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A Japanese beverage company is encouraging its drinkers to animate their drink bottles after they’ve finished drinking its contents. They are printing a series of Disney characters on the sides of their tea-drink packaging. Each drawing is numbered, like this:
After someone has collected all the bottles in a series, they can photograph the draiwngs to create an animation sequence:
More details (in Japanese) HERE.
(Thanks, JL, via Cartoon Brew’s Reader Submission Forum)
As most Cartoon Brew readers are aware by now, we’ve had a “no crowdfunding” policy in place for a long time. But times change, and as more animation filmmakers incorporate crowdfunding into their production plans, we feel that it’s necessary to provide a platform for noteworthy projects that need funding. Starting today, we’re going to try something new by featuring a curated selection of crowdfunded animation projects on Fridays. We especially aim to give exposure to promising animation that may slip through the cracks due to a lack of exposure in mainstream media.
For starters, I’d like to highlight WONDER 365 Animation Project by Japanese filmmaker Mirai Mizue. Mizue creates his abstract films the old-school way by drawing and painting onto paper, but he uses digital compositing techniques to fantastic effect:
If you follow Mizue on Vimeo, you know that he’s been working diligently on WONDER 365 for the past 365 days in a row. Mizue received a grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan, which allowed him to hire over 150 painters to help color the film, but he’s still looking for funding to complete the music recording and post production.
The Wonder 365 crowdfunding effort continues through April 30. The project is currently 22% funded. Here is the film’s trailer:
Within 15 seconds of hitting the play button on Kou Kou by Takashi Ohashi, I did something I rarely do when watching films on my laptop: I turned off the lights at my workspace to create a dark theater environment. Good abstract animation, like a good song, demands the audience’s full attention, and I sensed this was going to be something special.
Takashi Ohashi, who has been featured on our Animated Fragments feature, has created a masterful piece of abstract animation with Kou Kou. Ohashi does something rare for abstract filmmakers, which is to organize his visual ideas with the clarity, pacing and dynamism of a more traditionally narrative storyteller. The second ‘movement’ that begins around the 4-minute mark packs a real punch. The competing red and blue offsets create tension and instability in the imagery, which serves to heighten the visual excitement.
To a non-Japanese speaker, the film is a beautiful visual experience, but the Japanese speaker will enjoy an additional layer of depth. Ohashi sent Cartoon Brew the following explanation of the film:
Kou Kou is a visual work based on an abstract animation synchronized with a song comprising the unique syllabic sounds of the Japanese language, without actually using any full words.
It is in the elements of sounds from which words are made that we find syllabic sounds. In the case of the Japanese language, the linguistic roots, or ‘Yamato Kotoba,’ each individual sound possesses a unique meaning. For example, words containing ‘su’ exhibit a frictional characteristic and hence are used to represent a linear or direct movement. In modern-day Japanese, ‘sasu’ or ‘susumu’ represent a concrete, tangible action.
Furthermore, words with fewer syllables are used to express simple onomatopeia-like words, whereas the more syllables a word contains, the more concrete it becomes.
However, although a given syllabic combination may not be understood despite its constituent syllables possessing their own meanings, there are particular instances where we are able to discover meaning from a meaningless word.
This is what I feel is most interesting about the Japanese language and why I’ve thought to express myself by combining just how good the combination of vowels and consonants unique to Japanese resonates with music synched to abstract animation.
This musical composition was made by recording 6 natural voice vocal tracks from singer Luschka and selecting lyrics with Japanese syllabic combinations which afforded expression. The track comprises words which themselves are meaningless, but carefully combining syllables and their respective unique resonances ensured highly musical peaks and troughs.
Director: Takashi Ohashi
Composer: Yuri Habuka
Mixing: Masumi Takino
Drums: Kyojun Tanaka (from DCPRG)
11 March 2011 the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan.
The country is still rebuilding from the natural and nuclear disaster that resulted from the quake.
Books are beginning to appear to help students understand this tragedy.
Click for Interview with Contributors Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani.
The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, resulted in a massive tsunami that caused the loss of life and livelihood for thousands of people in the northern Tohoku region of Japan. So many teens in Tohoku have lost parents, siblings, relatives, friends, homes, schools, and huge swaths of their cities, towns and villages. Their teen worlds have been upended.
Tomo was published on March 10, 2012. Proceeds from the sales of Tomo will go to organizations that assist teens in the quake and tsunami hit areas. Tomo, which means friend in Japanese, aims to bring Japan stories to young adult readers worldwide, and in so doing, help support teens in Tohoku.
Click to find out how you may be able to obtain a free copy
In just over a week, a group of unpaid professional and citizen journalists who met on Twitter created a book to raise money for Japanese Red Cross earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. In addition to essays, artwork and photographs submitted by people around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it, 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake contains a piece by Yoko Ono, and work created specifically for the book by authors William Gibson, Barry Eisler and Jake Adelstein. “The primary goal,” says the book’s editor, a British resident of Japan, “is to record the moment, and in doing so raise money for the Japanese Red Cross Society to help the thousands of homeless, hungry and cold survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. The biggest frustration for many of us was being unable to help these victims. I don’t have any medical skills, and I’m not a helicopter pilot, but I can edit. A few tweets pulled together nearly everything – all the participants, all the expertise – and in just over a week we had created a book including stories from an 80-year-old grandfather in Sendai, a couple in Canada waiting to hear if their relatives were okay, and a Japanese family who left their home, telling their young son they might never be able to return.” ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the price you pay (net of VAT, sales and other taxes) goes to the Japanese Red Cross Society to aid the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. If you’d like to donate more, please visit the Japanese Red Cross Society website
The oldest bird in the world, documented with banding, is Wisdom, the Midway Albatross. She was on Midway when the Japanese Tsunami hit and this is her amazing story of survival of manmade and natural disasters for over 60 years. She has survived the dangers of living wild, plastic pollution, longline fishing, lead poisoning, and the Japanese earthquake. At 60, she’s still laying eggs and hatching chicks. It’s a story of survival and hope amidst the difficulties of life.
This title examines an important historic event – the March 11, 2011, earthquake that spawned a devastating tsunami in Japan. Easy-to-read, compelling text explores the dual disaster that resulted in thousands of deaths and left many people homeless. This book also details the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant near Japan’s northeast coast and the recovery efforts following the disasters.
Filed under: Causes
Tagged: 11 March
The greatest hamburger-themed stickers Disney has ever produced.
Delicious izakaya in Tokyo with Merrick, Leo & KB. My favorite dishes were the kimchi udon pasta & the tofu cheesecake. YUM.
Gion Kitana, as recommended by Tara (formerly) of Sweet Breams. Make sure you get the dekitate, their fresh ice cream. So good.
Yakisoba at Mizuno, Osaka. Their okonomiyaki is out of this world. I discovered the restaurant by following two people in Osaka who seemed to be on a mission to eat. I do that when I travel. Not creepy.
Sushidai in Tokyo.
Matcha green tea paste
at Ippodo Tea, recommended by Yoko of Homako
Kaboucha fried goodness.
Thanks to the lovely friends who sent suggestions and made our trip that much more delicious and delightful. Special shout to Merrick for housing KB & me, and teaching us some key Japanese words. Good host. Arigatou gozaimasu.
In Kyoto, Kevin took me to Kanga-an Temple
, a temple with a hidden bar once the sun goes down.
We sipped on Japanese whiskey (finally!!).
“The pace is slow here so it calms you down,” says Yamada [the bartender]. “It’s not the drinks, it’s the garden that relaxes you” (from the Japan Times).
After Kyoto, Kevin & I stayed in Eko-in Temple
in Koyasan. The train ride was so pretty.
Best tofu ever.
The view! It was nice to wander the halls and find random rooms and studies. The best parts were the fire ceremony in the morning, relaxing in the onsen, and the table in the room with an electric blanket as the tablecloth. Glorious. We basically lived under the table.
And then there was Totoro! I happened upon him many times before actually saying hello at the Ghibli Museum.
I've been to Japan once before for the Sakura Festival. Next on my list was the Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. Boy was it cold but beauuuuutiful (and delicious!).
The snow festival in Sapporo is well known, but there's also one in Asahikawa, the second largest city in Hokkaido. We got to see the ice artists in action chiseling, sawing, and brushing away the blocks of ice into gorgeous, tremendously detailed sculptures.
This Transformer tripled as a sculpture, a performance stage and, to the right, a gigantic slide! You sit your bum down on a piece of laminated newspaper with a loop of nylon rope and slide down 150 feet of ice into a pile of snow. So. Much. Fun.
Miso ramen from the original Santouka
in Asahikawa. They have locations in CA, and even in the Philippines!
A piping hot bowl of broth and scallops for 400 yen. Yes please.
8am breakfast at Donburi Chaya in Sapporo.
Cheesy ramen at Karin
Blue & brick building is Otaru Brewery
. I had a "smoked" beer. Delicious. Worth a visit.
Kita No Ice Cream
in Otaru. Left, uni & taro. Right, sake and squid ink. All very good.
Hokkaido is known for their dairy so if you do visit, please have cheese, caramels, hot milk & sake, and most importantly, vanilla soft serve ice cream. It is so very much unlike anything you'll ever taste (my favorite ice cream in the world), you will eat it walking through the snow, in 20 degree weather. It is that good. At least Kevin and I thought so :)
“Cirrus” directed by Cyriak (UK)
“Yamasuki Yamazaki” directed by Shishi Yamazaki (Japan)
“Tourniquet” directed by Jordan Bruner (US)
Music Video for Hem. Animated by Greg Lytle and Jordan Bruner.
A Gum Boy (Kuchao) by Masaki Okuda is a 2010 student film produced at the Tokyo University of the Arts. The film addresses difficult subject matter—adolescent ostracism—through a creative and non-literal use of animation that marries the fluid grace of a watercolor style with frenzied use of camera and cutting. Okuda’s mastery of film technique, narrative and visual style elevates Gum Boy beyond the average student film, and for that matter, the average professional short film as well.
Direction, Animation and Editing: Masaki Okuda
Music: Daisuke Matsuoka
Song: Yushiro Kuramochi
Sound Design: Kyohei Takahashi
Samisen: Kohdai Minoda
Sound Design: Kyohei Takahashi
Mixing Engineer: Yoshito Morita
Music Mixing Engineer: Shinpei Kusaka
By: Aline Pereira
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, Japanese American
, Picture Books
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, Akiko Hisa
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, Felicia Hoshino
, Sora and the Cloud
, Week-end book review
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Felicia Hoshino, Japanese translation by Akiko Hisa,
Sora and the Cloud
Sora and the Cloud is award-winning illustrator Felicia Hoshino’s debut as an author. Featuring Sora, a little boy whose name means “sky,” this very delicate, whisper-like story in English and Japanese is about Sora discovering the world with the help of a fluffy cloud friend. And how appropriate that cloud and sky should come together!
While Sora and Cloud float around town dreaming up adventures, little Sora gets to see many familiar places (some readers will recognize the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Chinatown) and to learn more about his Japanese heritage. “Like a mobile in the breeze, Sora’s sky adventure spins all around him,” until he drifts gently into sleep and back down to earth, where more adventures await. The last page shows Sora and his family relaxing together under a big tree – the image of his little sister looking up to the sky and saying hello to a cloud fittingly pointing to the universality of children’s sense of wonder and boundless imagination.
Fans of Hoshino’s illustration work in A Place Where Sunflowers Grow and Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin will find the watercolors/mixed media in this bilingual treat a treasure trove to pore over and marvel at. The double spread of cute ants busily moving around town, matching Sora’s impression of people as tiny ants when seen from up above, is priceless. It adds a touch of sweet humor to a story that is all warmth, delicacy and gentle embrace.
Sora and the Cloud soars in more ways than one, and is a perfect story to share with very young ones who are starting to look at the world with wonder and amazement.
The short Japanese phrases and cultural references sprinkled throughout the book are translated and explained in the end matter, where we also learn that a portion of the book’s proceeds go to the Japan Earthquake Relief.
Review as part of our current theme of Cats and Dogs in Multicultural Children’s Books
Betty Jean Lifton, photography by Eikoh Hosoe,
Taka-chan and I: A Dog’s Journey to Japan by Runcible
New York Review Children’s Collection, 2012 (reprint of 1967 edition)
Illustrated with luminous black-and-white photographs by the art photographer Eikoh Hosoe and inspired by her experiences in 1960s Japan, Betty Jean Lifton’s wry and witty 1967 Taka-chan and I, is, happily, back in print.
Hosoe’s photographs of adorable 5-year-old Taka-chan with Runcible, Lifton’s Weimaraner-narrator, evoke a fabled timelessness. (Children and parents may recognize his name as Edward Lear’s invented adjective.) Runcible lived in Japan with Lifton and her husband, psychiatrist and writer Robert Jay Lifton. His story begins on Cape Cod (US), where a particularly enthusiastic dig in the sand takes him far underground with no way home. At long last he discovers that he’s dug his way to Japan. The photograph of him emerging from the sand nose-to-nose with Taka-chan, bowing from the hip to greet him, is priceless.
Taka-chan is being detained by the Black Dragon. Ominous images of girl and dog in his shadowy “palace” create suspense; the dragon is later revealed to be an elaborate sculpture (embodying, folk-tale fashion, the dragon spirit). He’s peeved that Taka-chan’s disloyal fishing village has ceased to feed dragons who protect the fishermen, but if by sundown Runcible places a white flower before the most loyal person in Japan, Taka-chan will be free. Runcible negotiates: Taka-chan escorts him on his mission.
Off they go, Taka-chan in a little straw hat and pinafore dress. In busy Tokyo, they are separated. Runcible looks for her in the Emperor’s gardens, then gets fed at a sushi shop. A deer tells him the most loyal person in the land is Hachiko, the dog who returned daily to Shibuya Station for a decade after his master’s death and whose statue commemorates his loyalty.* Dog and girl are reunited, flower is bestowed, girl is released, and eventually Runcible loyally digs his way home to his own master.
Lifton’s story is a delightful take on the traditional Japanese folk stories she loved; Hosoe’s images imbue her text with magic. Taka-chan, in a summer kimono, feeding Runcible with chopsticks at a formal low table in a tatami room, is unforgettable, her gesture and expression as ingenuous as Runcible’s soulful look. A photograph of the author, photographer and dog at the back of the book accompanies amusing brief biographies of each. Taka-chan and I is a classic to be cherished for generations.
*Hachiko’s story became a Japanese film in 1987; a 2009 adaptation for American audiences starred Richard Gere.
By: Jerry Beck,
Blog: Cartoon Brew
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, Joshua Catalano
, Matt Reynolds
, Rickard Bengtsson
, Saigo No Shudan
, South Korea
, YungSung Song
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There is a mind-boggling breadth of expression and experimentation across the contemporary global animation scene. The short animation clips and exercises that I offer in Animated Fragments represent just a glimpse of the fresh ideas being explored by today’s animators:
“QQQ” Trailer by YungSung Song (South Korea/Japan)
“Feuerwerk” by Joshua Catalano (France)
“More Than A Feeling” by Matt Reynolds (US)
“CVTV” by Saigo No Shudan (Japan)
“Feminine Flow” by Rickard Bengtsson (Sweden): “This animation, except the subtle background texture, is created 100% in After Effects. All of the animation is created and keyframed by hand using lots of masks and layers.”
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Today's Picture Book Roundup features older winners of the Caldecott Medal.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
I recently completed a class, "The Caldecott Medal: Understanding Distinguished Art in Picture Books,"
offered by the Association for Library Service to Children
(ALSC), and taught by K.T. Horning.
In addition to learning much that I didn't know about art, I had the opportunity to encounter or revisit some Caldecott Medal
winners that predate my career as a librarian. I have been working in a library since 2005, and received my masters degree and first professional librarian position in 2007. The Caldecott Medal has been awarded since 1938. Clearly, I had a lot of catching up to do.
Though I did not read them all, I did read many older winners. Here are some of my favorites from the years prior to 1990:(In order by publication date - award dates are the January following the publication year)
- Langstaff, John. 1955. Frog Went A-Courtin'. New York: Harcourt Brace. Illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky.
Richly detailed and expressive animals illustrate this favorite old folk song. (If you don't know the song, Frog Went A-Courtin',
Burl Ives' rendition was a classic) This is my favorite of all the older Caldecotts.
- Mosel, Arlene. 1972. The Funny Little Woman. New York: Dutton. Illustrated by Blair Lent.
Humorous, with inventive illustrations, the funny little woman travels to a world beneath her simple home in Japan.
- Yorinks, Arthur. 1986. Hey. Al. New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux. Illustrated by Richard Egielski.
Generally disliked by most of my classmates, this quirky, surreal story about a man and his dog really grows on you.
- Yolen, Jane. 1987. Owl Moon. New York: Philomel. Illustrated by John Schoenherr.
I have been fortunate enough to hear
owls in the night many times, though the only ones I have been able to spot are the low-flying burrowing owls. In Owl Moon
, the thrill of a night-time owling expedition is captured brilliantly in both illustration and prose.
- Young, Ed. 1989. Lon Po Po:A Red-Riding Hood Story from China. New York: Philomel.
A masterpiece of danger, suspense and courage - a classic folktale. The only one of my picks written and illustrated by the same person, it's no surprise that it's a pitch-perfect pairing of text and art.A complete list of Caldecott Medal winners 1938-present, may be found here.
I've left off many other wonderful old medal winners, I know. Feel free to chime in with your favorite Caldecott winners from the 1930s-1980s.
By: Aline Pereira
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Cultures and Countries
, Global Voices
, Ainu folktales
, Akiko Hayashi
, Alexander O. Smith
, Avery Fischer Udagawa
, Books from Japan
, Brave Story
, Cathy Hirano
, Children's Books Going Overseas from Japan
, Chris Pai
, Eiko Kadono
, Emily's Balloon
, Everyone Poops
, Gomi Taro
, Holly Thompson
, International Library of Children's Literature
, J-Boys: Kazuo’s World Tokyo 1965
, Kazumi Yumoto
, Kazuo Iwamura
, Kiki's Delivery Service
, Komako Sakai
, Miyuki Miyabe
, Nagaru Tanigawa
, Nahoko Uehashi
, Naomi Kojima
, Natsuo Kirino
, Peter Howlett
, Phillip Gabriel
, R.I.C. Publications
, Real World
, SCBWI Tokyo
, Shogo Oketani
, Singing Shijimi Clams
, Suekichi Akaba
, Suho's White Horse
, The 14 Forest Mice
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Children’s and YA Books in Translation from Japan ~ by Holly Thompson
Part 3 of 3 (read Part 1 here and Part 2 here)
Over the years of raising our children in Japan, I have kept my eyes out for Japanese children’s books translated into English. Sadly, far more titles go from English into Japanese than from Japanese into English. Having peaked in numbers in the 1980s, nowadays few Japanese children’s and young adult books are translated into English each year.
The reasons for so few Japanese books being sold to English-language publishers are layered and complicated ranging from cultural differences and weak English copy or sample translations used for marketing books to foreign publishers, to stagnant picture book markets in English-speaking countries and a lack of interest from markets that are focused intently on books set in their own countries.
Currently, most of the children’s books translated from Japanese into other languages are sold to other countries in Asia—particularly Korea and Taiwan, and more recently, China. The International Library of Children’s Literature in Ueno, Tokyo, held an exhibit in 2010 Children’s Books Going Overseas from Japan and much exhibit information on translated Japanese children’s books appears on their website.
Because our children are bilingual, when they were young we read most Japanese picture books in Japanese, but we searched out English translations of Japanese picture books as gifts for relatives, friends or libraries in the U.S. Some of the Japanese picture books in translation that we loved to give are Singing Shijimi Clams by Naomi Kojima, The 14 Forest Mice books and others by Kazuo Iwamura, and books illustrated by Akiko Hayashi. Our all-time family favorite Japanese picture book was the widely read Suuho no shiroi uma, published in English as Suho’s White Horse, a Mongolian tale retold by Japanese author Yuzo Otsuka, illustrated by Suekichi Akaba, and translated by Peter Howlett—featured in this PaperTigers post.
R.I.C. Publications has a number of well-known Japanese picture books and some Ainu folktales in translation. Kane/Miller Book Publishers now focuses on books set in the U.S. but used to focus on translations of books from around the world; their catalog has a section on Books from Japan including the hugely successful Minna unchi by Taro Gomi, translated by Amanda Mayer Stinchecum and published in English as Everyone Poops. And recently Komako Sakai’s books have traveled overseas including Ronpaachan to fuusen published by Chronicle Books as Emily’s Balloon and Yuki ga yandara released as The Snow Day by Arthur A. Levine Books.
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Title: Tokyo Heist
Author: Diana Renn
May Contain Spoilers
Sixteen-year-old Violet loves reading manga and wearing scarves made from kimono fabric, so she’s thrilled that her father’s new painting commission means a summer trip to Japan. But what starts as an exotic vacation quickly turns into a dangerous treasure hunt.
Her father’s newest clients, the Yamada family, are the victims of a high-profile art robbery: van Gogh sketches have been stolen from their home, and, until they can produce the corresponding painting, everyone’s lives are in danger — including Violet’s and her father’s.
Violet’s search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery thickens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to solve the mystery — before it’s too late.
Mysteries aren’t my favorite genre, but Tokyo Heist had me curious because of the setting. Violet is a huge manga geek, which I could definitely relate to, and she gets to go globe-trotting – to Japan. How could I not want to read that?
Violet is resigned that she isn’t going to have the best summer. Her mother is in Italy for work, and she’s going to be staying with her father. To say that her father is distant is an understatement. To say that he is distracted also falls far short of the mark. Her father, a man she barely knows, is an artist, and a rather eccentric one at that. When he’s in a creative frame of mind, there is no room for anything, or anyone, else. Not even his teenaged daughter. While Violet understands that theirs is not the closest of relationships, she is shocked to discover that her father has never told his co-workers, or even his girlfriend, about her existence. Ouch!
When Violet’s father takes a commission from a wealthy Japanese couple, Violet finds herself embroiled in a mystery. Somebody has stolen some van Gogh drawings from the Yamada’s, and all fingers are pointing to Skye, her father’s girlfriend. Determined to find the drawings, and collect the huge reward, Violet discovers that there is so much more at stake than the drawings. Her father’s life is on the line. A yakuza boss is demanding the return of a van Gogh painting based on the drawings, claiming that Tomonori Yamada had stolen it from him. Tomonori committed suicide years before, but Violet is starting to suspect that it wasn’t a suicide after all.
Most of the appeal of this read for me is the location. What I wouldn’t give for an all-expenses paid trip to Tokyo (and a ryokan in Kyoto). Even with all of the related danger! Traveling to the Land of the Rising Sun is a dream of mine, one that I have had for a long, long time. I want to slurp noodles at a ramen shop, stuff myself with fresh sushi, and snack on Melty Kiss and limited edition Kit Kat bars. Through Violet, I was able to see some of the highlights of Tokyo, all without the expensive plane ticket and hotel room.
I liked Violet. I felt for her when her best friend and secret crush, Edge, started dating her former BFF. Everything she did to try to make things better and repair her friendship with Edge only made ma
Back in March, Sally highlighted the launch of our current Book of the Month, Tomo, edited by Holly Thompson (Stonebridge Press, 2012). Carrying the by-line “Friendship through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories”, this is a wonderfully rich book that readers will want to dip into again and again, and all proceeds go to orgainisations working with young people affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Our review is coming soon; in the meantime, I wanted to return to the poem that Sally highlighted in her post: “Be not Defeated by the Rain” by Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933).
I didn’t know the poem before I read its opening cited at the beginning of Tomo and I wanted to know more about it. I was not only bowled over by the poem itself, but I was also much struck by Holly’s description in her Foreword of how the poem came into her head and repeated itself over and over as she attempted to come to terms with the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year.
The rest of the poem is no less powerful than the opening. Although I am sadly unable to enjoy the poem in the original, I love the sonority and simplicity of David Sulz‘ translation, quoted in full here:
Be not defeated by the rain, Nor let the wind prove your better.
Succumb not to the snows of winter. Nor be bested by the heat of summer.
Be strong in body. Unfettered by desire. Not enticed to anger. Cultivate a quiet joy.
Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you.
Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear.
A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove’s shade.
A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day.
If, to the East, a child lies sick: Go forth and nurse him to health.
If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: Go forth, and relieve her of burden.
If, to the South, a man lies dying: Go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear.
If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues:
Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit.
In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy.
In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.
Stand aloof of the unknowing masses:
Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a “Great Man”.
This is my goal, the person I strive to become.
Tomo has a blog running alongside it, featuring a wealth of interviews etc. with the book’s contributors. Do read the interview with David Sulz, in which he discusses his translation of the poem and its impact. He generously gave his translation to the World of Kenji Miyazawa website, who have made it freely available. You can also read more information about Kenji Miyazawa and his children’s stories and poems, including background to “Be Not Defeated by the Rain” here, and other poems to download here.
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