Minor Press

Tagboat is a delightful little “Tokyo art guide” available for free at many Tokyo art galleries and museums. The publication’s focus tends to be galleries and exhibitions. Its pages include maps to gallery-rich areas of the capital, ads and listings for most major art exhibitions, and one-page articles on artists and installations. One page we liked in particular featured modern calligraphy painting paired with poetry. Tagboat is chock full of ads, too, but these blend in nicely with the rest of the content, being pictures of art in exhibitions anyway. Much of the magazine is bilingual (English & Japanese).

The recent September edition marks volume 53, coming in at a pleasingly thick 60 pages. It’s slightly larger than pocket-sized, trimmed at 15 by 21cm on quality matte paper. Naturally, being an art magazine, it is visually attractive with slightly more images than text. The designers have made good use of white space, too, despite the magazine’s small dimensions. Yearly subscriptions are available for a mere ¥2000.





Borderless Reading

Michael Ondaatje is of course best known for authoring The English Patient, the 1992 Booker Prize-winning novel turned Academy Award-winning movie. For the Sri Lanka-born Canadian author, it was an obvious financial windfall, but he had actually been publishing work for three decades previously, much of it poetry. He has also produced some excellent work since, our favorite being the 2007 novel Divisadero.

Set in rural Northern California in the 1970s, the novel’s several different narrative directions follow the lives of its characters: a single father, his two daughters and young man who becomes a kind of adoptive son. When a moment of violence shatters the family, they are left scattered, trying to find a way to heal from the past. Thousands of miles may separate them, but not memories. Ondaatje beautifully evokes the countryside of the American West and moves back and forth through time like a storytelling master.

A Japanese translation of the book by Muramatsu Kiyoshi is available from Shincho Crest Books.




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