It’s no secret that I’m enamored of the “cross-dressing and sword-fighting” genre, but I had a moment a few months ago when I got so fed up with a novel of that description that I almost threw it out the bus window.

You know the story: guy 1 (a straight cis man) meets guy 2 (a cis-identified woman in disguise as a man for Reasons); there’s an attraction; guy 1 has queer panic about his homoromantic inclinations; and then guy 2 reveals himself to have been the princess, sister of some lord, or heir all along! Boom, heterogamous marriage may commence! Heterosexuality is defended!

Some spoilers for The House of Four Winds below; basic plot for Ancillary Justice.
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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glad that ALC covers so much English-language slang; the humor lies in the unexpectedly enthusiastic, oddly phrased, or out of date translations.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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