I may have missed the UW campus cherry blossoms, but I had a chance last month to see the cherry blossoms in Vancouver, BC, and they were gorgeous. These, of course, are not the only places in the city to see them, but Granville Island, Devonian Harbor Park, and Stanley Park were all easily accessible from the place I was staying downtown.

In Ishikawa, we used to say that the overcast weather actually made the flowers seem more vivid. I certainly treasured them more after the constant snow and wintry mix, when the landscape was no longer a white-out and the first colors (other than the camellias) emerged.*

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In this gender reader: 10 years and no movement on the separate surnames bill in Japan, the feminist power of Sailor Moon nostalgia, feminization and slurs in Korean queer terminology, wrist-grabbing isn’t sexy, Teddy girls, and more!

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Let’s all take a mental health break and look at some camellias.

Camellias Seattle | The Lobster Dance 8

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Content warning: 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, survivor’s guilt, PTSD, natural disasters, mentions of suicidal ideation, drowning, heights.

Donate to relief efforts here.

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Best of ALC, Part 3

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, but ALC is the translation gift that keeps on giving.

Friendly reminder that none of these entries are incorrect translations and that I’m glad that ALC covers so much English-language slang; the humor lies in the unexpectedly enthusiastic, oddly phrased, or out of date translations.

Part 1 | Part 2

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Reblog: Yellow Rose


As with many of the stories contained within Yoshiya’s Hana monogatari, “Yellow Roses” ends in tears. The story’s focus is not on plot, however, but rather the beauty of the two young women and the depth of their feelings for one another. Entire paragraphs are spent on detailed descriptions of mournful eyes and chiseled cheekbones, and the poetry of Sappho is quoted at length. As in the above passages, Yoshiya’s writing is characterized by fragments and ellipses, which heighten the emotional impact of certain scenes while leaving the reader free to fill in the suggestive gaps in the text with her imagination.

Originally posted on Contemporary Japanese Literature:

Yellow Rose

Title: Yellow Rose
Japanese Title: 黄薔薇 (Kibara)
Author: Yoshiya Nobuko (吉屋 信子)
Translator: Sarah Frederick
Publication Year: 2014 (America); 1923 (Japan)
Publisher: Expanded Editions

I’m absolutely thrilled to write that one of Yoshiya Nobuko’s stories has finally appeared in a readily available English translation. “Yellow Rose” is drawn from Yoshiya’s acclaimed collection Hana monogatari (Flower Stories), which first appeared in print in the 1920s and has been a major guiding influence in shōjo manga, literature, and aesthetics. Thankfully, Yoshiya’s fiction is not just important from the perspective of literary history but also a true delight to read.

The short story “Yellow Rose” is about Katsuragi Misao, a twenty-two-year-old college graduate who accepts a teaching post at an all-girls prefectural academy “a thousand miles distant from Tokyo” to avoid getting married. On the train departing from Tokyo she meets Urakami Reiko, who happens to be a student entering her…

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Update: sign the bilingual petition to Fuji TV to stop the performance on Change.org.

I’ve spent all weekend ranting about the Fifty Shades of Grey, but in the meantime, the Japanese band Rats & Star is planning a joint performance with idol group Momoiro Clover Z for Music Fair on March 7. Rats and Star plays Motown-inspired music–and performs in blackface; Momoiro Clover Z will be joining them, also in blackface. There are some images of this in the tweets embedded below.

Of course, there’s all the usual excuses used regarding cultural appropriation devoid of any sense of the history of minstrel shows in the US or race in Japan. I want to signal-boost some important links and tweets here. Content warning: links may contain images of blackface; racism, ignorance.

Major hat tip to Hiroko Tabuchi for re/tweeting many of these and calling out the performance.

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