When life gets tense, people often enjoy relaxing with lighthearted and interesting books. How did a famous magazine editor change the culture of Japan? How does a Western scholar’s take on travel literature differ from Chinese scholars? Read to find out!
When life gets tense, people often enjoy relaxing with light-hearted and interesting books. Kurashi No Techo (“Notebooks of Beautiful Life”) is a popular Japanese magazine themed on improving people's lives through food, fashion and cheerful lifestyle content for individuals and families. What are the design concepts of Yasuji Hanamori, one of the magazine's founders? What kind of person is he, and are his editorial policies harsh or laid-back?
Throughout the ups and downs of human history—through wars and plagues, in the good times and the bad, one thing has remained constant— people need to eat! Vintage cookbook expert Tom Nealon obtained a variety of ingredients from ancient recipes, and takes readers on a mesmerising food journey. Rachel Laudan, who holds a PHD in History and Science from the University of London, provides a fascinating description of the historical evolution of diets, giving equal amounts of time to historical accounts from various part of the world, and taking into account the time people spend preparing food in modern times.
The Designs of Yasuji Hanamori
Kurashi No Techo was founded in 1948 by Yasuji Hanamori and Ohashi Shizuko. The magazine is well-known in Japanese design circles, and is a representative of post-war new life Japanese aesthetics. It has been popular in Japan for over 70 years. During his 30 years as editorin-chief, Yasuji Hanamori personally produced covers, drew illustrations and designed layouts. He never missed a single issue, and used his genius craftsmanship to shape the unique aesthetic features of the magazine.
The newly published Chinese version of The Designs of Yasuji Hanamori is a commemorative edition in honour of his 100th birthday.
The book contains 153 covers made by Yasuji Hanamori himself, and more than 160 wonderfully created paintings, sketches and precious photos demonstrating his unique taste and style.
From Yasuji's perspective, in any era, the beauty one finds in the world has nothing to do with money or a leisurely lifestyle. Those who create the most beauty in life are always those whose perception has been polished, whose eyes are focused on daily life and whose hands make unremitting efforts.
The Works of Yasuji Hanamori – A Designer’s Hand, an Editor’s Eye
As the editor-in- chief of the magazine, Yasuji Hanamori had a very distinctive personality. He provided unique insights into what should be a publisher's mission, and deeply understood the world of magazines, books and daily life. With meticulous craftsmanship, he participated fully in the publication of the magazine, including personnel selection and employment, product evaluation and topic selection planning, as well as editing text, illustrations, book bindings, supervision and printing.
In the editorial department of Yasuji Hanamori, the word “easy” was non-existent. The small editorial team had a major impact on Japan's lifestyle revolution. The shocking commodity evaluation forced manufacturers to improve their quality. The magazine challenged society by various means.
The book covers Yasuji Hanamori's working conditions, reproduces classic pictures and presents the story of the influential editorial department.
The Man Who Changed Japanese Life: Story of Yasuji Hanamori
Writer and cultural critic Kettaro Tsuno once met Yasuji Hanamori when he was young. Later, he visited with Yasuji's daughter, the magazine staff and his friends, and referred to a large number of documents to profile the complete life of the famous editor. He attempts to restore the experience of Yasuji Hanamori through different stages of his life and reveal the story of how an editor could have had such great influence on post-war Japanese culture with a magazine.
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
People look forward to buying and owning cars, only to find themselves stuck in traffic. Massive buildings display modern society's technology and wealth, but the connection between structures and humans is often ignored. Many contradictory factors are leading some to reflect on the necessity of urban life.
Charles Montgomery is an awardwinning writer and journalist from Canada. He created the Happy City project, dedicated to researching and exploring the impact of urban planning and design on the health, well-being, and the interpersonal relationships among residents.
Charles Montgomery investigated how the construction of buildings has changed globally, pondered over the importance of urban design from the angle of environmental planning and psychology, and reviewed the centuryold developmental history of modern cities from the perspectives of zoning regulations, and energy conservation and emission reduction. This book presents the style and changes that have taken place in Dubai, New York, London, Paris, Vancouver, Copenhagen and other metropolises. It also covers how communities in the South Pacific and South American countries are brought to life by the ancient wisdom of their inhabitants.
Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History
Today, people's eating habits are not only affected by geography, climate and product availability, but they are also related to the form of social organisation in which people live.
Through the evolution of human history, people can examine the formation of the world's dietary patterns from the perspective of social systems, production methods and regimes.
Few writers can explore the broad theme of food as elegantly and deeply as Rachel Laudan, whose book selects the world as the stage, and tracks the evolution of mainstream food culture and impact from the perspective of empires.
The book uses the global history of cooking to integrate political, economic and social content into a brand-new historical narrative. A large number of historical materials and exquisite graphics in the book demonstrate the important economic activities and social patterns that are closely related to dietary customs, and expound upon the distinction between high-end and low-end diets, as well as the pros and cons of food industrialisation. The author also explains how merchants, missionaries and the military have changed their diets across mountains, oceans, deserts and political boundaries as needed. In addition, the book's innovative narrative approach treats cooking as if it were a language, clothing or architecture—all things that are created by humans. By emphasizing how cooking turns agricultural products into food, and using the world as the stage rather than one specific country, it challenges many myths that underpin the contemporary food movement.
Food Fights & Culture Wars: A Secret History of Taste
The mutual influence of food on history and history on food has created an extraordinary cultural memory among mankind. The paradoxical history of humans and food is both entertaining and worthy of thoughtful consideration.
Tom Nealon is a vintage cookbook expert. He runs a shop of ancient and rare books in Boston that specialises in early printed books, especially books with recipes and literature, and often publishes articles about food history. Through this book, Nealon guides readers to understand how food is embedded into human civilisation and how it evolves, and comments on how humans have and can change their eating habits.
The author relies on recipes passed down from the Middle Ages, boldly speculates and carefully verifies his historical gourmet exploration. In the book are passages of food-related cultural anecdotes. The food observation perspective, which is different from the perspective of a historian, covers topics from carp protein to the blood shed for a banquet, and even discusses thickeners used for aerospace meals. It recreates a well-known but unfamiliar dining table, salvages anecdotes from the battles of civilisations and reveals the eating habits that can both destroy or make a nation. The book describes the evolution of meals and ingredients, explores the mystery of the intersection of society and food, and reveals the transformation of human culture. The book is also equipped with 130 coloured images from collections such as the British Library.
Oriental Tales is a collection of classic short stories by Marguerite Yourcenar under the narrative of the Orient. She draws materials from China, India, Japan and Eastern Europe (or the Eastern World in the European classical concept), including mythology, history and legends, and dives deep into their philosophical significance. Yourcenar is a typical scholarly writer, deeply affected by European humanist traditions since the times of ancient Greece and Rome. At the same time, she also realised the limitations of Eurocentrism early on, and has always had a keen interest in Eastern philosophy and literature. Her works are known for her profound knowledge, broad vision and philosophical thinking, including poetry, drama, essays and novel creation. Her main works include the novels Memoir of Hadrian and The Abyss; her Labyrinth of the World trilogy enjoys a high reputation.
When writing the book Oriental
Tales, Yourcenar delivers with unique compassion, seeking to provide hope during difficult times. Her language is light and easy to read. The rhythm is not fast, and the text is full of imagination and poetry.
Beauty and darkness, fantasy and malice—open this book and visit the disturbing but exceptionally gorgeous world of anti-fairy tales.
In the fantasy world of the book Jolies Ténèbres (Beautiful Darkness), the heroine is named Aurora. One day, the elegant princess Aurora, who is immersed in happy times, finds that the place where she lives has begun to drip with a soft, viscous liquid. Soon after, she is nearly submerged by the unknown liquid, and she and her friends flee to find shelter. Later, these cute friends, with their very different personalities, either find love or begin killing each other in order to survive, wandering aimlessly in the forest where living conditions change rapidly. Eventually, the friends die one after another. The story in this book revolves around a holy, cruel and wonderful adventure. The heroine has people she wants to depend on. She wants to exist. She wants to do her best to complete the mission. She wants to understand the world as a child would, simply accepting what she sees in front of her, and becoming a witness to it all.
On one hand, the book presents beauty by means of colourful innocence; on the other hand, the book presents darkness that can only be understood by those who are no longer innocent. When reading this book, readers are asked to accept the illogical and absurd story as a child accepts a fairy-tale. If readers can do so, they may recover the child-like curiosity which for many has become lost.
The author, Fabien Vehlmann, was born in 1972 in Mont-de-marsan, France. Kerascoët is the joint pen name of the French cartoonist couple Marie Pommepuy and Sébastien Cosset. In their careers, the pair have published a large number of French comics and are active in the advertising industry.
Pommepuy once said that the desire to paint and present fairy tales in different ways was the original intention of this story. As a child, the author couldn't feel the fun in the comics and fairly-tales of her day. She thought those stories were too silly, too happy and too carefree. She had questions about their reality—for example, what can Smurfs do to survive in nature? The author and illustrators wanted the fictional characters in their stories to face reality from a certain angle.
Jade Mountains and Cinnabar Pools: The History of Travel Literature in Imperial China
Travel notes presented through prose are treasures of classical Chinese literature. They organically integrate the true depiction of Chinese scenery and unique poetic artistic vision, while at the same time have become a main form of autobiographical literature. From the beginning of the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern dynasties to the late Ming, a massive amount of ancient Chinese travel literature has been created. They have diverse styles, and their writing purposes vary greatly due to changes in the times and personal perspectives. Exploring the literary and cultural significance of travel literature is not only an important topic of classical literature research, but also a challenge in methodology and literary history.
Jade Mountains and Cinnabar Pools: The History of Travel Literature in Imperial China is a monograph summarising traditional Chinese travel literature. Through the detailed textual interpretation of many classic travel writers and their works, wellknown sinologist James M. Hargett dissected the seemingly dull prose narrative structure in classic travel notes. He outlines the evolution of the genre of literature combined with the spatial characteristics of real natural environments, restores the experiences of writers and touches on the subtle interaction between travel writers and readers between the literary environment, as well as social and cultural institutions.
Landscapes have not only inspired Chinese painters, but also Chinese writers. Hargett is an excellent guide, taking readers across mountains and rivers to unknown destinations. Reading the book, people will find that the focus and perspective of Western scholars on Chinese travel literature are still very different from that of Chinese scholars, and therein lies the value of this book.