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!

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

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