Peaches [a short story]

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In the case of the story's central character, those feelings swing wildly from joyful embrace to revulsion, and the tension generated by these wild swings of feeling toward the west wind up manifesting in the form of actual physical ailments. The story is a deeply thought-provoking, unexpectedly moving tale. Likewise, in Nosaka Akiyuki' s "American Hijiki", originally published in and set in the '60s, a new post-war generation has grown up, free of the trauma experienced by those who lived through the war, and able to embrace American culture on their own terms.

Yet the story's protagonist grew up during the war, and remains intimidated by the Americans he was raised to fear and hate during the war and then almost overnight he's instructed to embrace them as allies and friends after the war. This has left a deep sense of confusion and inferiority within him, which emerges when his wife's American friends come to visit.

He wrestles with his feelings toward them, and his inability to act normally around them grows as he winds up falling back into behaviour patterns from 20years earlier, when he was a teenager struggling to survive through the largesse of occupying American troops.


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The visiting Americans, too, seem to slip easily into their role of conquering guest. The story, told through alternating flashbacks from the '40s and the present day, is a masterful psychological portrait of the conflicting and traumatic feelings experienced by the generation of Japanese who rebuilt their country through the years of the American Occupation. The same year this story was published, Akiyuki also published the story "Grave of the Fireflies", on which the remarkable Studio Ghibli film of the same name was based.

The to-be-expected selections from Japan's early modern literary stars Nagai Kafu , Natsume Soseki , Mishima Yukio , Mori Ogai , Akutagawa Ryunosuke , Enchi Fumiko , and more are complemented nicely by inclusions from several of Japan's younger stars in international translation from the past two or three decades e. In between are several lesser-known writers, and it's the inclusion of these lesser known writers and works that makes the collection as interesting as it is.

Stealing Peaches

The clinically detached "Men and Women" section is more interesting than it sounds. All but one of these stories are by women, and most of them offer interesting examples of feminist writing, both early and more recent. Ohba Minako 's "The Smile of a Mountain Witch" is a genius tale which presents creepy Japanese folk-lore in such a way as to suggest its misogynistic roots; Enchi Fumiko's "A Bond for Two Lifetimes — Gleanings" offers a casual, seemingly ambivalent portrayal of sexual harassment whose almost sympathetic telling helps underscore the pitiful nature of men's animalistic behaviour.

The section "Modern Life and Other Nonsense" tackles a range of themes.

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Uno Koji's "Closet LLB" portrays a young man whose failure at life stems from the fact he was forced into a profession in which he never had any interest; Genji Keita 's "Mr. English" offers a masterful psychological portrait of a grumpy old man whose work as a non-permanent corporate English translator belies the complex and difficult life he's led, through the war and the complex changes of the succeeding decades. Kawakami Mieko 's "Dreams of Love, Etc. Many of the stories in The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories work on a psychological level, making an effort either to convey some aspect of Japanese culture, or to evoke a particular feeling in the reader.

Abe Akira's "Peaches", for example, is emblematic of the latter style, and is a brilliant psychological elaboration on a single memory, which is told and re-told in different ages and contexts as the narrator struggles to remember the actual circumstances under which it took place, and debates whether indeed it's a real memory at all.

Perhaps the most powerful and interesting stories are those subsumed under the deceptively prosaic sub-heading "Disasters, Natural and Man-Made". These stories include such classical disaster tales as Ota Yuko's recounting of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, "Hiroshima, City of Doom". There are several accounts of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in circulation in English translation, but this collection also includes a less common depiction of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

This tale -- Seirai Yuichi 's "Insects" is another of the collection's masterpieces. It combines a story set in the aftermath of the Nagasaki bombing with a powerful dilemma of spiritual faith. Nagasaki has long been a centre for Christianity in Japan, and the bombing's survivors struggle with their wavering spiritual faith in the wake of the horrific tragedy.

Importantly, the section expands to include more recent disasters and tragedies as well, including three moving tales about the earthquake and tsunami "Weather-Watching Hill" by Saeki Kazumi; "Planting" by Matsuda Aoko; and the slightly creepy, delightfully feminist "Same as Always" by Sato Yuya, which turns typical post-nuclear-meltdown tales on their head by depicting a mother eagerly anticipating her baby's radiation poisoning as a change from the oppressively misogynistic status quo life of a housewife.

Matsuda Aoko 's strange tale "Planting" demonstrates how many of the stories in the collection work to counter traditional stereotypes of Japanese culture. It opens, in fact, with an astonishingly accurate and universal indictment of the modern condition:.

Blues of peaches () - IMDb

Collections of Japanese short stories are common enough in this day and age, but Penguin's massive collection is well worth checking out. It offers a perfect balance of the classic, along with the unsettling and innovatively modern. All the traditional literary superstars are here, but there are also stories which resonate with contemporary experience.

The result is a superb collection of diverse voices whose stories are both intellectually and emotionally rewarding. Escaping abjection's usual confines of psychoanalysis and aesthetic modernism, the contributors to Abjection Incorporated examine a range of media, including literature, photography, film, television, talking dolls, comics, and manga.

Enjoy this generous excerpt, courtesy of Duke University Press. Todd Snider's album, East Nashville Skyline , is getting a new lease on life with a new vinyl edition, but the veteran troubadour remains creatively restless and committed to his musical future. I know less about it all the time. There is a palpable buzz surrounding Isle of Wight singer-songwriter Lauran Hibberd. Throughout , she has been capturing hearts with her electrifying live shows, chock full of whip-smart, playful indie-pop songs anthems infused with her wonderfully twisted, caustic wit.

Marshall Crenshaw is re-releasing five albums beginning with 's Miracle of Science. The new bonus track by singer-songwriter Daniel Wylie is the first taste. Director Midge Costin, who explores the art of cinematic sound in her documentary, Making Waves , shows how we are informed as much by sound as we are our visual world. When in need of an idea, she said she just flips through files in her brain. She also occasionally worries about what others might think of her if they saw her Google search history.

Her books, unsurprisingly, require a lot of research; most often the strangest diseases in the world, sleep therapy, asylums and even demonic positions. In a way, she is one of her characters, Amelia in The Nearly Girl She is also a member of the writing group, Mesdames of Mayhem, which she joined in just after the release of the groups first anthology.

Harris-Callway belongs to two writing-critique groups and said both groups merged to form Mesdames of Mayhem. So, it gives readers different styles of writing. For more information on Lisa de Nikolits, please visit www. For more information on the Mesdames of Mayhem, please visit www. The two main characters, Leonie and Bernice, find themselves irresistibly drawn to sociopathic men; JayRay and Dirk respectively.

That the women are themselves carelessly and thoughtlessly egotistic only makes their compulsions that much more bewildering. Leonie has the perfect family set-up: a loving, devoted husband, two wonderful daughters, and a successful career as a sales agent for cosmetic anti-aging creams. But she somehow finds her life stifling, and uses the many trade shows she has to work as ways to run away from home, literally.

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