The Annotated Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan by Lafcadio Hearn

The Annotated Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan by Lafcadio Hearn : Volume II

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In Volume Two of The Annotated Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, as in Volume One, we have the opportunity to explore Japan right along with Hearn; however this time, the locations are not those destined to become popular tourist attractions, but rather islands, towns, and villages, on the west coast of Japan, the Japanese sea, which still remain relatively unknown to outsiders and even to many Japanese. Along the way, he tells some "ghostly" stories and describes many of the old-fashioned customs and beliefs of the people he finds there. But even before these travels and tales begin, he invites us into the garden at his home on Kitabori-cho in Matsue, just a few streets northwest of a hill where stands Matsue Castle, and which has been lovingly preserved by the people of the city and opened to the public. There we are treated to a tour and an explanation of some of the basics of Japanese ornamental gardening, an introduction to some of the creatures that inhabit his yard, along with some wonderful old stories. Hearn then moves on to a very informative essay on Shinto, a primer of sorts, and then provides us with a comparative look at both Japanese Buddhism and Shinto, and how both religions approach their respective esteems for the dead. If you have ever been intrigued by the hairstyles of Japanese women, particularly those seen in the old ukiyo-e prints and antique photographs, Lafcadio Hearn next takes us on a tour de force of the myriad of Meiji styles and their complexities, and tells a "ghostly" story involving his wife's own hairstylist and a head which, detached from its body, travels about on its own. During the Meiji era, education was paramount to Japan's future positon in the world and Lafcadio Hearn was part of the process of bringing the youth of the nation first into the late 19th century and then the twentieth. With the fondest of memories, Hearn tells us of his early days as a teacher in Matsue and introduces us to some of his favorite pupils in a way that is both endearing and humorous; yet, ultimately tragic. He then changes direction, introducing the reader to two special Japanese festivals, that of the New Year and another which follows a month later, Setsubun; at the same time he introduces us to some fascinating, if not so benevolent, spirits associated with them. He then moves on to tell us a bit about Japanese dancing girls, geisha, and concludes that chapter with a touching story of a renowned dancer from the past. Later we are treated to a discussion of the fascinating concept of multiple souls in one person, and a winter visit to some ghosts, goblins, and Japanese Hell - Jogoku. Our visit with Hearn concludes with a serious essay on the meaning of the (then) seemingly omnipresent smile of the Japanese people and then makes some ominous predictions for Japan's future, followed by his farewell to Matsue; which was marked by love and respect from his students and the town; yet, again was marred by tragedy, and described as only he could express it. We hope you enjoy this new enhanced presentation of Volume II of Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, and find it, as we did, some of the best of Lafcadio Hearn.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 675.85g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • annotated edition
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508621217
  • 9781508621218