Magazine article New Internationalist

Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye

Magazine article New Internationalist

Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye

Article excerpt

Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye by Marie Mutsuki Mockett (WW Norton & Company, ISBN 978-0-393-35229-0)

The subtitle of this book states simply: A journey. But don't be fooled into thinking that this intriguing narrative is a mere travelogue. The journeys undertaken by Marie Mutsuki Mockett are far more complex: inwards, to a greater understanding of her own grief and depression following the death of her father; outwards, as she sees her own sorrow reflected in a whole nation rocked by the 2011 tsunami; back in time, as she gains insight into and consolation from Japan's rich spiritual and cultural past; and, tentatively, towards a future in which she can imagine moving past her sadness and finding joy again.

Brought up to speak Japanese by her mother, whose family owns a Buddhist temple just 40 kilometres from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the author overcomes initial resistance on the part of the famously reticent Japanese, and delves into their culture and religious traditions. …

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