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~

~~~

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:

IMG_6703

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/

~~~

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.

~~~

Japanese Fantasy Drabbles is out now! 

JFD-COVER-2020-JPG

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).

~~~

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

Details on the Submissions Page. 

~~~

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

 

Excerpt: ‘The Star Ball’ by Amy Fontaine

 

The second story I’d like to share tonight from Insignia: Asian Birds & Beasts is by a new contributor, Amy Fontaine.

Amy’s story is a fun adventure about a Japanese boy who meets a mischievous kitsune (fox-shifter).

INSSIX-1500x2200-JPG

‘The Star Ball’ by Amy Fontaine

Excerpt:

Koki’s mother had been tired when she came home from work earlier tonight. Tired, and distracted. After feeding Koki, she had slouched off to bed and forgotten to lock the inside lock on the back door. Koki noticed. Koki notices things.

Now Koki puts on his slippers, slips on a jacket over his pajamas, and tiptoes out of his room and down the stairs. He opens the back door of his apartment and sneaks off into the night.

The apartment is in a very modest neighborhood in the Northern Higashiyama area of Kyoto, but only a few blocks away is a beautiful park. A cobbled path lined with cherry trees and paper lanterns leads through lush ornamental plants to a red, arched bridge across a stream. The bridge leads to a tea house and a pagoda that stands beside it. During the day, Koki loves to come to this park with his mother, but he has never been here at night.

Koki starts crawling under bushes, turning over rock after rock and catching beetle after beetle. He squeals, a sound that seems more fitting of a five-year-old or a puppy than a ten-year-old. As he crawls under the last bush on the left before the red bridge, Koki’s eyes are suddenly met by a bright, piercing white-gold light. Koki yelps and scrambles backwards out of the bush, hearing a corresponding yelp of surprise and terror as he does so. When his vision clears, he sees a four-tailed golden fox standing before him, growling. Beetle legs hang from her mouth.

“What are you doing here, little runt?” hisses the fox, in a voice that isn’t quite real. “This is my territory, and these are my beetles! You have no right to hunt here, human!”

Koki bows to the fox. “I am sorry, honorable fox.”

The vixen bursts into peals of laughter that sound like tinkling bells.

“Honorable?” the fox scoffs. “You know nothing of kitsune, do you?”

In response, Koki begins to recite the natural history of the red fox. He sounds like an encyclopedia. The fox growls and shakes her head.

“You believe everything they tell you in science books, don’t you? Foolish boy. The things those books have told you to be false are the ones that are most important.”

~~~

Author Photo(2)

Amy Fontaine is a wildlife biologist who writes wild speculative fiction and poetry. Her first novel, Mist, is a young adult fantasy about shapeshifters, elemental magic, and being the change you wish to see in the world. She is currently writing an interactive novel inspired by Japanese kitsune folklore for Choice of Games. You can find her published work at https://amyfontaine.wordpress.com.

~~~

AVAILABLE FROM:

| Smashwords | B & N | kobo |

| 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 |

 ~~~

Add on Goodreads

~~~

BOTW: ‘The Tree of Life’ Lisa M. Collins

Today’s Book of the Week is a Japanese short story by Lisa M. Collins.

The Tree of Life by Lisa M. Collins

516Gl3F4tfL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Blurb:

The starfaring Ryukyuan clans have lived under a single guiding philosophy for nine millennia. Will one tragic mistake, one secret, destroy them?

*16 pages*

| Amazon US | Goodreads |

~~~

Excerpt: ‘Megumi’s Quest’ by Joyce Chng

InsigniaVol1-Cover-7A

Joyce Chng’s story, Megumi’s Quest is the second story in Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories. I met Joyce through Visibility Fiction and really love her edgy, Asian, urban-fantasy short stories. She’s a great YA writer and I’m thrilled to have her work in this anthology 😀

Here’s the opening scene:

Megumi’s Quest

Megumi heaved herself up the cliff, her fingers raw and tender from gripping the sharp-edged nooks and crevices. Her thighs felt as if they were on fire. Beside her, the wolf, Tetsu, tackled the ledges with surefootedness, his tongue lolling out of his mouth as he panted.

Once over this cliff, we will be done with the challenge, she told herself.

She pushed up, up, up, and finally reached the top, panting. At least, her spiritual body was far healthier and agile than her physical body, connected via a tenuous silver cord. Megumi glanced at Tetsu who joined her, his tail wagging slowly. His ears flicked upright, twitching at the slightest of sounds.

We find the eggs now, the white-blue wolf said in her mind.

“Yes, the eggs that bred the monster.” Megumi placed her hand on Tetsu’s plush, soft fur. “Let’s go. Time is running out.”

Already the lumps on her body were spreading. She looked at them with disgust and focused wholly on her journey.

~*~

 Singaporean, but with a global outlook, Joyce Chng write science fiction and fantasy, YA and urban fantasy. Her fiction has appeared in the Apex Book of World SF II, We See A Different Frontier, Visibility Fiction, Crossed Genres and Bards & Sages, to name a few. Her urban fantasy novels are written under her pseudonym, J. Damask (which she will tell you are a play on her Chinese name). The Rider trilogy, a YA SF, will be published by Math Paper Press, an imprint of Books Actually, an independent bookstore in Singapore.

She can be contacted at A Wolf’s Tale: (http://awolfstale.wordpress.com)

Insignia: Japanese Fantasy Stories is now available from:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon JP

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

~*~

Add on Goodreads

~*~

Read More Excerpts

Restoration by Chris Ward

Towards the Light by Aislinn Batstone

The Bakeneko by Holly Kench

Sanctuary by Chris White

Moon Shadow by Kelly Matsuura

Kitsune by Heather Jensen