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Japan

Murakami: Putting Normal Characters in Weird Situations

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I first heard of Haruki Murakami a decade ago and instantly knew we had a connection. It was while reading the first pages of his tome 1Q84, in which a young woman riding a taxi on an elevated expressway in bumper-to-bumper traffic realizes she is going to miss an important meeting, grabs her shoulder bag, steps out of the cab, and negotiates the fully jammed expressway by foot until she can make her way to the nearest ramp. I try to picture someone doing this on the Long Island Expressway. What a concept, my kind of weirdness — and I had 1,174 pages to go! That book – and many others by Murakami– should have prepared me for Killing Commendatore…

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Foodies Rejoice For Lonely Planet’s “Ultimate Eats”

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Sampling delicious pintxos along the grid of narrow streets in San Sebastián’s old town has been named the #1 best food experience in the world, according to global travel authority Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eats (Lonely Planet), available to purchase August 21. In the much-anticipated follow-up to Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel (Lonely Planet) Ultimate Eats: The World’s Top 500 Food Experiences…Ranked  travels the world with an insatiable appetite to present the definitive foodie bucket-list of the world’s top 500 food experiences – ranked. Whether it’s baozi in Shanghai, steak tartare in Paris or clam chowder in Boston – food and place are inextricably connected. Whenever we eat while traveling, we don’t just taste the dish itself but experience the whirl of people, languages, aromas and…

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Messineo’s ‘The Fire by Night’ Sheds Light on Nurses During Wartime

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Though all wars result in the same atrocious outcome, they are hardly similar in their origins. They often start with an incident, a provocation, appearing to be insignificant, but releasing long-supressed emotions. This can be a process which may take years to burn out. On May 8, 2017, we celebrated the official end of WWII, and though the conflict has been over for more than 70 years, it still continues to consume us on intellectual and spiritual levels. We still try to comprehend how atrocities of this magnitude are possible. We remember the main perpetrators, their names synonymous with locations, whereas all the forgotten heroes and sacrificed populations are collectively remembered as the ‘casualties.’ Even in memory, wars and history…

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A conversation across the Pacific in Ruth Ozeki’s A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING

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I’m not going to be coy here: I loved Ruth Ozeki’s newest book, A Tale for the Time Being (Viking, 2013). Ozeki writes herself into a complex and rich novel by imagining many what ifs: What if I found a 16-year-old girl’s diary washed up on the beach in British Columbia? What if Nao wrote the diary in Japan, her parent’s country, only she is horrifically bullied because she doesn’t fit in after growing up in Silicon Valley? What if her diary seemed to be her last words as both she and her father contemplate committing suicide? What if “Ruth” couldn’t find any trace of her on the Internet or corroborate her actual existence, but felt compelled to try to…

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