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Literature

How Jung Chang’s ‘Wild Swans’ Made Me A Better Laowai

Before I lived in Tokyo and Seoul, I lived in Shanghai. Expats and locals alike in Tokyo and Seoul have joked with me more than once about the harshness of Chinese culture and the unpleasantness of life there; jokes such as: ‘On the Seoul subway, keep your voice down. You don’t want to be a …

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Review: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Every great novelist has pinned a theme to a punching bag and attempted to tackle it. And every theme has been tackled numerous times. ‘The lengths we go to for love’ as a theme, for example, has been thoroughly exhausted; this dead horse has been beaten black and blue by Mary Shelley, Emily Bronte, William …

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Interview with Young-Im Lee, Author of Forgotten Reflections: A War Story

Forgotten Reflections is a tale of survival and the ability to flourish through adversity during a devastating period of modern Korean history: The Korean War. Young-Im Lee has painted a truly staggering and diverse world that seems entirely removed from the modern day, and yet is immediately recognisable. I had the opportunity to get in …

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Review: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami

“I leaned my head against the wall and closed my eyes. May Kasahara was probably right. This person, this self, this me, was made somewhere else. Everything had come from somewhere else, and it would all go somewhere else. I was nothing but a pathway for the person known as me Even I know that …

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Review: Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Strange Weather in Tokyo is a cultural examination of post-war Japan packaged into a touching, life-affirming love story for the ages. The twentieth century, and the end of World War II, saw a global shift in culture, technology, and economics never before experienced. One of the places hit hardest by this was Japan, which previously had …

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