I'll be back in the US again in a few days, so I thought I'd share a few final books that I picked up that excited me. The one on the right is 行人 (which, I believe, is translated as The Wayfarer) by Natsume Sōseki that a smart person I know once had an interesting reading/argument about. The other book is one I picked up on a whim and essentially translates to Empire and Constitutionalism: Why Couldn't the Second Sino-Japanese War Be Prevented?. I read the preface and skimmed a few spots and essentially the argument seems to be that the word that Japan uses for what we would call "empire" would switch between empire and constitutionalism (i.e. Japan's use of western constitutionalism after the Tokugawa shogunate in order to ensure national independence) changes because each of these words has an affective weight to them. Empire means something different than constitutionalism, so tracking their use in different conversations is really interesting 📚📚📚 This leads into me throwing my two cents in on the insanity happening in the US right now. I don't understand it at all. I don't understand why people continue to cling to an idealized (and fake) image of their country — and yet openly berate and mock other countries that do so. If you want to be proud of a confederate background, fine, but you can't pick and choose what part of that background you want to accept. The cornerstone of the confederate way of life was built on slavery. It doesn't matter whether your great-great-great grandfather had slaves, what matters is that their world needed slaves to exist, so they ultimately needed to maintain the status quo — which featured slavery. If you cannot accept that then you are not truly accepting your past. This is the same thing we do in Japan and I still see the denial happening all over the place. This is why I study Japanese literature, because it is something I think is truly beautiful, but also something that ultimately cannot be removed from its cultural, political, and historical matrix. You need to face the past and own up to what it meant; you need to renounce the things that were immoral and fight to make the world better in spite of the past.
"두사람은 서로를 위해 입 밖에 낸 모든 말은 즐거움 뿐만 아니라 늘 일종의 희생이 내포되어 있다고 굳게 믿었다. 희생을 치르고 나면 그들이 느꼈던 즐거움이 고통으로 돌변할 수 있다는 진부한 사실 조차 깨닫지 못했다" "다이스케의 입장에서 세이고는 손잡이가 없는 주전자 같은 존재로 어느쪽으로 손을 내밀어야 할지 알 수 없었다"
14시간의 미친 연착 비행을 즐겁게 그리고 돌아보게 한 명작. 감사했다 #singapore#soseki#thedayafter#그후#북스타그램
I find more healing to the heart in the delights of these poems than in the world of plays or dance parties. Such poetry gives me more pleasure than does Faust or Hamlet. Thus is precisely why I stroll these spring mountains now with painting box and tripod slung on my back. I long to breathe and absorb the natural world of Yuanming and Wang Wei's poetry, to loiter awhile in the realm of unhuman detachment. Call it a whim of mine.
Natsume Soseki, Kusamakura
PENGUIN CLASSICS- Sanshiro by Natsume Soseki. Translated by Jay Rubin and foreword by Haruki Murakami. Published in 2009. Paperback, new, 235 pages. ISBN 9780140455625. Price: RM54.00
This book on Sanshiro who begins university life in the big city of Tokyo having graduated from a provincial college in the early 1900s, has been a perennial classic in Japan. This edition contains notes for further reading and a chronology. #bookstagram#reading#booksonline#bacathereadingroom#soseki#harukimurakami#sanshiro