Category Archives: General

Classical Japanese poetry translation: “The Hollow City” (虚しい街) by Yoshinobu Morikawa (森川義信)

Yoshinobu Morikawa was a Japanese poet who lived from 1918 to 1942 and left behind various poems, some with dark or mysterious themes. He was said to be influenced by famous poet T. S. Eliot, author of The Wasteland. This post contains my full English translation of Morikawa’s poem “The Hollow City” (虚しい街), first published… Read More »

Japanese book review: 「書道」の教科書 (Calligraphy Textbook) by 横山豊蘭 (Houran Yokoyama)

A few weeks ago I began learning the art of Japanese calligraphy, which is called “shodou” (書道). I posted a lengthy article here on some of the things I discovered, and included some hints for those interested in learning shodou. Right around the time I finished that article, a book arrived that I had purchased,「書道」の教科書… Read More »

Japanese vocabulary list: Calligraphy terms

The characters used in the Japanese language––comprised of hiragana, katakana, and kanji––use a large variety of shapes and strokes, and in my opinion are very visually pleasing. Calligraphy, a traditional art that is still popular in Japan today, takes these same characters and elevates them to a true art form that can often be seen… Read More »

Japanese expression: とんだとばっちりを食う (tonda tobacchiri wo kuu)

In this post I’d like to go over the expression “とんだとばっちりを食う” (tonda tobacchiri wo kuu) which can be a little tricky to understand. Before talking about the overall meaning I want to look at each of the components. With the exception of children’s books, written Japanese generally does not have spaces between the words. Having… Read More »