Random Anniversary 6: My Brain


These random anniversaries have a way of slapping me in the face with the extremely twisty road that is my life, and this anniversary is perhaps slappier than most. Over the course of this particular journal–a smart spring-green affair that was a gift from one of my favourite people–I went from running through the streets of London to buying extremely mislabelled “vegan” food in the night markets of Taipei to a narrow escape from a burgeoning plague in Tokyo to an actual pandemic in Toronto, where I have now been locked up in my apartment for the last three months using my sewing skills to craft masks for all my friends and family, only scurrying out for groceries and beer. It is honestly overwhelming to step back and take a real look at how life used to be and how it is now, especially because my science brain is only too well aware that the normalcy of the Before Times is probably never coming back.

And that’s a good thing in a lot of ways! The plague is certainly laying bare all the ways capitalism has failed us, and so many people suddenly have nothing to do but reassess the way we live in this world and discover the need to burn it all to the ground and rebuild a society that supports all of us, especially the most vulnerable among us, instead of a bunch of venture capitalists and tech bros and the general class of rich white people. Plus, we’re all expert handwashers now! And we have a new fashion possibility in the face mask. Continue reading “Random Anniversary 6: My Brain”

Bikacho Shinshi Kaikoroku: Moyoco Anno

Bikacho_Anno.jpgIt comes up every so often on the interwebs—or maybe only on Twitter which is where I spend most of my interwebs time—this idea of not starting a series until it’s finished because you want to read the whole thing at once. Or you worry that the publisher will drop it before it ends. And pretty much everyone involved in the making of series of books comes forward to say that this is the surest way to get a series cancelled. The terrible law of attrition means that sales of volume one are pretty much always the highest and it only goes downhill from there as some readers find they actually aren’t all that into the series or they move onto other books and forget about this one or they move to a shoebox apartment and can no longer buy books and keep them in their house the way they’d like to or they ran out of money and buying books is the last thing on their list. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for not continuing with a series, but anyone in the publishing industry will tell you that fear of the series ending prematurely is not one of them. When a reader doesn’t buy the first volumes in a series for this reason, they are basically signing the death certificate for the whole endeavour.

And as a person in the publishing industry, I am well aware of this fact! (I’m also well aware of the fact that pre-ordering a book is the best way to get it on shelves and boost sales in the crucial weeks after release, but I cannot be that together of a grown-up human being. To know what I will want to read in the future?! That is some kind of black magic and will probably end up with me roasting in the flames of hell.) But! I am also a deeply forgetful person. And the time between publication of between one volume and the next is basically enough for me to have forgotten the entire premise of the series. So reading books as they come out is basically an exercise in frustration and repetition. What is an absent-minded reader to do?? It’s simple, really. Just buy them all as they come out and then read them when the whole series is done. Continue reading “Bikacho Shinshi Kaikoroku: Moyoco Anno”

Sakuran: Moyoco Anno


Ugh, you guys. 2014 has been kicking me in the face, hence the lack of posting here. If I was thirty-three, I would totally be buying into the whole concept of Japanese yakudoshi, but fortunately for my skeptical self, my worst years have been wholly unconnected with my supposed yakudoshi. Even more fortunately, no matter how much the year tries to kick my teeth in, my brain and I still have books! So many books! So many books that it actually becomes a little intimidating and depressing, since clearly, I will never get to read them. Uh-oh, mortality.

But no matter how mortal I am (very) or how bad the year is (worse), I still have the wonderment of comics fun that is TCAF. Have I told you about TCAF? Have I perhaps mentioned it once or twice? No? Then you don’t know that I am the OFFICIAL INTERPRETER. (I really need to get cards with that stamped officiously below my name.) And this year I will be officially interpreting for none other than brain favourite est em. Exciting! But she is not the only Japanese guest! Moyoco Anno will also be in attendance. Even more exciting! 

And as is my way, I have been studying up, getting ready for all the Japanese adventures I’m sure to have. As I’ve demonstrated here, I am pretty up to date with est em’s entire catalogue (although book four of Golondrina is sitting on my shelf waiting for me), but my history with Moyoco Anno is a little patchier. So I decided to go back to the book I had read years ago, back when my Japanese was still a little baby Japanese, a book I have always regretted not hauling across the ocean with me when I returned to Canada after too many years in Japan: Sakuran. Continue reading “Sakuran: Moyoco Anno”

Chameleon Army: Moyoco Anno

So much of my time on my last trip to Japan was spent in bookstores. I think I was in a bookstore at least once a day, and usually not the same one twice. I tell myself that this is because reading books—Japanese books in particular—is my job, and so I have to spend all this time noodling around in aisles packed full of books. And this is true. But it’s also true that I love hanging out in bookstores, and that my friends also love hanging out in bookstores. It seemed only natural that we would do so together.

This time, it was me and my friend C. doing so together. Although it’s not usually something we talk about that much, we spent a lot of time discussing manga this go round. Maybe because she was being kind enough to let me pepper her with questions about the translation I was working on (Fallen Words, out this spring!), manga was on the table in a way that it usually wasn’t between us. So much so that nearly every outing together involved at least a brief stop at a bookseller so one of us could show the other that manga mentioned over dinner. Continue reading “Chameleon Army: Moyoco Anno”