8.21.2007

Fumiko Hayashi, Hayashi Fumiko

I've been reading everything I can find on Fumiko Hayashi, aka Hayashi Fumiko. In Japanese, you'd say the last name first. The only things I've been able to find in Translation are Floating Clouds, and the poetry from Diary of a Vagabond and I Saw a Pale Horse. I've also started Wandering Heart, and Bad Girls of Japan, to read more about women who were inspired by the Bluestockings and other groups of outspoken female writers in and before the Taisho period. There's not much in the local indie bookstores when it comes to literature by women from Japan. It's fascinating that the first recognized novel in the world was written by a Japanese woman, The Tale of Genji. In Japan, it's primarily available in old fashioned Japanese, which is tough to read, I hear. Luckily in English it's not written in Ye Olde English. I'm going back in time to read that one, after I finish the anthologies.

You can find out more about what my friends and I have been reading over at Good Reads.

I'm going to see Heaven and Hell, aka High and Low, aka Ransom, by Kurasawa tonight at the PFA. Saturday I hope to catch two by Abbas Kiarostami, Where is the Friend's Home, and Homework.

Apologies for not blogging recently.

4 comments:

Brian said...

Wow! That's a cool project, that I entertained briefly during the PFA's Naruse series, but have left aside. How is Floating Clouds compared to the film? That was quite possibly my favorite of the films I got to see in that series. Her Lonely Lane, based on Hayashi's life story, was another favorite.

You're probably enjoying the Kurosawa film right now. Wish I could be there. I caught Where is the Friend's Home earlier in the Kiarostami series, and thought it utterly amazing.

SisterRye said...

Reading the book felt much like watching a Naruse film, only much more detailed and less stylized. After reading it, I'm convinced I've seen the film. My mind plays tricks on me. It's one of the Naruse films I didn't catch during the series. I could see uniquely old fashioned Japanese items (such as the warm brazier where they stir hot ashes around with chopsticks) as if it had been shot by him. But, Fumiko writes a lot about smells and feelings, tangible and emotional (laying on a tatami mat for the first time after returning home, a greasy bathtub). These things are all conveyed so well by Naruse without anyone explicitly narrating them.

SisterRye said...

Quick notes: High and Low was the best film I've seen by Kurasawa, totally interior, and noir. Shot in stark black and white. Some crowd scenes, but much more restrained than the epic Samurai flicks. A sharp detective novel. A narrative with unhidden class consciousness that feels too cool to come across as preachy.

The two Kiarostamis have been with me all week. Like nothing I've seen before -- historic, honest, the existentialism of Antonioni, with a humble activist (not common among activists) approach, chipped down to its key ingredients.

More later...

SisterRye said...

Where is the Friend's Home is now one of my top 10 favorite films.