I was doing a bit of research on the town much of my book takes place in and every time I look for info on it, I’m overcome by the desire to actually travel there.
It’s easy to see why the town of Kakunodate has captured my imagination. I have such a clear picture in my head of what it would have been like for my MC to come there, a small village then, after living in busy Tokyo her entire life. It would have been like stepping back in time, to a place of living history, much like it would be now more than a hundred years after my book is set.
I long to go there and do research and take my own pictures. Alas, traveling to Japan from Ohio is not exactly cheap.
Maybe someday. For now, I’ll be content looking at my array of online pictures.
I’m much feeling much better from the movie fiasco of Friday night. I realized that it wasn’t my fault, as I was unable to find much (if any) indication of the graphic nature of the movie online (I knew of the violence factor but definitely did not expect the explicit sexuality in the movie). It’s done and in the past; lesson’s been learned, hopefully.
Anyway, random transition time. I got to see my parents and sister on Saturday. They came down just for the day. It went by too quick, as it always does. I wish we weren’t three hours apart, but it could be much more, so I’m blessed that they are within a drive at least.
Phil is going on a business trip from Wednesday through Saturday; his flight is scheduled back around noon on Saturday. He’s heading out to Virginia. I can’t help by find myself a little envious with his job sending him on trips. The last trip he went on was back in November for nearly two weeks to Seattle. I’ve always wanted to travel; alas, being a real estate secretary does not offer much in that aspect (except to drive to meetings occassionally…). I keep wanting to save money for travel, to anywhere really, but that never happens. Oh well…
Argh. My silly work phone is acting buggy. I can’t access the voicemail and I have like 20 messages from over the weekend. I already alerted someone but I’ve gotten no response. Talk about frustrating.
Well that’s about it for this random entry.
I’ve discovered very early on that it’s incredibly challenging researching for a novel that takes place in a culture and in a place completely different from your own.
Since my book in set in Japan in the mid-Meiji era (1890), it’s posing to be a challenge. For one, as an American and “westerner” I’m not experienced in the Eastern culture, so I really have to immerse myself in books, videos and other sorts of research to put myself there and not make any major cultural gaffes.
And then there’s the language barrier…I don’t exactly speak Japanese (although I’m hoping to learn at some point). I know a few words and phrases; I know how people are addressed (-san, -chan, -sama, etc.). Still it’s difficult creating what I would think is semi-accurate dialogue.
And of course, it’s really hard setting my book in a real town that’s basically remained unchanged since that time and can only rely on pictures online and descriptions of it to put it in my book. Unfortunately, with limited income, I can’t really afford a two-week trip to Northern Japan to do the really great research I’m dying to do.
Oh and I can’t forget the whole aspect of involving the yakuza in my book. Finding detailed information on this has been frustrating at best. I’m thinking it has something to do with the fact that it’s still a bit of a taboo talking about this vast and incredibly complex “underworld.” I have found a few books and some information on the Web out there but not enough detail for the time period I’m needing. Most of the information comes from part of the Taisho period (1912-1926) and then a great deal during the Showa period (1926-1989). Mine takes place in 1890…I know it existed then–they’ve been around since the Edo period. And I also know it probably vaguely resembled the modern yakuza. All I can ever find for my time period is a page or two at most of info…
I’m not giving up though. I just have to find another way to go about it. And I will not sacrifice historical and cultural accuracy–books like that make me extremely annoyed as a reader; I do not want to put my readers in the same boat.
I suppose this is part of the fun of being an aspiring novelist!