I love this Korean meal, served in a hot stone dish. The heat of the bowl remains long after you’ve finished eating and are sipping your green tea. The beef is tender, the vegies sweet.
For company I had my Japanese friend, just returned from Tokyo. She brought me another book. This friend introduced me to the author Soseki Natsume though his hilarious book, ‘Botchan’. She also gave me ‘I am a Cat’, but I’m saving that one.
Today she gave me Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s collection of short stories. What a tragic life he had! Listen to this, from his biography in the front of the book:
“His mother died insane when he was a child. His father, toward whom he had great resentment, was a failure who gave him up to his maternal uncle for adoption.”
The stories range from “The Hell Screen”, which is described as comprising the qualities of horror, the groteqsque and the macabre, and “The Nose” in which a Buddhist monk finds life difficult with his oversize nose.
I’m lucky in that I can read these books in the English translation. It’s hard for me to find Australian books for her. Her English is very good, but it is difficult to absorb a novel in another language, I think.
At the same time, on my search for last things, I’m reading “Japanese Death Poems written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death”. The poems are of interest, but more fascinating are the descriptions of the men who wrote them. Seira, who died in 1791, apparently said that, having suffered from inflammation of th skin and a boil the size of pumpkin on his head he could no longer escape the inevitable.