Thursday, June 29, 2006

Haiku Apprentice reviewed in East Bay Express

In its June 28 issue, The East Bay Express reviews The Haiku Apprentice: Memoirs of Writing Poetry in Japan by Abigail Friedman.

Anneli Rufus writes:

Never underestimate the potential of seventeen syllables. They zip past so fast. I can't come to the phone right now but please leave a message after the -- boom. An American diplomat in Tokyo, fluent in Japanese, Friedman was employed by the Foreign Service to keep tabs on public reactions to news from nearby North Korea. Juggling political hot potatoes along with a busy home life, mother-of-three Friedman was startled when a stranger invited her to join his haiku group: "In my mind, Japanese haiku poets were either long dead or... hidden away in the hills, practicing Zen." Attending suburban meetings, she discovered and joined -- like "Alice in Wonderland... as if I had fallen down a hole" -- a subculture pursuing an art form that celebrates solitary epiphanies in a nation notorious for groupthink. Friedman is an appealing guide through an alternate Japan where modern people make poems about teacups and temples but also about skyscrapers and kidney surgery.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Pillows are visiting Kinokuniya in San Francisco

The Pillows will be making a special in-store Q/A appearance at the Kinokuniya Bookstore in San Francisco's Japantown on Wednesday, June 28 at 5:00pm. Fans are encouraged to attend and meet the band.

The Pillows are a Japanese rock band best known internationally for their music in the anime series FLCL (Furi Kuri). The band is currently on a North American tour for their new CD, “My Foot.”

Kinokuniya Bookstore is hosting the Pillows' live appearence in support for the band's San Francisco concert which is occuring later that evening at Slim's.

Kinokuniya stocks jrock, ink.: a concise report on 40 of the biggest rock acts in japan, which features the Pillows. How convenient!

The Japan Journals reviewed at Pacific Dreams

Pacific Dreams reviews The Japan Journals: 1947-2004, writing, "Japan Journals is not only fascinating for its look at Japan through western eyes, but also in how Ritchie develops the ability to look at himself through the eyes of Japan."

Read the rest of the review

Author Donald Richie to curate series at SDLX

Donald Richie, author of several SBP titles such as The Japan Journals: 1947-2004 and The Inland Sea, will be curating and moderating a "multi-part series devoted to unexplored tangents of the Japanese film" at SLDX in Tokyo. This event is sponsored by the Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies (ICJS) at Temple University, Japan Campus. The next film is Focus (Fokasu) on July 12 at 8 pm.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves reviewed at The Asian Reporter

The Asian Reporter's June 20, 2006 edition reviews Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook by Patrick Galloway.

Read the review

Heian author Frederick Franck dies at 97

The Los Angeles Times reports that Frederick Franck, artist and writer of many books, died on June 5 at age 97 in Warwick, NY.

Mr. Franck compiled selections from R.H. Blyth called Zen and Zen Classics for Heian, which is now an imprint of Stone Bridge Press. He also added several wonderful illustrations.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Author Josephine Yun to discuss Japanese rock on BBC Radio

It's pretty certain that tomorrow's edition (June 21) of BBC's The World will air its interview with Josephine Yun, author of jrock, ink.: a concise report on 40 of the biggest rock acts in japan.

The World can be found on your local public radio station if you're in the US, and the interview could always show up on the BBC World Service later. Thankfully the show can also be heard at The World's website.

The Haiku Apprentice reviewed at BiblioBuffet

BiblioBuffet reviews The Haiku Apprentice: Memories of Writing Poetry in Japan by Abigail Friedman: "This book is not designed to make the reader a poet, but it does, perhaps, help us to pay more attention to our poetical eye."

Read the rest of the review

Friday, June 09, 2006

Donald Richie Reader and Japan Journals reviewed in Japanese Language in Literature

Japanese Language and Literature reviews The Donald Richie Reader: 50 Years of Writing on Japan and The Japan Journals: 1947-2004:

To read these two publications is like diving for pearls. Dip into any part of them and you will surely find treasures about the cinema, literature, traveling, writing. The passages are evocative, erotic, playful, and often profound. Some of the illustrations are delightfully droll, like the one of Richie with Sophia Coppola, where it looks like she just bit into an umeboshi.

jrock, ink. reviewed at California Bookwatch

California Bookwatch's June issue reviews jrock, ink.: a concise report on 40 of the biggest rock acts in japan by Josephine Yun (who today just recorded an interview with the BBC! Details to come...):

Imagine a geisha playing electric guitar, or a koto performer flipping the bird. Imagine a 3-piece high school band called Mr. Children whose long-term success allowed it to evolve from a school band to number 1 on the Japanese record charts. Imagine Japanese indie rock performer who mix punk elements with Japanese. Add a healthy dose of fun drawings throughout and you have a survey of Japanese pop rock culture not to be missed: a 'must' for any alternative or indie world music fan who would better understand modern Japanese musicians.

Mirei Shigemori reviewed in Washington Gardener

Washington Gardener's May/June issue reviews Mirei Shigemori: Modernizing the Japanese Garden by Christian Tschumi. Reviewer Ursula Sabia Sukinik writes:

I found the color photographs stimulating and though-provoking. As well as the quotes scattered in the book. Take a look at Shegemori's designs, and realize how radical they appeared in the 1970s. They are eternally modern.

Author Fred Schodt interviewed in Eye-Ai Magazine

Eye-Ai's June Issue interviews Frederik L. Schodt, discussing his many books including several from Stone Bridge Press. In "From Manga to Ranald MacDonald: the Inquiring Mind of Frederik Schodt," Meg Nakano writes:

When you go to the 'Books on Japan' section of your local bookstore, what do you hope for? Fresh insights? Deep factual research in an easy-to-read sytle? Experience broader than your own? New and hidden worlds? Do you look for an author you can depend upon to deliver all of these, in pleasantly unexpected ways? Then Frederik L. Schodt is the name you will want to remember.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Friday, June 02, 2006

Read excerpts from Doing Business with Japanese Men

Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti has authored/co-authored several books, including SPB title Doing Business with Japanese Men: A Woman's Handbook with Cristalyn Brannen. At her website,, Dr. Wilen-Daugenti offers an excerpt to Doing Biz which you can find right here.

The Haiku Apprentice is a June Book Sense Pick!

The Haiku Apprentice: Memoirs of Writing Poetry in Japan, is Stone Bridge Press's latest title to become a Book Sense Pick!

You can see the entire list of June Book Sense Picks here.

The Haiku Apprentice is the first book by author Abigail Friedman.

"I'm thrilled that The Haiku Apprentice found favor with book sellers across America and is now a Book Sense pick. What a victory for all of us who are drawn to haiku," said Ms. Friedman.

Discover the beauty of haiku and be inspired to start your own haiku group!

· Allows any newcomer to learn the basics and the experienced to enjoy a fresh approach
· New perspective on an ancient art appeals to book buyers, writers, and journal-keepers

Follow the author, a professional American diplomat in Japan, as she joins a haiku group and learns that you don’t have to picture yourself a poet to write haiku. Meet the ordinary people who provide extraordinary insight into writing haiku.

Abigail Friedman joined the Foreign Service in 1988 and served her country in DC, Paris, Tokyo, the Azores and most recently as Consul General in Quebec City. She is a member of the Haiku Society of America and Haiku Canada. She is a founding member of the bilingual Quebec Haiku Group in Quebec City.

Michael Dylan Welch is a poet, editor, and publisher. More than 2,5oo of his poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines in 10 languages. He is vice president of the Haiku Society of America.

The problem came to a head one day as I was driving through Tokyo. While waiting for the light to change, I saw the following public service announcement on the side of a bus: Omoiyari hitonikurumani konomachini (Sympathy / toward people, toward cars / toward this town). Seventeen syllables. Five-seven-five format. It must be a haiku, I thought. But when I reached the office and repeated the announcement to my Japanese coworkers, none of them thought it was a haiku. I knew they were thinking to themselves, What kind of a lunatic is she? One tried to break the news to me gently, “It’s not a haiku, it’s an advertising jingle.” Well, I knew it was an advertising jingle, but still, wasn’t it an advertising jingle haiku?

Book Sense is a national marketing campaign on behalf of the independent bookstores of America. It is both a local and national effort to shine a light on the knowledge and diversity of independent bookstores

Native American reviewed in Metropolis

Metropolis reviews Frederik L. Schodt's Native American in the Land of the Shogun in Issue #636: "Think teaching English is a bore? Think again."

Read the review