Ah, persimmon season: my favorite time of year to be in Davis, California, and to live in my house.
Nine years ago, when we left San Francisco and bought this place, I disliked almost everything about it (especially that it was not in San Francisco), and really liked only one thing: the mature Fuyu persimmon tree in the northeast corner of our otherwise unremarkable backyard.
Over the years we’ve made a few changes to the house and property so that, if I don’t exactly love the place, I have at least developed some fondness for it. And the persimmon tree remains one of its abiding delights. Continue reading →
My friends are often surprised to learn that I love watching sports on television. I can’t blame them. I’m pretty aggressively nonathletic. My idea of exercise is biking to the Farmer’s Market. My notion of a competitive good time is kicking your butt in Scrabble.
But I do love watching sports, and not just the conventionally “girly” stuff like figure skating and gymnastics, although I enjoy those too. I love the World Series. I love the Olympics, winter and summer. I love the World Cup. This summer I’ve squandered hours of what was supposed to be prime a.m. writing time watching the FIFA Women’s World Cup with my family. Continue reading →
I couldn’t wait to read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. The novel is about nearly everything I enjoy reading and writing about: Japan. The late 18th century. The early 19th century. Sailing ships. Encounters between East and West. It even includes a few references to my own pet subject, the La Pérouse expedition.
Well, now I’ve read it, and I’m so sorry to say this because it makes me look like the girl at the party who sits in the corner and scowls at all the people having fun, but I have some serious gripes with this book. Continue reading →
A version of the short essay that follows was originally published at my friend Marc Brush’s wonderful but now defunct online lit mag Wandering Army.
I have some mixed feelings about reviving the piece barely a month after the devastating March 11 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. But I keep seeing references to the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, and only a few of these references make mention of the story that I’m going to tell here. Continue reading →