All posts by Christopher

I'm a visiting professor at Bowdoin College. I teach, write, and discuss Japanese popular culture, language, literature and other topics on East Asia.


最近僕は日本の引きこもりという人々について”Shutting Out the Sun”の本を読んで始めました。日本の社会はそんなに複雑だってしらなかったです。苦しいいじめをうけられた日本の若い人がある程度恥を忍ぶことができなくて、社会を抜けている。引きこもりの人々の霊はこんなに全身不随の状態になるぐらいで、うちを出ません。そのまま、自分の部屋にいて、社会の建前を深く眺めると、もともと凝然になってきるだと書かれています。


Faith in Glass

Recently, I had the chance to meet with Dieterich Spahn, of Minnetonka, MN, who I would venture to say is the greatest living stained glass artist. This German born and trained artist has designed over 3,700 windows, most notably in collaboration with Peter Dohmen, working on 2 giant sections of the Munderloh windows in Valparaiso’s Chapel of the Resurrection.

Not only is he passionate about his work, but he is a wonderful person to spend time with, and his love for Jesus Christ is unmistakable as you speak with him and as you learn about his work.

The images in his glass, and the way the light danced on me when receiving communion at VU, I can only say that his vocation, the way he praises God with his art and his life, touched and influenced my faith life, my meditation on God’s word, right on down to how I appreciate colors and how I myself perceive and create liturgical art.

You should just see his latest works, both at the Franciscan sisters Chiara center in Springfield, and the little Swedish Lutheran Church in Minnetonka, MN.

I thanked him for his work and hope to one day visit his studio. I felt such a connection to this man whom I had never met before, it was an honor to spend just a few hours with him.

Dieterich Spahn Studio

Durufle Pieces!

I have recently been on a Durufle kick, listening to a budget Naxos release of Durufle’s Mass cum Jubilo and the Prelude, Fugue, and choral variations on Veni Creator, and have been enjoying these pieces mightily.

As I tend to do, I was researching Durufle’s works to see if perhaps any of his unpublished music has been released, and I found out that there was a piece called “Meditations,” which I had never heard of. Excited, I jumped to iTunes, and checked for it. Not only were there 3 recordings of it, but there was also a recording of another posthumously released piece, “Chant Donne – Hommage a Jean Gallone.” I purchased these pieces for $.99 each without hesitation.

Upon listening to meditations, a very, very familiar melody seemed to strike me at the beginning of the piece, and then later in the A’ section. I quickly checked the Agnus Dei from the Mass cum Jubilo, and indeed, it is the very same motif! How exciting!

The second piece, the “Chant Donne” is so warm and breathing, especially with the typical Durufle harmonies and big swells of the string ranks. Totally worth the buy! I found that most recordings of Durufle’s complete organ works never contained these pieces as they were published in 2002! My trusty Delos release of Todd Wilson never contained these gems.

Durufle – Complete Organ Music – Henry Fairs on iTunes