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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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Tokyo, Japan

But then the man said, “Tokyo is bigger than Kumamoto. And Japan is bigger than Tokyo. And even bigger than Japan…” He paused and looked at Sanshiro, who was listening intently now. “Even bigger than Japan is the inside of your head. Don’t ever surrender yourselfーnot to Japan, not to anything, You may think that what you’re doing is for the sake of the nation, but let something take possession of you like that, and all you do is bring it down.”

from Soseki Natsume “Sanshiro” (Translated by Jay Rubin)

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Tokyo, Japan in March, 2014.

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