New East Asian library open at UC Berkeley

The new and beautiful East Asian Library has opened on UC Berkeley's campus. I'm really looking forward to going to see it. They have a huge number of very, very, very old books, and now access to them will be easier. It's a great acknowledgment of our place here on the Pacific Rim.

For my book, John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth, I did research at this library a couple of years ago, when it was small and cramped and had a lovely smell of old books and dust. I couldn't find my way around the shelves at all -- nothing was in English -- but with help of the librarians I was able to request an old issue of Bungei Shunju magazine from the depths of storage. Yoko Ono had written a wonderful article in the magazine about herself and her art work. I had it translated by a Japanese woman, Kyoko K. Bischof, and found it a very revealing self-portrait of Yoko. Which was great, as so much about John Lennon and Yoko is half truths, or out and out untruths that have been repeated over and over again. Love those primary sources!

And much older than Yoko's article, here is a poem I have over my desk by Izumi Shikibu.

In this world
love has no color-
but how deeply
my body
is stained by yours.