2 Days

Official book launch is September 30th, 2012!

Let’s start with “T” today: typhoons, twenty-eighth, twenty-seventh, and twenty-four. A super typhoon rolled through Okinawa, Japan on  September twenty-eighth–my twenty-seventh birthday. The typhoon yanked power away from us for about twenty-four hours, leaving my husband feeling uncomfortable (he gets upset at the slightest increase in temperature) and us without internet. Those things alone, you realize how dependent we are on technology. When all the power disappeared from our tiny Japanese apartment, a silence permeated the air, and you’re faced with seeing the world as it is. The world can be peaceful–if we allowed it. But there’s so much in-fighting between each other and ourselves, electronics just cover up serenity with noise. Once in a while, it’s good to step back and see ourselves before technology swallows us whole.

3 Days

Official book launch is September 30th, 2012!

Although three is an odd number–and odd numbers are normally seen as “bad” numbers–three is my favorite number. I played basketball with the number 33 and many literary and artistic devices rely on the number three (triptychs, gallery design’s “Rule of Three’s”, triple repetition for humor, etc.). Even in Japan, three happens to be a special number (have you ever noticed that Hokusai’s Waves of Kanagawa from The 36 Views of Mt. Fuji has three Mt. Fuji?). Next time you see the number three, don’t think of it as a bad number. After all, it’s just a number.

4 Days

Official book launch is September 30th, 2012!

Since there’s four days left, I’ve decided to go with another “F”: foreign. It’s a word used in one of my stories called “The Day the Sky Fell”. The story, set in a Japanese senior high school, follows me through a rainstorm of the sky, which has decided to fall on my birthday. The sky continually falls as I desperately race towards my husband’s job.

The word “foreign” is what my husband and I are in Japan, especially as English teachers in our respectable schools. In English, it’s not so bad a word, but in Japanese, gaijin (外人) carries a passionate weight for people who understand Japanese culture. When someone calls me a gaijin in Japan, it’s normally to express the differences between us. “You and I are different, but you’re foreign.” Some kids who are half-Japanese face this word in their Japanese schools.

Sometimes, the word is used as the only word to express anything that isn’t Japanese. “Of course, foreigners are good at English games,” one student said during a game of Scrabble. Gaijin is sometimes the only substitute Japanese speakers know in regards to non-Japanese things or people. But I don’t mind being called a gaijin or a foreigner in Japan or in the States (my home country). For me, gaijin is just another word in Japanese.

5 Days

Official book launch on September 30th, 2012!

Because it’s five days till the big day, I’ll take a moment to write about Franz Kafka, one of my favorite writers in magical realism. My recommendation for reading Kafka: read  Metamorphosis.  It’s written very well, and if you don’t mind the old prose, it’s accessible. Although the realism is there, I think Kafka uses more magical elements in his stories.

6 Days

Official launch is on September 30th, 2012!

Why September 30th? Why not, say, September 29th? Or the 28th? Well, September happens to be the month with the most births–New Year’s birthdays, I say. (I happen to be one of these NY babies). And three happens to be favorite number. However, there isn’t a September 33rd and September 3rd has already passed, so…

Birthday cake from: www.surfaceink.com