Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Japanese Literature Challenge 3

Our journey begins,
the masters bid you welcome--
attend to their words.
Magical Mystical Teacher

The Japanese Literature Challenge 3 marks the start of another reading adventure! That is what a challenge is meant to do- challenge you to read some of the books you've been meaning to read or challenge you to step out of the box and try something new.

Japanese Literature is usually defined by the beautifully written prose and poetry. And Bellezza of Dolce Bellezza has organized this challenge to begin July 30th, 2009 and end January 30th, 2010! "All you have to do is read one work of Japanese origin. It can be literature of course, but don't feel confined to that. You may choose to read poetry, biographies, short stories or even manga. If you are willing to read one such piece, you've met the challenge." All the readers who are participating in the challenge have a link at Dolce Bellezza to their announcement of their participation and their reviews HERE! There are some wonderful prizes for participating too! For all the details about the challenge and prizes head over to Dolce Bellezza HERE and read all about it. Bellezza also has a list of reading suggestions. (click on "reading suggestions" to be taken to the list!). Anyone can sign-up to participate and last look there were 67 people up for the challenge already!

This challenge gives me the nudge to read Haruki Murakami, famous for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, Kafka on the Shore and a long list of other books. He is well known for mixing the mundane with the bizarre. One of my choices to meet the challenge is to read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle ... "Bad things come in threes for Toru Okada. He loses his job, his cat disappears, and then his wife fails to return from work. His search for his wife (and his cat) introduces him to a bizarre collection of characters, including two psychic sisters, a possibly unbalanced teenager, an old soldier who witnessed the massacres on the Chinese mainland at the beginning of the Second World War, and a very shady politician." I'm eager to finally read this author! Thanks Bellezza for giving me the nudge!

One of my other choices is Be With You by Takuji Ichikawa..."When Takumi's wife suddenly returns from the grave, he can't believe his eyes. How could such a thing be possible? Is she here to stay? Has love miraculously triumphed over death? As Takumi starts looking for answers to these questions, he discovers the secret of his wife's appearance is somehow linked to the past...and the future". This love story "captivated millions of Japanese readers", inspired a blockbuster movie, a TV series and a best-selling manga. It also took me into the manga section of Borders to find it. I love a good ghost story and this seems to blend both a love story & ghost story into something very special. The opening paragraph hooked me:

"When Mio died, this was how I thought.
Whoever made our planet must have made
another planet at the same time,
somewhere in the universe.
That would be the planet where people go when they die.
The name of that planet is Archive."

As I finish these books and maybe a few others ( I know I'm being a bit over ambitious here now!) I'll be putting up my reviews. I'll have a link to my reviews here!

Before I end today's post, I just wanted to point out the beautiful photograph that we are all using for our Challenge! It is from Tanabata, writer of In The Spring It Is The Dawn blog. She currently lives in Japan and took the photograph. She writes, "That photo was taken on the island of Miyajima, near Hiroshima. The shrine on the island is called Itsukushima-jinja and is a World Heritage site. The torii gate is considered one of the three great views in Japan." I think it is just an amazing photograph! I wanted to thank her for creating it for Bellezza and for allowing us to all share it for the challenge!

Up for the Challenge? Have you read any Japanese literature? Share some suggestions here!

Reviews for the Japanese Literature Challenge:
(Click on the Title to read the review)

Be With You by Takuji Ichikawa
Strangers by Taichi Yamada

Happy reading....

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