How To Be A Real Writer (Novelist) In Japan?

Unlike to the other states, it is winning prizes with authority that you need to to be a real writer in Japan. Of course you can be an essay writer if you are famous in some territories or genres. However, it seems necessary for you to win an important literature prize in Japan if you really want to be a fictional writer.

There are several important literature prizes. The most famous ones are “Akutagawa Prize” and “Naoki Prize”. Former prize is thought to be the most important literature prize for pure literature, and the latter is for entertainment literature in Japan. These are the most important prizes so that you could be immediately become famous when you win the prize.

As for the Akutagawa Prize, you can receive a special watch and 1,000,000 yen as an option. Once you win the prize, everyone would call you as Akutagawa Prize winning author or like that. I’m fond of reading the prize laureate fictions, but I have no idea how can you get the prize. The winners are people from very young to very old. When you really get the literature and describe with a solid fictional world, maybe you would receive the prize.

It’s one of my foolish dream though. I hope someday I can win it.

Big Mac calls me

“Big Mac Set” in Japan

Never forget the time when I knew the word “Big Mac” for the first time in my life. I was 9 or 10 years old at that time. The city where I lived was the whole world, and everyday was full of new things and findings. My grandparents were so fine that they even hang me out together. My grandma often scolded me with tiny things (wearing T shirts in a cold day made her mad), but the sizes she cooked was my favorite forever.

The day when I know Big Mac was the day when I went to see a movie with my friend. The name of the movie is gone, but exact that time, he introduced me a story about NBA players. He was so fond of Disney, NBA or such American cultures. So, he said to me, “Have you eaten Big Mac already? NBA players often goes to McDonald’s after their games and try to eat Big Mac with team members. Since I knew it, I’m a huge fan of Big Mac. So, have you tried already?” He asked. I was so naïve then, I had eaten just plain hamburger or double cheeseburger. Then I though, alright, let me try it.

From that day, my life has changed. Big Mac was so delicious that perhaps I have been eating about 400 Big Macs before. I even eat it in the US, UK, South Korea, and Singapore. The truth is that you can enjoy the same taste wherever you are. That is Big Mac aka global Big Mac. I’m still falling love with Big Mac. No matter how you experience stressed out feeling, just take a bite at it, and you can only concentrate on Big Mac. Then, problem solved. Just drink a coke and all you can think of is when you would eat French fries next.

A Perfect Timing for Reading Books in My Busy Daily Life

There are so many books to read in my house

Reading books. When you hear this phrase, what would be your reaction? Actually, my reaction was differ from when I was a teenager. I thought reading books or new paper and watching NHK (Japanese kind of BBC) are worst boring thing in my life at that time, and I simply couldn’t believe why adults are enough to be bare with such super boring look things. For instance, each letters in both books and newspapers are shockingly small for me at that time, and any TV program of NHK looked so serious that I unconsciously thought the personalities were AI robots (AI could do better, actually. Then I thought).

Time passes, and people can really change. One of the great meaning of education is sometimes described as this “changing”. Now I really owe my professors who have taught me because thanks to them, I changed so much, and now I can’t imagine the life without reading books (but watching NHK still…) . In my opinion, the first ten books you try to read will the hardest experience in your book life. The way to finish your book seems climbing Mt. Fuji or Everest. But somehow, you bare with reading, reading and reading. At last, when you finish reading 10th or 9th books, you would realize, “I had totally misunderstood about what reading books is!”.

A philosopher once said, “Ultimately, reading books means reading yourself”. And I totally agree with it. By improving your reading skill, your skill to live with clear thoughts or meaning would improve too. You can get words that can describe or explain your confused imagery of your mind. Everyone must be translator in terms of translating your own heart into your mother language. So, yeah, reading books is great. And this is thought to be one of the best my life changing event so far.

Since I was a university student (my major was English Literature), I read a lot from the time (actually not that much though…). However, after becoming a high school teacher, I couldn’t easily find the time to read, and had been frustrated about that. But now I became 29 and I could get the pace of work, the frequency of rearranging my room has much decreased for now. And I could finally find the best timing for reading books in my daily life.

First is after a supper. You feel full stomach and feel dull to wash the dishes, than I put them in the kitchen sink, and put some water in the dish. Then, you can start reading books with satisfaction. Sometimes it lasts for 30 minutes to read, or 2 hours to read.

Second is while talking bath. Soaking half of the body in warm water, and reading with drowsy feelings. My ideal time is for 20 to 30 minutes because you would feel really dizzy at that time.

Third is just before sleeping. With a warm light of your bedside lamp, you can read any books and that would definitely makes you fall asleep within 15 min.

However, sometimes you find yourself so tired in a weekdays and maybe you would have many schedules to do for weekdays. So, for such people like me, the true best timing for reading is Saturday and Sunday. Cancel any schedules and let’s read for all day. You could read 3 books if you really love to read in a day. For somebody, only Saturday and Sunday seems a bit sad and not enough. But, man, the desire for reading would rather decreased if you are free everyday, I think for myself.

Anyway, thank you for reading as usual, and have a great reading life.

Let’s Re-evaluate Useless things

From which era or which time, there seems to be a kind of a stronger trend which evaluate “simpler” way of designs. The trend must be symbolized by iPhone culture, or even Apple product cultures. Simpler is better. Many buttons are excluded from your phone and we are now getting used to this buttonless screen on your smartphone. We could say that we have deleted so many useless things.

However, just making something simpler is that good thing? That’s what I’m thinking about right now. By deleting useless feature, haven’t we deleted or excluded something which must be prioritized or taken cared? A kind of answer was hit upon when I saw a Japanese documentary TV show in this afternoon. The TV show is called “72 hours”, which is not like action drama of “24”. The television crew shoot a documentary in a specific place or location for 72 hours, interviewing with people they met, and we can see many insightful comments or interesting attitudes from such real people in a real world.

I am a fan of this program. Every locations (like a convenience store in a big hospital, a bar in a very country side or air port in the end of March) looks like places where everyone’s life would be accepted. And you can realize every single one has their own deep story in their lives. Therefore, there are many fans of this TV show in Japan.

Anyway, the latest one was set in a wired museum where the owner collects old and wired things from closed museum or facilities. So, visitors can enjoy looking at very strange displays.

https://www.nhk.jp/p/72hours/ts/W3W8WRN8M3/episode/te/GP5YYMZN9X/

A female just staring a strange object and answering the crew’s interview. And the comment was very inspiring to me. She said like this. “Here, you can see many useless thing that once needed or thought to be cool or cute in 30 or 50 years ago, but now it is totally useless and thrown away. Everyone seems to like simple things but I personally don’t. I love such kind of gorgeous useless things.” or like that.

Then I thought about what we have lost with the trend of simple. We are throwing away more meaningless and useless things and we are feeling like we became more sophisticated, but actually, aren’t we also throwing away our creativity or interesting feature of us as a human being? Don’t you get more stressed out due to the meaningless or useless actions or events? I would rather think, we can love such meaninglessness or uselessness more, then, we can live better world where people are less stress out because they know how to deal with meaninglessness of our lives.

Maybe we can do more meaningless and useless things in this world. Everything should not be like apple products, but more chaos.

Book Review: Counterattack of the Thirty by Sohn Won-pyung

What an impressive design.

Just finished reading of “Counterattack of Thirty (Original title: 서른의 반격, 2017)” by Sohn Won-pyung. Walking in a bookstore and this cover illustration captured my eyes suddenly. What an impressive design. The title was actually much more intriguing. I skimmed through the book at once and I found out that the “thirty” means age of 30. In the novel, Ji-hye the protagonist of the novel is around 30, and living unsatisfied ordinary days as an irregular employees. She tries to get a regular job at a decent, stable company in her favorite job territory, but the reality was a bit hard. Then, she somehow worked in the company, but one day there comes a mysterious irregular coworker, Gyu-ok, and he propose an interesting suggestion to her; counterattack against their unfair society. Although these revenge are really tiny prank thing, but they can gradually make a small crack in their unfair daily environment.

The story line would sound familiar to you, but the story is not that simple. The atmosphere of the book seems much like cloudy, and actually, you would finish reading with the same atmosphere of cloudy. However, thanks to the story, we can think the cloudy atmosphere as more positive one when you close your book.

This books tells you the beauty of counterattacks. Due to a development of SNS or ultimate capitalism society, we can easily feel depressed or unpleasant when you look at your tiny smartphone window. You are forced to compare almost everyday, and everyone seems to be angry with a tiny bullshit stuff. People must be extremely busy or boored. We are becoming or more scary for doing a different thing and get criticized.

However, one of the lessons the book told me, it is counterattack that your life really begins. Even though, it is a very small revenge or counterattack, very small objection, that would make a very small but important change in this world. There is a line I love .

Just say “it’s wrong” when you see something goes wrong. At least it can lead the better world.

Counterattack of Thirty (Self Translation)

Now I’m feeling I can totally agree with the idea. Without our objection, everyone tries to make you somebody else. Therefore, why don’t we resist, oppose against unreasonable reality. We are all deserve to oppose something when we are around 30. I’m becoming 29 in this year, and it is my real pleasure that I could read this book at this age.

A Night with Yutampo

Since living in Hokkaido, the next season is coming much faster than any other Japanese places. Winter has just arrived by snow falling in the last week unlike to the other mainland prefectures experiencing the best of fall season. A bit of snow falling is a very familiar seasonal phenomenon with us in November. But the scene I just witnessed after opening curtain in my house last week was a bit surprising. It was like somebody turned on the switch of winter yesternight.

What the hell???!

Anyway, thanks to this message from the sky, we finally made sense that we are in winter now. And that means a lot of people will suffer from getting cold, especially me. Changing season means we have to get used to the new environment as soon as we can. And I am terrible at this kind of transformation. I’d like to keep wearing T shirt and shorts in my room. You need to turn on a heater as long as you stay inside the house, and the room is getting dry, and you find your throat completely like a desert in the morning. Then, you realize soon you will get cold.

That’s why I got a slight cold in the last week. Under this COVID circumstances, we are asked to get rest if you had a fever or dullness. We are totally right and agree. However, there are still tons of Japanese who still don’t want to take a day off to get rest because you would think you are lost (I don’t know what we lose against though). But anyway, I took rest as much as I could, and now I’m almost recovered.

This annual cold seems a kind of ceremony like a snake shed its skin. Now I think it is an inevitable action to live healthily. Sleeping a lot and spending lazy days, my body and mind seemed to have refreshed. Getting a cold doesn’t always mean bad, I sometimes thought.

Anyway, I set Yutampo inside of my blanket. This maybe a Japanese unique traditional culture though (not that popular these days), you put a kind of hot water bottle inside your blanket to keep the bed warm through the night. And you can wash your face with the slight warm water that was filled in the bottle. That’s the beauty of this Yutampo. Further info of Yutampo is here. https://allabout-japan.com/en/article/6244/

Have a great Yutampo night.

You could buy this even in the Japanese supermarket. It’s too hot to use it bare, so usually we wrap with or put in a towel bag.