Thursday, May 27, 2010

After Dark

The semester has choked out its last death throes and, during our record-breaking heat wave, I hunkered down in the basement with Haruki Murakami's novel After Dark. A friend of mine finds Murakami's novels "tiring" and I can agree with that, but this one is short and highly readable. I like it because it inhabits the same Japan I knew (and put in American Fuji): a world of Denny's, Skylarks, love hotels, and parks with sections for stray cats. While some may accuse the plot of being coincidental, I find coincidence to be part of the wonder of Japan. The society, and language itself, are about relationships, not the chronological march of progress and individual achievement characteristic of American novels. I recommend it as a companion to American Fuji.

P. S. Today, my birthday brings a full moon worthy of Eguchi's "Moon Package" dream. A good day to enter the American Fuji Giveaway (see below).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sakura New England

My own cherry tree in bloom. If I were in Japan, businessmen would be drinking beer and sake on blankets beneath it with a karaoke machine blaring. I just finished reading "A Blanket of Cherry Blossom" from The Walking Man by graphic writer Jiro Taniguchi. The Japan he draws is the Japan I knew--his streets could have been Shizuoka City. I'm so impressed by the depth of this short episode, and how much Taniguchi conveys through point of view and the gesture of the man putting his hand on the "blanket" of fallen cherry petals.