What are some good memoirs of writers where I can get a behind-the-scenes look at their writing process?
On Writing: A Memoir Of a Craft, by Stephen King is considered a classic in the 'how to write' genre.
Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity, by Ray Bradbury. I usually hate any English book with 'Zen' in the title but this one is an exception. Also mainly for fiction writers
Many memoirs by writers usually have something about their creative process but these two are especially focused on that.
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Why does the Japanese language still use thousands of kanji when entire sentences can be easily written using hiragana and katakana only?
Because words with the same yomi (the way it's said phonetically) and intonation can mean very different things. And many, many words in Japanese share the same yomi.
洋服を着る ようふくをきる youfuku o kiru
はさみで紙を切る はさみでかみをきる hasami de kami o kiru
Both statements use 'kiru' but the 'kiru mean entirely different things. The first kiru means 'to wear clothes' and the second means 'to cut' (in this case, paper with scissors)
家が火事だ いえがかじだ ie ga kaji da
家の家事を手伝う いえのかじをてつだう ie no kaji o tetsudau
The word used in both is 'kaji'. In the first, it means fire, as in "The house is on fire". In the second it means housework or household chores, as in "Help out with the household chores".
More examples of simple words with the same yomi and different meanings and kanji:
These are all read 'kayou'. 火曜 (Tuesday) 歌謡 (song) 通う(to commute) 可溶 (to dissolve) 加養 (to rest up; to take on nourishment) 家用 (for the house) 仮用 (temporary use)
These are all read 'jishin' 地震 (earthquake) 自身 (self) 自信 (self-confidence) 磁針 (compass needle)
These are all read 'ichi' 一 (the number 1) 市 (city, or market) 位置 (position, as in geographicsl) 位地 (position, as in class)
I could go on and on.
Also, people may argue all they like about whether Japanese "should" get rid of kanji or whatever. It ain't gonna happen, much like English is not going to go back to the good old days of spelin wurds in ene wai u wantid too eni taim suun eetha (unless txspkers stage a revolution and win I suppose). So if you actualy want to understand written Japanese, you need to learn kanji. Simple as that.
(I remembered this: Hey, why not get rid of katakana too?
And while this has nothing to do with your question, why are you using a fake Japanese name? If you were Japanese you would not even be asking this question - this is something you learn in the early grades of elementary school. Plus, using a fake Japanese name with Japanese people, if you are really a Japanophile as you claim, is not at all appreciated by real Japanese people. See also: Quora Policies and Guidelines: Do I have to use my real name on Quora? What is Quora's Real Names policy?
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What it was like to run a popular sushi restaurant in New York City, with memories | Just Hungry
Two itamae (chefs) prepping before the store opens, circa 2001.
[If you have been following this blog or my Facebook page, you may know that I haven’t been doing too well. I was going to write yet another moan-y thing about my radiation therapy and stuff, but instead, I thought I’d end the year by posting this, an edited and expanded version of something I wrote a little while ago. I hope you have fun reading it, especially if you have ever run a restaurant, or lived in New York. Ah New York, I still miss you. Anyway - here’s to a much better 2014!]
I never ran a restaurant myself, so most of my knowledge on this matter is second hand. My mother ran a very successful restaurant in midtown Manhattan called Tsukiji Sushisay. In addition my stepfather was the accountant for several Japanese restaurants in NYC. I did however work the front desk for a few months, and helped out over the years with things like translating legal documents, making brochures, or creating their website. I translated the menu to English, and even taught basic ‘sushi-counter customer-service English’ to many of the chefs. “I’m sorry, we don’t have spicy tuna.” is one phrase I remember teaching them.
I also want to note, that I feel OK writing this because the restaurant closed its doors in 2002, and various statutes of limitations or whatever have run out. ^^;
It totally depends on which area of Switzerland you'll be living in.
This is a map of Switzerland from Wikipedia by the language spoken.
If you are in Zürich for instance French won't be much help, but some Hochdeutsch will be useful at least for reading, plus knowing some words in the local dialect will be appreciated. The same goes for Bern, Basel, etc. and other cities in the German speaking parts. (Keep in mind "German" speaking means Swiss-German dialect, although the written language is "regular" German.)
If you live in Lausanne, Geneva etc. then you need French.
If you live in Lugano or Locarno, you need Italian.
Very few people learn Rumantsch Grischun (Romansh) before they go to the Romansh areas...there German or Italian will be more useful than French.
In some towns they speak two languages and have two names! Confusing! (e.g. Murten/Morat, Biel/Bienne) But you figure it out soon enough.
And English is pretty widely understood, especially in the cities, and among people younger than 50-ish.
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Warning: Die hard vegetarians, please look away.
French people eat all parts an animal, and many animals too, with enthusiasm. So you have things like:
Tripe - cow's stomach (a famous dish is Tripes a la mode de Caen, which is made with Calvados. Normandy and Brittany are known for tripe dishes.)
Andouillette - pork chitterling sausages (that's innards to you and me)
This is andouillette de Troyes.
Salade de museau. Museau means 'snout' so a salade de museau is made up of all the pork bits that don't turn into filet and cutlets and stuff including the snout, ground up and made into a sausage that is sliced and mixed up into a vinegary salad. Personally I find this too barnyard-y but my husband would kill for it.
Cou de canard farci au foie gras - a duck's neck stuffed with foie gras (or other things, in which case it's just cou de canard farci). Think about it - the duck's liver stuffed into its neck! So meta! And frugal! We had this for Christmas dinner as an appetizer, and while I have like no appetite these days I thought it was yummy.
and tête de veau or calves head....
...actually it looks like this - the calf head is boiled, re-assembled and rolled up neatly, cooked and served sliced cold, or served warm with sauce.
And there's also cuisses de grenouille - frog's legs. That makes many people go eww, but they really are delicious, like very delicate chicken. This is how they serve it at the famed restaurant le Buerehiesel in Strasbourg.
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It depends greatly on the period of history you are talking about, but for the most part samurai (bushi) lived in their own houses or other accommodation, not necessarily in the same building as the lord they were serving, especially from the Edo period on.
Before the Edo period (1603-1868), the castle itself had accommodation for a core group of retainers, with the others living around it. Other classes of people, i.e. merchants and artisans and so on, then moved into serve all those samurai. This is how many towns in Japan developed - they are called 城下町 (jouka-machi) or 'below the castle towns'. More than half the towns or cities that have a population of more than 100,000 these days started out as jouka-machi, although only a handful of them retain traces of their origins. Kanazawa is one.
The samurai who lived in Kyoto and served the imperial court did not, of course, live at the court. They lived in their own houses. Even when the shogunate was in Kyoto (i.e. the Muromachi period) the shogun's castle was not at the imperial court, it was kind of diagonally across the street from it.
In the Edo period things got more complicated because of a system called 参勤交代 (sankin koutai). This was a ingenious system thought up by the Tokugawa shogunate to weaken the power of the regional lords or daimyo. Each daimyo's household was divided into two, so he and half his retainers had to live in Edo for half the year, while his wife, children (or half the children) and the other half of his retainers had to live in their regional town, and vice versa. (In other words, a daimyo rarely spent any time with his wife.) If the daimyo was in Edo it was pretty tough to drum up local support for a rebellion, and if his wife and kids were in Edo it was equally hard for him, was the reasoning.
Anyway, under this system the daimyo's retainers lived in both locations - some travelled back and forth with him, others didn't. In either place, while some would live with the lord, most did not. In Edo especially there often wasn't enough room for all the retainers in the lord's Edo residence. Also, often the richer lords would have 2 or morel residences, for various parts of the household. A typical scenario was to have an 'kami yashiki' (top-level mansion) and a 'shimo yashiki' (bottom-level mansion) - one for the lord and his main retainers maybe, the other for his mother and/or his retired father or something like that. Daimyo from the more important han (fiefdoms) also had a 'naka-yashiki' (middle-level mansion). All of these Edo buke-yashiki (samurai lord mansions) were rented from the Edo bakufu, not owned by the lords, but of course the more money and clout you had the bigger or more yashiki you could borrow, and vice versa.
There were also some samurai who worked directly for the bakufu (shogunate), who lived year-round in Edo or elsewhere; they also for the most part had their own accommodations, rather than living in Edo Castle. And there were some wealthier samurai who were not daimyo too.
Finally, as the Edo period wore on there was an increasing number of out-of-work samurai, or ronin. They often had to made do by living in cheap rented accommodations along with the other townspeople, and make any living they could. Some got lucky and found employment as bodyguards for rich merchants and the like, in which case they'd live in the merchant's house. The most honorable profession a ronin could have was to have his own dojo and teach kenjutsu (swordsmanship) or something, but he had to be really good to do that. The bushi/samurai/warrior class in the Edo period had a big spread in income from top to bottom.
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There are so many it's hard to know where to start really. I'll just give a couple here that are in wide use in vernacular Japanese.
四苦八苦 - shiku hakku - This now is used to mean put in a lot of hard effort to do something, or endure hardship. Example: "I shiku hakku to pass my exams!"
Originally it has a far deeper meaning. 'Shiku' means the four basic hardships or suffering that all humans must endure: 生（shou - to be born）・老（rou - to become old）・病（byou - to be ill）・死（shi - to die). 'Hakku' adds 4 more to the basic 4 hardships: 愛別離苦 (ai betsu ri ku - the pain of having to leave or be apart from a loved one); 怨憎会苦（on zou e ku - the pain of meeting someone that you cannot help hating and despising); 求不得苦 (gu fu tokku - the pain of wanting or yearning for something or someone that you cannot obtain) and 五蘊盛苦 (go un jouku - just the overall pain and suffering of being a human).
律儀 - richigi - This means someone who is honest, conscientious, honorable, faithful, and has integrity. This term is used to describe anyone with those qualities. Example: "That guy is such a loyal and honest employee. He is very richigi."
Originally the term described the strict, difficult, straight and narrow path a Buddhist monk had to stick to (ignoring all temptation and distraction etc.) on his way to achieving enlightenment.
自然 - shizen (but see below) - Nowadays it's mostly used as the equivalent of the word "nature" in English, as in forests and lakes and the sea and animals and birds and stuff.
Originally it was read as jinen, and interpreted to mean to be natural or true to ones self. It is still used in that manner sometimes, e.g. 自分に自然になる (jibun ni shizen ni naru - be true to onesself) or 人と自然に振る舞う (hito to shizen ni furumau - act naturally with other people) but the jinen reading is gone.
自覚 - jikaku - to know onesself. To know what you are, what your position in life is, your self-worth, to be self-aware, etc.
(I also periodically write about "Japanese phrases that don't exist in English" on the Japan - it's so weird and wacky! blog so maybe if you follow it you'll see more in the future. ^_^ )
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Make One Change! 5 Japanese Diet Tips For A New You
We all know how it is... Christmas is over, the last of the wine and turkey have been snaffled and it's time to turn over a new leaf! But despite those great yoga pants you got for that pilates cla...
If "lemonade" is a fizzy drink in your country, how do you ask for an American lemonade (lemon juice, sugar, water)?
In Japan, lemon, water and sweetener is usually called lemonade - remone-do (レモネード). The term lemon-water is used too - remon-sui (レモン水).
Sometimes a kind of preserved lemon and sweetener concentrate is called 'lemonade' too. This is to be diluted with water. I think this fondness for preserving lemons in sweetener (sugar or honey usually) comes from the custom of preserving other citrus fruits like yuzu to be diluted in the same way. (yuzu-cha).
However, confusingly some beverage makers label their alcoholic products 'lemonade'. You have to read the label closely. This 'barley and lemonade' from Suntory is called "Horoyoi" which means "Pleasantly slightly drunk" - a sure giveaway it's alcoholic.
This 'honey lemonade' from Asahi Beer also says 'lemonade', but I guess the Cocktail part is a giveaway that this too has alcohol in it.
There is an old fashioned lemony fizzy drink called ramune (ラムネ) also. The name is derived from lemonade, but it's not lemonade. It usually doesn't even have any real lemon in it (it has artificial flavors). It comes in a distinctive glass bottle that is stoppered with a glass marble that you have to push in to access the contents.
The term lemon squash - remon sukasshu (レモンスカッシュ) is usually used to refer to lemon with added fizzy water, although sometimes the term is used for lemon juice diliuted with still water too.
This brand of lemon squash (Sapporo Fujiya Lemon Squash) is popular.
This girl seems to be a fan.
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The samurai were not the equivalent to English gentry.
The warrior class were nominally of the highest (besides the aristocracy) class, but in fact there were rich samurai, in-between samurai, and samurai barely scraping by to survive.
On the other hand, some of the nominally lowest caste, the merchants, had a lot of power because of their wealth. (There were some well off farmers and artisans too, but none were as rich as some of the richest merchants). Some of the wealthy merchants helped to finance the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate (at considerable risk, because they would have been arrested and executed if they'd been found out) , and later played key roles in the new Meiji society. Some also financed the pro-shogunate forces, either willingly or by force (there are records of merchants in Nagoya for instance being forced to hand money over to do this for example). There was also a fair amount of intermarrying between the warrior class and ther merchant class; there was even some intermarrying between the aristocrats and wealthy merchants. Money speaks in any society.
By and large the leaders of the Meiji period were made up of former aristocrats, former higher-level samurai, and some rich merchants.
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I'm not Okinawan myself, but from my limited experience Okinawans overseas (I used to work with a couple in NY) say they are Japanese, and if asked where they are from they say they're from Okinawa. To other Japanese people they might be more likely to say they are from Okinawa, but it depends on the individual. Just like with other regions really - people from some regions tend to identify much more strongly with their region than others, e.g. people from Osaka are very loyal to their city.
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Part of it is a kind of push back or retaliation towards similar movements in their neighboring countries. Another factor is the economy, but since the economy has been sluggish for a while now while right-wing-nationalist sentiment has risen in the past couple of years, the first reason is probably stronger.
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1. Obtain the necessary base ingredients like japonica rice, rice vinegar, soy sauce etc.
2. Learn how to make proper Japanese style rice (a rice cooker makes this easier)
3. Optional but useful: Learn how to make dashi stock
4. At this point you can make a chirashizushi quite easily, especially if you can get pre-sliced sashimi. Even if not you can make a tasty chirashizushi with vegetable ingredients, smoked salmon, etc.
5. Proceed to make rolls - this takes some practice but is not onerous
6. Tackle nigiri (that's the type with the ball of rice topped with a slice or fish or other) - this takes more practice, although you can 'cheat' by using a sushi mold etc.
7. Try making some cooked elements, like tamagoyaki
8. The final stage is acquiring the ability to see which fresh fish you can turn into sashimi/sushi by looking at it.
There's another answer there that disagrees and says that too difficult it's not worth the effort. Well...for me, living in the boonies of southern France, it may be more worth it than someone with easy access to good sushi places (although we do have one place in town that makes decent sushi -- sushi is so international! ^_^) But to make decent, home style sushi is not THAAAT difficult. In my mind it's that that more difficult than trying to make viennoisserie (croissants, Danish pastries, etc.) or macarons or decent bread, etc. Many Japanese home cooks make sushi all the time - they may not make nigiri, but they certainly make other more 'homey' types.
So I am thinking that maybe a follow-up to Japanese Cooking 101 http://justhungry.com/announcing-japanese-cooking-101-fundamentals-washoku is in order, that walks you through the basics of making sushi...when I am feeling better. ^_^
(this is the Quora answer I posted - http://qr.ae/Gzela )
Announcing Japanese Cooking 101: The Fundamentals of Washoku | Just Hungry
I thought I would answer this since I recently answered another old related question: Samurai: What should everyone know about the Samurai warriors?
(Note: I have used the family name-first name order of names.)
This is of course just my opinion, but I do not rate Miyamoto Musashi as the 'greatest samurai warrior' - because he really wasn't a warrior in the 'fought in battles' sense. He supposedly fought in some legendary duels. That is not the same to me as being in battle, as awe-inspiring as he might have been in them. He was a great writer, teacher, and swordsman. (Also a pretty good artist). As I wrote in my other answer, he codified and defined The Way Of The Warrior though his teachings and writings - in a time of peace.
So my first criteria for what makes a great warrior is one that actually fought in battle and/or led battles. I'm also going to leave out Toyotomi Hideyoshi, because he was not technically from the samurai/bushi class (even though by all accounts he was a great general and soldier) as well as some early fighting aristocrats like Fujiwara no Hidesato (see: Makiko Itoh's answer to Names and Naming: What does your last name mean and where does it come from?) and fighting monks, etc.
So my candidates come down to these:
Taira no Kiyomori (平清盛), 1118 – 1181
Often portrayed as the first 'true' samurai. He was the head of the Taira clan or the Heike, and controlled the country in the waning days of the Heian period, before the Heike were defeated by the Genji (the Minamoto clan).
(Portrayed by Matsuyama Kenichi in the 2012 NHK Taiga Drama (the yearly big-budget historical drama)
Pros: He was apparently a fearsome fighter, and a great general besides. He as well as his father Taira no Tadamori established the position of bushi/samurai in the Imperial court. Prior to that, samurai were regarded as little more than mercenaries who did the dirty work the aristocrats didn't want to do themselves (even though the Taira clan like the Minamoto clan were from low-level aristocratic stock).
Cons: His detractors say that in his later life he became a dilettante, and that the Taira clan got too caught up in the ways of the court. That could be propaganda though. The fact that he was greatly admired even by his enemies says a lot.
Minamoto no Yoritomo (源頼朝) 1147 – 1199
The first shogun to establish his own power base away from Kyoto, in Kamakura (the Kamakura bakufu) - often erroneously referred to as the first shogun, period (there were others with that title before - but he was the first shogun who controlled the country.
(Played by Okada Masaki in the same NHK drama. The woman on the left is his wife Hojo Masako, played by Anne (Watanabe, but she uses her first name only these days) here. Masako was a formidable woman herself but that's for another time.)
Pros: A great general, wily politician, good fighter. And..the first actual shogun with power! The Heike and the Genji (or the Taira clan and the Minamoto clan) were the ones who first defined what it meant to be a bushi / samurai.
Cons: Not that many really...although see next entry:
Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源義経) 1159 - 1189
Yoshitune was Yoritomo's younger half-brother.
(Portrayed by Takizawa Yoshio in the 2005 NHK Taiga Drama.)
Pros: Yoshitsune has a big cult following even now. He is supposed to have been a legendary awesome fighter. There are even myth-like tales about how he managed to fight and defeat devils and stuff - clearly not true, but they show how popular a figure he was and still is.
Cons: Note when he died - age 30. He did some rather silly things against the wishes of his brother and lord, Yoritomo, and eventually committed suicide to atone for them. But since he is so popular, he has become the quintessential tragic hero, and Yoritomo's image has suffered somewhat as a result. (I've noted this in other answers, but Japanese people love a tragic loser as much or even more than they like a winner.) To note: Yoritomo also killed another brother. Fratricide was not uncommon amongst the bushi, especially when younger brothers went rogue.
Here's more about the fact and legend of Yoshitsune: History: What are some intriguing stories from the edge - between myth and history?
Oda Nobunaga (織田信長) - 1534 - 1582
Nobunaga is the guy who almost brought an end to an almost century-long period of civil war. Although he was assassinated before he could complete the task, he certainly did a lot of the hard work.
(Portrayed by Ryu Daisuke in the Kurosawa movie Kagemusha)
Pros: He was the lord of a small and rather obscure territory called Owari no kuni (current day Nagoya area), yet he managed to defeat far more powerful lords and use a combination of battles and political finagling to get to Kyoto. He was apparently quite a fearsome fighter, but more than that he knew how to be a general. Just before he could consolidate his power, he was assassinated by one of his followers, Akechi Mitsuhide. (Another of his followers, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, siezed power after Nobunaga's death and took control of the nation.) Hei was a very cultured and intellectually curious man, who found the tea ceremony very calming. He was also pretty open to meeting with and talking to emissaries from foreign countries. Chances are, if he had survived to rule the land, Japan would have been a very different place.
Cons: Not much really...unless you consider that he too killed a brother in order to consolidate his power. Plus, he lit a mountain that was the stronghold of a powerful Buddhist temple on fire, killing not only the monks and priests but also many women and chldren. But it was not like the monks were defenseless, and they had provoked him by calling on all 'good Buddhists' to go against the cursed devil (oni) Nobunaga. They were upset that he had demanded a tribute from them. (Plus the women and children were mostly the concubines and offspring of the monks...for a sect that does not allow monks to marry, so there's that too.)
Tokugawa Ieyasu is another candidate - see History of Japan: How do modern Japanese people view Tokugawa Ieyasu? - which has more about the three great men, Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu.
Any of the above would be good candidates. There are many others from the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods that may be worthy of consideration, but ultimately I think you have to go with the one who managed to rise above them all - Nobunaga.
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Why does Japanese Prime Minister Abe insist on visiting Yasukuni Shrine despite former Emperor Hirohito having ceased going, and current Emperor Akihito having never gone?
It's because he's an LDP politician. The LDP, despite their name (Liberal Democrats), are a right-of-center party. At the moment he has to kowtow to rightwing interests because of the emergence of far-right-wing parties such as the Japan Restoration Party. See Politics of Japan: What statement does a Japanese politician make when he visits Yasukuni shrine? which should explain the basics.
I really don't know why people think that politicians from [not your own country] have to concern themselves more with what outside interests think vs. their own constituency. Does Obama do stuff because [insert not-US country] says he should over what domestic interests want him to do? Hardly.
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Just after my cookbook came out in early 2011, I was doing a book signing at Uwajimaya in Seattle. (Uwaji's as Seattle natives call it is a major Japanese supermarket there.) My book is about Japanese bentos (boxed lunches) by the way, and I also run two Japanese cooking blogs.
A lady came up to me, took one of my hands in both of hers, and shook it vigorously. She said with tears in her eyes, "You've taught me so much about the cooking I grew up with that my mother never taught me!" She told me how her mother had always told her to study, get good grades and go to a good college, but never really taught her how to make the dishes from her homeland.
This lady was a 2nd generation Japanese-American. The kicker is, she was in her 60s - almost old enough to be my mother.
I was just bowled over, that something I'd written could touch someone so deeply...especially someone of her generation.
Thanks for this question by the way...I'd sort of forgotten that moment. I find it so hard to hang on to compliments -- while I remember hurtful words forever.
I think I need to get working on another book...
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Monbento | Win 1 MB Lib to-go bowl
La marque monbento est la première marque Française de conception de boite bento pour vous permettre de transporter vos repas de manière pratique et tendance !