“Some Prefer Nettles”: Drifting Toward Divorce

Some Prefer Nettles is a slim 1928 novel by Junichiro Tanizaki about the opening of Japan to the West; and, also, about a couple who can't quite seem to pull themselves together enough to divorce. They have a strange existential lassitude about it, even as everyone around them urges them to make some kind of resolution.Should they divorce? They're not happy but then again their unhappiness is just normal unhappiness, as Kaname's father-in-law finally points out to him. They have a son who is … [Read more...]

From “Some Prefer Nettles”

Natives of Awaji say that the puppet theater originated there. In the center of the island there is a village called Ichimura that even now has seven puppet companies. Once there were thirty-six. Ichimura is known as "puppet-town," and its theater goes back, one hardly knows how many centuries, to a certain court nobleman who was banished from Kyoto and came to live in Ichimura, and who in his boredom with country life took to making puppets and manipulating them for his own amusement. The … [Read more...]

“A Quick Gulp of Yale’s Enormous New Art Gallery”

Merry Christmas! Here's me blathering. … [Read more...]

World without cousins

Declining fertility means not just fewer children, but much less rich and complex family structures in general. A culture in which one’s parents have one or no siblings is one very nearly without aunts and uncles. The University of Maine’s Robert Milardo has called these “the forgotten kin” arguing that “aunts and uncles complement the work of parents, sometimes act as second parents, and sometimes form entirely unique brands of intimacy.” --more … [Read more...]