Apr 19

Japan Writers Conference: Hans Brinckmann on memoirs

Posted by Tom Baker

Longtime Japan resident Hans Brinckmann talked about turning his life into a book in “Making a Memoir from a Journal,” a talk that he gave at the most recent Japan Writers Conference.

If you have a Japan memoir inside you, watch his presentation below for inspiration and ideas. You can find more JWC presentations at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.

Also, if you would like to give your own presentation at the 2022 Japan Writers Conference this October, you can submit a proposal here. The deadline is June 1.


Apr 16

Posted by Tom Baker

Japan Times columnist Melinda Joe gave a presentation titled “So You Want to be a Food Writer” at the most recent Japan Writers Conference.

You can watch her presentation below, and find more JWC presentations at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.

Also, if you would like to give your own presentation at the 2022 Japan Writers Conference this October, you can submit a proposal here. The deadline is June 1.


Apr 3

Posted by Tom Baker (Chiba-ken, 1989-91)


Poet and JET alum Michael Frazier gave a presentation titled “A Poem is a Thing that Moves: Contemporary Lyric Poems” at the most recent Japan Writers Conference.
You can watch his presentation below, and find more JWC presentations — including several by former JETs — at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.
Also, if you would like to give your own presentation at the 2022 Japan Writers Conference this October, you can submit a proposal here. The deadline is June 1.


Mar 30

Japan Writers Conference: Michael Dylan Welch on haiku

Posted by Tom Baker


Michael Dylan Welch, a leading figure in the English-language haiku world, gave a talk titled “Even in Kyoto: Place Names in Haiku” at the Japan Writers Conference.
You can watch his presentation below, and find more JWC presentations — including several by former JETs — at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.
Also, if you would like to give your own presentation at the 2022 Japan Writers Conference this October, you can submit a proposal here. The deadline is June 1.


Mar 29

Posted by Tom Baker


Novelist and JET alum Percival Constantine gave a talk at the most recent Japan Writers Conference about “Successful Self-Publishing.”
You can watch his presentation below, and find more JWC presentations — including several by former JETs — at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.
Also, if you would like to give your own presentation at the 2022 Japan Writers Conference this October, you can submit a proposal here. The deadline is June 1.


Mar 26

Posted by Tom Baker


Hollywood screenwriter Steven Wolfson gave a talk on “Cinematic Storytelling” at the Japan Writers Conference.
You can watch his presentation below, and find more JWC presentations — including several by former JETs — at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.
Also, if you are a writer who would like to give a presentation of your own at the 2022 Japan Writers Conference this October, you can submit a proposal at here. The deadline is June 1.


Mar 23

Japan Writers Conference: Barry Eisler gave a talk on “How to Write a Killer Opening”

Posted by Tom Baker
Best-selling thriller author Barry Eisler, who has lived in Japan and set some of his novels there, gave a talk on “How to Write a Killer Opening” at Japan Writers Conference.
You can watch his presentation below, and find more JWC presentations — including several by former JETs — at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.
Also, if you are a writer who would like to give a presentation of your own at the 2022 Japan Writers Conference this October, you can submit a proposal at http://japanwritersconference.org/submit-proposal/. The deadline is June 1.


Mar 21

Posted by Tom Baker
Memoirist, poet, photographer and filmmaker Edward Levinson lives on the Boso Peninsula of Chiba Prefecture, where he draws much inspiration from nature. He shared some insights in a talk, “Simple Nature Attunements,” that he gave at the Japan Writers Conference.
You can watch his presentation below, and find more JWC presentations — including several by former JETs — at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.
Also, if you are a writer who would like to give a presentation of your own at the 2022 Japan Writers Conference this October, you can submit a proposal here. The deadline is June 1.


Mar 20

Posted by Tom Baker

Novelist and JET alum Charles Kowalski gave a psychologically insightful talk at the most recent Japan Writers Conference about “Personality Types and Character Arcs.”
You can watch his presentation below, and find more JWC presentations — including several by former JETs — at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.
Also, if you would like to give your own presentation at the 2022 Japan Writers Conference this October, you can submit a proposal here. The deadline is June 1.




Jan 10

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Posted by Tom Baker

JET alum Joe Palermo (actually a trailblazing MEF) spoke at the Japan Writers Conference in October about self-publishing his memoir, “No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners.” You can watch his talk below, and find more JWC presentations — including several by former JETs — at the Japan Writers Conference YouTube Channel.


Oct 4

Author Todd Jay Leonard offers publishing tips at Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

JET alum Todd Jay Leonard will lead a poetry workshop at the Oct. 15-17 Japan Writers Conference, a free event that is happening online. The official description of his talk appears below.

Todd Jay Leonard
So you want to publish a book? 10 Basic Points to Keep in Mind!
Short Lecture with Q&A


Professor Leonard has published extensively over the past 30 years and is willing to share his experiences of both Japanese traditional publishing houses and POD formats to assist budding authors in their quests to get published.
This lecture will cover ten primary points that “potential” authors need to keep in mind when submitting a proposal to a publishing company or when self-publishing a book. He will outline the basic process from the book’s initial concept to getting the book into print to marketing it. His extensive experience in publishing as an author in Japan will serve to assist budding authors with the basics in the overall process that need to be considered when pursuing a publishing contract or when self-publishing. This is a short lecture with a Q & A format.
Todd Jay Leonard lives, writes, and teaches on the southern island of Kyushu, where he is a university professor at the University of Teacher Education Fukuoka. He has published extensively in academic journals, magazines, and newspapers on cross-cultural, historical, and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) themes. He is the author of 25 books.


Oct 4

Joy Jarman-Walsh to teach interviewing at Japan Writers Workshop

Posted by Tom Baker
JET alum Joy Jarman-Walsh will give a presentation on how to conduct an interview at the Japan Writers Conference, a free event that is happening online this year. The official description of her talk appears below.

Joy Jarman-Walsh
Live + Engaging Networking via Interviews with Japan Insiders
Short Lecture with Q&A


Moving beyond words on a page by live broadcasting interviews to a worldwide audience in real time – it seems daunting but is transparent and engaging, reaching new audiences tired of traditional media. If you are researching an article, you are actually prepared to livestream- let me explain how to do it, and why it’ll make your content better.
I’ve been on a crazy and unexpected journey researching and hosting daily interviews with various experts and insiders in Japan, or abroad who are focused on Japan, to dive into what it means to seek sustainability. A big part of seeking sustainability is transparency, which I think is also critical for good writing, which can be achieved by engaging with your audience as you create the content. I believe that one of the best ways to do this is by livestreaming content to engage with a wider audience. As of the end of May, I’ve done over 250 live interviews and the comments and questions of live viewers has been an important aspect of the finished product. I think this concept can inform and improve almost any type of writing project. There are key strategies to prepping for interviews as well as running live talkshows which engage with a live audience. There is also post-production work that needs to be done, including getting the interview onto a podcast platform. I will lay out not only the why’s but also the how-to’s of the process.
Joy Jarman-Walsh (jjwalsh) runs a daily livestream talkshow called #SeekingSustainabilityLive which had it’s 250th episode in May 2021. Joy co-founded GetHiroshima in 1999, worked as an Assistant Professor teaching Tourism and Business for more than 21 years, then started her own sustainability-focused travel consulting business, InboundAmbassador, in 2019. Joy has written for academic journals as well as travel copy and destination articles. Joy has an MA in Sustainable Tourism from ASU (USA).


Sep 30

Tom Baker shares tips on writing a pub quiz at Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

JET alum and Jeopardy champion Tom Baker will lead offer tips on how to write trivia questions at the Oct. 15-17 Japan Writers Conference, a free event that is happening online. The official description of his talk appears below.

Tom Baker
Trivia Tips: How to Write a Pub Quiz
Short Lecture with Q&A


“I once attended a pub quiz in Bristol where a dispute over an answer resulted in a wild west-style brawl and the police had to be called,” a woman told the BBC in 2005. “Arrests were made, including the quizmaster.”
Quizzes should be fun. If you wish to host one that doesn’t end in tears – or behind bars – well-written questions are essential.
Drawing on my experience as both a contestant and a quizmaster, I will offer tips on how to write questions that are clear, entertaining, and minimally disputable.
Using examples from quizzes seen on TV and at pubs around Tokyo, I will discuss a variety of question formats, writing with brevity and clarity, ways of organizing categories, anticipating hecklers and nit-pickers, making obscure questions guessable, and the importance of flattering your audience by writing easy questions that sound hard.
Tom Baker appeared on four regular-season episodes of the U.S. quiz show “Jeopardy!” in 2004, before returning for the season-ending Tournament of Champions. He first guest-hosted a round of a Tokyo pub quiz in 2019, and has written and presented more than 20 rounds since then. Topics have included “The FBI 10 Most Wanted List,” “Pigs and Rats,” “Literary Works,” “Officeholders,” “Prime Numbers,” “Traveling Around Japan,” “Body Parts” and “Motorcycle Gangs and Clubs.”

For details, visit http://japanwritersconference.org/


Sep 28

Michael Frazier to lead poetry workshop at Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker


JET poet Michael Frazier will lead a poetry workshop at the Oct. 15-17 Japan Writers Conference, a free event that is happening online. The official description of his talk appears below.

Michael Frazier
A Poem is a Thing that Moves: Contemporary Lyric Poems
Craft Workshop
Poetry

A lyric poem is a thing that moves, through time, one’s mind, and, in turn, moves the hearts of readers. We will read and analyze lyric poems that move towards unanswerable questions, via associative jumps, by Leila Chatti, Li-Young Lee, and Aracelis Girmay. We will write our own lyric poems!
Scan through most recently released poetry collections and you are bound to find poems marked not by chronological narratives, but by incongruent images, ideas, and questions seemingly held together by only a distinct first-person voice and the magic of poetry. In this workshop we want to dispel the illusion of the non-linear lyric poem. We will read a handful of lyric poems that rely on associative jumps by Leila Chatti, L-Young Lee, Terrance Hayes, and Aracelis Girmay. We will analyze how these writers navigate through a poem (motifs, music, etc.), and pursue a question to arrive at a new revelation (the turn). As a result, we will understand how their poems are maps for how their actual minds move and perceive the world. A poem is a thing that moves, through time, one’s mind, and, in turn, moves the hearts of readers. Under scaffolded prompting, we will write our own lyric poems that prioritize the patterns of our psyche.
Michael Frazier is a poet & HS Teacher living in Kanazawa, Japan. Pushcart Prize & Best New Poets nominated, his poems appear in Poetry Daily, The Offing, RHINO, Tinderbox, Tokyo Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Currently, he’s facilitating a biweekly zoom poetry book club open to the public. Message @fraziermichael to join!


Sep 26

Author Suzanne Kamata to host panel discussion on identity at Japan Writers Conference

Posted by Tom Baker

JET alum Suzanne Kamata will lead a panel discussion on “Writing Identity” at the Oct. 15-17 Japan Writers Conference, a free event that is happening online. Suzanne is the author of multiple novels and nonfiction books, which you can read about at www.suzannekamata.com. The official descriptions of her talk appears below.

Suzanne Kamata
with Clara Kiyoko Kumagain, Kristin Osani, Clarissa Goenawan, Sara Fujimura
Writing Identity, From Inside and Outside
Panel Discussion
Fiction


Identity politics play a large part in determining which stories are published and how they are currently received in the English-speaking market. Generation Z readers — the audience for YA and New Adult titles — are especially aware of issues surrounding diversity, appropriation, and ownership. In this session, to be moderated by Suzanne Kamata, four authors of different backgrounds, writing about Japan from inside and out of their lanes, will discuss diversity, identity, inclusivity, and their own experiences and approaches to writing these in their own work.
In this era of #ownvoices and a heightened awareness of identity politics, what stories should be told, who should be allowed to write them, and how they should be presented are often contentious issues. In this moderated session, five authors of different backgrounds, writing inside and out of their lanes, will discuss diversity, identity, inclusivity, and their own experiences and approaches to writing these in their own work.
Award-winning author Suzanne Kamata was born and raised in the United States, but has lived in Japan for more than half of her life. She is the author or editor of 15 published books including, most recently, The Baseball Widow (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2021) and Pop Flies, Robo-pets and Other Disasters (One Elm Books, 2020).
Clara Kiyoko Kumagai is from Canada, Japan and Ireland. She writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults, and has had work published in Banshee, Room, Event, and Cicada. She currently lives in Tokyo.
Kristin Osani @KristinOsani is a freelance Japanese to English translator, writer, and editor
Her previous projects include Left Alive, Oninaki, Code Shifter, Dragalia Lost, and many more. Her short fiction is forthcoming in Flash Point SF.
Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Singapore, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, the UK, and the US. Rainbirds, her first novel, has been published in eleven different languages.
Sara Fujimura @SaraFujimura is an award-winning young adult author and creative writing teacher. She is the American half of her Japanese-American family, and has written about Japanese culture and raising bicultural children for such magazines as Appleseeds, Learning Through History, East West, and Mothering, as well as travel-related articles for To Japan With Love. Her young adult novels include Tanabata Wish, Breathe, Every Reason We Shouldn’t (Tor Teen, 2020) and Faking Reality (Tor Teen, 2021). She lives in Phoenix with her husband and children.


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