Sep 30

Interpreter/Translator/Writer Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03) presents WIT Life, a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as art, film, food and language. Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she offers some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

Time flies and hard to believe that we are already at the beginning of fall. For all of you bookworms like myself, as the title says this season is often called 読書の秋 (dokusho no aki or “autumn is for reading)”. Alternatively, for those who love pumpkin spice and everything nice, it is also known as 食欲の秋 (shokuyoku no aki or “season of good appetite”/”fall is for eating”). Other versions include 実りの秋 (minori no aki or “the harvest season”), 芸術の秋 (geijutsu no aki or “best season for enjoying art”), and スポーツの秋 (supo-tsu no aki or “best season for sports”).

Japan had its state funeral for former PM Shinzo Abe this week, with many waiting to offer their condolences and many others offering vociferous protest. His assassination has revealed the deep connections between the Liberal Democratic Party and the Unification Church, the repercussions of which are yet to be seen. This NYT article from earlier in the month touches on the relationship between the LDP and the church, in the context of Japan’s thriving telegram industry. For a heart-warming read, check out this other NYT article which talks about “baby workers” in Japan’s nursing homes.

On a personal note, I recently interpreted at a Japanese food event called “Taste of Japan in New York” that was held at Carnegie Hall. Many famous chefs attended from Japan, sharing their knowledge and creating one-of-a-kind menus focused on the country’s rich fermentation culture. PM Fumio Kishida was in town for the UN General Assembly and appeared at the end as a surprise guest! In his remarks, he highlighted how next month Japan will loosen its Covid restrictions and once again welcome individual tourists. I’ve tried to get back to Japan twice during the pandemic, so I’m hoping three times is a charm for my visit scheduled for next year!

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