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Granta 127: Japan by Yuka Igarashi

Granta 127: Japan (original 2014; edition 2014)

by Yuka Igarashi (Author)

Series: Granta (127)

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763238,936 (3.5)4
Title:Granta 127: Japan
Authors:Yuka Igarashi (Author)
Info:Granta Publications (2014), 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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Granta 127: Japan by Yuka Igarashi (Editor) (2014)



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As usual for Granta, not all of these were to my taste, but on the whole it's a good collection. ( )
  tronella | Jun 22, 2019 |
47. Granta 127: Japan (spring 2014, 280 pages, Read July 23 - August 16)

I was a bit intimidated by the Japanese theme, afraid it would contain a collection of odd stories that would be difficult for me to appreciate. That says something about my bias is on Japanese literature, especially since I had not previously read any Japanese literature. Anyway, the magazine is a nice collection of stories and essays by Japanese authors or on Japanese themes. There are some oddball stories, but a lot of very good stuff. I think my favorite story was by Chinese-America author Tao Lin, where asks his Chinese parents about Japanese people and watches them stumble over their answers.

Brief notes on each story or essay. My favorites have an asterisk.

Sayaka Murata - A Clean Marriage, translated from Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori - short story
Definitely odd. A couple in a sexless marriage decide to get pregnant, told by the wife.

Toshiki Okada - Breakfast, translated from Japanese by Michael Emmerich - short story
Odd applies again. This is about the break-up of a marriage. The narrator’s wife flies in to Tokyo for less than a day only to meet with her husband to end the relationship.

David Mitchell - Variations on a Theme by Mister Donut – short story
A simple story in a donut shop told from several different points of view. Mildly entertaining.

*Ruth Ozeki – Linked – Personal essay
Ozeki writes about her grandfather, who was born in Japan, emigrated to Hawaii, and then, after four years of incarceration during WWII, having lost everything, returned to Japan. Her grandfather was a serious poet who wrote haikus. After her essay, she includes several of his haikus along with her own responses, which I found it well done.

*Kyoko Nakajima - Things Remembered and Things Forgotten, translated by Ian M. Macdonald - short story
Probably my favorite short story. It’s a bit odd in style, but it’s a simple story. An older man goes with his wife to meet his senile older brother in his nursing home. Then nostalgia brings him back to the dark days after WWII, where memory doesn’t exactly match reality.

*Tao Lin - Final Fantasy III – Personal Essay(?)
The American-Chinese author asks his parents about what they like about Japan.

Hiromi Kawakami - Blue Moon, translated from Japanese by Lucy North - personal essay(?)
A haiku poet’s experiences after being diagnosed with possible terminal cancer

*Hiroko Oyamada - Spider Lilies, translated from Japanese by Juliet Winters Carpenter - short story
Good stuff. The narrator meets her fiance's very strange grandmother who tells her some very strange stuff about spider lilies and breast milk. It's almost believable.

Pico Iyer - The Beauty of the Package - personal essay
Iyer explores Japanese culture through the actions in a Japanese wedding he attends. He is interested in the relationship between acting out the expression of a feeling and the actually feeling.

*Andrés Felipe Solano - Pig Skin, translated from Spanish by Nick Caistor - short story
Odd and entertaining - but odd in what i would consider a non-Japanese way. A Columbian on a ferry between Korea and Japan befriends a Korean who asks for some unusual favors.

Toh EnJoe – Printable, translated from Japanese by David G. Boyd - short story
Philosophical essay of sorts that begins with the narrator translating a long, unwritten work

*David Peace - After the War, Before the War: Ryūnosuke Akutagawa on The Bridge of Nine Turnings, in Shanghai, in 1921 - fictional biography
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa was a real Japanese author and this is Peace’s fictional account of him from an incomplete novel. I found it fascinating to see a reflective Japanese point of view of Shanghai before the fighting started.

Adam Johnson, Scavengers - personal essay
About his experiences in North Korea and his curiosity in the story of a famous North Korean wrestler who was raised in and performed in Japan.

*Yukiko Motoya - The Dogs - short story
Wintering in self-chosen isolation, a woman gets attached to a pack of wild dogs, while only vaguely aware of the problems they are causing.

Rebecca Solnit - Arrival Gates - personal essay
After going to several disaster sights in Japan in some kind of work capacity, the author walks the orange gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha, a shrine in Kyoto.

*Tomoyuki Hoshino – Pink - short story
A young woman babysitting her niece during a heat wave gets caught up in communal spinning – as in spinning her body in circles. Enjoyed this, but the meaning is quite mysterious to me. ( )
2 vote dchaikin | Aug 25, 2014 |
A Clean Marriage - Sayaka Murata.
Variations on a Theme by Mister Donut - David Mitchell.
Things Remembered and Things Forgotten - Kyoko Nakajima.
Out of The Ark (photo essay) - Yumiko Utsu.
Pig Skin - Andrés Felipe Solano. ( )
  Moomin_Mama | May 6, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Igarashi, YukaEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
EnJoe, TohContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hahn, KimikoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hamada, YujiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoshino, TomoyukiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Iyer, PicoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, AdamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kawakami, HiromiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lin, TaoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Motoya, YukikoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Murata, SayakaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nakajima, KyokoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Okada, ToshikiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oyamada, HirokoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ozeki, RuthContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peace, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Solano, Andrés FelipeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Solnit, RebeccaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Utsu, YumikoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yokota, DaisukeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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My husband emerged from the bedroom, woken by the beeps at the end of the washing-machine cycle.
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A Clean Marriage by Sayaka Murata

Breakfast by Toshiki Okada

Variations on a Theme by Mister Donut by David Mitchell

Linked by Ruth Ozeki

Things Remembered and Things Forgotten by Kyoko Nakajima

Final Fantasy III by Tao Lin

Primal Mountain by Yuji Hamada

Blue Moon by Hirmoi Kawakami

The Japanese Firefly Squid by Kimiko Hahn

Spider Lilies by Hiroko Oyamada

Out of Ark by Yumiko Utsu

The Beauty of the Package by Pico Iyer

Pig Skin by Andres Felipe Solano

Printable by Toh EnJoe

After the War, Before the War by David Peace

from Site by Daisuke Yokota

Scavengers by Adam Johnson

The Dogs by Yukiko Motoya

Arrival Gates by Rebecca Solnit

Pink by Tomoyuki Hoshino
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Hello Kitty, earthquakes, manga, samurai, robots and sushi. These are some of the things we think about when we think about Japan. This small island nation looms large in the popular imagination, in often contradictory ways: as the epitome of refinement and tradition, and as an embodiment of a shiny, soulless future. What is Japan to those who really know it? This issue includes translated work from the most exciting Japanese writers today, alongside work in English. Building on their expanding international partnerships, Granta Japan will be published in conjunction with the first Japanese-language edition of the magazine, with pieces shared and translated between Japanese and English. Both issues will be pre-launched at the Tokyo International Literary Festival in March 2014, and will spark new dialogue between two literary cultures.

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