Category Archives: culture

Commentary (解説): One of the Joys of Japanese Literature

Reading Japanese literature in its original language has a few perks. First, you have access to a huge number of works that have not been translated yet, many of which may never be translated. Also, reading untranslated text allows you to pick up nuances which would difficult––if not impossible––to translate, although skiled translators can use… Read More »

Japanese book review: 一流の人が学ぶ 氣の力 (“Ki for Business Professionals”) by 藤平信一 (Shinichi Tohei)

Before I begin this book review I should give some background information about myself. I’ve been practicing Ki-Aikido (more formally known as 心身統一合氣道, “Aikido of Mind and Body Coordination”) for around 2 years now. Besides practicing in a local dojo several times a week, I have trained once in a Japanese dojo, and also have begun reading… Read More »

Japanese slang term: meccha “めっちゃ”

Words generally have an explicit meaning (what it says in the dictionary) in addition to an implicit meaning, also called the nuance or atmosphere of the word. When learning a foreign language it is good to understand both, and sometimes there is much more to the nuance than the explicit meaning. “Meccha” (generally written in… Read More »

Japanese novel review: さざなみのよる (sazanami no yoru) by 木皿泉 (Izumi Kizara)

Despite the fact I can get Japanese books quite easily while living in the U.S.––ebooks, online order of paper books, or even buying them in person at Kinokuniya in Beaverton––whenever I go to Japan I feel a need to buy at least one or two novels. There is some logic to this: first, because Japanese… Read More »

Japanese Book Review: “The Power of Ki” (氣の威力)by Koichi Tohei (藤平光一)

It’s been around a year and a half since I’ve started training in a martial art informally called “Ki Aikido” that was created by Koichi Tohei (藤平光一). It is formally named “Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido”, and written in Japanese as 心身統一合氣道, which literally means “Aikido of Mind and Body Unification”. The casual term “Ki Aikido”… Read More »

Training Aikido in a Japanese Dojo: An intriguing experience

Ever since I began training in the martial art of Ki Aikido (more formally known as 心身統一合氣道, shinshin touitsu aikido) in Oregon, I was always curious what it would like to train in a dojo in Japan where the training (稽古、keiko) was done in Japanese––though rather than merely a curiosity, I guess you could say… Read More »

A thoughtful discourse on literature with Japanese author Fuminori Nakamura (中村文則)

I’ve been an avid reader since I was young, but until high school I mostly read fantasy novels that would be considered popular fiction. In high school I was assigned to read a variety of books in various genres, but I think it’s safe to say a majority of them could be considered ‘literature’ in… Read More »

Interview with Ben Hourigan: author, editor, Japan aficionado

I’ve mentioned it before, but one of the great things about running this blog is the many interesting people I come across. In some cases, I may only exchange a few words in a post comment, but in others I may go on to have extended email conversations, or even work on a project together.… Read More »