July 17, 2016

Good advice to the writers

Writers who are blessed with inborn talent can write easily, no matter what they do—or don’t do. Like water from a natural spring, the sentences just well up, and with little or no effort these writers can complete a work. Unfortunately, I don’t fall into that category. I have to pound away at a rock with a chisel and dig out a deep hole before I can locate the source of my creativity. Every time I begin a new novel, I have to dredge out another hole. But, as I’ve sustained this kind of life over many years, I’ve become quite efficient, both technically and physically, at opening those holes in the rock and locating new water veins. As soon as I notice one source drying up, I move on to another. If people who rely on a natural spring of talent suddenly find they’ve exhausted their source, they’re in trouble.

In other words, let’s face it: life is basically unfair. But, even in a situation that’s unfair, I think it’s possible to seek out a kind of fairness.

Haruki Murakami


July 15, 2016

Kazuo Sakamaki, waka

Kazuo Sakamaki was a naval officer of the Japanese Imperial Navy. 

Sakamaki-san wrote this waka while being in prisoner-of- war camp.
I came to know about him while doing research for my next story, in which I plan to explore the idea of being a Japanese vs. being simply a "human".

April 23, 2016

Pali Library, a novel

If you lived long enough, there would be one or two incidents that stick to your mind. I have one of those, something that happened when I was around 32 years old, and have meant to materialize it for so long in some form or another.

And finally, I decided to write a novel based on the incident, which eventually became a 360-page novel in Japanese. I guess the thing had been fermenting in my mind so long that it took about a month and a half to finish the manuscript. Was quite a smooth writing experience.

The story is about a small library and a pre-school that existed in the lot shown in the photo below. It is a story about people who were tossed around by the kind of forces an individual cannot fight against but resign to. Rather sad theme, but I tried to make it Hawaii-like by throwing in humorous aspects here and there.

April 4, 2016

Haiku Stairs, or Stairways to Heaven

I lived long on Oahu Island when I was young, but I never heard of this magnificent site called Haiku Stairs. I happened to see its video via a Facebook post. Had I known it, I definitely would have climbed the stairs. 

I like the another name of it, Stairways to Heaven, which inspired me to write a short story in Japanese. 
In the story, I made reference to John Lennon's song "Imagine", and discussed a little about the idea of causation and rebirth.

Lennon, at the height of his career, was gunned down in NY by a man from Hawaii.
The gunman is still serving time in prison, and his wife still stays by him.

Red-circled area is where the heaven is.

March 9, 2016

Book cover design

My latest design for Ban'ya Natsuishi's book cover.
The title of the book is "Sounding of Dream"

February 14, 2016

Haruki Murakami's house in Hawaii

I happened to come across the following webpage yesterday.


 Most of you readers of my blog probably know who Murakami is. As a living novelist, he has somehow managed to publish his books in many foreign countries, which other Japanese writers have failed to do. There are some, like Banana Yoshimoto and Natsuo Kirino, but not to the extent of Murakami books. The article on this webpage seems to show that extent.

Having read it, my impression is more on Yoko-san, Murakami’s wife, who hardly appears in the media. She seems to be a nice person.


The house Murakami lived in Honolulu between 2005 to 2014. 

Built in 1927, the house is the fusion of American Craftsman architectural style with local Hawaiian materials. It is registered as a historic place. I found about it and its location through "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form", and the photo is from Google street view.

On the upper left corner is a glimpse of the monkey pod tree in question. In the distance, you see a faint silhouette of the Diamond Head. A really nice location.

Looking at the Google map, I noticed that a public library, for which I designed a logo mark, was just a short walk from the house. One thing leads to the other. Interesting.

January 3, 2016

Island of Hawaii

Many years ago, when I was still a college student, I hitchhicked around the island of Hawaii, the biggest island among the Hawaiian Islands. I slept on the beach most nights, but one time I was in the mountain, in the middle of barren lava field. The sun was setting and the air becoming chilly to cold,  and there was no sign of human habitation. I ended up sleeping in a small lava pit, which was warm with the earth heat, and I was able to sleep through the night. 

As I was web-searching the island, I happened to find a small hotel called Manago Hotel. It looks old, retaining the feel of wooden buildings I used to see so many in my college days. It has a restaurant and frequented by the tourist as well as the locals. Further web-searching revealed that the nearby town called Kaelakekau is the birth place of Ellison Onizuka, an Japanese-American astronaut who died in the Space Shuttle desaster in 1986. 

These search results inspired something in me. I might come up with another story.