Author Spotlight: JUAN TAKAI (Translated by Toshiya Kamei)

 

Hi everyone, today’s Author Spotlight has been kindly translated by a wonderful supporter of our projects, Toshiya Kamei. He translated about 15 of the drabbles in our latest anthology (see below) and has introduced many new contributors to Insignia Stories. He’s a star!

Enjoy the interview,

~Kelly~

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We are pleased to introduce Juan Takai, who has contributed the following three pieces to Japanese Fantasy Drabbles: “The Inevitable End,” “One Day at Takamagahara,” and “Nuclear Life.”

Here’s his write-up on the anthology (in Japanese): https://hametuha.com/news/article/45306/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Juan Takai was born in 1994 in Saitama to a Japanese father and a Paraguayan mother. Since high school, he has engaged in anti-establishment, anti-censorship activism. A regular contributor to the literary magazine Hametuha, he published Konketsu terror and Tenran konketsu under the name Juan B. He is the author of Senzen fukei hatsugen taizen and Senzen hansen hatsugen taizen, which collect anti-emperor and anti-war sentiments of ordinary citizens in pre-war Japan. Most recently, he authored the YA fantasy chapbook Kinō no mura. He’s on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreatJuanism

TWENTY-FIVE QUESTIONS

1. Author Name/s: Juan Takai (a.k.a. Juan B.)
2. Years active as a writer: Approximately 8 years
3. What genre/s you write: My recurrent themes include miscegenation in Japan and politics. My favorite genres are science fiction and comedy
4. Favorite genre to write: Many of my recent short stories contain sci-fi elements.
5. Favorite length of story to write: I like short stories, up to 20,000 characters in Japanese.
6. Your nationality: Alas, Japanese . . .
7. Country you live in: Japan, in spite of it all.
8. Number of Asian countries visited: Only Japan, unless Tokyo Disneyland counts as another.
9. Favorite Asian country (visited): See my answer above.
10. Favorite places in Asia (visited): Shinjuku, Akihabara, Kawagoe, Morioka, and Ōizumi-machi (Gunma), among others.
11. Places you want to visit in Asia: China, the Korean Peninsula, India
12. Favorite Asian cuisine: Chinese
13. Favorite Asian dishes: Sushi, fried rice, grilled unagi
14. Favorite Asian movies (any genre): The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987), Akira (1988)
15. Favorite Asian authors (any genre): Among my favorite authors are Shūsaku Endō and Kenzaburō Ōe. My favorite mangakas include Takashi Nemoto and Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of Akira.
16. Favorite Asian celebrities: My heroes tend to be anarchists: Kenzo Okuzaki (1920-2005), Pak Yol (1902-1974), and Fumiko Kaneko (1903-1926).
17. Best thing about being a writer: Writers, especially minorities, gain the opportunity to create traces of our existence and thoughts that will live on in this world after we are gone.
18. Worst thing about being a writer: Inextricably related to the previous question, we increasingly tend to become involved in events and incidents that may not personally concern us.
19. Day writer or night writer: I prefer to write at night, even though it may cause inconvenience to many people, especially those living with me.
20. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): Who can resist the guilty pleasure of gobbling a bag of potato chips? Admittedly, I have a weakness for artery-clogging junk food. I struggle at times with my cravings for Funyuns, but, alas, it’s no longer available in Japan.
21. Number of short stories submitted each month (av): For now, I can handle only a few short pieces. After working on a pair of tomes totaling 1,200 pages in the last few years, I need to recharge my creative batteries.
22. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Publib and Tokyo Kirara are so great to work with. I’d also love to work with large publishers such as Iwanami, Kodansha, and, someday, Penguin Books. One can only hope . . .
23. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Twitter (@GreatJuanism)
24. Self-published, traditionally published, or both: I’ve had experience with both.
25. Currently working on: I’m juggling multiple works-in-progress. Here’s my small but growing portfolio, short stories translated by Toshiya Kamei:

“Desde un país sin gafas” (in Spanish):
https://www.nagarimagazine.com/desde-un-pais-sin-gafas-juan-takai-traduccion-de-toshiya-kamei/

“A Country with No Glasses”: https://acrossthemargin.com/a-country-with-no-glasses/

“Planet Ape”: https://acrossthemargin.com/planet-ape/

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ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR 

Toshiya Kamei holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas. His translations of Latin American literature include books by Claudia Apablaza, Liliana Blum, Carlos Bortoni, Selfa Chew, and Leticia Luna.

He has translated stories in Insignia: Asian Fiction & Poetry, Japanese Fantasy Drabbles, and the upcoming Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles.

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Japanese Fantasy Drabbles is out now! 

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Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bzo9kj

The cover is also in All Authors’ Monthly Cover Contest. We’d appreciate your vote! (Link goes to the voting page).

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Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles is open too. Get your drabbles in by June 15!

Details on the Submissions Page. 

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STAY SAFE…STAY HOME…READ ALL THE BOOKS!!!

 

Author Spotlight: EISUKE AIKAWA

 

It’s my honor to introduce Eisuke Aikawa, contributor to our newly-released anthology, Japanese Fantasy Drabbles.

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Born in Chiba in 1977, Eisuke Aikawa is a writer based in Fukuoka. He has published two collections of short stories, Hiking (2017) and Kumo wo hanareta tsuki (2018). His short fiction has appeared in venues such as Bungakukai, Hidden Authors, and Taberu no ga osoi. His most recent book is the novel Hannah no inai jugatsu wa (2020).

Twitter: @Aikawa_Eisuke

SHORT QUESTIONS

1. Author Name: Eisuke Aikawa
2. Years active as a writer: Approximately 14 years
3. What genre/s you write: Literary fiction, fantasy, mystery, and science fiction
4. Your nationality: Japanese
5. Country you live in: Japan
6. Favorite Asian country (visited): Thailand
7. Favorite place in Asia: Tokyo
8. Place (city or country) you most want to visit in Asia: Mongolian Plateau
9. Favorite Asian cuisine: Indonesian
10. Favorite Asian dish: Nasi goreng
11. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): 3 Idiots (Bollywood)
12. Best thing about being a writer: Writing is always fun.
13. Worst thing about being a writer: Writing is always hard.
14. Day writer or night writer: I write in the morning.
15. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): I don’t eat or drink while I’m writing.
16. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Twitter (@Aikawa_Eisuke)
17. Currently working on: Doing research for my future projects and promoting my new book Hannah no inai jugatsu wa.

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Stories Included in the Insignia Drabbles Anthologies:

‘Afternoon Chat’ and ‘Their Magic’, translated by Toshiya Kamei (Japanese Fantasy Drabbles, April 2020)

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Want to join the drabble fun? Our next call opens May 1st!

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Full details are on our Submissions Page.

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Author Spotlight: SHEENAH FREITAS

 

After a short break, our Author Spotlight Series is back! Meet one of our regular short story contributors, Sheenah Freitas. Sheenah also has micro pieces in our soon-to-be-released Japanese Fantasy Drabbles anthology!

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A geek at heart, Sheenah Freitas has a love for the whimsical and magical. She looks to animated Disney movies and Studio Ghibli films for inspiration because of the innovative twists on fairytales, strong story structures, and character studies. When not writing, you might find her in a forest where she’s yet to find any enchanted castles.

Sheenah works as a freelance book designer and works with both authors and publishers. Some of her clients have been The Sun, CoSchedule, and Dave Jesiolowski. You can learn more about her work as a book designer at papercranebooks.com.

Website: http://www.Sheenahfreitas.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/SheenahFreitas

Facebook: http://facebook.com/SheenahFreitasAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sheenahfreitas/

TWENTY-FIVE QUESTIONS 

1. Author Name/s: Sheenah Freitas
2. Years active as a writer: 6-ish? I took some time off, but I’ve been working in the publishing industry in some capacity for 10 years now.
3. What genre/s you write: I mostly write YA, speculative, and literary.
4. Favorite genre to write: Young adult
5. Favorite length of story to write: I like shorter works because of that instant gratification, but nothing beats the elated feeling of finishing a full-length novel.
6. Your nationality: American
7. Country you live in: USA
8. Number of Asian countries visited: 0
9. Favorite Asian country (visited): N/A
10. Favorite place in Asia (visited): N/A
11. Place (city or country) you most want to visit in Asia: South Korea
12. Favorite Asian cuisine: Korean
13. Favorite Asian dish: 갈비(Galbi) with a side of 김밥(Gimbap)
14. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): Spirited Away.
15. Favorite Asian book (any genre): When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (but The Joy Luck Club comes in at a very close second).
16. Favorite Asian celebrity: Lucy Liu
17. Best thing about being a writer: Creating these vast new worlds and experiencing things in other people’s shoes. I love that someone can just go in and escape their own world for even just a little bit because of something I wrote.
18. Worst thing about being a writer: The first draft and imposter syndrome.
19. Day writer or night writer: I do my best writing in the morning. Despite that, I find myself writing a lot during in the evenings.
20. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): In the colder months, I prefer hot beverages like citron tea and hot cocoa. In the warmer months, I’m usually sipping on a matcha latte or a chai latte.
21. Number of short stories/poems submitted each month (av): I don’t actively submit.
22. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Flash Fiction Online, The Sun, Fox Spirit Books, Cast of Wonders, and World Weaver Press.
23. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Facebook (groups, to be exact).
24. Self-published, traditionally published, or both: Self-published
25. Currently working on: The third novel in my trilogy and a fairytale retelling.

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Stories included in The Insignia Series Anthologies:
‘The Third Eye’ (Insignia: Southeast Asian Fantasy)
‘Untouchable’ (Insignia: Asian Fantasy Stories)

Stories Included in the Insignia Drabbles Anthologies:
‘The Water Child’, ‘And Keiko Went Missing’, and ‘The Time Kazuo Was Kidnapped by Aliens’ (Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles)

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COMING SOON!

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Check out the full list of contributors to our Japanese Fantasy Drabbles anthology here!

 

The Eagle owl (Bubo Bubo) and moon.

Also we are still looking to publish Asian fantasy/scifi poems once a month here on the blog. Reprints are welcome. Full details here on our Instincts Submissions  Page.

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