Gutter, Only Gaijin, Japanese Literature

Justine-Wong-Illustration-GaijinPot-12Bit of an update. The winter is finally over in Japan and the spring festivals are just around the corner. I love this time of year, despite the hay fever, and feel energised again.

On the writing front I’ve sent my latest novel to a publisher I think will make a good home for it so all fingers, toes and protruding limbs are crossed. In the meantime, here are a few other things I’ve been doing:

I had a short story included in Gutter 17. It’s called Blackwaterfoot and was originally commissioned for an anthology that didn’t see the light of day. It’s good to be back in Gutter as well, in its new home after the demise of Freight.

The last in the twelve month cycle of The Only Gaijin in the Village is here. From April I’ll be trying something new with the series, so keep your eyes peeled.

My Japanese literature series is continuing with articles on books to look for in 2018, 5 science fiction authors and an overview of Fuminori Nakamura.

I’ve been writing a lot for the Japan Times as well, but in an editorial changeover most of it got pushed back in the schedule and will appear over the next few months. First up is my review of the latest issue of Tokyo Poetry Journal.

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Snowshoe Trekking in Gifu

P1200082_edit.jpgI recently took part in a Snowshow Trek organised by Satoyama Experience. Read all about it here.

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The Only Gaijin in the Village 11

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Happy New Year from The Only Gaijin in the Village. Chapter 11 is up now, as is my latest piece on Japanese Literature.

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The Only Gaijin in the Village 10

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Illustration by Justine Wong

End of the year and I’m pretty burnt out. I started a new job in April which has been great but juggling that alongside all the writing has been tricky. Still, I have two weeks off and nothing to do but write, read, draft a textbook, sand down the living room door, prune the trees… oh god.

Anyway, here’s a few links to things I’ve published recently. The latest chapter of The Only Gaijin in the Village is up on Gaijinpot, as is my overview of Miyuki Miyabe‘s translated career. Over on Japan Times I had the good fortune to attend a symposium on translation in Tokyo which you can read all about here.

So a happy winterval to you all, enjoy the year-end list and another viewing of Die Hard and as I said to my students in the last class of the year: don’t study too much and don’t forget to drink… I mean… you know what I mean.

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Available in All Good Charity Shops

32732A8C00000578-3505687-Dumped_Second_hand_store_Goldstone_Books_has_collected_thousands-m-36_1458726605015Some of you may know, and others may have heard, that the publisher of my fiction, Freight Books, has gone into liquidation. I’m not going to go into the whys and hows here. There are plenty of articles online that go through the salient points, some objectively, some accurately, many just recirculating gossip or grinding axes. I’m not going to get into that. Freight Books were exceptionally kind to me over the years, first as my publisher and then employing me as an editor. They were never perfect and mistakes were made, then compounded. It ended badly and while there certainly is blame to be apportioned, that’s not an avenue I wish to drive. Others fared far worse than I did and they have every right to speak out and I support them in that. However I feel that adding my complaints won’t change anything. I’m simply so tired of the whole mess.

The reason I’m bringing it up at all is because of what it means for my books. As a novelist I am now ‘out of print’ although I prefer the euphemism, ‘sold out’. The liquidators have all the Freight stock and are asking the authors to buy it back at a ridiculous price and so far, I refuse. The very least that could be done to all the authors affected by this is to give them books that are otherwise going to be pulped. But capitalism doesn’t work that way. Our books have most value to us, therefore the liquidators can expect to leverage the highest return out of the very people being screwed. Yay capitalism.

I have a handful of copies left that I can sell if you contact me directly. There are quite a few second-hand copies available online as well, sold by third party sellers and independent bookshops via AbeBooks and Amazon, some very cheaply. Depressingly, many of them are described as ‘unread review copies’ meaning they are, at least, mint condition.

Ideally I would like to get back into print as soon as possible but that’s unlikely until I have something new to offer. I’m working on that at the moment. In the meantime, my novels have become incredibly niche collectors items, so if your shelf is lacking a copy of The Waves Burn Bright, Silma Hill, or First Time Solo and you were putting off the purchase for a rainy day, then you can get one from me directly, online, or from all good charity shops.

Additionally, my poetry was published by Tapsalteerie who are very much still a going concern, and my haiku collection would make an unusual Secret Santa gift.

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The Only Gaijin in the Village: Happy When it Rains

OGITV-Ch.9-1.jpgHi there, a few updates for you:

The Only Gaijin in the Village Chapter 9: Happy When it Rains is live now on Gaijinpot, as it the next in my series on Great Japanese Writers: Hiromi Kawakami. My latest for Japan  Times was a review of Ikigai which, well, isn’t great.

Art, as always, is by the great Justine Wong.

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Ishiguro, Dylan and Other Stories

I’ve been pretty bad at updating this page recently. Partly it’s just time constraints, partly being between projects and not having anything concrete to report. However, before the list becomes too unwieldy, here’s a few articles and reviews that have appeared over the last few weeks. Something more concrete when it sets.

On Kazuo Ishiguro and Bob Dylan’s Nobel wins.

A look at Shusaku Endo’s career.

8 Japanese Novels Not Set in Tokyo.

Yoon Ha Lee’s Raven Stratagem.

Kiriu Minashita’s Sonic Peace.

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