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

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

“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

Okinawa vs. the US Military: A Big Controversy on a Small Island

Thomas Joel - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Japan and the United States are two nations with a longstanding military alliance. No country hosts more US troops than Japan, and nowhere in Japan are there more US bases than on the island of Okinawa. Naturally, this has caused more than a little friction between the people of Okinawa and the US and Japanese governments. Read More

​Sequestered to the Edge of the World: Dehumanization in the Japanese Internment Camps

Thomas Joel - Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Detained throughout ten isolated “relocation centers”—a political euphemism for concentration camps—Japanese Americans were crowded into rickety wooden barracks amidst bleak deserts and inhospitable swamplands that offered little shelter from the harsh climates: the sweltering sun and frigid nights, the oppressive Arkansas humidity and turbulent Southwestern dust storms. 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!

China Smart

Essential essays on all things Chinese that inform and entertain travelers, students, and anyone working or living in China

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

book signing travel to japan pulitzer prize osaka monk wife association of jewish libraries japanese instruments asian review of books tracy franz world literature today author ripe mangoes amys guide to best behavior in japan eli lieberman History janet pocrobba peace haibun four immigrants no longer human manga biography journal of a zen monk's wife memoir writing a shameful life Korea photography Japanese art publishing criterion author event ancient symbol shamisen performance book talk Translation purification Culture student teacher chapters state of belief book reviews tokyo drinking in japan Interview Japanese holidays janet pocorbba how to Japan World War Two a mejiro novel poetry of consciousness traditional japanese instrument Chinese history chinese literature zen monks wife' Basho author talk my year of dirt and water japan ravel travel etiquette Japanese literature otakuusa polite japanese customs osamu dazai japan travel books Year of the Dog manga Nikolas Bunton eating in japan book blurb china book a memoir of sensei and me danica davidson oh tama ibpa publishing university chinese memoir foreword indies classic poetry japanese travel nazi Christianity Korea washington dc 1960s Korea AAS learning in japan gallery awa best behavior in japan larry herzberg tea lesley university juddhism japanese craft hate henry kiyama illustration forty seven ronin bowing in japan yukio mishima asia foreword indies award book japanese books in english journal japanese book reading nova scotia astrology interfaith japan books diymfa damian flanagan jared cook amys guide to bes tbehavior in japan Chinese New Year frank beyer jun hazuki huffington post comics book review living in japan frederik schodt hooked cross the millions japan book alan moore forty seven samurai book publicity foreword reviews classic japanese literature swastika reviews new york what do in japan william f sibley the fourth string graphic novels diary japanese manners japan guide kyodo news summer vacation japanese book how to travel in japan ningen shikkaku takuma sminkey the inland sea zen monk internment travel Japan giajin kyoto journal japanese bath japanese instrument author signing hitlers cross astro boy catcher in the rye jing liu foreigner in japan gaijin 1960's Japan budhist swastika the silver spoon japanese music japanese etiquette Chinese culture in the woods of memory visitor gaijin pot new books awards alan brill dirt and water journal' monks wife janet pocorobba comic history poet journal of a zen monk suehiro maruo tricycle magazine literary prize min kahng politics and prose stone bridge press Christianity in Japan japan travel guide zen monk wife huffpost china guide book tour 47 samurai bookstore donald richie japan manners matcha IBPA etiquette book hoarding china vacation zen forewrod reviews indies Second World War manji travel literature ancient symbols wife luke patitsas Coming of Age Day literary review book award tk nakagaki dark horse traditional japanese music announcement japan today doris bargen evil keanu reeves Ukiyo-e Shoah hippocampus magazine PEN AWARD michael emmerich death guide understandind china through comics center of east asian studies stone bridge cafe china history japan travel etiquette verticle japan custom namethetranslator VIZ wanderlust the buddhist swastika japanese classic shun medoruma china travel Art/Design the japan times The Colorado Review leonard koren how to order in japan publicity 4k religion 2019 paul mccarthy china smart holocaust japanese culture mark gibeau japan visitor japanese cutlure benjamin franklin awards classic kyoto ritual shaimsen Spring Festival Language lions roar fred schodt Children's Books China university of chicago osamu tezuka bushido gaijinpot black jack japan book review china What You Don’t Know, What You Need to Know— A Past & Present Guide to History, Culture, Society, Language rebecca otowa china where igo will eisner Okinawan literature musical society Anime/Manga/Comics japan trip zen monk in japan japanese to english 47 ronin dazai peace symbol the fourth string a memoir of sensei and me brad hawley memior hiroaki sato trip american shamisen koun buddhist swastika nichi bei weekly, naomi hirarahara Tokyo Olympics journal of a zen monks wife in japan pottery pacific rim review of books memoir, tracy franz, zen monk, buddhist international book award non-fiction tourist simba Japanese aesthetics welton gaddy japan food monk rachel manley author tour osamau tezuka japan etiquette Chinese Astrology event donald keene japanese books japanese drunk Spirituality 2020 Olympics a memoir Chiune Sugihara japan memoir the asian review of books why we write podcast buddhist priest koto buddhist award podcast controversy kansuke naka forest gander Alexandra Johnson tea garden Asian Studies the hidden writer traditional ex pat literature writing anime nara kris kosaka japan restaurant expat benjamin franklin award fantasy literature new york events japan vacation tomoko aoyama classic literature performance kimba the white lion mieko kanai the lion king lucille cara hitler zazen holden caufield Travel Olympics shamisen the japan society amy chavez haiku suicide finalist Children's Literature seppuku World War II Basho's Narrow Road Poetry t.k. nakagaki traditional japanese instrumenet japan behavior buddhist symbols do it right and be polite japanese translation miswest book review eastern and western philosophy literature learning shamisen buddhism kinokuniya event walt disney expat in japan review japan culture UCLA gratitude in japan photography chinese comics new release japanese people translators film sensei year of zen monks wife hitler symbol travel manners jungle emperor green tea sensei and me blurb disney manners WWII behavior diy mfa