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Reading

~Chinese / 中文
《平如美棠》饶平如

~Japanese / 日本語
「女のいない男たち」村上春樹
「職業は武装解除」瀬谷ルミ子

~English
"Notes on Democracy" Arundhati Roy

~Korean / 한국어
《그렇습니까? 기린입니다》박민규
《소나기》 황순원

~Finished / 読了 / 已读
「コンビニ人間」村田沙耶香
"Factory Girls" Lesley Chang
"Your Republic is Calling You" Kim Young-ha
「色彩を持たない多崎つくると彼の巡礼の年」村上春樹
《裸命》陈冠中
"River Town" Peter Hessler
"Oracle Bones" Peter Hessler
"Country Driving" Peter Hessler
「カンガルー日和」村上春樹
「こころ」夏目漱石
「火の鳥9」 手塚治虫
《呐喊》鲁迅
《娃》莫言
《朋友》余华
"Inside the Kingdom" Robert Lacey
《活着》余华
"A Room of One's Own" Virginia Woolf
「羊をめぐる冒険」村上春樹
《阿Q正传》鲁迅
《倾城之恋 》张爱玲
《茉莉香片》张爱玲
《金锁记》张爱玲
「深夜特急」(2)沢木耕太郎
「1973年のピンボール」 村上春樹
"One Foot In Eden" Ron Rash
「双子の星」宮沢賢治

Kasumi-ga-ura in Pictures

I bought the cheapest flight from Shanghai to Tokyo, which in fact did not fly to Tokyo at all, but to Ibaraki, a prefecture to the northeast of Tokyo. I decided to stop on the way to Tokyo in Tsuchiura and see the lake Kasumi-ga-ura. In Japanese, the name means something like “Spring Fog Sound.” I rode the loop bus from downtown to the shore by the Dutch Windmill. The cattails waved in the breeze and the shallows were frozen. The pictures speak for themselves.

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Tsuchiura in Pictures

On the road to Tsuchiura I caught a ride with an avid surfer who had camped many a beach in New Zealand. I spent about a day in and around the city, mostly to see the lake Kasumi-ga-ura. Below are some pictures from the city.

20130114-105254.jpgThe bank of the Sakura River.

20130114-105241.jpgAlong the bank was my hotel.

20130114-105305.jpgThe hotel I lodged in. (ビジネスホテル若藤)

20130114-105328.jpgA tiny bar overlooking the river.

20130114-105341.jpgAn alley in Tsuchiura.

20130114-105402.jpgAn old building west of the station.

20130114-105417.jpgThe meandering path of the Sakura River.

Ishioka in Pictures

I am in Japan again. I crossed from Shanghai to Ibaraki by plane and rode the bus from Ibaraki Airport to Ishioka, a small town to the west. I hitchhiked from Ishioka south to Tsuchiura one day, and the next hitched the rest of the way to Tokyo. I would like to share some photos of Ishioka, where my journey began.

20130114-103737.jpgNear Ishioka station, where I got off the bus.

20130114-103800.jpgA small soba shop in downtown Ishioka.

20130114-103821.jpgOld print shops in Ishioka. L

20130114-103901.jpgWalking down Highway 6 toward Tsuchiura.

20130114-103912.jpgOn the road.

20130114-103841.jpgThe mountains in Ibaraki Prefecture.

“A robin cries” by Akimoto Fujio, a 20th-Century Japanese haiku

“A robin cries”

 

A robin cries,

Blue peaks flash

In the rain

 

Akimoto Fujio (1901-1977)

 

Showa-period haiku poet

Born in Yokohama, Japan.

 

Pen name “Fujio” means “Undying man,” using different Chinese characters for his real name in a play on words.

 

Photo credit: Robert Cameron.

 

中译

 

鸟啼鸣

青岭闪烁着

淋雨中

 

秋元不死男

日本昭和时期俳句人

生于日本横滨

 

原文

 

瑠璃啼いて

青嶺閃く

雨の中

 

秋元不死男
(秋元不二雄)

“Thin frog” by Kobayashi Issa, a Japanese haiku

“Thin frog”

 

Thin frog—

Don’t give up! Issa

is here.

 

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)

 

Important Edo-period haiku poet

Born in Kashiwabara, Nagano, Japan

 

Photo credit: Penkdix Palme / Newsteam / SWNS

 

中译

瘦蛙,

别放弃!一茶

在这里

 

小林一茶

 

日本江户时期著名俳句诗人,

生于信浓国水内郡柏原村(今长野县上水内郡信浓町柏原)

 

原文

 

痩せ蛙

負けるな一茶

ここにあり

 

小林一茶

“The Moon” by Kobayashi Issa, a 19th-Century Japanese haiku

“The Moon”

 

“The moon—

Take it for me!”

cries the child.

 

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)

 

Important Edo-period haiku poet

Born in Kashiwabara, Nagano, Japan

 

Photo credit: Minami Sanriku Hotel Kanyo (here in English)

 

2・中译

 

“明月,

给我摘下来!”

喊孩子

 

小林一茶

 

日本江户时期著名俳句诗人,

生于信浓国水内郡柏原村(今长野县上水内郡信浓町柏原)

 

3・原文

 

名月を

取ってくれろと

泣く子かな

 

小林一茶

In Kyoto’s Imperial Palace

Dear Readers,

In July I traveled to Japan and spent a month going south along the coast, on what was once the Tokaido Road, today the Tokaido Railway. When I reached Osaka, I made a detour to go north to see Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan. I had heard of the imperial palace in Kyoto, and I imagined the palace would be something like the Ottoman palace in Istanbul, or the Forbidden City in Beijing. That is, I imagined a tour through myriad rooms with splendid objects. When I arrived at the palace, I found this preconception was much mistaken.

First of all, the imperial palace today remains an imperial palace. The Emperor of Japan resides in the palace on his visits to Kyoto, and the palace remains a place for receiving important visitors. Therefore, you can’t just walk up to the imperial palace and buy tickets. Entrance is free, but you must sign up in advance for a tour at a specified time and place.

In Heian times, the emperor resided in a true palace built at a location determined by Chinese astrology and rebuilt after every fire. However, a custom developed in which the emperor would live in the houses of great nobles, and over time the palace fell into disuse, and after it burned down some 800 years ago was never rebuilt. The current Kyoto imperial palace was thus once the home of a great noble. The palace burned down in the late Edo period and was immediately rebuilt in the same historicizing style. After the capital and the emperor moved to Edo (Tokyo) in the late 1800s, the palace fell into disrepair for a spell before the emperor ordered it restored. The large complex is today mostly gardens. The heart of the complex, where the emperor lived, is the palace I visited.

I took the Japanese tour. Unfortunately, we were not able to enter any of the buildings or approach the main hall, but I enjoyed a walk through the grounds where the imperial court made history.

Below are my photos of the palace.

– KM

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Kieran Maynard

Kieran Maynard

Writer, translator, researcher, traveler specializing in Japanese and Chinese literature.

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