Archive for japan

The Book Booth: Memorial Day Edition

Is this Shakespeare? A 400-year-old book says it is.

Is this Shakespeare?
A 400-year-old book says it is.

Image: BBC

The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing. @SeattleDan, along with his wife, SeattleTammy, are operators of both an on-line bookstore here, as well as a brick and mortar storefront mini-store in Hoquiam, WA at 706 Simpson Ave (Route 101 South). Both have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Memorial Day Edition

We enter our long weekend that honors those men and women who have, as Lincoln said, given their last full measure of devotion in service to their country. It is good to have a long weekend, but let's do take a moment to remember those people who have served us to their utmost.

Memorial Day does mark the unofficial start of summer (though I object; summer starts when summer starts and not a second sooner), and with the coming of the warmer months, many of us plan traveling vacations. The folks at Bustle suggested a few places to visit that are the settings for some pretty good books here.

Of course Paris holds many a literary landmark. So those traveling abroad may want to consider these places, too. Again, from the well-traveled folks at Bustle.
Literary landmarks in Paris.

If the Far East, and specifically Tokyo, is your destination, check out the Tsutaya Bookstore, which sent Tom Downey, a writer at Gone, into paroxysms of delight. Via my friend Naka Oh.
Must Visit Tokyo bookstore.

James Joyce once remarked that Italian literature was Dante and that was saying quite a lot. No figure dominates the landscape as the master of terza rima. And it seems the poet turns 750 years old this year. He remains well worth anyone's time to read. John Kleiner at the New Yorker has this appreciation.
Dante would be 750 Years Old This Year

The same may be said of Shakespeare for English literature. But we've never been quite sure what the man looked like. The English magazine Country Life thinks his contemporary likeness has been found in, of all things, a book of botany that came out in the 1590s.
What Did Shakespeare Look Like?

In the Lost and Found Department, it seems that over the years filmmaker Orson Welles worked on his memoirs, tentatively titled Confessions of a One Man Band. Archivists at the University of Michigan have found extensive fragments. When and if published, they should be a very interesting read.
Orson Welles's Memoirs (Fragments)

And then there has been found an early unpublished work by Anton Chekhov, The Frank. The book is a collection of humor pieces and short fiction and will soon be published by the New York Review of Books. Jonathan Sturgeon at Flavorwire has the story here.
Unpublished Chekhov Work: The Frank

Earlier this week, I listened to a delightful interview by Robert Siegel of famed cartoonist Jules Feiffer on NPR. You can read the highlights or listen yourself here:
Jules Feiffer on NPR

So it is fitting that a new book has been published about him, Out of Line: The Art of Jules Feiffer. At age 86, the man is still working and recently wrote a graphic novel, a form new to him, called Kill My Mother. In conjunction with the publication of Out of Line, Feiffer had this conversation with Neil Gaiman, which you can read about here.
Jules Feiffer Talks With Neil Gaiman

And at last, we'll go out with a little quiz. Buzzfeed wants to know how many of these film adaptations of books you have seen. It seems I've not seen enough of them, much less read all the books.
Film Adaptations Quiz
Have a fine weekend working your way through your large pile of books and let us know which ones you are currently devouring.


Tokyo Revealed-Documentary



Image: Travel Channel

From: YouTube


Video Mid Day Distraction- Japanese Kindergartners Sing the Dayman Song from It's Always Sunny


I have no idea what the song is (I actively avoid "It's Always Sunny") but the kids are damn cute. Via.


Rape Shocker in Asian Culture


SadSome things I find hard to believe – not because I know they can’t be true, but because I don’t want to believe they might be. Here’s one of those stories.

First, the source: The BBC. For years I’ve always thought of this stellar news organization to be among the best run, carefully vetted outfits in the world. Something published by the BBC put it miles ahead of many other news sources. BBC came with the Zenith assurance, “quality goes in before the name goes on.”

Today I caught this feature and it disturbed me on so many levels.


Almost a quarter of men surveyed in a UN report looking at violence against women in parts of Asia have admitted to committing at least one rape.

Rape was particularly common within relationships. However, one in 10 men admitted raping a woman who was not their partner.

Ten thousand men from six countries took part in the survey.

As my kids are both half-Asian, this was most eye-opening to me. My wife is Asian as are many of my closest friends. This story made me immediately defensive. I was actually more outraged. How could this be? The Asian’s I know are among the gentlest, kindest and compassionate people in the world. Maybe I could find some fault with the survey group or the source:

Percentage of men admitting rape

  • Papua New Guinea Bougainville Island - 62%
  • Indonesia Papua Province - 48.6%
  • Indonesia urban - 26.2%
  • China urban/rural - 22.2%
  • Cambodia - 20.4%
  • Indonesia rural - 19.5%
  • Sri Lanka - 14.5%
  • Bangladesh rural - 14.1%
  • Bangladesh urban - 9.5%

I have to say, this isn’t the full Asian community. There’s no Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, or so many other Asian countries.

What I hope is that this very condemning report is quickly amended to correct what surely must be an overstatement based on a limited sampling.

"These data justifiably create global outrage, accentuated by horrific recent high-profile cases, including the brutal gang rape of a student in New Delhi," said Dr Michele Decker from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore

"More than half of non-partner rape perpetrators first did so as adolescents, which affirms that young people are a crucial target population for prevention of rape.

"The challenge now is to turn evidence into action, to create a safer future for the next generation of women and girls

That said, I find this implied cultural attack on women appalling. It’s abhorrent and perhaps now is the time for religious, ethnic leaders in the Asian community to start looking into better educating their communities. And if there are deep-rooted reasons that these egregious acts are taking place, I hope talk, openness and help to resolve this cultural abhorrence will be forthcoming.