November 13, 2018

90 percent of Japanese believe robots will replace humans

"Nearly 90% think robots and computers will be doing much of the work currently done by humans in the next half century. Some 83% see this causing greater inequality, 74% believe people will have trouble finding work and 58% think automation will not generate better jobs."

Japanese fear automation will take more jobs than foreigners
Pew survey: Only 15% of adults feel youths will be better off than their parents
ANDREW SHARP, Nikkei Asian Review deputy politics and economy news editor

November 13, 2018 

November 01, 2018

Book Review Footprints in the snow by Kenjiro Tokutomi

Author: Kenjiro Tokutomi

Translator: Kenneth Strong

Publisher: Tuttle Publishing, Tokyo, Japan, 1971

ISBN: 0293-000247-4615

Pages: 371

A novel about growing up in the Meiji Period

© Copyright. 2016.  All rights reserved,

A novel set in the Meiji period between 1860 and 1900 that reveals the hardships of the time where families lost their fortunes easily and the impact this had on people families and lives.
We learn the about the good and bad sides of relatives, the social impact of dramatic change in society, we gain insights into men’s and women’s worlds, social interactions including arranged marriages, the importance of education in order to get ahead and get noticed. Clothing, food, fashion and social customs of the period. Politics and its impact on everyday people, the need for guarantors for accommodation and the complexity of love in an open environment where people had little privacy.
The tale of one man’s struggle to rebuild his family’s name and wealth.


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October 23, 2018

Book Review Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto

Book Review  Goodbye Tsugumi

Author:          Banana Yoshimoto
Translator:    Michael Emmerich
Publisher:     Grove Press, New York,1989
                    ISBN:             978-0-8021-3991-7
                   Pages:           186

A personal, warm, reflection on a wonderful relationship with family

© Copyright. Peter Hanami, 2018.  All Rights Reserved.

Banana Yoshimoto is a great writer who builds a very warm and personal relationship with the reader. Her skill is the ability to verbalize what she sees about people and how relationships connect.

In this story she allows the western reader to enter, observe and understand a Japanese woman’s world which is very different from a Japanese man’s. We are very lucky to see the warmth, relationships, connectedness, routines and joys women share. Particularly the reading of other people through their behaviour. How one’s silence is read as a way to find out their state of mind which is a very different skill for westerners.

We also get insight to small town life, living in the countryside, the beauty found in being fully aware of the changing seasons, especially summer festivals. The most outstanding part to me was when Maria saw here father in Tokyo on his way home from work and how she got to see his real life face that allowed her to get a deep glimpse of him as a person, not just the smiling face at home which was profound in its form and meaning

We learn how insignificant acts creates jealousy in others, how individuals deal with a long term sickness and their isolation, nostalgia and the difficulties of expressing emotions to the people you love.

The only surprise was the abrupt ending which could of been tied up more neatly.

Banana Yoshimoto really captures the reader with her warmth, like a warm bowl of soup on a cold night,  it can’t help but to gain and keep your full attention.