As you read this, barring acts of international terrorism, natural disasters or alarm clock flat batteries, I’ll be somewhere over Siberia winging it back to Blighty for a fortnight of catching up with friends, family and fish and chips after an absence of three years. But I haven’t forgotten you, dearest newsletter subscriber. Between stuffing knotted hankies in packing trunks, I gathered a few items of interest you might appreciate giving an airing to.
- I enjoyed interviewing fellow Japan-based indie author David W. Rudlin. Our conversation covered everything from self-publishing, Japanese idol groups, the difficulties of writing in English about people who don’t speak it, and murder. Actually, not much about murder, I meant Hollywood scriptwriting.
- What? Didn’t I promise you last month an interview with Alexander O. Smith, the accomplished translator of Keigo Higashino and a whole bunch of other popular Japanese crime novelists? Yes, I did, but he’s only answered one question in two months. Something about being a little busy jetting off to LA to talk movie rights, and trips to Holland and Paris and, well, the guy’s in demand from folk who pay infinitely better than yours truly. I hope to pin him down perhaps next month and shake my tin at him until he succumbs. In the meantime, here’s another interview with him. He only went and translated mega popular computer game Final Fantasy. Evidently, he’s in demand.
- Here’s a list of 10 lesser-known Japanese classics in translation that apparently are must-reads. I have no idea if they are truly lesser known, classics or must-reads, but I can’t pass up a list of 10 Japan books without sharing it with you.
- Alana Samuels at The Atlantic gives a more plausible explanation for Japan’s declining birthrate than a lack of machismo from Japanese men, which is the usual answer trotted out. Spoiler alert: It’s the economy, stupid.
- By day Kaori Shoji s a Japan Times journalist, by night she’s a short story writer. Here’s her latest about the perks and perils of international marriages.
- I’m just in the foothills of one of my next projects, a definitive guide on how to teach English in Japan from your kitchen table for people allergic to working for others. That’s a working title, btw. I just started playing around with things to say, and thought I’d make a series of practical videos as I feel my way forward for folk interested in sticking it to the man and teaching for themselves. The first of three videos is here on YouTube.
- Hey look, here’s another list of Japan related books, this time the best-selling Japanese literature in translation. Abroad or something.
- I loved this: Japanese Illustrator Turns Life’s Awkward Yet Totally Relatable Moments Into Ukiyoe-Style Drawings
- In Chicago? Silver Star Deputy Daniel Fath recommends an exhibition of pictures of US wartime internment camps of ethnic Japanese. It’s free. The exhibition, that is.
- Question of the month: Last month I asked if readers would prefer I set Hana Walker novels in Tokyo or Abiko. Interviewee David W. Rudlin had the best (and coincidentally only) answer which was to set her exploits firmly in the Abiko Hood. Tokyo is overrun by sleuths, but Abiko is fresh for the taking. OK, makes sense to me, I will put her back in the Greater Abiko Co-Prosperity Sphere for novel no. 3.
OK, We need a question of the month. How about, who would you like me to interview next? Bonus points if you can name a person of interest to this newsletter who is female (the last three interviewees have been chaps, and as lovely as they are, it would be nice to hear a few other voices.)
Thanks for reading, have a good August. And if you have enjoyed reading any of my stuff, be a sport and leave a review or drop me a line on Twitter or Facebook. You can find past issues of this newsletter at Letter from Abiko. I have actually updated it today.
Next month, I’ll feature an interview with Alexander O. Smith. Probably. May your days be cool and your nights hot, or something.