Saturday, June 27, 2009


This blog was for the Japanese Literature Challenge 2 which ran from July 30, 2008 until January 30, 2009.

If you would like to join, or follow, the Japanese Literature Challenge 3 you're just in time. It begins July 30th, 2009. As soon as the challenge begins, I will post the new review site here as well as on my regular blog.

Until then, you can begin choosing some books you'd like to read listed here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Let Us Not Say, "Good-bye..."

let us say, "Until we meet again."

The Japanese literature challenge 2 has officially ended. However, please feel free to continue to write posts for any more Japanese literature you have read.

Feel free to peruse this blog for ideas to read further in this genre.

Feel free to join in the next time it comes around: July, 2009.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Prizes Announced!

"Knowledge without wisdom is a load of books on the back of an ass." (Japanese proverb)

"Life without endeavor is like entering a jewel-mine and coming out with empty hands." (Japanese proverb)

"An accomplishment sticks to a person," (Japanese proverb) and so without further ado:

Prize #1: Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto (donated by Terri B.) goes to Nymeth!

Prize #2: Coin Locker Babies goes to Chris at Stuff as Dreams Are Made On!

Prize #3: "The Wave" notebook, set of cards, and froggie origami goes to Iliana!

Prize #4: two CDs of Japanese music go to Tanabata!

Prize #5: All She Was Worth and Crossfire go to Dream Queen!

Prize #6: Hear The Wind Sing, and a matching button, go to The Holistic Knitter!

Prize #7: the Japanese cookbook, and a dish with a Japanese Maple leaf, go to Terri B!

Prize #8: The DHC catalogue, with accompanying samples and olive soap, go to Madeleine!

Prize #9: Tanabata's lovely Japanese calendar goes to Raidergirl 3!
and that leaves us with Carl V., Mee, and 3M who, as yet prize-less during the challenge, will be rewarded with a small token of my appreciation.

If all of you will email me your address at:, I will send your prizes off in the next week. Thank you, thank you for joining me in the Japanese Literature Challenge 2.

And, for the rest of you, mark your calendars for the JLC3 beginning this July!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Congratulations to all of you who completed the challenge this time around.

I, unfortunately, am not one of them. I just couldn't get on track for a couple of my challenges, which has led me to shy away from challenges this year. But, Bellezza, if and when you do JLC3, I'll give it another shot because I still have these wonderful books that I truly want to read!

Again, congratulations to you all!


Challenge Complete!

Bellezza was a wonderful host (thank you!) for this second Japanese literature challenge, and I enjoyed this one as much as I did the first challenge.

My favorites were The Housekeeper and the Professor and Fear and Trembling. Fear and Trembling was not technically Japanese, but it was set in Japan and had a lot to say about Japanese culture. I loved both of these books! I also read two mangas, a Japanese vampire book, and a book by a Nobel laureate. I'm very happy with the books I read, and I continue to be very much interested in both Japanese books and movies. Thanks, Bellezza, and I look forward to the next challenge as well!

Books I read:

  1. X-Kai by Asami Tohjoh
  2. Vampire Hunter D by Hideyuki Kikuchi
  3. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  4. Thousand Cranes by Kawabata
  5. X-Kai- Vol. 2 by Asami Tohjoh

Of interest:

Japanese movies I watched:

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

by Haruki Murakami

This is the story of a man who’s wife leaves him and his efforts to get her back. At the beginning of the novel Toru or Mr. Wind-up Bird, has quit his job at a law firm and putters around the house cooking and looking for their lost cat while his wife supports them. One day his wife goes to work and simply doesn’t come back. Because this is Murakami it does not involve any navel gazing about the what could have gone wrong in the marriage or any action by the man to go out and get a job to impress her and win her back. Instead Toru drifts along letting fate take him where it will and in this case it takes him on some very interesting adventures. In his wife’s absence Toru meets Malta Kano, a psychic helping him look for his lost cat and her sister, Creta Kano, a prostitute of the mind. He crosses paths with his evil brother in law, Noboru a pragmatic politician who defiled Creta Kano years ago and may have something to do with his wife’s absence. He meets Lt. Mamiya who tells him about war atrocities in Outer Mongolia and Manchuria. He runs into a mother and son team that he calls Nutmeg and Cinnamon and joins up with them to psychically heal wealthy women. Toru also makes friends with a teenage girl down the street, May Kasahara , and spends quite a bit of time sitting in a dry well where he has some unusual experiences.

What I really love about Murakami is his writing. This is how he described a smile: “The hint of a smile played about his lips, as if he had just heard a joke and was smiling now in the most natural way. Nor had the joke been a vulgar one: it was the kind of elegant pleasantry that the minister of foreign affairs might have told the crown prince at a garden party a generation ago, causing the surrounding listeners to titter in delight.” Most authors would just call it a smile but Murakami draws a vivid picture. I also love the crazy characters and the way you never know exactly what is going to happen because reality as we know it does not apply in a Murakami novel (the New York Times review called the novel Kafkaesque). I have read some reviews that said they didn’t like the ambiguous ending but I like to be left guessing about what happens after the novel ends. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. While I like Kafka on the Shore better because I liked the main character more, this was a great read and I will certainly continue to read Murakami.

Japanese literature giveaway

To celebrate my blog's 3rd anniversary, I'm having a giveaway and this is what you could win.

For more information and to enter, please visit my blog here.