Posts Tagged ‘Michael Dylan Welch’

Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.

Thanks to Michael Dylan Welch for recommending this book.

The title represents the first of the 72 classical 5-day “seasons” of the solar side of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. This lunisolar calendar became the basis of the seasonal understanding of the Japanese early on, and is embedded deep in haikai culture. Liza Dalby, a marvelous writer and a leading sociologist of things Japanese (you may know her best-selling book Geisha or her more recent novel The Tale of Murasaki, among other works), has unpacked this old East Asian calendrical thinking to yield a book that describes the system with a delightful lightness of touch that includes anecdotes both ancient and personal. She also indicates, in an appendix, how the Japanese adapted this Chinese system to their own climate, and then how she further adapted it for her home in northern California. Running through all this are 72 personal essays that, though brief, rival Montaigne for clarity, humanity, and humor. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the seasons, in cross-cultural dialogue, and in just plain fine writing.

East Wind Melts the Ice is available from booksellers, including Amazon.com.


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