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Joined 02-16-09, id: 1840057, Profile Updated: 04-16-09
Author has written 1 story for Maison Ikkoku.

How did I get here?

Well, I studied Japanese on my own for a year or two while I lived in Georgia. (I was working for the city-county government, but I almost managed to start a comic-book company on the side.) I ran into the first episode of Urusei Yatsura at a science-fiction convention, and have been more or less hooked on Rumiko Takahashi's works ever since. They're probably why, when I decided I had to try to combine several of my interests by finding a job teaching English in Japan, the offer I accepted was from a senmon-gakkô in Niigata.

I lived and taught there for two years, and when I came back to the U.S. I found a job translating technical documents for a subsidiary of a Japanese auto-parts company. I worked for them for 5-1/2 years. That was over ten years ago.

So why am I now returning to my interrupted project of a personal translation of the whole original 15-volume set of Maison Ikkoku? I told you -- I'm hooked on Takahashi-sensei. And, meaning nothing against any of her other works, MI is my absolute favorite.

I knew a girl in college (and that's over 30 years ago!) who was ticklish from across the room. You could waggle your fingers at her from 20 feet away and she'd start laughing. MI can tickle me from across the parking lot -- just thinking of some bits of the stories, while the set was still stored in the garage, could give me the giggles. Heck, MI can tickle me across the years. (I subscribe to the Flanders and Swann theory of nasty words -- namely, that if they all come into everyday use, we have nothing left for special occasions -- but MI is a special occasion. My translations will use them as appropriate. But here I won't -- to avoid sending away anyone who doesn't want to encounter them here.)

And not just my funny bone gets tickled, either. When the big moment finally comes for Godai to say what he's grown into being able to say -- and Kyôko answers the way she is finally able to -- I cry. For joy and relief. Every time. Without the dramatic swell of John Williams music and other special effects that get me in ET. Every time. Even if I've just read the page, cried, wiped my tears away, blown my nose, and picked up the book again. Every single time.

And then I go on -- and there are still a few more laughs in the story. Or I hop backward to one of the earlier times the Ikkookoos are celebrating -- and laugh with them.

But, speaking of going on, I'd better -- or I'll never finish that translation. My Japanese is somewhat rusty, so I'm having to look up a lot of things -- if only to reassure myself that I haven't forgotten it all, or to see if any of my dictionaries have a better idea of how to blend the warp and woof of the brocade of translation. (And thank you, Kakuzô Okakura and The Book of Tea.) Being that much out of practice, I'm only managing a first rough draft of one part/chapter/episode a night or so. As of this writing (2009/02/18 -- 2:00am EST), I'm through Volume III, Episode 7: "You've Convinced Me". . . .

I'll take a break now and again to read a few stories here. I may even write one or two, if the mood strikes me. (Ow! What was that?) In the meantime, hajimemashite and dôzo yoroshiku o-negai shimasu!

update (2009/04/16 -- 11:15pm EDT: I've finished first-draft translations through the end of Volume V. I just went back through the first two volumes (which I did years ago) to get them caught up with what I've done more recently. It also seemed a good point at which to pause and try to standardize things a bit -- how I handle giongo and gitaigo, for example, and how to make the translated text distinguish between someone knowingly remembering a past event and someone else (okay, Godai) getting lost in one of those crazy daydreams/fantasies again.

Along the way, I've also had a few crazy fantasies of my own about the next "round" of "Maison Ikkaraoke" -- but nothing has struck me as quite as perfect a match between songs and singers as SangoKagome's inspiration of pairing Mitaka-kôchi and "My Shiny Teeth and Me". I figured somebody had to follow that up with "Find Your Voice", and eventually decided it should be -- well, if you haven't read my story yet, I won't spoil it for you. . . . :

But once you have read it, I'd like to hear from you -- your reactions to that story, yes, but also any ideas you have for who should sing what next! Or even how to narrow the choices down -- or whether we should. I mean, would our favorite animated characters only get animated about singing songs from anime? Or only pop tunes from their own (series') time? (I can think of a handful of songs for Yagami, with or without her buddies as back-up . . . though maybe one or two could go to Ikuko. Come to think of it, Lum might claim one of them herself.) Are there more songs out there which are just too right for somebody "here" to sing for us to ignore them, even if those songs hail from Broadway or Bollywood or Dollywood or (fill in the blank)?

For that matter, I have a half-hypothesis . . . that characters from different series may even now be partying in different karaoke boxes. Do all the Sailor Scouts team up on "Drops of Jupiter"? Or do they let Tuxedo Mask/Darien (Tuxedo Kamen/Mamoru) sing it to Sailor Moon/Serena (Usagi)? Which of the Ranma gang gets to sing "Dude Looks Like a Lady"? (Anybody but Kunô-senpai, probably. Oh, and Kasumi -- she wouldn't sing anything that unrefined. And Ryôga would never find his way to the mike. . . .)

ANYway . . . I do hope to find my way back to the bright lights of "Maison Ikkaraoke" one of these days. But I wouldn't mind a few hints as to a direction or two. So please let me hear from you -- and my thanks in advance!

Find Your Voice reviews
Godai and Kyôko are at a karaoke bar; Mitaka has just sung “My Shiny Teeth and Me” in SangoKagome's excellent adventure of that name . But who'll sing next -- and what? Only this rookie author knows . . . until you read, that is. Tell me how I did.
Maison Ikkoku - Rated: K+ - English - Humor/Parody - Chapters: 1 - Words: 2,247 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 3/5/2009 - Complete