by Masuho Fujita
In Glimpses of Old Tokyo Masuho Fujita has written poetical prose stories about her childhood memories. These include festivals, family, a bathhouse, food, street sounds, shops, kimono making and dragonflies. Here is a short extract from “A Place in Our Hearts”, in which Masuho and a friend revisit some old haunts from when they were at school together:
“After wandering around for an hour in the dim evening light we gave up on any chance of finding the dear old places we once knew so well. On the walk back to the Japan Rail station I told my friend, ‘I think the happy memories of our childhood will live on in our hearts. We’ll never forget them, will we?'”
Masuho has many memories and she has recalled them here with love and clarity. For readers wanting to know something special and personal about festivals, family and food in pre-war Tokyo, Masuho’s writings will provide a delicious entrée.
From a reader:
“I enjoyed reading Glimpses of Old Tokyo. I have always thought English was very difficult for me, but when I started to read your book, suddenly I found that English is clearer than Japanese and I could read the book. A lot of people will love this book.”
From Memories of Smoking
I have clear memories from my early childhood of my grandmother smoking her long pipe. She was my grandfather’s second wife and she had come from Osaka to live with us in Tokyo. They were married in 1931 when I was only seven years old. At that time everything she did, especially the smoking, looked fresh and attractive to me. I had never seen a woman smoking before.
Usually, after finishing the morning housework, she would relax in the living room. It was her habit to smoke in the morning. She smoked a long slender pipe and kept a small tobacco box about 15 cms high, which had two drawers. In the top drawer she kept a packet of tobacco. Her favourite tobacco was the brand Hagi which means “Japanese clover”.
Sometimes she sent me on an errand to buy it. In the second drawer she put loose pipe tobacco for use every day.
Whenever she went out with her husband to enjoy some entertainment or just to eat at a restaurant, she used to carry a beautiful pipe in her handbag. Both the bowl and the tip of the pipe were made of silver. My grandfather didn’t smoke but he loved his wife, so he managed to put up with the acrid smell of tobacco.
Glimpses of Old Tokyo, Masuho Fujita
Online special: $28.00 NZ
Mailing: Standard NZ/Australia, Rest of World $12.00 NZ
Ideal for anyone interested in Japanese culture, for students learning English.
Paperback, stitched binding.
Original colour and black/white artwork; photographs; extensive Glossary of Japanese references.
Size: 23.5 cms high by 16.5 cms wide
Weight: 300 gms
Pages: 96, including Glossary
There is a book of special English exercises for students. They are based on the chapters in “Glimpses of Old Tokyo”, asking questions about each one. See “Student Exercises” under “Books” on homepage.