Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lamentations of a Mermaid.

"The Lamentations of a Mermaid" (Ningyo no nageki) is a literary bar ("Bundan" bar) in Tokyo. You can meet writers, novelists, editors and other people from the literary circle in the bar.

The name of the bar is taken from the novel by Junichiro Tanizaki. The bar is owned by Ms. Saiko Matsumoto.

Literary bars such as The Lamentations of a Mermaid are Japanese institutions. There are many legends involving famous writers in the literary bars. Literary bars are also practical in that you can have a chance meeting with people who share the same interest, namely writing and editing. Sometimes, projects for a book is struck up in the bar.

The Lamentations of a Mermaid is located near the University of Tokyo. I know the area very well from my student days. There are many second hand bookshops, where they sometimes sell the original hand-written manuscripts of famous writers.

The sign ("The lamentations of a mermaid" written in Japanese) at the door of my favorite literary bar.


Utako said...

"Bundan"(literary)bar... I have a little bitter experience on it. When I trained myself to write plays at Bungakuza(Thearte Literature), I had no work. An actress took me to the "Bundan" bar in Shinjuku, where she was a high paid worker. I was introduced to the mistress and start working.

A few weeks later the mistress warned me.
"YOU,can't you make any witty conversion? As if you were a seal puppy."
"Seal I? "
"YES,only to listen to the GREAT authors' talk with your eyes open."
Actually I had been surprised at their tall stories. I was shunted to the kitchen after all, and an hourly wage also collapsed. I learned ice picking and enjoyed making hors d'oeuvre there. I wonder why Ms.Saiko doesn't employ me as an ice picker. I was not a marmaid but a seal puppy.

"Bundan" bar must be one of the hottest spots to visit or work in Japan.

Christine said...

Literary cafes are great. It's something I heard about a lot in English classes, about the Bloomsburg Group and those expatriates in Paris during the 1920s. I wish I could have been there.

Anonymous said...

same same: Literary cafes are great.

I don't know why but i have imagined Bauhaus. Paul Klee was there, right? i had once heard that he was called the Bauhaus's Buddha by his colleagues, right? I wish I could have looked there.