Memories of Wind and Waves: A Self-Portrait of Lakeside Japanby Junichi Saga, Susumu Saga, Susumu Saga
"When I close my eyes, all I see is clear, bright water." So remarks one of the people whose memories, told in their own words, make up this record of a vanishing way of life in small-town, lakeside Japan. Memories of Wind and Waves gathers the richly detailed stories of thirty-three elderly men and women who spent their lives working on or around Japan's… See more details below
"When I close my eyes, all I see is clear, bright water." So remarks one of the people whose memories, told in their own words, make up this record of a vanishing way of life in small-town, lakeside Japan. Memories of Wind and Waves gathers the richly detailed stories of thirty-three elderly men and women who spent their lives working on or around Japan's second-largest lake, Kasumigaura. Though just forty miles from Tokyo, the area was throughout much of the twentieth century very rural and poor -- a world away from the capital that we know today. Many people tell of working late into each night in a struggle to survive, supplementing their main livelihood from fishing with a bit of farming or other work. Yet these are people who lived so close to nature -- in some cases literally on the lake -- that a great many of their reminiscences are not about hardship but about just how beautiful the place was.
Through this rare, rich oral history we come to know a world very different from our own, inhabited by people like the woman who was married off at nineteen to a riverboat captain and was "steaming mad" to find there was no toilet on board the ship where they were to live, and that she was expected to stick her rear end over the side to relieve herself; or Catfish Kyubei, who, when he dived underwater to catch catfish with his bare hands, stripped completely naked first, to make his body as cold as the fishes' so they wouldn't sense his presence.
Since the lives of many of the storytellers actually span the twentieth century, these people have been witness to remarkable changes, with much of the work they once did by hand and in extremely difficult conditions having now been industrialized, mechanized, or made obsolete. They take great pleasure in remembering a time when the lake and the lives of the people around it were more closely intertwined. Their stories present a little-known, very human face of modern Japan and, perhaps more importantly, deal directly and in a plainspoken way with the issues that concern us all -- family, work, love, and memory.
- Kodansha International
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.32(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.01(d)
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >