Japan’s Best ‘Short Letters to My Home Town’

27 Mar

This book features 51 brief letters written for a contest in Japan. It’s bilingual so every letter is in both Japanese and English. Here’s a sample:

I asked my mother,
“When can we go back?”
Tears in her eyes,

Fumi Ozawa (f. 13)
The soccer ball that I used to think
I would use all my life–
where did it go, I wonder.

Yoshikinki Kanamori (m. 15)
Hometown, I don’t understand you,
but you seem to understand me.

Shinnosuke Michiya (m. 13)
I don’t want to know about your past,
but I would like to see the hometown
that brought you up.

Noriko Hamoyama (f. 51)
Tiny jewel by the joining of the rivers,
The whistle of the train;
How can I leave? How can I stay?

Tom Lombardo (m. 49)
The one place where I take the
loneliness off with my shoes.
with the realization that
this is where I was always going.

Cheshe M. Dow (f. 18)

© 1999, Maruoka-cho Cultural Foundation, Sumitomo Group Public Affairs Comm

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