This volume forms a unique and remarkable enterprise in the context of contemporary Japanese literature, social studies and the nature of Japanese society. It comprises 70 essays by private individuals living in Japan today (members of a writing club) who have chosen a subject to write about with a view to projecting a genuine insight into the events, issues and aspirations that make them who they are – from life in a condominium to dealing with in-laws, early retirement and life after children. Edited and introduced by the distinguished best-selling author Harumi Kimura (winner of the Ohya non-fiction prize for her book ‘Letters from Twilight London’), the book’s objective is to make ‘Japan’more accessible to the nonspecialist general reader and provide a counter-balance to Western media images and reporting as well as conventional academic theory and observation about modern Japanese society. By definition, it also offers an invaluable primary source for scholarly reference.
Harumi Kimura is Professor Emeritus of Kyoritsu Women's University. She graduated from the postgraduate school of Tokyo University of Education with a Master of Arts (English and American Literature) and has published many academic essays in English and Japanese. She stayed in London from 1974 to 1975 and her first book
Letters from London at twilight was awarded the eighth Ohya Soichi Non-fiction Award. Since then she has been active as a writer and journalist in various fields. She is president of the KEG (Kimura Harumi Essayists' Group), which has published many books of essays.
Table of contents
Foreword; PART 1: At the Foot of Mount Fuji; 1 At the Foot of Mt Fuji; 2 Cherry Blossoms Cannot Be Replaced; 3 The Most Popular Cherry Tree Variety in Japan: A Hit Commodity; 4 The Mountains Are Living; 5 The Approach to Japanese Sanctuary; 6 The Snow-woman I Met on a Bus; 7 I Want to Become the Wind; 8 In the Sunshine; PART 2: New Year's Cards; 9 New Year's Cards; 10 At the Beginning of a Year; 11 The day before the Calendrical Beginning of Spring; 12 Dolls Displayed at the Girls' Festival; 13 Seasonal Change of Clothing; 14 Kimono - from Mother to Daughter - ; 15 A Good-luck Charm; 16 A year Like Any Other; 17 The Day of Farewell; PART 3: Please Answer in Japanese; 18 The Living God; 19 Hiroshima; 20 'I Want a Japanese Bell'; 21 Please Answer in Japanese; 22 What Is Taught in Japanese Language Lessons; 23 Should Convenience be Taken for Granted?; 24 Nuclear Power Plant in Earthquake Country; 25 Watch Your Step; PART 4: Call Me Mummy; 26 My Days with Our Autistic Son; 27 A Charm in the Morning; 28 What I Regret about Bringing Up My Children; 29 My Daughter's Golden Hair - What a Waste!; 30 Dandelion; 31 My Son's Growth; 32 A Phone Call at Midnight; 33 After ten Years; PART 5: As if I Were in Paradise; 34 The Class of Writing Essays and I; 35 At an Antique Market; 36 With a Minow Flaw; 37 Cleaning Leaf Vegetables; 38 A Bed and Breakfast in Sweden; 39 The First Grade Bowl of Rice with Chicken and Eggs; 40 Longing for Eggs; 41 As if I Were in Paradise; 42 Today is a Lucky Day; 43 An Evening at the Kabuki; 44 A Little Leading Actor; PART 6: Those days in Britain; 45 Remembering London in Those Days; 46 No. 81 The Chase; 47 A Little Trip from Glasgow; 48 Sherlock Holmes Club; 49 Shakespeare's Minor Characters; 50 We Japanese and the Past; PART 7: From the Kitchen Window; 51 Ten Years in this Town; 52 Weeding as an Icebreaker; 53 Lifelong Learning in my Town; 54 From the Kitchen Window; 55 Blue Daisies as a Mother's Day Present; 56 In Twenty-five Years; 57 Looking at My Mother from Behind; 58 First Love; 59 Tidying Up; 60 The Remaining Hours; PART 8: Living Alone Rehearsal; 61 Living Alone Rehearsal; 62 An Occasional Get-away Trip; 63 'The Assistant Driver's Seat'; 64 The red-hot Kettle; 65 My Husband Is Cooking; 66 Roses; 67 Shall We Dance?; 68 Warm Winter Sunlight; 69 So that We Can Live to be a Hundred; 70 Writing Essays for Thirty Years; List of Contributors; List of Translators; Acknowledgements; Index