Tabi Techno Beppu

Minor Press

What a way to promote a city! Beppu in Oita prefecture has its own free magazine, Tabi Techo Beppu, but this isn’t just some cheap printout featuring the obvious offerings of this popular hot springs destination. It’s a beautiful, full color magazine that really gives you a feel for the city. Where it truly succeeds is in not trying to jam as much information on restaurants and lodging into pages after cluttered pages. Rather, it is more editorial, with articles on Beppu’s history, places of interest and people of importance. Sure, it has articles on products, but even these are well done. The magazine is obviously not some government hack job, but a publication produced with pride by people who care deeply about the city’s culture.

The photography is decent and the design, sleek and elegant. At 120 pages on B5-sized glossy paper, it provides plenty of reading (or simple visual browsing if you don’t read Japanese). The glued-in spine adds a little feeling of luxury to the volumes, which are produced quarterly. Go deeper online:

街の素晴らしいプロモーションだ!大分県の別府が発行している独自のフリー・マガジン「旅手帖 beppu」。この雑誌は、人気の温泉地を当たり前にフィーチャーするだけのような安っぽい冊子とは明らかに違う。美しいフルカラーの雑誌で、街の雰囲気が伝わってくる。レストランや宿泊施設など膨大な情報を無理矢理詰め込もうとはしていないところが、成功の秘訣だろう。別府の歴史や観光地、地元の名士など記事はしっかり編集されており、商品記事も巧みに処理されている。お役所仕事ではないことは明白で、街の文化のことを深く考えている人々がプライドをもって発行している雑誌なのだ。


Cormac McCarthy

Borderless Reading

Reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road post-Fukushima may give new perspective on the implications of nuclear disaster. The book itself certainly has deeper resonance now, not only post-Fukushima but also in light of tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.

The Road is about a father and young son’s journey in a post-apocalyptic world that is ashen and all but lifeless. The book contains no clear explanation for what has happened, only a brief passage about the father, pre-apocalypse, hearing large concussion blasts in the distance. Are we to assume these are nuclear blasts?

The father and son are traveling south to escape the harsh winter and to find what they hope will be remnants of human civilization. Food is scarce, so much so that some surviving humans have turned to cannibalism. The father has a gun with just two bullets left, one for each of them if they are captured. Will they, against all odds, make it to safety?

McCarthy’s book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, among other awards. Critics immediately hailed it a contemporary masterpiece, with many calling it the best piece of environmental fiction ever written. In 2009, it was made into a well-received movie.

福島の原子力発電所事故より後に、「ザ・ロード」コーマック・マッカーシー著(黒原敏行 訳)を読むと、原子力災害に対する意味あいに新しい見方が加わるだろう。ポスト福島のみならず、イランの核開発問題にも作品のテーマは深く共鳴している。




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