News agency Kyodo News has recently been publishing monthly articles written by JET alumni who were appointed in rural areas of Japan, as part of promotion for the JET Programme. Below is the English version of the column from November 2013. Posted by Celine Castex (Chiba-ken, 2006-11), currently programme coordinator at CLAIR Tokyo.
Originally from Australia, Nicholas Klar (Niigata-ken, Itoigawa-shi, 1995-97) wrote the book “My Mother is a Tractor” about his life as an ALT in Omi, Itoigawa, Niigata-ken. After JET he worked for many years as a college counsellor and History teacher in international schools before returning to Japan to live. He now runs a small business in the Japan Alps, “Explore the Heart of Japan” as well as a popular travel website (http://myoko-nagano.com).
Remember that here all is enchantment, – that you have fallen under the spell of the dead, – that the lights and the colours and the voices must fade away at last into emptiness and silence. -Lafcadio Hearn
It was a stark winter’s day as usual in Niigata-ken, grey like sodden blanket. Not one that I had set out on seeking ghosts, but it suited the mood. As I changed trains in Naoetsu for Ōmi the old tempura stand I had been hoping for a snack at was still there, but today it was closed. It seems even the sturdy yukiguni could not stand the sort of weather that was being hurled at them this winter from across the Japan Sea. I settled into my seat, its soft orange covers familiar like an old friend, and waited for the delayed departure. I scrubbed the mist from the brown streaked windows with my hand as the motor idled and the minutes slipped by. Outside schoolboys in their traditional Prussian kit seem oblivious to the biting gusts of artic-like snow. Eventually with the sound of the station attendants whistle the doors snapped shut and the blue and white carriage groaned away from the platform.
As we crossed over the dark frigid waters of the Himegawa almost an hour later I grew excited. I hadn’t been back to the haunts of my old town for years. It was an unplanned visit and no-one really knew I was coming. I looked over for the local chugakko as the train passed by, obscured now by the construction of the new Hokuriku shinkansen. Framed behind those were the mountains I had loved so much. So many times I had taken my bike up into those North Alps making new discoveries, getting lost in the awesome beauty of its nature. Days of sunshine, days of rain. How I missed them. And the ghosts that inhabited them.
To the right there was a slight glimpse of my former apartment block. Not mine anymore, not for many years. In fact I think it now lays empty, apart from maybe a ghost or two, as the town depopulates. Tall, grey, forbidding – once referred to by a friend as, “…classic 1950’s communist Romanian style architecture”. The memory of that remark brought a brief smile to my face. Yet, it is the only place I will ever live in that has a sea view at the front and the mountains at the back. Grand views of God’s great vista on tap.
When the doors clunked open at Ōmi eki it was if nothing had changed. The chimes rang the same they had all those years ago and the black asphalt platform lay several centimetres thick with windswept snow. It felt soft under my feet as I began my ascent up the cold cement stairs. Standing in his post was my first metaphorical ghost – Watanabe-san the station master in the same blue-clad uniform, looking not a whit older than when we had last met a few years ago. He didn’t recognise me of course, even though I had taught his daughter at Ōmi chugakko. During my stay many of the station attendants had greeted me by name each time I passed through the gate. The inside of the station was a time capsule still painted the same green, apart from a more modern poster here and there, populated by even more ghosts of my memories. Local oba-chan in the waiting room still sat chatting on wooden bench seats around the kerosene heater behind glass doors. The three old shuttered-up ticket windows still existed – a sad reminder from the more grandiose boom days of Ōmi. Perhaps they were stubbornly retained in the forlorn hope that those times may yet return once again. Read More
By Rashaad Jorden (Yamagata-ken, 2008-10) for JQ magazine. A former head of the JETAA Philadelphia Sub-Chapter, Rashaad currently studies responsible tourism management at Leeds Metropolitan University. For more on his life in the UK and enthusiasm for taiko drumming, visit his blog at www.gettingpounded.wordpress.com.
As mysterious as Japan seems to be, there are numerous occurrences in the country that leave you amazed.
Enter Kelly Luce (Kawasaki/Tokushima-ken, 2002-04). The JET Program alum’s first published collection of fiction, Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail (which is also the title of one of Luce’s stories) often utilizes magic realism to tell stories that take place in Nippon.
Three Scenarios contains ten stories and the first one, titled “Ms. Yamada’s Toaster” (which previously appeared in the anthology Tomo), tells the tale of a toaster that can predict one’s death (the toaster even predicted the death of Ms. Yamada’s husband by popping out a piece of bread three days before he suffered a heart attack). In other stories in Three Scenarios, a teenage girl disappears during karaoke and a stone is haunted by a demon.
While there may be times in Luce’s stories that Japan may seem inconsequential, the “it could only happen in Japan” moments make her stories came alive. For example, in “The Blue Demon of Ikumi,” a foreigner woman who was considered a demon because a child died under her care is set to be executed (she eventually escapes). In “Wisher,” people make seasonal wishes at a fountain’s stone steps, such as students and parents praying before entrance exams in autumn and during summer for travel. And in the above-mentioned “Ms. Yamada’s Toaster,” some villagers wish to make the toaster a deity.
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What’s inside this issue?
Percival Constantine (Kagoshima 2008-2013) is a writer for GaijinPot and the Pulp Ark Award nominated author of several New Pulp novellas, including “The Myth Hunter” and “Love & Bullets.” He is also an editor at Pro Se Productions and resides in Kagoshima. At the Japan Writers Conference this year, he’s going to give a presentation titled “Self-Publishing: The Pros and Cons of Bypassing Traditional Publishing.” Here’s the official description.
With the advent of new technology such as print-on-demand services and ebooks, the market has opened for authors who wish to go it alone and publish their books without the use of an agent or publisher. There are both positives and negatives to this approach.
In the past, if one wished to publish a book, it required finding an agent and the agent locating a publisher for the product. Thanks to print-on-demand and ebook publishing, self-publishing has become easier than ever for aspiring authors. There are both positive and negative aspects to this. On the plus side, there is no need to write a number of query letters and send out submissions to agents or for the long wait before a book ends up on the market, as well as an increased share of the royalties. On the downside, the self-published author is responsible for all aspects of the production process, from editing the manuscript, laying out the book, creating a cover, and promotion. And though there is a larger share of royalties, the amount of copies sold can be far fewer. This presentation will examine the pros and cons of self-publishing.
Thanks to AJET Chair Kay Makishi for the heads up on Fukuoka JET alum Eryk Salvaggio who writes the blog “This Japanese Life” and recently published a book by the same name. You can read more about Eryk in this Japan Times interview with him from 2012.
About the book: http://thisjapaneselife.org/this-japanese-life-the-book/
Most books about Japan can tell you how to use chopsticks or say “konnichiwa.” Few tackle the real stress of life in a radically different culture.
The author, a three-year resident and the writer and researcher behind one of the best Japan blogs, tackles the thousand tiny uncertainties of life abroad with honesty and wit.
Perfect for anyone about to leave home for Japan or elsewhere, This Japanese Life will deepen any reader’s understanding of Japanese culture as it’s fused into a method of dealing with the hardships of working and living there.
Eryk Salvaggio was an American newspaper editor in Bangor, Maine before teaching English in Japan with the JET Program. He lived in Fukuoka City from 2010-2013, writing a blog, This Japanese Life, about Japanese culture and the tiny anxieties of being an expatriate.
The site was named one of the best Japan Blogs by Tofugu and was spotlighted by The Japan Times. Salvaggio has written for McSweeney’s, The Japan Times, Tofugu and Kulturaustausch.
His work as a visual artist has been covered in The New York Times and elsewhere.
He currently lives in London.
Aaron L. Miller, PhD is Assistant Professor and Hakubi Scholar at Kyoto University, affiliated with the Graduate School of Education, and Visiting Scholar, Stanford University Center on Adolescence. His academic research explores the relationships between education, sports, discipline and culture. His website is www.aaronlmiller.com.
About the Book:
This book is about the many “discourses of discipline” that encircle the issue of “corporal punishment” (taibatsu). These discourses encompass the ways that people discuss discipline and the patterns of rhetoric of what discipline should be, as well as what discipline signifies. By scrutinizing these discourses of discipline, this work disentangles the allegedly intimate ties between culture, discipline, and pedagogy in Japanese schools and sports.
For more information on this monograph, including how to order it,please visit http://ieas.berkeley.edu/publications/jrm17.html
Full IEAS catalogue: http://ieas.berkeley.edu/publications/catalogue.html
Reviews (via Amazon)
Corporal punishment of children by teachers and coaches is a widespread practice in many countries, but especially in Japan, where it has become a front-page issue involving Olympic athletes. Miller explores this issue both historically and in contemporary practices and analyzes how various discourses regrading disciplinary actions have shaped Japanese understandings of their ‘educational reality.’ To understand this phenomenon, Miller rejects Ruth Benedict’s culturalist theory and, instead, places physical discipline (taibatsu) in the contect of Michel Foucault’s theory of violence and power, offering an incisive analysis of a complex issue. —Harumi Befu, professor emeritus, Stanford University
An intriguing and well-written analysis on molding character in Japanese schools and sports through the widespread use of corporal punishment. Miller frames his discussion in the contexts of Japanese cultural ideals about discipline, toughness, and self-improvement, as well as in Japanese perceptions of such forms of discipline as something uniquely Japanese. This book is an important contribution to understanding the social and cultural dynamics of core institutions in contemporary Japan. —Theodore C. Bestor, Harvard University
Corporal punishment as a discipline of pain and an abuse of adult authority is a troubling presence in Japanese classrooms and sports fields. This is an insightful and wide-ranging analysis that overturns simple judgments with a nuanced exploration of the historical development, sociocultural locations, and heated national discourse on corporal punishment in modern Japan. It is a significant contribution to our understanding of Japanese education and sports, and it is an original anthropological perspective on how we might theorize power in Japanese society. – –William W. Kelly, Yale University
Benjamin Martin (Okinawa, 2008-13), author of the award-winning YA fantasy series Samurai Awakening (Tuttle) and blogger at MoreThingsJapanese.com, will be among the presenters at the 2013 Japan Writers Conference to be held Nov. 2-3 in Okinawa. Here’s the official description of his presentation, titled “Getting Published When You Live On An Island”:
This will be an overview of my experience getting published while living on an island with a total population of 550 people, and what I learned along the way that will help perspective authors and those still finding their way while living in Japan.
I will outline my journey into the publishing world while living on Kitadaito and Kumejima Islands in Okinawa, including the successes and pitfalls I found along the way. I will talk about the processes I used to write, the friends and resources that helped me refine my work, and things I wish I had known back then. I will touch on the predatory tactics of companies and resources for avoiding them, and also on the benefits of contests such as the ABNA. I will delve into my experience working without an agent, the pros and cons, and the opportunity I found with Tuttle Publishing, the benefits and trials of working with a smaller press. Finally, I’ll cover marketing from Japan, with ways I found to connect with the writing community. I will end with time for questions and/or discussion.
Maryland-based Ehime-ken JET alums Elayna Snider and Chelsea Reidy have put together an illustrated book of their “88 temple pilgrimage” by bicycle in Shikoku. They now have a Kickstarter page to help them raise funds to publish it and a wonderful video that explains what this is all about. Definitely worth a look. It’s hard to do justice in my own words, so click the link and watch and read for yourself:
Excerpts from the Kickstarter site:
There are 88 temples on Japan’s 88 temple pilgrimage. With two bicycles, a tent, notebooks and pens, plus a Rolleiflex, we will go to all of them. While we travel the 900-mile route, we’ll be collecting the materials needed to make 88 hand-bound versions of our illustrated book, Temple by Temple.
Elayna does the art, Chelsea does the words. A children’s book? It can be. A coffee table book? Sure. A book you have around and pick up from time to time? Yes! The idea and project did not come from any prescribed place of “Let’s make a kids book.” We are two people with varying ideas and skills and we combined them to make a book that describes the route, the temples, and this 1,200 year old pilgrimage which draws people of all different faiths and from all over the world.
JET alum Kelly Luce (Kawasaki/Tokushima, 2002-04) will publish her debut collection of fiction this fall titled Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail. The book is a collection of ten stories set in Japan, and many of her stories are characterized by magical realism. According to A Strange Object, the book’s indie publisher, “Hana Sasaki will introduce you to many things—among them, an oracular toaster, a woman who grows a tail, and an extraordinary sex-change operation. These stories tip into the fantastical, plumb the power of memory, and measure the human capacity to love.” The cover was designed and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu.
Luce’s work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, and other magazines. Her short story “Yamada-san’s Toaster” was included in the Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction anthology, (reviewed on JETwit last year.) She lives in Santa Cruz, California, and Austin, Texas, where she is a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers.
A little bit about Kelly: After graduating from Northwestern University with a degree in cognitive science, Luce spent three years in Japan. During her time there, she became the first non-Japanese to join a professional Awa Odori dance team (ren), starred in an English conversation video series for children, and spent a week in a women’s prison in Yokohama.
Rob Weston (Nara-ken, 2002-04), author of the one-of-a-kind children’s novel Zorgamazoo, continues his uniquely rhyming ways. In February, he published Prince Puggly of the Spiff and the Kingdom of Spud. And in November he will be publishing a phosphorescent children’s book–The Creature Department.
About Prince Puggly:
Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff is the story of Puggly, a commoner chosen to be the prince—not the king, definitely not the king—of the extremely unfashionable Kingdom of Spud.
The newly-crowned Puggly is surprised to receive an invite to a party in the kingdom next door, the painfully chic Kingdom of Spiff. When Puggly shows up in plaid trousers and a polka-dot cape, the stylish Spiffians are not amused—especially when when it turns out Puggly’s invite is a forgery.
But hark! All is not lost. Puggly soon discovers an unexpected ally in Francesca, the bookish Princess of Spiff. Together, the two friends set out to teach the Spiffs an absurd lesson in style…
For more info, go to: http://robertpaulweston.com/
Gemma Vidal (Okayama-ken, 2010-12) is a recently returned JET seeking work in licensing/merchandising (if it’s within the publishing industry, even better!). You can usually find her in her little web spaces Gem in the Rough and Peachy Keen (about her JET adventures) or training with San Jose Taiko. If you know of any authors/aspiring writers you’d like to see featured in JET Alum Author Beat, just contact Gemma at gem.vidal [at] gmail.com.
Thanks to Michael Gervais (2000-03) for notifying The Author Beat!
The Author Beat would like to introduce R. Michael Burns (Saitama-ken, 2000-03) to the stable of JET alumni authors! Michael was an ALT in Fukaya, Saitama and worked for the American Language School in Moriya, Ibaraki for a year and a half after his time on JET. He is currently a high school English teacher in Florida where he sponsors a creative writing workshop and a Japanese Pop Culture Club.
Interested in mythical stories set in medieval Japan? Michael’s Hokage series — “Shadows from Firelight”, “Demon-Fang”, and the newly published “Shadows and Hellfire” are available at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. The series follows Hokage, a samurai and his kitsune companion, Sasa. I read “Shadows from Firelight”, the first in the series and I enjoyed it a lot! Although it’s short, it’s packed with magic and action that made me want to read more. I’ll definitely be checking out the rest.
If horror is more up your alley (alas not for me), “The River Child” is one of the stories compiled in the anthology Horror Library III. The tale follows a schizophrenic homeless man who thinks a kappa is killing people around him. Another short story, “The Door, the Lock, the Key” was recently re-published in the anthology An Uncommon Collection. Windwalkers is Michael’s first full-length published novel and it is a horror tale set in a fictional town in Minnesota. Here’s a summary:
When a nightmarish blizzard drives college students Nick Bookman and Robin Kelley to take shelter in a small-town Minnesota church, they are forced to confront the intimate secret that is tearing their friendship apart. The appearance of another storm refugee, Alicia Morgan, an attractive high school senior and self-described witch, arouses Nick’s interest and threatens to strain the old friends’ relationship past the shattering point.
Then one of the men trapped in the church disappears in the deep of the night, and his young daughter stumbles in from the storm babbling about monsters. Only Alicia recognizes the creature from the child’s tale for what it must be — a wendigo, an ancient spirit that embodies the hunger for human flesh.
Soon there’s no doubt — the windwalkers are on the hunt again, and the refugees discover that they must fight not only the menace that haunts the storm, but their own darkest desires. If they cannot control their hungers, their hungers will consume them — and they shall become wendigoes themselves. Only the strongest hearts among the strange band of storm refugees have any hope of surviving the long blizzard night…
You can purchase the book on Amazon.
If you would like more information on Michael’s works, drop by his website www.rmichaelburns.com. Welcome to the Author Beat Michael!
Gemma Vidal (Okayama-ken, 2010-12) is a recently returned JET seeking work in product licensing and copyright (if it’s within the publishing industry, even better!). You can usually find her in her little web spaces Gem in the Rough and Peachy Keen (her JET adventures) or training with San Jose Taiko. If you know of any authors/aspiring writers you’d like to see featured in JET Alum Author Beat, just contact Gemma at gem.vidal [at] gmail.com.
- It’s less than a month until Robert Weston’s (Nara-ken, 2002-04) release of his new book, Prince Puggly of the Spiff and the Kingdom of Spud, and to mark the countdown he posted some of the artwork for the book. Victor Rivas is also behind the illustrations of Robert’s previous book, Zorgamazoo. Speaking of Zorgamazoo, it seems like we might be seeing this on the big screen! By the producers of Shrek no less! Congratulations on the film option Robert!
- What’s going on in the Japanese pop culture arena? Take a look at Roland Kelt’s (Osaka-shi, 1998-99) blog on his brief picture post on Japan’s Comiket, the mecca of all things self-published. Looking at his website made me realize that it was Hayao Miyazaki’s 72nd birthday this month. Shame on me, I know.
- Ari Kaplan, JET Alumni and author of Reinventing Professional Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace, recently had his book translated into Japanese, which is under the title ハスラー プロフェッショナルたちの革新 . The translated book can be found at the publisher’s website. Here is what Ari had to say about his book being translated:
The publication of the Japanese edition offered me the opportunity to express my gratitude for the remarkable experience I had almost two decades ago. I dedicated this version to the Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education, Kobe Kohoku High School (where I taught), and the head of the English department at my school, among others.
Until next time JET alumni!
Gemma Vidal (Okayama-ken, 2010-12) is a recently returned JET seeking work in licensing/merchandising (if it’s within the publishing industry, even better!). You can usually find her in her little web spaces Gem in the Rough and Peachy Keen (her JET adventures) or training with San Jose Taiko. If you know of any authors/aspiring writers you’d like to see featured in JET Alum Author Beat, just contact Gemma at gem.vidal [at] gmail.com. She would also like to express her deepest condolences to the community of Newtown, Connecticut.
- Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica wrote a special article for The Japan Times where he interviewed Pete Townshend, guitarist of The Who and discussed UK/Japan post-WWII similarities and Mr. Townshend’s recent memoir, “Who I Am”. You can find the article here. Roland Kelts also posted an interesting article on the possible decline of the pop culture phenomenon “Japan Cool”. That article can be found here at The Christian Science Monitor.
- If you’re looking for some light entertainment, Young Adult book Guardian of the Dead’s New Zealand author Karen Healey self-published a collection of essays titled Teen Movie Times. In this collection she muses on teen movie “classics” such as Bring it On and Clueless. Who knows, maybe one of these movies can be used in one of your lessons?
Gemma Vidal (Okayama-ken, 2010-12) is a recently returned JET seeking work in licensing/merchandising (if it’s within the publishing industry, even better!). You can usually find her in her little web spaces Gem in the Rough and Peachy Keen (her JET adventures) or training with San Jose Taiko. If you know of any authors/aspiring writers you’d like to see featured in JET Alum Author Beat, just contact Gemma at gem.vidal [at] gmail.com
- Congratulations are in order to Will Ferguson (Nagasaki-ken, 1991-94), author of Hitching Rides With the Buddha (f/k/a The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Japan), who was awarded the esteemed 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his novel 419. You can check out the announcement on the Scotiabank Giller Prize website and read more about his novel and other works on Will’s own website. Congratulations again, Will!
- What better way to warm up from the cold weather than a cup of sake! If you’re a fan of sake and live in Japan, check out John Gauntner’s (author of The Sake Handbook) annual Sake Professional Course 2013. It is a 5-day educational course which includes classroom sessions and visiting sake breweries in the Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe area. For more information about the schedule and registration, please visit the SPCJapan website. You can also download a free version of Sake: The Least You Need To Know, a quick start guide to sake here
- Suzanne Kamata (Tokushima-ken, 1998-90), author of Losing Kei and fiction editor of Literary Mama announced that her latest Young Adult novel, Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible will be published by GemmaMedia (cool name) in May 2013! Gadget Girl follows the life of 14-year old Aiko Cassidy and her dream to become a manga artist. The story won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award in Fiction. You can check out the book on her website or through Amazon, Powells, and Indiebound.
- Japanamerica’s Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99) will lead a presentation titled, “Japan’s New Anti-Piracy Law and the Online Media Debate” with media lawyer David B. Hoppe and music journalist Steve McClure on November 14th.
- Attention NY residents! James Kennedy (Nara-ken, 2004-06), author of The Order of Odd-Fish is holding a signing on November 27th at the Pittsford Barnes & Noble in Rochester at 7PM and presenting new material on November 28th at Writers and Books (also in Rochester with a $5 fee). Details can be found on James’ website and this site for the November 28th event. Go and show your support!
- Want a chance to win a free book written by one of our own? Benjamin Martin (Okinawa-ken, 2008-Present), publisher of the More Things Japanese blog is giving away two personalized copies of his new book, Samurai Awakenings which was just released last month! The giveaway ends on November 30th, so go to Goodreads and sign up! You can read JETwit’s own brief interview with Benjamin about his book.
“In a universe torn by war, two governments vie for power: the elemental Kingdom and the telepathic Hierarchy. Hierarchy women with animal bonds think nothing of sacrificing their beasts’ lives to protect themselves. Except sixteen-year-old Renagada. The bond with her carrion-eater bird Acha is two-sided, and she knows his mind as much as he knows hers. When Rena overhears her parents plotting to kill Acha because of superstition, she must leave her fiancé and home of sheltered luxury to flee with Acha into the desert. Peril awaits them at every turn, and someone is tracking them…”
And that’s all for this round of the Author Beat!
Benjamin Martin is a fifth-year JET ALT in Okinawa Prefecture. He spent three years on Kitadaito Island, a place of 12 sq km and 550 people before moving across the prefecture to another island called Kumejima. His debut novel Samurai Awakening is out now on online retailers and hits bookstores October 10, 2012. Benjamin competes in Okinawan Sumo, is co-host of FM Kumejima’s weekly Haisai English radio program, writes the blog More Things Japanese and serves as an occasional plaything for elementary school students.
About Samurai Awakening and Benjamin Martin
Samurai Awakening is a Young Adult fantasy that takes place in Japan. I began writing it as a way to bring aspects of Japanese culture to young westernersas a compliment to what we do on JET. Overall, it’s a fun read with aspects of Japanese mythology derived from The Kojiki and a healthy dose of real Japan as seen during my time teaching kindergarten through junior high. Here’s the official description:
David Matthews is having a particularly bad day, after an especially bad month. His first weeks as an exchange student in Japan have left him homesick and misunderstood by nearly everyone around him, even his host family! Beaten down by a month of loneliness and bullies at school, a fateful invitation to the local Shinto shrine sends David on a path no foreigner has experienced before.
After awakening with a newfound ability to speak Japanese, David learns the members of the Matsumoto family are far more than just traditional sword smiths. They are the keepers of ancient secrets, and a task set upon them by the first Emperor- to train new Jitsugen Samurai, protectors of Japan.
When more strange things begin happening to David, he discovers his future is tied to a Japanese god within him, and that to be a Jitsugen Samurai holds consequences he may not survive. With his new family, friends, and a reluctant ally, David must fight against dangers far closer than any of them realize. As students disappear, David must overcome his past, and accept a new and uncertain future in time to stop the lurking darkness threatening Japan.Why Write?
I started writing as a way to share my experience on JET. My photography and writing skills have grown in tandem since I began my blog More Things Japanese in 2010. I had read Sir Basil Hall Chamberlain’s Things Japanese at the University of Arizona, and wanted to recreate it for today. It became a way to share the unique aspects of Japan I see every day with the world.
The two projects complement each other. The blog lets me focus on non-fiction without having to worry about huge amounts of research. I can simply share what I see, while my novels provide a chance to explore the question, “What if The Kojiki is more than mythology?”
JET has been an amazing experience, and writing gives me a chance to give back and continue to promote the ideals of cultural exchange. I left the US for Japan with a degree in Business and an interest in Japan. Now I have found just how amazing this country can be, and learned a lot about myself I had not known before.
Join the Awakening.
Enter to win a free copy of Samurai Awakening. http://morethingsjapanese.com/samurai-awakening-is-here/ Contest ends 10/10/2012. Alternately you can support my blog and novel by purchasing a copy from your favorite bookstore or online vendor. Thank you!