Sunday, 6 January 2013

Nichi-Yōbi News: Week 1

Welcome, one and all, to the first weekly instalment of my January in Japan round-up posts, Nichi-Yōbi News!  For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese, Nichi-Yobi means 'Sunday' - and the picture to the left is my pathetic attempt to put it into Japanese writing (poor Momotarō is looking away in disgust...).  Anyway, let's see what's been happening this week :)

First up, I have to point you in the direction of all the reviews we've had so far.  For a couple of days, I did think that my two would be the only ones there, but we've had several more posted over the past few days on a wide variety of books.  Just click on this link (or the Book Reviews tab at the top of the page) to see who has been reviewing what this week :)

This week also saw the third in our J-Lit Giants series, the first by a guest contributor.  Gary, from The Parrish Lantern, submitted an excellent post on poet Ryuichi Tamura that you should all check out :)

Again, you can see all the submissions so far by clicking here or on the J-Lit Giants tab at the top of the page.  There are more giants to come before the end of the month.  In addition to a couple I'm planning to write, Gary has kindly offered up another bio, and one other guest contributor has sent me a great biography to post.  And if you would like to talk about your favourite J-Lit writer, my ear is always open...

As well as reading a lot of J-Lit over the past few weeks, I have also listened to a couple of podcasts on the subject.  The Centre for the Art of Translation in San Francisco has a podcast entitled Two Voices, which usually features a translator discussing some of the writers whose works they have brought into the English language.  The programme features translators from all languages, but (naturally) I was interested in the ones concerning J-Lit.

The first featured Stephen Snyder, who talked about Yoko Ogawa and informed the audience how her stories came to be featured in the New Yorker magazine, how the editors interfered with her stories and why The Housekeeper and the Professor was earmarked as the novel likely to be a hit in translation.

The second was a double teaming of Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel, talking (of course) about Haruki Murakami.  This was recorded just after 1Q84 had been published, and it was interesting to hear what the two translators thought of the book.  Perhaps of more interest to most readers was a casual mention by Rubin that a retranslation of Murakami's first two novellas, Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973, was underway (although I've been unable to find any other mention of this on the net...).

The quality isn't perfect (the Q&A sections at the end are virtually inaudible...), but these podcasts are well worth a listen :)

And on that note, I'll bid you farewell for this week.  Remember to use the #januaryinjapan hashtag on Twitter to mark posts of interest, and don't forget the readalong of Hiromi Kawakami's novel The Briefcase at the end of the month.  If you would like to join in, simply post your review on the 31st of January (and leave a link on the Book Reviews page).

Same place, same time, next week?  Ja, mata ;)