In Arkady Martine’s 2019 debut novel A Memory called Empire, newly-appointed Ambassador Mahit Dzmare travels via jumpgate from her home planet at the edge of the Teixcalaani empire to the capital. Teixcalaan is like the sun around which all the other planets in the empire revolve. The city of cities, it is the center of the Teixcalaani universe.
Nowadays, you show your cultural capital by memeing the latest memes.
Cultured capitals. Now wouldn't that be nice?
A Memory Called Empire was so fascinating & heart-wrenching for me because Mahit's love-hate relationship with Teixcalaan is exactly my relationship with Japan & Japanese. Looking forward to reading the entire essay!