SBP Blog

The Japanese Poetic Tradition of Haibun in Basho's 'Narrow Road to the Interior'

Thomas Joel - Friday, April 27, 2018

Although his name has become synonymous with haiku mastery, Edo era poet Matsuo Bashō’s exalted status in Japanese literature is equally indebted to the prose compositions he wrote throughout his lifetime. However, poetry and prose were not mutually exclusive for Bashō, with some of his finest work dabbling in and fusing both forms of written expression. Read More

On Kenji Miyazawa’s 'Milky Way Railroad': A Fantasia of Self-Realization

Thomas Joel - Friday, March 16, 2018

Milky Way Railroad (Ginga Tetsudo no Yoru) is generally considered by critics and readers alike to be Kenji Miyazawa’s masterpiece of children’s literature. Nevertheless, despite its general popularity, numerous printings, and seemingly accessible view of the afterlife, it remains one of Miyazawa’s most difficult works to understand. Read More

Chinese New Year 2018: The Year of the Dog

Thomas Joel - Tuesday, February 13, 2018
The dog: loyal, clever, bursting with joy, ever loving and unfailingly gracious—man’s perennial best friend. All of which, with the Year of the Dog officially kicking off on Friday, is naturally copacetic with us. But, in the context of Chinese culture, what is the Year of the Dog all about? And what does it signify?  Read More

Exclusive Interview: Award-winning translator Hiroaki Sato on literary translation and 'The Silver Spoon'

Thomas Joel - Friday, January 26, 2018

Fresh from winning one of the two 2017-2018 Japan-United States Friendship Commission Prizes for his English translation of Kansuke Naka's classic Japanese memoir The Silver Spoonwe sat down with renowned translator, poet and author Hiroaki Sato to discuss his particular approach to translating literary works from Japanese into English.
 Read More

Coming of Age Day: A Japanese Celebration of Adulthood

Thomas Joel - Monday, January 08, 2018

In the United States and most other countries around the world, young men and women are legally recognized as adults at the age of 18. However, in a handful of nations this milestone is not acknowledged until later in life. One of those countries is Japan, where the age of majority is attained on a person’s 20th birthday.  Read More

Death in Mid-Autumn: The Art and Artifice of Yukio Mishima’s Final Moments

Thomas Joel - Monday, December 11, 2017

“True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys.”  Read More

​ The Practice of Naikan: How to Express Gratitude in Japan

Thomas Joel - Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The concepts of gratefulness and humility exist in practically every facet of Japanese culture and language, from the use of formal speech when talking to superiors and the subtle gradations of bowing to giving lavish compliments and always conducting oneself appropriately in the homes of others.
 Read More

Making Sense of Natural Disasters with 'Hojoki'

Thomas Joel - Tuesday, October 24, 2017
The hurricanes that in the past few months have ravaged Texas, Florida, eastern Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean have left vast regions swamped and in anguish. Massive earthquakes continue to pummel Mexico.  Read More

“Fall Into Haiku”: A Seasonal Poetry Celebration in Albany, California

Thomas Joel - Monday, October 09, 2017

“Real haiku is the soul of poetry. Anything that is not actually present in one's heart is not haiku. The moon glows, flowers bloom, insects cry, water flows. There is no place we cannot find flowers or think of the moon. This is the essence of haiku.”  Read More

The Meticulous Art of Traditional Japanese Woodworking

Thomas Joel - Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Japan is a country with one foot eagerly frolicking in modernity and the other firmly planted in tradition. While it produces some of the most advanced technologies, from artificially intelligent androids and computers to virtual reality entertainment and bleeding edge electronics, it also cherishes steadfast traditions and preserves its centuries-old wooden buildings and furniture.   Read More

Like our blog? Please share it!


Subscribe to the SBP Mailing List

New Releases

Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan

Going to Japan? This unfussy modern guide guarantees you keep it polite and get it right!

Easy and Fun Katakana

Learn the second key Japanese syllabary from every angle: reading, writing, and real-world examples.

Oh, Tama!

A deeply eccentric novel about lives and connections—and a cat of course—in 1980s Tokyo: witty, offbeat, and strangely profound.

The Fourth String

Two women. Two cultures. One music.

Tag Cloud

forewrod reviews indies foreigner in japan journal of a zen monks wife in japan alan brill juddhism japanese etiquette History Interview Korea photography Japanese literature photography japanese culture stone bridge cafe amy chavez catcher in the rye review Travel chinese comics seppuku shamisen performance Nikolas Bunton interfaith anime damian flanagan nazi holocaust author signing fred schodt Chinese Astrology literary review yukio mishima books danica davidson verticle benjamin franklin award announcement suicide Olympics behavior jared cook tk nakagaki book review event astro boy donald keene Asian Studies Poetry Chinese culture lions roar japanese books in english holden caufield kyoto peace Japan diy mfa ancient symbol 1960's Japan UCLA Children's Books the millions Year of the Dog japan behavior year of zen zen monk in japan zen monk wife japanese translation osaka shun medoruma Japanese holidays welton gaddy learning shamisen Christianity in Japan buddhism finalist manga state of belief 2019 asian review of books henry kiyama Culture comics journal janet pocrobba hippocampus magazine tea garden the fourth string traditional 2020 Olympics monks wife Chinese New Year dark horse internment Chiune Sugihara the asian review of books book reading Korea purification mark gibeau a mejiro novel a memoir of sensei and me Japanese aesthetics kansuke naka takuma sminkey etiquette Christianity japanese instruments hooked cross brad hawley eastern and western philosophy book tour hiroaki sato classic japanese literature kyodo news rachel manley Translation wife author tour gaijin pot zazen the japan society center of east asian studies WWII japan today japanese classic pacific rim review of books sensei swastika japan travel japan custom what do in japan Basho's Narrow Road book signing new york literature haiku Chinese history Tokyo Olympics japanese craft min kahng author event memoir, tracy franz, zen monk, buddhist poetry of consciousness Coming of Age Day book hoarding bookstore publicity understandind china through comics Spring Festival ningen shikkaku haibun author manga biography japanese books memior japanese instrument guide tomoko aoyama book blurb Anime/Manga/Comics diymfa publishing disney Language religion japan book review amys guide to best behavior in japan japanese manji japanese drunk politics and prose learning in japan Children's Literature japanese bath illustration my year of dirt and water t.k. nakagaki memoir writing no longer human podcast japan etiquette The Colorado Review otakuusa frank beyer book publicity tracy franz gallery awa book talk koto jing liu eating in japan pottery hate green tea japan memoir student teacher osamu dazai janet pocorbba Second World War China tokyo classic bowing in japan japanese music osamu tezuka zen visitor shamisen traditional japanese instrumenet journal of a zen monk's wife miswest book review Basho gaijinpot the japan times why we write podcast musical buddhist lesley university memoir Alexandra Johnson janet pocorobba sensei and me mieko kanai alan moore will eisner a memoir World War Two journal' monks wife black jack giajin hitler world literature today tourist how to the buddhist swastika jun hazuki the fourth string a memoir of sensei and me tea buddhist swastika dazai gratitude in japan koun Okinawan literature a shameful life Spirituality literary prize washington dc non-fiction new books manners writing IBPA huffpost stone bridge press ibpa publishing university tricycle magazine VIZ japan trip book monk wife new release oh tama PEN AWARD new york events blurb shaimsen michael emmerich expat japanese cutlure japan book japan culture Ukiyo-e in the woods of memory suehiro maruo asia paul mccarthy hitlers cross zen monk ex pat literature how to travel in japan university of chicago ancient symbols travel to japan foreword indies fantasy literature living in japan astrology the hidden writer reviews Japanese art kinokuniya event amys guide to bes tbehavior in japan best behavior in japan american shamisen polite travel Japan japan books comic history book reviews huffington post japanese customs monk benjamin franklin awards japan guide ritual gaijin drinking in japan award buddhist priest buddhist symbols japan vacation japanese travel foreword reviews japanese book frederik schodt AAS japanese people awards performance 1960s Korea evil the silver spoon journal of a zen monk World War II william f sibley diary walt disney Shoah japan restaurant nara leonard koren china history book award four immigrants matcha traditional japanese instrument nichi bei weekly, naomi hirarahara graphic novels Art/Design how to order in japan japan food