Hi everyone! I signed up to write for Ganbare! Japanese nearly a month ago, but this is my first post… I know, I’m a bit slow on the uptake. Would it help if I said that I was caught up fantasizing about a trip to Japan?
Actually, what I’ve really been caught up doing is reading After the Banquet by Mishima Yukio (1925–1970), a Japanese writer who was not only prolific but also known for his fervent nationalism. (Yes, he is the one who committed seppuku after declaring that Japan should reinstate the emperor as the national leader.) And since my brother-in-law asked for some good Japanese novels to read, and I am flying up to see him and my sister this week, I have been busy trying to finish it up.
If you haven’t read After the Banquet (or other Mishima novels), I highly recommend it. The translation I am reading is by Donald Keene from 1963 (I’m not sure if there is any other edition), but even in translation Mishima’s words are lyrical yet precise, dark yet at the same time incredibly inviting. You almost feel like you are sitting at the Setsugoan, watching the patrons of the restaurant enjoy the food and drink and as they take in the scenery amidst the chatter and music.
Mishima spends a lot of time describing Kazu, the female protagonist, and how she was a remarkable woman because of her domineering personality, child-like honesty, and calculating intelligence. Sounds like a description of a woman you might get from a misogynist (which is what some critics call Mishima…but then those same critics probably also call him a misanthropist, so who knows)…
Oh, what to read once I finish this one…if anyone has any reading recommendations, please share!