Fall doesn’t come to Ikijima the same way it does for other places in Japan. There is no spectacular changing of the leaves like in Kyoto. The sky is that same perfect blue and the foliage dries out quite a bit, but the dominant colour of the island is still green. A night it can get down to 7 degrees Celsius, and it might only be 12 degrees during the day! Utterly freezing! ⛄ 😜 November was a roller-coaster ride of productivity. The first few days I was glued to the TV and various US news websites, like much of the rest of the world — my productivity was totally shot for about 3 days.
For the first month in a long time, I did not travel. My intention was to spend some autumn days driving around Hirado, the legendary island home of the Japanese pirates who marauded the seas between Japan, Korea and China. That will have to wait until next year.
In the meantime I stayed at home, reading, writing, and thinking about writing and about how to assess art and ideas in a more systematic way. Recently I began contributing book reviews for Books on Asia. One review is linked below, but expect more for them in the coming months. I also have some work in the pipeline for the Literary Review of Canada and some other publications that I hope to share soon.
December will be a month of wrapping up responsibilities and preparing for the new year. One piece of house-cleaning I intend to do for the new year is move this newsletter to a different service. Tinyletter hasn’t been updated in about a decade and it is getting long in the tooth. Hopefully it will be a seamless process and you won’t even notice, but I thought I would let you know just in case the move triggers any opt-in notifications your way. If you ever have any questions, or feel like you are getting any weird email from me, always feel free to reach out.
You will get one more newsletter from me this year, on New Year’s Eve. Until then, have a lovely holiday, take care of yourselves, stay healthy, and make some good memories. 2020 is almost over!
Articulate Noise — Review of Better Living Through Criticism
Criticizing the critics.
Negotiating the seas
My first review for BooksOnAsia.net
Island of Gods, Island of Demons
An Ikijima tale told in kites.
Friends came to Iki in October and I showed them around. Here are some pics from those adventures. Photos →
Pics from last month’s trip to Imari. Photos →
Pics from last month’s trip to Arita. Photos →
Pankaj Mishra does what he does best, taking down liberalism. Link ($) →
Enjoyable podcast on Malcolm X. Link →
Beautiful short documentary on a group of tattooed men who take an annual pilgrimage to a mountaintop shrine in Japan. Video →
(New feature! I will post a quick note on what I am reading this exact moment.)
Japan In Asia: Post-Cold-War Diplomacy [55% complete]
Professor Tanaka Akihito catalogues Japan’s diplomatic history since the end of the Cold War in comprehensive detail. Japan finds itself in a new world after the burst of the Bubble and end of the war in Cambodia, while a newly-formed Russia and a rising China make their way in Asia. Tanaka takes us through the various hurdles that Japan has faced in its foreign policy over the past 30 years.