Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

In this funny, odd-ball and deeply emotional novel by Japanese debut novelist Sayaka Murata, we follow the book’s heroine Keiko, who is in her late 30’s and is working as a sales assistant in a convenience store, while living unmarried and childless (a mortal sin in Japan). Keiko has been bullied and friendless for mostContinue reading “Book Review: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata”

Jisei: Haunting Japanese death poems from history

Japan has a long history of jisei, or death poems. Jisei is the “farewell poem to life.” These poems were written by literate people, often monks, royalty or courtiers just before their death.  A Jisei from Prince Otsu in 686 BC is one of the earliest recorded death poems. Not all death poems are writtenContinue reading “Jisei: Haunting Japanese death poems from history”

The book blogger confessions tag

I saw this tag at the wonderful book blog by Diana Ideas on Papyrus.  I simply had to do this book tagging exercise, even though this apparently happened AGES ago. Still, it’s a very cool and fun idea. So here are some books that have imprinted themselves onto my soul. Please share the love and doContinue reading “The book blogger confessions tag”

Travel: Himeji Castle, Japan

Himeji Castle was the first place in Japan to become a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, after this there were dozens of others named. It’s actually the largest and arguably most impressive castle in in Japan and has 83 buildings. It takes hours to walk around inside of it, like a medieval Disneyland,  it’sContinue reading “Travel: Himeji Castle, Japan”

Travel: Tenryu-ji temple and gardens Arashiyama Kyoto

Tenryū-ji is a temple and gardens founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339. It’s purpose at the time was to venerate Gautama Buddha. It’s considered as one of Kyoto’s so-called Five Mountains. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tenryuji dates from the Muromachi period in Japan’s 14th-16th century. Among its manyContinue reading “Travel: Tenryu-ji temple and gardens Arashiyama Kyoto”

Book Review – South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

*Contains no spoilers This is a slim book. In little more than 200 pages you are able to sink into a well-rounded and thoroughly immersive story. In the hands of a less-skilled writer, this would be impossible. For Murakami though, 200 pages is more than enough to captivate and absorb. Big in scope, the storyContinue reading “Book Review – South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami”

Book Review – Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

* Contains no plot spoilers This has to be my favourite Murakami novel so far. Although I’m not even half way through his oeuvre.  The plot is a compelling and slow unravelling of two separate strands. The first strand is the 15 year old Kafka Tamura, a teen runaway who takes refuge in a remoteContinue reading “Book Review – Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami”

Love letters sent by the wind

Every day, priests minutely examine the Law And endlessly chant complicated sutras. Before doing that, though, they should learn How to read the love letters sent by the wind and rain, the snow and moon. ~ Ikkyu (1394–1481, Japanese Zen Buddhist monk, saint and poet)