The weekly grief is a literary letter from Tokyo, written by me, Thu-Huong Ha. I write essays, criticism, features, and fiction, and I am currently the culture critic for The Japan Times. You can also find me on instagram and twitter.

Despite the title, in previous years these letters have been sent biweekly and once a season. In 2024, they’ll be monthly. Common themes have included: language learning; expatriation; Asian and American identities; seasons and change; locating the normal in cultural oddities and finding the odd in cultural norms; moving, seeking, losing; real and imaginary places.

If any of these appeal to you, please subscribe. Don’t miss a grief.


“And yet that night we walked nonstop, at top speed…our pace never slackening, while in occasionally unintelligible English the Mexican reeled off a story that I had trouble following, a story of lost poets and lost magazines and works no one ever had ever heard of, in the middle of a landscape that might have been California or Arizona or some Mexican region bordering those states, a real or imaginary place, bleached by the sun and lost in the past, forgotten, or at least no longer of the slightest importance here, in Paris, in the 1970s. A story from the edge of civilization, I said. And he said yes, yes, I guess so, yes.” — Roberto Bolaño, Savage Detectives

“My current concerns were, needless to say, all about cracker packets.” — Kikuko Tsumura, There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job

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a literary letter from Tokyo

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