Who is the next Natsume Soseki? Scholarships and the Japanese people

This year is the 100th anniversary of the death of the Japanese novelist, Natsume Soseki. Until recently he had been featured on the Japanese one-thousand yen banknote (about USD10). He had studied in London on government scholarship for two years from 1900. This month the Soseki Museum in London privately run by Ikuo Tsunematsu, a scholar,…More

Man vs. X … The language of literature

Grant Snider has come up with another great comic summary of life. This time his attention is turned to literature and the concept of conflict within it at different stages of Western culture. Check out more of his work here.More

Finnegans Wake, Joyces Wake, Me-s Wake

I finally found (and puchased) a copy of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake in one of my local bookstores. I had not want to purchase it online because book hunting is so much more fun. In putting into my library database I had found even the LibraryThing community could get it wrong. The listing was Finnegan’s Wake…More

Exposure to Language

“Reading is more important than writing.” — Roberto Bolaño Without exposure to a language one will never master it. That exposure can come in many forms but the best form is culture. Culture and language are essentially the same thing. There will be no language if there is no culture the opposite is also true.…More

Tie Fighters and cultural unconsciousness

I spend a lot of time thinking about language, even when buying presents for my kids. This year I got the Lego Tie Fighter for my son (deep down the toy is for me but I believe we have kids so that we can continue our childhood into adulthood). For most of my life I…More

Our Fictions

Why are we — as a species — so hopelessly addicted to narratives about the fake struggles of pretend people? Good question. We are a strange species. Our access to the thoughts of others has given us morality. It gives us society as we know it. Without this ability we would not be much more than just another animal.…More

Literature, second language, authenticity, passion

I have fond memories of my undergraduate days as a Japanese major. To me they were exciting times. The world was seemingly spinning at a furious pace. The people I met were doing things, going places. My future was ahead of me. My future now, of course, is still ahead of me (metaphorically, can it…More