It’s that time of year, friends. Maybe you’ve grown tired of my nattering on about TCAF, but like it or not, that nattering is here to stay as long as the festival keeps happening and I keep torturing myself with interpreting for it. Last year was actually the first time I didn’t have a Japanese artist to take care of full time, and it was such a strange feeling to be able to attend and be a part of the panels. I even went around and talked to exhibitors, bought books, hung out like I had nowhere else to be. So naturally, after a very laidback year, I was in for the exact opposite this year with guest Inio Asano. Which is not to say he was a demanding petulant diva! He was not! He’s actually a lovely person, and I had a great time hanging out with him for the five days he was in town for the festival. But Japanese guests have varying levels of English ability, which means I am more or less needed for interpreting. And Asano’s English is essentially non-existent, so it was the more needed part of that equation this year.
As is my custom when preparing to welcome Japanese artists to the festival, I’ve spent the last couple months reading everything Asano ever wrote and hunting down every last interview he’s done, essentially becoming his best and most dedicated stalker. (Don’t tell him that, though.) I even turned up a conversation between him and (another former TCAF guest) Usamaru Furuya in an old issue of Erotics f I have tucked away in the back of my bookcase. All this preparation proved very useful, especially the video of the live drawing event in Italy (which I watched enough to start to learn Italian from the interpreter), and Asano’s sessions at the festival all went really well. Or so I assume from the feedback I got from the audiences and fans who came to the signing sessions. And now Asano is back in Japan, I am not dead, and we have a book to talk about. (more…)