Random Anniversary 7: My Brain

Let’s celebrate the passing of an arbitrary amount of time! The pages of another journal are full, and it’s time to reflect on the contents of those pages and the many books I read while filling them. This is the first journal of my life in which every entry was written in the same place: the table that doubles as my sitting desk in my sunny Toronto home, with a scant few entries written on the turquoise metal table that adorns my balcony. Having spent my entire life on the move (base brats unite!), it is an especially peculiar feeling to stay in a single location for over a year, something I have literally not done once in my adult life. 

While I have enjoyed being close to all my books and picking through my shelves whenever I had the sudden urge to read a particular paragraph in an old favourite, I am definitely ready to hand the keys to this flat over to a friend, ask them to water my (now many) plants, and take off for parts unknown. Or even better—parts known! I’m ready to come back, Japan. I know you think I am the reason for the plague, together with everyone else on this planet who is not Japanese. But I hope you will let me cross your borders soon, so I can at least collect my things from my Tokyo apartment, including the precious treasure I acquired the last time I stood on your shores: my What Did You Eat Yesterday apron. 

Despite being more or less housebound over the period of this last journal, I have done things! I drank delicious beers in the park with pals! And then two of those same pals went onto to start a manga podcast, so I’m pretty sure you can thank me for that. I won another Eisner Award! (I am, however, still perplexed how I can win Best International Asia but not share in the Best Writer/Artist award, when both awards honour the same book.) I translated a beloved classic and did a bunch of events with the author! I moderated a panel on manga translation! I was part of a reunion of the TCAF dream team when I interpreted for Ryan Sands’ interview of Junji Ito for Netflix! (When I told my nibling about this event, she gaped and said, “Netflix knows who my aunt is?” So yes, I am officially the cool aunt now, thank you, Ryan and Netflix.) I started teaching translation at the University of Toronto! It’s been a weirdly wild year and a half locked up in my Toronto apartment. 

And oddly enough, this anniversary is not just random. This Year of Plague 2021 is in fact the actual tenth anniversary of me and my brain starting our eternal battle with books in a public fashion. Ten whole years of writing all my noodling thoughts about the things I read, a decade of building a curious community of fellow book nerds. Way back in that faraway land of 2011, I just wanted to talk about all the books I was reading. But it was hard because none of my friends were reading those same books. And they were getting sick of me yammering on about all the stories I love and hate. So I decided to spare them and throw my thoughts out into the void of the internet. But then in the most pleasant of surprises, people actually read these thoughts of mine. And commented. And joined me on Twitter. And emailed me. And now I have this group of people who I’ve never met in person, but am oddly fond of through our shared love of books. So thank you for joining me on this bookish journey through the world! I’m so happy we could meet on the printed and virtual page. 

But what we’re all dying to know is what I read over this period of plague! It’s a lot! So let’s get to it!

Policing Black Lives: Robyn Maynard

Fluffy: Simone Lia 

Tender: Sofia Samatar

Inga no Sakana: Arai Niboshiko

Lilas to Senka no Kaze: Ueda Sayuri

This is How You Lose the Time War: Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

Harrow County—Countless Haints: Cullen Bunn & Tyler Crook

Rogue Protocol: Martha Wells

Moominpappa’s Memoirs: Tove Jansson, trans. Thomas Warburton

Deer Woman: Eds. Elizabeth Lapensée & Weshoyot Alvitre

Double V2–4: Noda Ayako

Fuyurei Brazil: Tsumura Kikuko

Dead Dead Demons Dededededestruction V7–11: Asano Inio

A Taste of Honey: Kai Ashante Wilson

Zenryaku Zenshin no Kimi: Torikai Akane

Kioku no Goho: Yoshino Sakumi

Exit Strategy: Martha Wells

The Unknown: Anna Sommer

Harrow the Ninth: Tamsyn Muir

Kimi ni Aetara Nante Iou: Nemu Yoko

1122 V7: Watanabe Peko

qtµt V1–5: Sayawaka & Fumi Fumiko

The Deep: Rivers Solomon

Manor Black V1: Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, Tyler Crook

EniDiva V1–3: Shirahama Kamome

Umma’s Table: Yeon-Sik Hong, trans. Janet Hong

Akogare: Kawakami Mieko

Be Gay Do Comics!: The Nib Anthology 

The Stand: Stephen King

Solutions and Other Problems: Allie Brosh

Natsu Monogatari: Kawakami Mieko

The World of Moominvalley: Philip Ardagh

Breasts and Eggs: Mieko Kawakami, trans. Sam Bett & David Boyd

sfsx V1: Tina Horn, Michael Dowling, Jen Hickman

Chugakusei Nikki V1–3: Kamoi Masane

Kashikokute Yuki Aru Kodomo: Yamamoto Miki

Romance Bofuiki V2: Torikai Akane

The Low, Low Woods: Carmen Maria Machado, Dani, Tamra Bonvillain

Tongari Boshi no Atelier V7–10: Shirahama Kamome

Nagi no Oitoma V7: Konari Misato

Hikari no Hako: Erizawa Seiko

Jigoku Brothers Nidaime: tacocasi

Undocumented—The Architecture of Migrant Detention: Tings Chak

Robots Vs Fairies: Eds. Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe

Uekaku Kami no Chi: Torizawa Akiko

Nineteen: Ancco, trans. Janet Hong

Saturn Return V3–5: Torikai Akane

The Odyssey: Homer, trans. Emily Wilson

Onna no Ko no Tame no Strip Gekijo Nyumon: Nao Korin

Skip: Molly Mendoza

A Wizard of Earthsea: Ursula K. Le Guin

Bright no Yuutsu: Takemiya Keiko

Paying the Land: Joe Sacco

Kawarimi: Murata Sayaka

Network Effect: Martha Wells

She Would Feel the Same: Emma Hunsinger

Totsukuni no Shojo V10: Nagabe

Sanju Mariko V12–16: Ozawa Yuki

A-ko-san no Koibito V7: Kondoh Akino

Outspace: Nuria Martinez

Night Market: Taipei Writer’s Group Anthology

Sayonara, Otokonoko V3: Shimura Takako

Critical Chips V2: Ed. Zainab Akhtar

Class X: Ito Hidemi

Rakuen no Karasu: Abe Chisato

Vision: Julia Gfrörer

The Case of the Missing Men: Kris Bertin & Alexander Forbes

Dracula, Motherf*cker!: Alex de Campi & Erica Henderson

Maids: Katie Skelly

Nireko Sketch V2–3: Kamoi Masane

Desperate Pleasures: M.S. Harkness

The Tombs of Atuan: Ursula K. Le Guin

Ossan’s Love Scenario Book: Tokuo Koji

Watashi no Otoko: Sakuraba Kazuichi

Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun V12–13: Tsubaki Izumi

The Last Unicorn: Peter S. Beagle

Revelation V1–6: Yamagishi Ryoko

Kowloon Generic Romance V2–5: Mayuzuki Jun

Deathless: Catherynne M. Valente

Mercy: Mirka Andolfo

Lala no Kekkon V3: Tamekou

Kaguyaden V5–7: Saito Chiho

Branch Line V1–2: Ikebe Aoi

Yume no Hashibashi V1–2: Sudo Yumi

LP Life Partner V2: Ozawa Yuki

Korekara wa Ikemen no Koto Dake Kangaete Ikiteiku: Takeuchi Sachiko

Invisible Kingdom V1–3: G. Willow Wilson & Christian Ward

Dive!!: Mori Eto

Underground: Haruki Murakami, trans. Alfred Birnbaum, Philip Gabriel

Uchi no Shisho wh Shippo ga Nai V3: TNSK

Queen of the Conquered: Kacen Callendar

Before You Go: Denise Schroeder 

Norse Gods: Johan Egerkrans, trans. Susan Beard

Jigoku no Girlfriend V1–3: Torikai Akane

Ijuin Hayato-shi no Fuon Naranu Nichijo V4: est em

The Life and Times of Butch Dykes: Eloisa Aquino

Shojo Manga no Uchu: Ed. Tosho no Ie 

Hearing Happiness: Jaipreet Virdi

Funukedomo Kanashimi no Ai o Misero: Motoya Yukiko

Blue in Green: Ram V, Anand RK, John Pearson

AV Joyu-chan V1: Mine Nayuka

Bedtime Eyes: Yamada Amy

New York de Kangaechu V3: Kondoh Akino

Sabishisugite Lezu Fuzoku ni Ikimashita Repo: Nagata Kabi

Hitori Kokan Nikki V1–2: Nagata Kabi

Meiso Senshi: Nagata Kabi

Shirokuma Café Today’s Special V2: Higa Aloha

Genjitsu Tohi Shiteitara Boroboro ni Natta Hanashi: Nagata Kabi

Hottai Shojo Kikan: Sudo Yumi

A Very Easy Death: Simone de Beauvoir, trans. Patrick O’Brian

Pharaoh no Haka V1–4: Takemiya Keiko

Amazoness Kiss V1–3: Ishitsuyo Natsuko

Monstress V5–6: Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

Girls Against God: Jenny Hval, trans. Marjam Idriss

30 to 40 no Aida da: Takinami Yukari

O Human Star V1–3: Blue Delliquanti

Kageki Shojo V10: Saiki Kumiko

Oukoku no Monogatari V3: Nakamura Asumiko

Hokkyoku Hyakkaten V1–2: Nishimura Tsuchika

Blinded by the Ice: Saico Ink

Eve no Musuko-tachi V1–2: Aoike Yasuko

Recollections of My Nonexistence: Rebecca Solnit

Chijo Lesson: Noa & Mine Nayuka

Karasu ni Hitoe wa Niawanai V5: Abe Chisato & Matsuzaki Natsumi

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground: Alicia Elliott

Nichijou—My Ordinary Life V1: Keiichi Arawi, trans. Jenny McKeon

Satoko and Nada V1: Yupechika, trans. Jenny McKeon

Bloom Into You V1: Nakatani Nio, trans. Jenny McKeon

Undead Unluck V1: Yoshifumi Tozuka, trans. David Evelyn

Menopause—A Comic Treatment: Ed. MK Czerwiec

The Legend of Zelda—Oracle of Seasons: Akira Himekawa, trans. John Werry

The Legend of Zelda—Oracle of Ages: Akira Himekawa, trans. John Werry 

The Legend of Zelda—Ocarina of Time V2: Akira Himekawa, trans. John Werry 

Stone Fruit: Lee Lai

Blank Canvas V1: Akiko Higashimura, trans. Jenny McKeon

The Legend Zelda—Phantom Hourglass: Akira Himekawa, trans. John Werry

Ii Ne! Hikari Genji-kun V4–5: est em

The Legend Zelda—The Minish Cap: Akira Himekawa, trans. John Werry

The Legend Zelda—Twilight Princess V1, 6–8: Akira Himekawa, trans. John Werry

What We See When We Read: Peter Mendelsund

Watashi ni Dekiru Subete Koto: Ikebe Aoi

How Do We Relationship? V1–3: Tamifull, trans. Abby Lehrke

Finder—Chase the Lady: Carla Speed McNeil

Osaka Kaidan: Tanabe Seia

The Pleasure of the Text: Sami Alwani

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season: Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty, et al

Kakko no Yumei V1–2: Tamekou

Onna Tomodachi: Saimon Fumi

Unconquerable Sun: Kate Elliott

Moonshot—The Indigenous Comics Collection V1–2: Ed. Hope Nicholson

Mabataki: Battan

Trots and Bonnie: Shary Flenniken

Miyako Bijin Yawa: Sudo Yumi

Hyoto no Kamen: Kurimoto Kaoru

Fugitive Telemetry: Martha Wells

Detransition,Baby: Torrey Peters

So You Want to Talk About Race: Ijeoma Oluo

The Golden Age V1: Roxanne Moneil & Cyril Pedrosa, trans. Montana Kane

Ichigo Monogatari: Oshima Yumiko

Black Box: Shiori Ito, trans. Allison Markin Powell

My Pretty Vampire: Katie Skelly 

Karasu Hyakka—Shirayuri no Sho: Abe Chisato

Firebreak: Nicole Kornher-Stace

Hiraesu wa Tabiji no Hate V1: Kamatani Yuhki

Black Sun: Rebecca Roanhorse

Marunouchi Maho Shojo Miracle Rina: Murata Sayaka

How to Be Happy: Eleanor Davis

Dokusho de Rikon o Kangaeta: Enjoe Toh & Tanabe Seia

Remote Control: Nnedi Okorafor

The Hunger: Alma Katsu

Cultish: Amanda Montell

The Shining: Stephen King

Saihate kara Toho 5-fun V1: Itoi Nozo

Kakeochi Girl V1: battan

Mikazuki: Mori Eto

On a Sunbeam: Tillie Walden

Yuria-sensei no Akai Ito V4–5: Irie Kiwa

Itsuka Midori no Hanatabi ni: Yoshino Sakumi

Runashi V1: Ishitsuyo Natsuko

Hito no Sex o Minagara Kangaeta: Tabuza Eiko

4 Comments

  1. Congrats!! Thank you so much for this great blog. I have rather obnoxiously commented on the titles I know, but I’ve learned about so many manga (some I’ve managed to find in French) through here… So thank you again, and thank you for your great translation work.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading my posts. And your comments haven’t been obnoxious! You have a depth of knowledge about those old shojo titles, and I’m glad you’re sharing it here. Here’s hoping I can introduce you to many more manga through this blog! (And thanks for the kind words about my translation work, too!)

  2. Great work! Your voracious reading habits reassure me that there ARE people out there reading books! Even when our reading habits diverge dramatically, it feels like watching a fellow soldier making the rounds, keeping the battlements in good repair. And your awards and accolades are a sweet, crackly meringue on top of the satisfaction you probably already feel with a job well done.

    Can’t wait to learn more from you next year! Happy new year.

    1. Thanks! I love your description of a fellow soldier making the rounds! I promise you we are not alone in our voracious reading. We’re a small army keeping the battlements in good repair.

      Happy new year to you, too!

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