Freaky Coincidence with Japan Earthquake
Let me confess, I’m a Japanophile. The culture, people, food, countryside, there’s not much I don’t like. I own over a hundred Japanese movies, have read most of their great 20th century authors, even tried learning the language but I’m not there yet.
I’ve found that the Japanese show a keen interest in how they are perceived in the west. I had some vague hope that I might get my novel translated into Japanese and market it as a western author influenced by Japanese literature; sort of a Japanese-Western hybrid.
My novel’s not about Japan, I’ll save that for another book, but there are earthquakes, three of them to be exact; the earthquakes that destroyed the Greek island of Kefalonia in 1953. Within hours of finishing the book – I can’t be sure how close – probably within three, a 9.0 earthquake hit Japan.
I started writing the novel back in March 2010, finished the first draft in July and went through edit after edit until I declared it finished on the evening of March 10, 2011 PST. I know this because I save each day’s work as a new file with the date included in the filename. The next morning, I uploaded the files to lulu.com and ordered ten printed copies. At some time between finishing the story on Thursday night and sending it for print on Friday morning, the Sendai earthquake happened.
I emailed some friends in Tokyo to check on their safety – yes, they were all OK. Normally I might have said “Guess what! I just finished a novel” but I couldn’t. Who, from Japan, would want to visit my web site and see Chapter 2 of the story is an account of a devastating earthquake.
One friend in particular has often recommended books to me. I’ll have to wait a while longer before mentioning mine.
Here’s a story from a few years back. I was in a hotel at Kyoto station; it was around 11:00pm. My colleague and I had just got back from a hectic day of customer visits. He turned in but I went to the hotel bar for a snack and a nightcap. The bar was almost empty; I sat at a table, ordered a bottle of wine and some hors d’oeuvres. Two Japanese men arrived and sat at a nearby table. One guy was in his sixties, the other, maybe forty; both had drunk a wee too much whisky. Somehow, we got into conversation and the older man introduced himself as Professor of Japanese literature at a Kyoto University – can’t remember which one. He was most surprised when I reeled off a bunch of classic Japanese novels that I’d read and we talked for a while. When he left, he hugged me. Here’s the cool part, when I came to pay my check, the waiter told me that the gentleman who’d just left had taken care of it. It was over a hundred bucks. I never did get his card to thank him.
I’ll close by wishing Japan a speedy recovery. If anyone can overcome adversity, the Japanese people can.