Author has written 5 stories for Rurouni Kenshin.
I'm older than a lot of you. I'm female. I like to read. I like to write. My daughter says I overanalyze everything.
Explanation: Some people love to have Japanese words all through a story; some people find their use distracting. When I started Ichirizuka, I was not certain just how much I wanted to use them. As I have continued, though, I have established reasons for what I put in. So here is my rationale:
1) some things are more clearly described if I use their Japanese name--i.e. 'Chochin' or 'andon' rather than just 'lamp' or 'lantern'. Some things just sound better. 'Chopsticks,' to me, sounds Chinese. I'd much rather call them 'hashi' in a Japanese story.
2) Sometimes there is an ambiguity to the Japanese word that I cannot maintain if I use English phrasing. Ex: 'Daijobu'--it can mean I'm all right, they're all right, it (the situation) is all right, etc.
3) If you watch the speech in the dialogues (have I mentioned that I have a hard time writing dialogue?), I try to give some feel for the informal/formal/very formal speech that would be used. At times the characters use slang, some use contractions, some don't use either. To further that idea, sometimes I will use variations of Japanese phrases to indicate the relationship between characters. 'Domo,' Domo arigato' and 'domo arigato gozaimashita' are not just ways to emphasize how thankful you are, but also ways to indicate if you are friendly with, or subordinate to, someone.
4) Sometimes it is just so much a part of what I have become accustomed to hearing in certain situations, that I have to use it. Ex: 'so,so,so' (said excitedly) or 'ah, so,' or 'aaaaahhh?!' (said with a rising tone of astonishment)
10-20-2015-- I'm still alive. I have changed Ch. 17 a little, and have finished it. Oddly enough, it does not show as having been updated. Because I am so rusty, I think I may write a one-shot (or two, or three) to get back into the mindset before writing the last chapter of the Choushuu arc.
12-11-2013--Our adjustment to the new town has taken longer than expected, even taking into account the time spent planning and travelling for our daughter's wedding. Various things here at home are unaccounted for since the move...like all my printer cables. I am not working, exactly, but I help my husband with his new teaching job and it's demanding all our time. Bleah. Anyway, I am determined to get back to writing as soon as the holidays are over. I promise. And I never, ever, break my promise.
5-20-09--Some people are asking me questions in their reviews, but not leaving any way for me to contact them. If you ask me something, please make sure that you either sign in, or give me an email so that I can answer.
Link for Tsuyama: ; www.confluence.org/photo.php?visitid=6575&pic=7
Anyone want some interesting reading? These may be hard to find, but many libraries can do an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) search on WorldCat and request it be sent to your library. Trust me--my town only has 2,000 people and I was able to get these books...
Yokohama; prints from nineteenth-century Japan by Ann Yonemura. OCLC#: 21038243; ISBN(pbk): 0874749999. I really liked these pictures. The text was very informative also. It wasn't just city scenes, but also pages from Japanese books about the foreigners. Smooth reading.
Nagasaki Prints and Early Copperplates. Masanobu Hosono (Hosono is the last name). ISBN: 0870113119. Need to get an idea of what Nagasaki looked like way back when?
The Last Samurai: the life and battles of Saigo Takamori by Mark Ravina. OCLC#: 51898842; ISBN: 0471089702. Little bit slow, but lots of info from the Satsuma side. Saigo was imprisoned in a cage on a dinky island for a while. I thought that was interesting...
Shinsengumi: the Shogun's Last Samurai Corps by Romulus Hillsborough. (I can't get over that name!) OCLC#: 62584449; ISBN: 0804836272. Lots of background on the members of the group. It bothers me that in my reading some have said Okita was older, some have said Saito was. I'll believe misaki toyodome, who says Okita was older.
Tokugawa Japan: the Social and Economic Antecedents of Modern Japan by Conrad Totman, Chie Nakane, and Shinzaburo Oishi. OCLC#: 23047830; ISBN: 4130270249. Don't be frightened off by the title. It's very readable and has LOTS of good info. I liked it enough to buy it after I read it.
Edo Culture: daily life and diversions in urban Japan, 1600-1868 by Matsunosuke Nishiyama, Gerald Groemer. Just what it says. Reads comfortably, not like a text. I thought it was interesting. Who ever thought an exorcism would be counted as an entertainment?
Women of the Mito Domain: Recollections of Samurai Family Life by Kikue Yamakawa and Kate Wildman Nakai. Yamakawa has put together memories of her grandparents and other relatives to show what life was like in Mito during the Bakumatsu. I'm glad I didn't have to be there.
Young Japan: Yokohama andYedo, 1858-79 by J.R.Black. First hand account (by a 'Westerner'...sympathetic to the Shogun, though relatively unbiased)
Classical Warrior Traditons of Japan: v.1 Koryu Bujutsu, v.2 Sword and Spirit, v.3 Keiko Shokon, edited by Diane Skoss. Some very enlightening essays on the study of traditional swordsmanship (and other weapons) as opposed to the more modern Kendo, etc.
Japanese Girls and Women by Alice M. Bacon; Takeuchi, Keishu. Another first hand account, this one by a western woman who lived in Japan in the 1880s. I bought this after reading it.
Ryoma: the Life of a Renaissance Samurai by Romulus Hillsborough. Biography of Sakamoto Ryoma, who was one of the major persons involved in the Bakumatsu. Written in sort of a stiff historical novel style to make it easier to follow the facts, but I think his research is reliable.
A Daughter of the Samurai by Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto. The autobiography of a woman born at the end of the Bakamatsu and her memories of the early years of the Restoration, as well as her transition to American life, eventually returning back to Japan as a widow with young children. I bought this one after reading it. I even got an old edition that is autographed! It's an amazing feeling to hold something signed by someone who actually lived during that time...
Memories of Silk and Straw : A Self-portrait of Small-town Japan by Jun'ichi Saga. This is a collection of transcriptions of oral accounts by a multitude of people--geisha, yakuza, farmers, etc,--of what life was like between 1880s -1930s. Very interesting!
Meiji, 1868; Revolution and Counter-revolution in Japan by Paul Akamatsu. Study of causes leading up to the revolution.
Japan in Transition: Thought and Action in the Meiji Era, 1868-1912 by Hilary Conroy, et. al.
Choshu in the Meiji Restoration by Albert M Craig. Specifically looks at what was happening in Choshu from the early 1850s through about 1868.
Kinse' Shiriaku by Ken Yamaguchi. This covers 1853-1869, written at the end of the 1880s by a man who had worked for the Bakufu and the Restoration government. Pretty detailed account of all the battles and skirmishes.
Diary of Kido Takayoshi (3 volumes) translated by Sidney D. Brown and Akiko Hirota. Otherwise known as Katsura Kogoro, this is his diary, kept from 1868 till a few days before his death in 1877. Reading his thoughts in his own words, I really liked him.
Geisha by Liza Dalby. Non-fiction. Young anthropologist trains and lives as a geisha in modern-day Kyoto. Also goes into history of the profession. Lots of detail.
Unbeaten Tracks in Japan by Isabella L. Bird. Written by a woman in her 50s who traveled across Japan alone in 1878. She was the first European woman in Ezo. Amazing descriptions and lots of detail. I'd like to buy this one. I think portions of it can be found online.