Monday, November 25, 2013

Korean Lit in the News

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I've come across a few things that I wanted to share.

Some interesting Korean literature related articles

Korean Lit Comes to America

Why Say Goodbye: Reterritorializing Working-class Literature in Contemporary Korea

From Pyongyang to Mars: Sci-fi, Genre and Literary Value in North Korea

In other news, the great people at Dalkey Archive Press have begun releasing their Korean Literature series.  They are releasing lots of new and great material.

Library of Korean Literature

The Uses of Uncertainty: Dalkey Archive's "Library of Korea" Series

Creating a Library of Korean Literature

Korean author Kim, Young-ha's Op-Ed piece in the NYT

Life Inside a Playstation

Currently reading

Garuda by Yi Mun-yŏl (이문열)

Hope to get up another Korean literature related post in the next few weeks.

As always, questions and comments always welcome.

Monday, February 25, 2013

More Korean Literature Recommendations

As my first Korean literature post has been one of the most viewed, I have decided to do a follow-up post and recommend a few more titles.

For those of you interested in reading more Korean literature, I would like to recommend a great series of novellas and short works called The Portable Library of Korean Literature by Jimoondang Publishing Company and KLTI (Korean Literature Translation Institute).  Each book contains a selection of a few short works by a selected author.  Once again, we have Charles at KTLIT to thank for a full list (and reviews) of the series here.

Two of the three recommendations in my previous post can be found in this series.  Each book usually contains at least two, but sometimes three works.  My descriptions below are only of the title stories for each work, but I do mention the names of the other stories included in each.  Here are five more that I would recommend:

Rust by Yang Gui-ja (양귀자)
This story relates a day in the life of an advertising salesman in the late 1980's in Seoul.
Also included: Swamp

Chinatown by Oh Jung-hee (오정희)
A story centering around a young girl and her experiences living in Incheon just after the Korean War.  I really enjoyed the second story The Wayfarer as well.
Two others also included: The Wayfarer and The Release

The Last of Hanako by Ch'oi Yun (최윤)
Set in Venice, the story of a man on a business trip in search of a long-lost friend.  By clicking the author's name, in addition to a short biography, you will also find her story The Flower with Thirteen Fragrances.
Also included: The Grey Snowman

House of Idols by Choi In-hun (최인훈)
A mysterious young man with a seemingly secret past begins to disrupt the atmosphere of a group of writers at their favorite hangout.  One in the group makes it his mission to discover the truth.
Also included: End of the Road and Imprisoned

Deep Blue Night by Choi In-ho (최인호)
Another foreign setting, this time California, follow two Korean ex-pats on a road trip, Kerouac-style. 
Also included: The Poplar Tree

For those of you who are looking for something larger, but are still relatively new to Korean Literature, I would recommend the below anthology.

Modern Korean Fiction: An Anthology Edited by Bruce Fulton & Youngmin Kwon
Included in this anthology are stories by many of the most important authors in Korean literature from the 20th century.  A good introduction to Korean fiction that displays its diversity over the past century.  A few of the stories here that I enjoyed are:

The Wings (Yi, Sang) - Same story mentioned in the previous post.
The Crow (Yi, Tae-jun) - A story of unrequited love.
Mother's Hitching Post (Park, Wan-suh) - One of the most famous modern Korean authors.
Another Man's Room (Choi, In-ho) - Same author as the above mentioned Deep Blue Night.

I plan to read The Dwarf by Cho, Se-hui pretty soon.  I've read two stories from it already that were very good, so I'm looking forward to reading it.

Hope you find these recommendations helpful and that they have given a little more of a selection for those interested in Korean literature.

As always, feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sushi Books (not recipe books)

From Endo Sushi in Osaka

I am by no means a sushi expert, but I have spent a lot of time searching for books about sushi.  I love eating sushi, and I am also interested in reading and learning about it.  This is not a list of sushi recipe books, it is a collection of books about sushi.  No doubt, countless pages have been written about sushi in Japanese, however, comparatively very little has been writen in English (especially considering its still increasing popularity).  When I search for books about sushi, I usually find that most of them are about how to make sushi or sushi recipes.  Below is a list of books ranging from small, simple books with pictures of sushi and names in both English and Japanese, to books about its history and the evoloution of the sushi industry.

I will not be writing reviews of the books (as I do not usually read reviews), but will give a short description of each and provide links to reviews for those of you who would like to read them.

Books about Sushi 

Sushi: A Pocket Guide by Minori Fukuda & Kit Shan Li
Really a pocket guide, this is a very small book (both size and length) that gives some basic information about sushi and the sushi experience.  It includes color photos and very short descriptions of about 50 different kinds of sushi (Nigirizushi & Makizushi).  It also has the name in Japanese and how to pronounce it in English.

The Sushi Menu Book
A small bilingual (Japanese & English) book (slightly bigger then the previously mentioned one) about sushi and eating at a sushi restaurant.   This book includes about 40 different kinds of sushi and provides some background information about the fish and when it is in season.  This book also includes photographs of the sushi it mentions, some common side dishes at a sushi restaurant and a very short list of expressions used at a sushi restaurant.

Sushi by Mia Detrick
This book is a beginners guide to sushi written in the early eighties.  It is under 100 pages and contains color photographs of numerous types of sushi, including nigirizushi, makizushi and Kansai-style sushi.  Additionally, it has some basic information about the history of sushi, the sushi bar and etiquette for eating sushi.

The Connoisseur's Guide to Sushi by Dave Lowry
This is a long and very detailed book about sushi.  The beginning has a short history and descriptions of the main types of sushi and basic ingredients for sushi.  The bulk of this book is dedicated to giving very detailed information about various sushi toppings, including: background information, history, lore and why some toppings and kinds of fish are know by multiple names.  There are no pictures or photos and no Japanese characters are used.

The Story of Sushi by Trevor Corson
Corson's book gives a lot of information about sushi, especially its history, while following the story of a group of students at a sushi academy near Los Angeles.  He traces sushi's origins back to the Mekong River and looks at a number of important events in its development.  This book gives readers a behind the scenes glimpse at a type of sushi training in the US, as well as a wealth of knowledge about sushi.

The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy by Sasha Issenberg
This book focuses more on the modern history of sushi as a global industry.  It is about the business side of sushi and looks at some global and environmental developments and issues concerning the industries related to sushi.

Oishinbo: Fish, Sushi & Sashimi by Tetsu Karia & Akira Hanasaki
This volume is taken from a very famous Japanese comic book (manga) series about food.

Squeamish About Sushi by Betty Reynolds
Presented like a children's book with watercolor pictures related to sushi and a sushi restaurant.  Has information and translations of Japanese phrases that would be encountered and useful at a sushi restaurant.

Shiro: Wit, Wisdom & Recipes by Shiro Kashiba
A sushi chef's memoir that follows his story from his early days training in Japan through his move to Seattle, Washington.  The book also contains many photographs (not just of food) and some of his recipes.  It's a good counterpoint to Corson's book.

Books about Japanese Food with a little on sushi

Sushi and Beyond: What the Japanese Know About Cooking by Michael Booth
A non-fiction account of the author's culinary trip to Japan with his family.  This book is about Japanese food, but has some information about sushi.

A Taste of Japan by Donald Richie
An introduction to Japanese food, it includes one chapter on sushi.

Fictional Sushi

Sushi by Okamoto Kanoko found in The House Spirit and Other Stories

Extra Sushi (for fun) ~

The Japanese Tradition - Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Trevor Corson's website has even more information about sushi and some of his articles on the topic.

Okay, so I've included more than just books.  I hope that you find this information useful and if anyone knows of any other books on sushi in English (of which I'm sure there are many) please feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Korean Literature Recommendations

In this post I would like to make a few Korean literature recommendations.  While more and more is being written about this topic, it is still sometimes a little difficult to know where to get started.   I am not an expert by any means, for that I will direct you to Charles Montgomery of KTLIT.  His site offers the most information about K-Lit (in translation) I have seen in one place, including reviews, news and author interviews.  I would, nonetheless, still like to suggest a few selections.

As someone who tries to avoid reading reviews of books before I read them, I am not writing reviews here.  I will however give a very short description of each work and have provided links where you can read a little more about each author and work if you wish.


"Photo Shop Murder" by Young-ha Kim (김영하)
Korean noir detective fiction and the most recently written of my recommendations.  You can find a review here

The General's Beard (장군의 수염) by Yi Oryong / Lee Oyoung (이어령)
More dectective fiction:  A man is dead.  Two men are investigating, one a detective, the other a writer.  Was it murder or suicide?  Who will uncover the truth first, and why it happened?

"The Wings" (날개) by Yi Sang (이상)
The oldest of my selections and the story of the possibly insightful rambalings of a tomented husband (think Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground).  A rich text, lending itself to various literary interpretations.  Charles of KTLIT has a full review here.

All three recommendations are novellas or (longer) short fiction.  Both "Photo Shop Murder" and "The Wings" are exteremely inexpensive and come with additional short stories.  The General's Beard can also be purchased online, but the link I provided is to the complete story, from the translator's own site.

I hope that people enjoy these recommendations.  If you have already read these or would also like to recommend something, please feel free to leave a comment.  Additonally, if you liked these and would like me to make more recommendations, just ask, as I may add to this list in the future.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge 2013

This is the first reading challenge that I have joined, and as I usually read a few Murakami books every year, it seemed a natural choice.

I first became interested in Murakami through the film director Wong Kar-Wai.  I mentioned him in my guest post on January in Japan as introducing me to Osamu Dazai.  I have to credit him once again for bringing another giant of Japanese literature to may attention.  Many years ago, in the course of my so-called research about Wong Kar-Wai, I came across the information that Murakami's short story "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" was an influence for his film Chungking Express.  You can read more about the connection here and here

So for this reading challenge, I plan to read:

Hear The Wind Sing
Pinball, 1973
A Wild Sheep Chase
Dance, Dance, Dance
The Elephant Vanishes

While I guess 5 books puts me at the Toru level of participation, I will graciously decline that level and remain at the Sheep Man level, which I believe is more fitting.

Speaking of the Sheep Man, thanks to Tony of Tony's Reading List, I ran across the story "The Sheep Man's Christmas" on a post at brilliantyears, with a link to a translation here.  Will have to add that one to the challenge too.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Japanese Baseball NPB in English on Twitter

I enjoy and follow NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball), the pro baseball league in Japan.  However, as someone who doesn't speak Japanese, finding information, especially up-to-the-minute information, can sometimes be difficult. 

When I decided to join Twitter, I wanted to follow people who tweeted about NPB in English.  I asked around a bit and finally found some good people to follow.  My purpose in this post is to create a resource, so that non-Japanese speakers, who like NPB, can easily find a good group of accounts to follow on Twitter.

I have divided the accounts into two catagories: the first is accounts that mainly tweet about NPB, and the second is people who sometimes tweet about NPB.  

I am still finding new people everyday and will try to continue to update the list.  If you know of any others that you do not see here, please feel free to let me know in the comments section.  I will be putting together a more comprehensive NPB resource post in the future.

And for all of the people on this list, thank you for keeping us connected to NPB.  And those of you who are Tigers fans: "Win or Lose, Always Tigers Pride"

Mainly NPB



Sometimes NPB



Monday, January 21, 2013

Blog Introduction

Welcome to my so-called research.

My name is Patrick (aka ResearcherNo1) and I have many interests, including: books, baseball (MLB, KBO, NPB), food (cooking and eating), travel, Asia, movies and music.  I spend many hours searching for information about these topics.  I am not a professional researcher and this is not professional research.  However, one might call what I do a kind of research, hence 'so-called' research.  I have decided to publish some of the results of my research that might be helpful to others.  I will be posting on a wide variety of topics, but mainly related to my previously mentioned interests.  My posts will include, but will not be limited to, information that I have not been able to find easily or is not really available in an simple format.  I will inevitably comment on some information and express my opinion on various things, but that is not my main purpose.

My goals for this blog are to produce a record of all the time I spend searching for information, and help others save time.  If you notice anything missing or can add something, please feel free to comment.  I plan to update posts as new information becomes available.

I will post as often as possible, so please enjoy.

You can also find me on twitter: @ResearcherNo1

Osamu Dazai Short Stories

As a follow-up to my first post I am posting a list of Osamu Dazai short stories that have been translated into English.  Dazai was primarily a short story writer, and many of his stories have been translated into English.  However, I have been unable to find a complete or almost complete list of them.  I now own most of his works that have been translated into English, so I am able offer a much more complete list than I have been able to find previously. 

This first list, including the works where the stories appear, has been compiled based on what I own.  There is some duplication of the stories that have been translated multiple times or appear in multiple books.

8 Scenes From Tokyo (RM)
8 Scenes From Tokyo (SP)
8 Views of Tokyo (SDO)
8 Views of Tokyo (SSS)
100 Views of Mount Fuji (RM)
100 Views of Mount Fuji (SP)

Almanac of Pain, An (SDO)
Alt Heidelberg (KBB)

Blue Bamboo (BB)

canis familiaris (SP)
Cherries (SP)
Cherry Leaves and the Whistler (RM)
Cherry Leaves and the Whistler (BB)
Chiyojo (ALC)
Chrysanthemum Spirit, The (BB)
Click-Clack Mountain (O)
Courtesy Call, The (WJF)
Crackling Mountain (CM)
Currency (SSS)

Das Gemine (SSS)

Early Light (SP)

Fallen Flowers (MN)
Father, The (MN)
Female (SP)

Garden (SP)
Garden Lantern, The (ALC)
Going Home (SDO)
Golden Picture, A (ALC) / Seascape With Figures in Gold (SP)

Handsome Devils and Cigarettes (SP)
Heed My Plea (CM)
Homecoming (SSS)
Hometown (SDO)

I Can Speak (SP)
Island of Monkeys, The (SSS)
Lanterns of Romance (BB)
Leaves (CR)
Little Beauty, A (SP)

Magic Lantern (SA)
Memories (ALC)
Memories (CM)
Memories (SSS)
Mermaid and the Samurai, The (BB)
Merry Christmas (SP)
Monkey Island (CM)
Monkey’s Mound, The (CM)
Morning (MN)
Mother (MN)
Mound of the Monkey’s Grave, The (SSS)
My Elder Brothers (SP)
My Older Brothers (SSS)

No Kidding (SP)

One Snowy Night (RM)
On Love and Beauty (BB)
On the Question of Apparel (CM)
On the Question of Apparel (SSS)
Osan (SSS)

Poor Man’s Got His Pride, A (CM)
Poor Man’s Got His Pride, A (SSS)
Promise Fulfilled, A (RM)
Promise Fulfilled, A (SP)
Putting Granny Out to Die (SSS)

Recollections (SDO)
Romanesque (BB)
Run, Melos! (CM) [Melos, Run!]
Run, Melos! (RM)

Schoolgirl (S)
Schoolgirl (RM)
Seascape With Figures in Gold (SP) / Golden Picture, A (ALC)
Sound of Hammering, The (CM)
Sound of Hammering, The (SSS)
Sparrow Who Lost Her Tongue, The (O)
Stolen Wen, The (O)

Taking the Wen Away (CM)
Taking the Wen Away (SSS)
Thinking of Zenzo (SP)
Toys (SSS)
Train (SP)
Transformation (SSS)
Two Little Words (SP)

Undine (CM)
Urashima-San (O)

Villon’s Wife (MJL)

Waiting (MN)

(MJL) - Modern Japanese Literature: From 1868 to the Present Day
(ALC) - A Late Chrysanthemum: 21 Stories from the Japanese, edited by Lane Dunlop
(SSS) - Dazai Osamu: Selected Stories and Sketches, translated by James O’Brien
(BB) - Blue Bamboo: Tales of Fantasy and Romance, translated by Ralph F. McCarthy
(KBB) - Blue Bamboo: Tales of Fantasy and Romance, translated by Ralph F. McCarthy (Kurodahan Press)
(CM) - Crackling Mountain and other stories, translated by James O’Brien
(RM) - Run, Melos! and Other Stories, translated by Ralph F. McCarthy
(SDO) - The Saga of Dazai Osamu: A Critical Study With Translations by Phyllis Lyons
(SP) - Self Portraits: Stories, translated by Ralph F. McCarthy
(WJF) - The World of Japanese Fiction - edited by Hakutani Yoshinobu
(SA) - The Showa Anthology
(S) - Schoolgirl, translated by Allison Markin Powell
(O) - Otogizoshi, translated by Ralph F. McCarthy
(MN) - Monumenta Nipponica

(CR) - Chicago Review

This second list includes more of Dazai's short stories translated into English, but I do not own them.  I have just come across them in my so-called research.

“December 8th” - The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature: From Restoration to Occupation, 1868-1945 (Modern Asian Literature Series) (vol. 1)

“Ha” (Leaves) Eric Gangloff. Chicago Review 20 (1968): 31-41
“Hanin” (The Criminal) Takashi Kojima. Ei-Bei Bungaku (English and American Literature), no. 2 (1956): 1-11
“Kakekomi uttae” (I Accuse) Tadao Katayama. The Reeds 4 (1958): 69-88
“Mesu ni tsuite” (Of Women) Edward Seidensticker. Encounter I, no. I (1953): 23-26. Reprinted in Atlantic Monthley 195 (1955): 145-47

This list should represent the most extensive list of Osamu Dazai short stories translated into English on one single site.  Unfortunately, many of the books that these stories are found in are out-of-print, which makes finding this information more difficult. 

If you notice any missing stories, please feel free to mention it in the comments section.  This is an ongoing project for me and I will continue to update the list.  Eventually I would like to include the Japanese titles next to the English titles.

Osamu Dazai: Suicide, rebellion, addiction and genius

My first post is actually a guest post on the January in Japan site by Tony at Tony's Reading List. The post is about the modern Japanese author Osamu Dazai.  I give a short introduction about his life and recommend a few of his books.

You can find the post here:
J-Lit Giants 5 Osamu Dazai

My next post will be a follow-up to this post.