A famous Japanese quote says: 虎穴に入らずんば虎子を得ず。 (Koketsu ni irazunba koji wo ezu)
It literally means, “If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub.”
In other words, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You can’t do anything without risking something.”
Are you willing to venture into the realm of Japanese literature with me? It is an exciting place, for I have found Japanese authors to be like none others. They write a slice of life, dipping into and out of a character’s life only revealing a moment in time. They write of horror and villainy with a clarity which almost borders on the grotesque. They find the bizarre, the otherworldly, or an element of fantasy which few have dared to imagine. They know of peace and tranquility and hidden meanings within our lives.
This is the seventh year of the Japanese Literature Challenge. It runs from June 1 through January 30, 2014. During this time, I hope you’ll choose to read at least one work of Japanese literature. For this challenge, I expand that term to include children’s books, short stories, mystery, biography, sci-fi/fantasy, manga and poetry.
I have decided to hold an optional theme each month for which there will be a bookish prize given to one random winner. The themes and prizes will be announced at the beginning of each month, and as this is the first month I suggest that we begin with children’s literature…
Look at this lovely kitty:
Her name is Wabi Sabi, from which the book takes its title. She is a little cat in Kyoto, who has never thought about her name until friends visiting from another land ask what it means.
the master says, “That’s hard to explain.” And
that is all she says.
Wabi Sabi sets out on an adventure to discover the true meaning of her name. Each page has illustrations beautifully rendered by Caldecott-Medal winning artist Ed Young; each page includes spare text and haiku to define the world view that is wabi sabi.
I will send this book at the end of June to one random winner who has signed up to participate in the Japanese Literature Challenge 7. You can find the button here:
You can find the review site, complete with links to previous challenges and a suggested reading list here: japaneselitchallenge.blogspot.com
And, you can sign u p to venture forth here:
I so hope you’ll join me!
(Find a list of suggested Japanese Children’s Books here.)