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The above is the link to a photoessay from TIME magazine about Japan at the height of its bubble economy in 1989, and the later downfall, sometimes referred to as the Heisei Malaise. To tell the truth it is rather weak, but a worthwhile study in how to tell a story using pictures that don’t necessarily fit the narrative. Case in point picture 10. A tired man in a suit. This one is equally at home in the 1980s as in the 2000s. But note how the caption transforms the viewing and interpretation of the–mostly unremarkable–images. It is the photo-journalistic equivalent of buffalax.

Dedicated to Narihira:


arifureta kusa ni okitaru shiratsuyu de

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Well, I’ll never forget how to say this now.

I don’t know if the accompanying hand-motions are part of some international sign-language, but if they are not, perhaps they should be. Originally produced by Fuji TV, if you can believe that.

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If you’ve never read Kenkō’s Tsurezuregusa (Essays in Idleness), do it. Here’s a familiar gem from dan 127:


益 is read やく here.

Someone could probably translate this in a style much more appropriate to 14th c. Japan, but it essentially means this:

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

This is a great resource. It’s called Read the Kanji and is designed by a small New Orleans web design company squarefour. Disturbingly fun and strangely addictive (to my jinkaku, at least). Check it out. Highly recommended.

So it would seem that most of the posts in the near future will involve classical Japanese literature in one way or another. Probably dealing more directly with poetry. The reason being: I am faced with a seminar on classical Japanese poetry this semester. Looks like its going to be pretty brutal. But I might as well make something of it. Look forward to more classical Japanese poetry in the coming weeks.

Welcome to the Japonesque blog. Your one stop shop for…ok, I’m not a strong believer in strong introductions.  Read the About page if you’re really curious. So ようこそ。。。終。