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

Forty-Seven Samurai

One of the most spectacular vendettas ever: the history and haiku behind the mass-suicide featured in the 2013 film 47 Ronin

Oh, Tama!

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

Tag Cloud

manners buddhist swastika hitler Asian Studies AAS donald keene anime writing how to book signing steve alpert Christianity in Japan author event learning in japan hippocampus magazine living in japan frederik schodt kyoto guidebook brad hawley Second World War a memoir of sensei and me publicity forty seven samurai hitlers cross new york events sensei and me manga biography japanese rachel manley osaka Okinawan literature michael emmerich osamau tezuka swastika what do in japan zen monk japanese music paul mccarthy pacific rim review of books mieko kanai Spirituality china vacation japanese bath minamata event china smart japanese customs death janet pocrobba janet pocorobba min kahng traditional amy chavez juddhism travel etiquette sharing a house with the never ending man a memoir japan travel etiquette keanu reeves Nikolas Bunton in the woods of memory gaijin travel to japan Chinese culture year of zen etiquette poetry of consciousness japanese business Children's Literature tk nakagaki Children's Books tea comic history book tour book club larry herzberg zen monk in japan drinking in japan sean michael wilsonl akiko shimojima gallery awa non-fiction japanese etiquette nhk nazi kansuke naka graphic novel book reading ningen shikkaku tomoko aoyama china where igo asian review of books japan book review japan behavior Tokyo Olympics UCLA jungle emperor foreword reviews pulitzer prize eco disaster ripe mangoes takuma sminkey forest gander memoir writing Japanese literature stone bridge press podcast purification japan travel guide Shoah comics peace symbol zen diy mfa journal of a zen monks wife in japan author tour seppuku otakuusa Korea book review doris bargen hooked cross danica davidson shamisen performance classic literature janet pocorbba memior do it right and be polite dirt and water kotaku politics and prose expert will eisner sensei foreword indies award poet haiku literature shamisen steve heller japan guide announcement Japan peace machiya restaurant guide hitler symbol ritual huffpost journal of a zen monk's wife awards musical diary monk book recommendation Interview photography China how to order in japan ancient symbol book publicity visitor kyoto travel gratitude in japan japan books japan today zazen chinese literature travel Japan rebecca otowa hayao miyazaki stone bridge cafe book review Language foreword indies center of east asian studies classic poetry criterion Basho japan vacation japan trip china book minamata story History PEN AWARD gaijinpot Chinese Astrology 2020 Olympics benjamin franklin award Coming of Age Day japanese manners literary prize wanderlust japan ravel chinese huffington post IBPA kinokuniya event 1960s Korea the buddhist swastika 15 years at studio ghibli alan moore trip koun translators Alexandra Johnson new york internment black jack kyoto journal interfaith kyoto jing liu holocaust World War Two eco tragedy china What You Don’t Know, What You Need to Know— A Past & Present Guide to History, Culture, Society, Language Art/Design Basho's Narrow Road journal of a zen monk bowing in japan t.k. nakagaki tea garden Chiune Sugihara zen monk wife World War II suicide tokyo the fourth string eastern and western philosophy japan etiquette author signing catcher in the rye international book award blurb hiaku traditional japanese music benjamin franklin awards frederik green the japan times evil dazai why we write podcast nara gaijin pot chinese books budhist swastika polite koto Korea photography pottery osamu dazai simba hong kong association of jewish libraries nova scotia classic Spring Festival japan culture student teacher monk wife finalist lions roar ancient symbols holden caufield the fourth string a memoir of sensei and me japan times Olympics learning shamisen Chinese history mark gibeau studying in japan understandind china through comics suehiro maruo a mejiro novel alan brill japan travel 20th century chinese literature reviews american shamisen buddhist symbols mentorship in japan film japanese people machiya restaurant four immigrants books japan food eating in japan education about asia japanese translation forty seven ronin china history hate japanese classic travel manners wife Chinese New Year 47 samurai chapters chinese comics award 47 ronin damian flanagan journal lucille cara haibun monks wife amys guide to best behavior in japan Ukiyo-e yukio mishima no longer human tourist book talk 4k zen monks wife' ex pat literature oh tama japan memoir kimba the white lion symbol new release japan custom disney book award Japanese art controversy Anime/Manga/Comics washington dc traditional japanese instrumenet best behavior in japan Travel japanese craft Year of the Dog buddhism japanese book new books bookstore Poetry japan visitor asia Translation japan book foreigner in japan ibpa publishing university donald richie neil gaiman forewrod reviews indies japanese cutlure publishing Japanese holidays tricycle magazine expat in japan lesley university The Colorado Review johnny depp xu xu memoir memoir in japan diymfa university of chicago kyodo news book blurb Culture manga state of belief the inland sea behavior frank beyer eli lieberman amys guide to bes tbehavior in japan my year of dirt and water author talk japanese instruments the japan society traditional japanese instrument author expat welton gaddy performance environmental disaster tracy franz japanese history namethetranslator miyazaki Japanese aesthetics japan restaurant japan manners buddhist bushido japanese to english nichi bei weekly, naomi hirarahara shun medoruma astrology china guide summer vacation classic japanese literature japanese culture japanese books in english illustration book hoarding society studio ghibli osamu tezuka WWII the asian review of books religion how to travel in japan japanese books giajin world literature today a shameful life china travel shaimsen henry kiyama literary review 1960's Japan the millions anne prescott the hidden writer miswest book review fantasy literature william f sibley eugene smith astro boy fiction nashville scene bookseller luke patitsas graphic novels journal' monks wife the lion king matcha book reviews jun hazuki guide walt disney manji kris kosaka 2019 japanese drunk travel literature green tea learning instruments in japan japanese travel bird talk and other stories the silver spoon leonard koren buddhist priest memoir, tracy franz, zen monk, buddhist hiroaki sato japanese instrument Christianity