so·journ [n. soh-jurn; v. soh-jurn, soh-jurn]
/ noun; a temporary stay / verb; (used without object) to stay for a time in a place; to live temporarily.
Julia Shiota / 塩田ジュリア / MA in English Literature (University of Chicago); MA in Japanese Studies (University of Michigan).
Born in Osaka → Sendai → Midwest, United States.
I am interested in the stories we tell. I am always trying to make sense of the world through words.
I try to read a wide range of styles, but I tend to gravitate toward novels, memoirs, and essays. However, I am always trying to read beyond my own preferences whether that be genre, tradition, or author, and trying to learn from as many diverse voices as I can. The purpose of reading diversely and reading beyond preferences is about challenging our conceptions of the world and, hopefully, to become a more open human being.
Because of that focus, the writing you find here will be less like reviews and more like reflections and impressions — sometimes the reflections will be critical. My belief is that criticism can be a truly generative process, as Rebecca Solnit notes:
There is a kind of counter-criticism that seeks to expand the work of art, by connecting it, opening up its meanings, inviting in possibilities. A great work of criticism can liberate a work of art, to be seen fully, to remain alive, to engage in a conversation that will not ever end but will instead keep feeding the imagination. Not against interpretation, but against confinement, against the killing of the spirit. Such criticism is itself great art. — ‘Woolf’s Darkness’
Much of what I write about is centered on Asian-American and Japanese literature, but I also write about whatever book that resonates with me after I finish reading it. I hope some of these reflections pique your interest and lead you to pick up these texts yourself.
You can also find my published work under Writing.
*All photos taken by me unless otherwise stated