Françoise Robin et al.

Here is how Sangmo Kyi remembers playing riddles in Tibet: I was born in the early eighties in the Mangra district, which is part of Chabcha. At that time, even though we didn’t have the fascinating toys that children have nowadays, we had all sorts of games suited to our country and our time, which meant my childhood was very rich with laughter and joy. Here is the memory that I still have from it, an unforgettable motif engraved in my mind. My brothers and sisters and I were educated in the county town where our whole family lived most of the time, but during the summer and winter holidays, we would all go out to the rural area where my mother and father were from. We would spend our holidays there with the family, mainly with our grandparents. My strongest memory from that time is when, in the evenings after dinner, the children from the neighbouring tents came at one family’s home to spend the night together; by the light of the moon and under the stars, we welcomed the night by telling stories and giving each other riddles. For example, after all the eldest members of the family had gone to bed, the children would split into two teams and, taking it in turns, they delighted in giving each other riddles; the whole group split equally into two parts and started to play: “So, ‘A dog backed up against a wall, his tail along the wall’, what do you guess? If you guess it, a riddle. If you don’t guess, a family.” “Umm… It’s an oven. Ok… ‘A white plain. Black sheep. The shepherd sings.’ What’s your guess? If you guess it, a riddle, if you don’t guess, a family. “Umm… I can’t guess. I give you the family of Uncle Nyima.” (When a family was given, we had the custom of starting by giving a family from the community who was disreputable, or else whom no one thought much of). “I don’t want Uncle Nyima’s family, I don’t want it…” “You won’t get another one… No, no… ha ha ha!” “Ok then, ‘A sheep with four legs who doesn’t know how to walk.’ What’s your guess? If you guess it, a riddle. If you don’t guess, a family.” “Umm… I can’t guess. I give you back the family of Uncle Nyima. Ha ha ha!” Etc. In this way we won and gave out families. When one of the teams had run out of its first lot, one of its members, representing the team, sang a song as a forfeit, and if he didn’t know how to sing, he had to imitate a cockerel or a donkey. Then, if we still hadn’t gone to sleep, an older person or even one of the teenagers told us a story, and everyone fell asleep. When we returned to the county town, the holidays over, we would get a bit bored. The neighbours there weren’t as friendly with each other as they were in the countryside or in the pastureland, and even if lots of children had wanted to spend the night all together at one family’s house, the smallness of the rooms and the scarcity of people who knew how to tell stories would have made it difficult. (Translation by Bridget Ochocka)

Asabuki Tomiko

The autumn of 1966 was marked not only by the American intervention in Vietnam, but also by the voyage of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir to Japan. In that period of existentialist questioning, Japanese women supporting female emancipation saw in Simone de Beauvoir a role model both envied and admired. This book retraces, day by day, the discoveries made by the two writers during their time in Japan, including the monuments and the sites, but also the daily life of the Japanese, their past-times, and their chores. One of the most defining moments of their trip was their visit to Hiroshima, from which both returned overwhelmed. Forty-five photos illustrate this account, a version of which was also published in Japan in 1995 by Dohosha Publishing. Asabuki Tomiko has reviewed and expanded this text for the French public. Also included in this volume is an essay by Ebisaka Takeshi on Sartre's influence in Japan, as well as a substantial bibliography illustrating the profound effects of this visit.


Mira Kamdar

Telling India through her words, their history, their connotations, their daily use and their importance in relation to the major issues facing contemporary Indian society, but also to say how these words marked the author at different times of her life, here is what Mira Kamdar did in the column “The Word of India”, published in the journal Courrier International between 2009 and 2014. The book 80 words from India presents a selection of these words, and adds others to tell about India's culture, society, spirituality, politics and amazing natural world. Each word gives rise to a reflection that sheds light on a civilization that is several millennia old and on a republic which, somehow, is making its way as an emerging country in this complicated 21st century.

Kacem Fazelly

A professor of law in Kabul, then at Paris I Sorbonne and Paris V René-Descartes, Kacem Fazelly has rubbed elbows with and counseled some of the major players in Afghani politics - notably Mohammed Zaher Chah, the former king, and the new president Hamed Karzai. Fazelly traces the recent past of Afghanistan and poses important questions about its future. Biographical sketches of the diverse personalities currently on the political scene and a helpful glossary complete the volume, making the book a valuable instructional tool. The volume is accompanied by a map of Afghanistan.


Principaux partenaires éditoriaux de L'Asiathèque
Université de Genève