January 2023 Wrap-Up – January in Japan

It’s hard to believe that it’s only February, as January seems to have stretched on forever.  In particular, I’m slightly dubious that my posts wrapping up 2022 (The 2022 Tony’s Reading List Awards, Your Favourite Posts of 2022 and The 2022 State of the Blog Address) appeared around four weeks ago as they seem to have been written in another lifetime. Still, that’s what happens when you’re off work and in perpetual holiday-reading mode 😉

Of course, once last year’s admin was out of the way, it was on to the main business of my annual #JanuaryInJapan reading, and a most enjoyable month it proved to be.  In the background, I was quietly taking advantage of my time off and enjoying a few cheeky rereads.  There was a another read of the Edward Seidensticker translation of The Tale of Genji, followed by Michael Emmerich’s intriguing supplementary text, The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature.  After that, I decided to stay with the classics, digging out Royall Tyler’s translation of The Tale of the Heike before taking a second look at Meredith McKinney’s version of Essays in Idleness and Hōjōki, courtesy of Yoshida Kenkō and Kamo no Chōmei.

With all that rereading, you might think that I had little time for new books, but that’s certainly not the case – I also managed to fit in ten new reads, and I’ve got the reviews to prove it.  Before we get to those, though, there’s the little matter of the stats.  It’s a new year, so with the counter reset to zero, away we go!

Total Books Read: 15
Year-to-Date: 15

New: 10
Rereads: 5

From the Shelves: 13
Review Copies: 1
From the Library: 0
On the Kindle: 1 (0 review copies)

Novels: 9
Novellas: 0
Short Stories: 1
Non-Fiction: 4
Poetry: 1

Non-English Language: 14 (14 Japanese)
In Original Language: 0

Books Reviewed in January were:
1) One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each, edited by Fujiwara no Teika
2) Thirst For Love by Yukio Mishima
3) The Saga of Dazai Osamu  by Phyllis I. Lyons
4) Choses dont je me souviens (Recollections) by Natsume Sōseki
5) Scattered All Over the Earth by Yōko Tawada
6) The Lake by Yasunari Kawabata
7) Scandal by Shūsaku Endō
8) Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age! by Kenzaburō Ōe
9) The Broken Commandment by Shimazaki Tōson
10) Inhabitation by Teru Miyamoto

Tony’s Turkey for January is: Nothing

JiJ is no time for turkeys 😉

Tony’s Recommendation for January is:
Shūsaku Endō’s Scandal

There were several good reads, of course, including Tawada’s fun story of a post-Japan world and a classic look at poetry, but Endō’s a writer who never puts a foot wrong, and he gets the nod this month.  Scandal not only features the usual consummate writing, but also pokes fun at the writer himself, making for an excellent, enjoyable novel that’s well worth seeking out.

February will see me leaving my J-Lit reading behind (for a while, at least) as I turn my attention to the first crop of review copies for the year.  However, at the back of my mind, I’m already looking further ahead, with one eye on what’s to come in March…

…but more of that next time 😉

8 thoughts on “January 2023 Wrap-Up – January in Japan

        1. Marina Sofia – Hmm, but I think that was very much the point, making everything the writer suspected was hidden inside plain for people to see. In many ways, it’s far less explicit and sexist than many other books on the same subject.


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