Tag: Japan

  • What Makes Something Cute? Cute vs. Kawaii

    What Makes Something Cute? Cute vs. Kawaii

    ‘Cute’ describes something attractive in a pleasing, nonthreatening way. Things that are small or young are often described as cute: babies, fluffy puppies with big eyes, squishy toys. Cute things are easy to like.

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  • The Cafeteria In The Evening And A Pool In The Rain by Yoko Ogawa

    The Cafeteria In The Evening And A Pool In The Rain by Yoko Ogawa

    Many writers say this: Stories emerge from the imagination when two different ideas come together in a new way. So it is in the title of this story. What do cafeterias and pools have in common? Evenings and rain? Moving into a new house? “The Cafeteria In The Evening And A Pool In The Rain” is a short story by…

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  • The Japanese Concept of Yugen

    The Japanese Concept of Yugen

    Yugen is a uniquely Japanese term. It defies easy translation into English but denotes something like ‘profound mystery and depth’. It is related to the Japanese love of Shadow, nuance, and empty space.

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  • Bathroom As Horror: Here There Be Tygers by Stephen King

    Bathroom As Horror: Here There Be Tygers by Stephen King

    Toilets are inherently scary. This holds true across cultures, even though different cultures (and even genders) experience public toilets differently. Below I take a look at a short horror story by Stephen King with a few examples of toilet horror by other authors, in which the public bathroom is utilised for storytelling purposes as a horror venue. TOILETS AND JAPAN…

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  • The Symbolism of Water Wells

    The Symbolism of Water Wells

    In folklore and fairy tale, round, enclosed structures (towers and wells) align with lunar figures which stand in for cyclic time i.e. dragons, serpents, werewolves or other related creatures who abduct maidens. And also, by the way, dishevelled hair and shaggy furs worn as garments are the other symbol set which go hand-in-hand with round, enclosed structures. These symbols are…

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  • U.F.O. In Kushiro by Haruki Murakami Short Story Analysis

    U.F.O. In Kushiro by Haruki Murakami Short Story Analysis

    “U.F.O. in Kushiro” is a short story written by popular contemporary Japanese author Haruki Murakami. English readers first had access to the story in 2001, when it appeared in an issue of the New Yorker magazine. The story was republished in 2011 after an earthquake and tsunami devastated northern Japan. Safe to say this is considered a Japan-disaster-story. Bryan Washington joins Deborah…

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  • Chinoiseries and Picture Books Analysis

    Chinoiseries and Picture Books Analysis

    Illustrators of fairy tales frequently choose styles that evoke the periods of history not particularly related to the tales but that they perceive to share the values they find in the tales. Perry Nodelman, Words About Pictures Children’s picture books draw from a great number of traditions. One of those is ‘chinoiseries’, a European mimicry of Chinese art. Chinoiserie: a decorative…

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  • My Neighbour Totoro Storytelling

    My Neighbour Totoro Storytelling

    My Neighbour Totoro (1988), from Japan’s Studio Ghibli, is one of the few genuinely child centred films in existence. In contrast, most films out of DreamWorks and Pixar contain dual levels of meaning, including jokes only the adult co-viewer will understand, or emotional layers inaccessible to children. For instance, in Toy Story 3 Andy says goodbye to his childhood when…

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  • The Weirdness of Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma

    The Weirdness of Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma

    The other day someone in a book recommendation group wanted suggestions for a 10 year old who loves Hayao Miyazaki movies. This basically describes my own kid, who’s been a Miyazaki fan since the age of three, before she even knew transmogrification wasn’t a thing. My kid enjoys Yotsuba&! (among other things, so I recommended that. Yotsuba&! is a manga…

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  • A Letter To Momo Film Study

    Letter to Momo is a 2011 Japanese feature anime directed by Hiroyuki Okiura, also known for Ghost In The Shell. After the oceanographer father drowns in a disaster at sea, mother and daughter move from Tokyo to the small island village where the mother spent holidays once per year with her aunt and uncle to recuperate from her asthma as…

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  • Wolf Children Japanese Anime Film Study

    The Japanese anime Wolf Children is an inspiring and engaging film for miniature nature lovers. I have recommended this film to people completely forgetting that it is basically a very sad story though, so consider yourself warned! I wonder if the author of Wolf Children was inspired by the story of Amala and Kamala, two “feral girls” from Bengal who…

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  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

    The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

    Time travel! Romance! Japan! If you love the films out of Studio Ghibli you’ll love The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, too. ARC PHRASE An arc word/phrase is also known as a ‘leitwort’, which literally means ‘lead word’. In order to be an arc phrase and not just a catch phrase the phrase must help define the tone of the…

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  • Asian-Australian Children’s Literature

    There are only a small number of Asian-Australian authors writing about Asia in children’s/young adult fiction and there are very few books where the first-person narrator or main character is Asian or Asian-Australian. Also surprisingly, there are very few Australian works with Asian content that have been translated into an Asian language – translations are primarily made up of award-winning…

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  • The Colour Of Sky In Art And Illustration

    The Colour Of Sky In Art And Illustration

    In Western cultures at least, little kids first learn to draw with a blue or (black for night-time) sky, and a yellow orb for the sun. In reality, sky can be many different colours.

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