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Plum Wine

Yes, Japan to her shame was aggressor in war both in China and America and this ending was brought upon us for this reason. But I think worst thing is use of split atom, human discovery of nature’s secret, to destroy. Perhaps if possible. You asked me, what is Japanese idea of sin. For Japanese there is no original sin. In Buddhism, belief is that human in original state is pure and our effort should be no return to the pure nature.

The next day Miss Ota, Barbara, and Keiko set out for Matsue in Keiko’s car. Miss Ota suggested they visit an ancient Inari shrine. “You will be particularly interested, I think, Barbara-san, with your curiosity about our Japanese fox.” As they walked along a canal lined with pine trees, Barbara thought of Ko walking here; this was the place where Michi’s story began. She paused, looking down at the reflection of pine branches and her face in the water. Michi would be glad she’d come. A legacy. Sheffield the words settle into her.

from Angela Davis-Gardner “Plum Wine”

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The Lake Shinji, Matsue, Shimane in October 2014.

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After Dark

She goes on with her story. “I don’t remember how long the darkness lasted. Now it seems awfully long to me, but in fact it may not have been that long. Exactly how many minutes it lasted−five minutes, twenty minutes−really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that during that whole time in the dark, Eri was holding me. And it wasn’t just some ordinary hug. She squeezed one. She never loosened her grip for a second, It felt as though if we separated the slightest bit, we would never see each other in this world again.”
from Haruki Murakami “After Dark”

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Replenishing the Earth

Indeed, the greater awareness of our responsibility toward the planet as a whole has forced religious practitioners and scholars to reexamine their traditions and apply critical and exegetical thinking to their sacred texts to determine just what resources lie within them to promote a more just and more ecological vision. It has also forged greater consciousness of one another’s faiths, and encouraged much-needed inter religious dialogue.
from Wangari Maathai “Replenishing the Earth”

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Unbowed

I felt strongly that I was doing the right things. I kew it would take time, but I stayed with it. It was hard when people said terrible things about me. It was hard when people said terrible things about me. It upset my children, and my family and friends. Some days as I walked along the street, I saw people cross to the other side when they noticed me. They did not want to stand in the street talking to me.
from Wangari Maathai “Unbowed”

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Interview with the Vampire

I couldn’t bear it, looking at her, wanting her not to die and wanting her; and the more I looked at her, the more I could taste her skin, feel my arm sliding under her back and pulling her up to me, feeling her soft neck.Soft, soft, that’s what she was, so soft. I tried to tell myself it was best for her to die–what was to become of her? but these were lying thoughts. I wanted her!
From Anne Rice “Interview with the Vampire”

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The Metamorphosis

Gregor crept forward still a little further and kept his head close against the floor in order to be able to catch her gaze if possible. Was he an animal that music so seized him? For him it was as if the way to the unknown nourishment he craved was revealing itself to him. He was determined to press forward right to his sister, to tug at her dress and to indicate to her in this way that she might still come with her violin into his room, because here no one valued the recital as he wanted to value it.
From Franz Kafka “The Metamorphosis” (Translated by Ian Johnston)