old men like Uncle Ho and bald heads for monks, and I am neither.

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

KJ 92: Devotion