Toshiki Okada’s ‘Breakfast’ seems as though it ought to provide plenty of material for a discussion of the challenges with which it confronts a translator. Here is one candidate: its punctuation. The punctuation is decidedly non-English. How does one translate a comma from Japanese into Englis…
A Bleed of Blue
‘I had always thought that in Blue Joni had taught me about love, about being in love and losing it.’
Amy Key on Joni Mitchell’s seminal album, released fifty years ago in 1971.
Work, or the Swet Shop Boys
‘My work life – like, maybe, yours – is built around another, non-paying vocation.’
Hilary Plum on listening to the Swet Shop Boys while (not) working.
Shirley from a Small Place
‘The highs and lows of fame, have been far better and far worse than both mother and daughter could have hoped for.’
Fiction by Alexia Arthurs, inspired by Rihanna.
‘Only M.I.A. could juxtapose the tropes of bad diaspora poetry against the horrors of interrogation techniques and get away with it. For a while, at least. ’
Momtaza Mehri on M.I.A.
First published in Granta 76: Music, an essay by Greil Marcus on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, which inspired the Grateful Dead, Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan.
Translated by Michael Emmerich
Michael Emmerich is Professor of Japanese literature at the University of California, Los Angeles and Director of the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities. He is the author of The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature and Tentekomai: bungaku wa hi kurete michi tōshi, the editor of Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories by Contemporary Writers and New Penguin Parallel Texts: Short Stories in Japanese, and the translator of numerous works of premodern to contemporary Japanese literature by authors ranging from Kawabata Yasunari and Inoue Yasushi to Yoshimoto Banana and Takahashi Gen’ichirō.More about the translator →