If I were to list the five people I've felt so privileged to meet in my lifetime, N.V.M. Gonzalez would be one of them. The Philippine National Artist for Literature in 1997 was an exemplary man both as writer and raconteur -- witty, interesting, amusing, imaginative, with a mind that stayed young even as his body aged. To celebrate his birthday (September 8) a year prior to his centennial, we are posting an article by James McEnteer, "You Can't Go Home Again If You Never Left," originally published in Filipinas magazine, that we think captures the spirit of the late N.V.M. We are also posting one of his short stories, "The Tomato Game" from his book, The Bread of Salt and Other Stories.
Living in a country as dramatically different from the Philippines as Japan can be both enlarging and traumatic. The trick is not to take the strangeness too seriously as our regular contributor, Marites Danguilan Vitug, writes in "Surviving Japan Without Nihongo," an instructive piece on enjoying a place even without learning the language.
Meanwhile, another regular, Myles A. Garcia, enthralls us with a nostalgic trip down cinema lane with "My Manila Movie Memories." Among readers of a certain age, who hasn't played hooky from school to catch the movies in downtown Manila, he asks. Who indeed hadn't made a special memory or two in those darkened movie theaters of our Hollywood daydreams?
Here's hoping the trip back brings a lingering feeling that will brighten your days ahead.