Brand New State

Brand New State

For my 51st birthday Anthony took me to see Daniel Fish’s production of Oklahoma! I knew it was supposed to be brilliant, but I had also read that the script was basically unchanged, and having recently rewatched the film version, I was having trouble imagining how it...
A Japanese Classic Illuminated

A Japanese Classic Illuminated

Portrait-Icon of Murasaki Shikibu (Murasaki Shikibu zu) Tosa Mitsuoki (1617-1691) Held at Ishiyama-dera Temple, Otsu, Shiga Prefecture (credit Wikimedia commons) I am writing today because I want to share my excitement about the stunning show now up at the Met in New...
An Early Feminist Novel

An Early Feminist Novel

Congratulations to my good friend Dawn Lawson, who has just won the Kyoko Selden Prize for her translation of Nakajima Shōen’s 1889 novel, A Famous Flower in Mountain Seclusion (『山間の名花』). Nakajima (1861-1901), also known as Kishida Toshiko, was one of...

Shiki’s second haiku

the white cat has disappeared snowy town Shironeko no / yukue wakarazu / yuki no machi 白猫の行衛わからず雪の町 It seems that Shiki was not satisfied with his first haiku about the cat on the roof that was heard but not seen. We know this because four years later, in 1889, he...
Shiki’s first haiku

Shiki’s first haiku

the snow is falling
 and a white cat on the roof
 is heard but not seen   Yuki furi ya / mune no shiro-neko / koe bakari
 雪ふりや棟の白猫声ばかり[1]   This is the first haiku that Masaoka Shiki wrote. He was seventeen years old and had been living in Tokyo for two years. He...