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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HAPPY RELEASE DAY!! ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ is OUT NOW!!

 

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CONGRATULATIONS  to all the authors who provided the incredible stories for this collection! It was so much fun to collaborate with past Insignia Series contributors as well as many new international writers.

And SPECIAL THANKS to Toshiya Kamei, who translated about 15 of drabbles for this book. He’s an INSIGNIA STAR! 

JAPANESE FANASY DRABBLES ( Insignia Drabbles Vol.1.) 

This anthology includes 79 drabbles (100-word stories) inspired by Japanese folklore and yôkai tales, as well as original fantasy and science fiction pieces.

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All Contributors:

Amy Clare Fontaine – A.S. Charly – Bayveen O’Connell – Beth W. Patterson
Carmen Indalecio – Charles Reis – Charles Venable – Christine Richmond – D.J. Tyrer
Eisuke Aikawa – Emma K. Leadley – Heather Ewings – Jacek Wilkos – J.M. Wong
Joel R. Hunt – John H. Dromey – Joyce Chng – Juan Takai – K.B. Elijah
Kelly Matsuura – Kimberly Rei – Kyosuke Higuchi – Malena Salazar Maciá
Massimo Soumaré – Mina Ikemoto – Monica Schultz – N.M. Brown – Natsumi Tanaka
Rich Rurshell – Russell Hemmell – Sheenah Freitas – S.J. Fujimoto – Stephen Christie
Steve Stred – ToJo – Toshiya Kamei (Translator) – Vonnie Winslow Crist – Zoey Xolton

*A full list of contributors with their author links is on the JFD Book Page.
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AVAILABLE NOW!!!

|Amazon US | Amazon AUS | Amazon UK | Amazon JP |

| Apple iBooks | Rakuten Kobo |

UNIVERSAL LINK: books2read/insigniadrabbles1

*More store links will be added to the main book page when available

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Missed out submitting to JFD? No worries, we have new calls opening soon! 

Southeast Asian Fantasy Drabbles (Insignia Drabbles Vol.2.) opens May 1st! See the Submissions Page for details.

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Pre-order ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’!

The Kindle pre-order link for ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ is now live! 

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Releasing on April 16th, this anthology features 80 drabbles (100-word stories) inspired by Japanese folklore and yokai tales, as well as original fantasy and science fiction pieces.

CONTRIBUTORS:
Amy Clare Fontaine – A.S. Charly – Bayveen O’Connell – Beth W. Patterson
Carmen Indalecio – Charles Reis – Charles Venable – Christine Richmond – D.J. Tyrer
Eisuke Aikawa – Emma K. Leadley – Heather Ewings – Jacek Wilkos – J.M. Wong
Joel R. Hunt – John H. Dromey – Joyce Chng – Juan Takai – K.B. Elijah
Kelly Matsuura – Kimberly Rei – Kyosuke Higuchi – Malena Salazar Maciá
Massimo Soumaré – Mina Ikemoto – Monica Schultz – N.M. Brown – Natsumi Tanaka
Rich Rurshell – Russell Hemmell – Sheenah Freitas – S.J. Fujimoto – Stephen Christie
Steve Stred – ToJo – Toshiya Kamei (Translator) – Vonnie Winslow Crist – Zoey Xolton
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Order ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ now for just US.99c!

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INSTINCTS #5: ‘Setsubun’ by Kelly Matsuura

Hello everyone, hope you’re all having a good month so far. Things are a bit tough in Japan at the moment with lots of corona virus cases here in Aichi (Nagoya) where I live. I’m an ESL teacher so all my classes are cancelled this month as a precaution–but the shops are all open, I have a good stock of toilet paper,  and I really can’t complain about all the bonus writing time, can I? 🙂

But, I just realised today that I’ve messed up my schedule for INSTINCTS. I wrote the following haiku series last November I think, but then forgot to post it in February when it was actually setsubun! Doh!

Setsubun is a Japanese festival celebrating the coming spring. People like to wear masks and/or throw dried beans at ‘demons’ to chase away evil spirits.

Anyway here we go–my attempt at ‘horror haiku’, with 3 linked pieces.

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SETSUBUN

Kelly Matsuura

Every Setsubun 
Real demons, stalking children
Hide behind craft masks

Demon out! Luck in! 
Roasted beans scatter the ground
Missing true evil

Spring comes imminently
Blossoms adorn the victims
Of demons’ delights

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About the author: 

Kelly Matsuura grew up in Victoria, Australia, but always dreamed she would live abroad. She has lived in northern China, Michigan USA, and over ten years in Nagoya, Japan, where she now lives permanently.

Kelly has published numerous short stories online; in group anthologies; and in several self-published anthologies. Her stories have been published by Ink & Locket Press, A Murder of Storytellers, Black Hare Press, Harbinger Press, and many more.
She majored in Asian Studies at university, and (sometimes) studies Japanese, Chinese and German. Her other hobbies include cooking, knitting, sewing, and traveling.

As the creator of The Insignia Series, Kelly aims to promote the quality and diversity of Asian speculative fiction/poetry by indie authors from around the world.
Kelly’s blog/website: www.blackwingsandwhitepaper.com
Facebook: Kelly Matsuura-Author
Twitter: Kelly Matsuura

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The Eagle owl (Bubo Bubo) and moon.

Would you like to contribute a poem? Check out our Submissions Page.
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*Photo of Japanese masks by Finan Akbar on Unsplash.com

Cover Reveal! ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ (Insignia Drabbles #1)

 

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m very excited to share the cover for our upcoming anthology: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles. It is the first planned release in the new Insignia Drabbles series. I haven’t decided the release date yet, but it will likely be mid-February.

For now, enjoy the cover!

~Kelly Matsuura~

 

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This anthology includes 80 drabbles (100-word stories) inspired by Japanese folklore and yōkai tales, as well as original fantasy and science fiction pieces. You’ll find wicked cats and dragons; ghosts and monsters; spaceships and time travelers; and much more. This collection has it all!

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Author Spotlight: HEATHER EWINGS

Next in our Author Spotlight series is one of Insignia’s original contributors, Heather Ewings!

Heather Jensen

Heather Ewings (whose story Kitsune was published in Insignia Vol. 1 under the name Heather Jensen) is an Australian author of speculative fiction. She has a MA in History, and a fascination with myth and folklore.

Aside from Insignia, Heather’s work has been published in Asymmetry Fiction, and Lite Lit One, and in 2018 her novella ‘What the Tide Brings’ was included as part of The People’s Library project, in Tasmania, Australia.

Heather studied the Japanese language throughout high school and university, and in Grade Ten visited the country in a whirlwind 12-day trip that took in everything from the temples of Kyoto to the ‘hells’ in Beppu, and so much in between.

You can find her online at heatherewings.com or on Facebook.

TWENTY QUESTIONS

  1. Author Name/s: Heather Ewings (have also written as Heather Jensen)
  2. Years active as a writer: 8
  3. What genre/s you write: mostly speculative fiction
  4. Favorite genre to write: fantasy
  5. Favorite length of story to write: novella, or flash fiction!!
  6. Your nationality: Australian
  7. Number of Asian countries visited: 1
  8. Favorite Asian country (visited): Japan
  9. Favorite place in Asia (visited): I loved Beppu!
  10. Favorite Asian dish: oyakodon, or maybe sukiyaki, or sushi,
  11. Favorite Asian movie (any genre): Love Letter
  12. Favorite Asian book (any genre): The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
  13. Best thing about being a writer: the freedom to write whenever and wherever
  14. Worst thing about being a writer: the nerves from pitching to publishers…
  15. Day writer or night writer: I much prefer the night.
  16. Drink and snack of choice (while writing): chocolate, and water
  17. Number of short stories/poems submitted each month (av): 4
  18. I dream to be published with/in (publisher/publication): Tricky! Daily Science Fiction, and Flash Fiction Online are a few at the top of my list.
  19. Most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): Facebook, though I’m not very active there are the moment.
  20. Currently working on: A sort-of urban fantasy novella

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COMING SOON:

Heather has a story in the upcoming anthology, Fire and Brimstone: A Demonic Compendium of the Wicked, Fallen and Accursed from Specul8 Publishing.

Pre-order information is here

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Heather’s stories included in The Insignia Series Anthologies:

‘Kitsune’ (Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories)

TBA title/s in Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Drabbles (Coming 2020)

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Interested in publishing with us? We are now open for poetry submissions to a new online series, Insignia: Instincts. See full details on the Submissions (Poetry) Page.

We’ll also have an open anthology call for  Japanese Fantasy Drabbles here!

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October News & Updates

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!

I work as an English teacher (part-time) here in Japan, so have been busy these past two weeks with Halloween lessons on weekdays, and parties on the weekend. In fact, I still have another party to attend THIS Saturday….that’s more than enough Halloween for me!

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UPDATE: ‘Japanese Fantasy Drabbles’ Submissions

As of this evening, we have accepted 41 drabbles for this anthology. I’m quite happy with the variety of themes too: yokai is of course the most popular, but there are also some good dragon and ninja stories, and a growing number of scifi pieces as well. (More, please!)

We’ve had a few Japanese authors submit stories, which is awesome! And Toshiya Kamei has been very busy translating for a few new, international contributors also.

The call is open until November 30, each author is allowed 3 accepted drabbles, so why not have a go? Even if you are doing NaNoWriMo this November, a quick drabble or 2 could be a good break or even a prompt for a bigger story!

As I said, we have 41 accepted stories, and I would like to close on the deadline with 80-100 drabbles. Any help to spread the word about this call would be much appreciated.

Our submission guidelines and further details on the theme etc can be found on the Submissions Page. Please check the guidelines carefully before submitting. I haven’t rejected anyone for missing a step, but it helps me a lot when I receive everything I need in the first email.

Good luck with your drabbles (and NaNoWriMo if you are participating)!

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‘INSTINCTS’ Poetry Series

We are also still open for our online poetry series, Instincts. So far, 1 poem has been published this month (see here), and I have a 2nd to be published in mid-November. Submissions have unfortunately been slow, with several being rejected because they don’t have any fantasy/speculative elements. Poems MUST have both Asian and speculative elements for this call.

Full details can be found here

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Want to check out previous Insignia Series anthologies? We have 7 volumes, ebook only, available from most retailers, and all for US$.99c!!!

See all our books here

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Photo credit: David Menidrey on Unsplash

INSIGNIA Anthologies are FREE at Smashwords!!

Hi everyone, welcome to July!

What’s the best thing about July every year? The SMASHWORDS SUMMER SALE of course!

I’m into it this year, and putting the Insignia Series anthologies – all seven – on FREE promo all month long !!!

It’s a great chance to fill out your collection, or recommend the series to a friend. If you’re already a fan of the series, please help spread the word. 🙂

FREE at SMASHWORDS!!

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LINK TO THE INSIGNIA SERIES BOOKS ON SMASHWORDS

*Enter the coupon code (under the regular price listing) to claim your free download*

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INSIGNIA SERIES Kindle Sale: June 13-16!

Hi everyone,

I think it’s time for a sale! From June 13-16, getting any anthology in The Insignia Series for just US$1.99!

 

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*Sale price will be available for all books on all Amazon sites

Amazon USA link (to series list)

Amazon UK link (to series list)

All Amazon links to ‘Insignia: Asian Flash Fiction & Poetry’

| Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA |

| Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon ES |

| Amazon IT | Amazon NL | Amazon JP | Amazon BR |

| Amazon MX | Amazon IN |

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View The Insignia Series on Goodreads

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Our latest anthology, ‘Insignia: Asian Flash Fiction & Poetry’ was just released on June 6th. If you would like to view the list of stories and contributors, and find more purchase options, please go to the Insignia Vol.7. page on this site.

Have a great week/weekend!

~Kelly~