2009/4/29 水曜日

Mysterious Wisteria 足利フラワーパーク

Filed under: life in Japan,日本語 — admin @ 15:10:56

小さい時、Chinese Fairy Talesという本をもらいました。中国のおとぎ話が私にとって、西洋のおとぎ話よりずっと面白くて、不思議な場所、食べ物などが載っていました。そして、必ずと言っていいほどお姫様とwisteriaという名前の花がでてきました。どちらかといえば、お姫様よりも私はwisteriaに興味がありました。名前がmysteriousと似ているからでしょうか。どんな花かなとずっとおもっていました。

それから10年たったところで初めて日本にきました。そのうち、wisteriaが藤の花だとわかって、どんな花だかやっとわかりました。とても満足でした。何歳になっても、小さい時からの謎が解けると嬉しいですね。

今日からゴールデンウイークです。家族で藤の花の名所である足利フラワーパークに行ってきました。驚いたことに、ディズニーランド並に混んでいました!でも藤の花は見事でした。昔の大きな藤棚、最近植えた藤のアーチ、ほかの花もたくさんありました。歩き回っている間、自分はwisteriaに囲まれた姫様気分になって、また新たに満足しました。

wisteria flowers

wisteria in Ashikaga

crowds to see the flowers

2009/4/22 水曜日

How I Saved a Bank with a Little Help from the Cosmos

Filed under: — admin @ 9:06:02

Last fall I had the great good fortune to meet one of my authors, Mr. Tadahiko Ito who wrote Celestine Life and Spiritual Management, two Japanese books that I translated and edited into a single volume, How I Saved a Bank (with a Little Help from the Cosmos), to be published in Nov. 2009 by Kodansha International.

I found Mr. Ito exactly as I imagined him after reading his books; the sort of man you’d like to think of as running a bank–confident and in charge, and concerned about the people who counted on him.  As we talked, it was clear that the focus of his life was exactly as  he had described it in his books. He has a deep Christian faith and sense of his own mission here on Earth that is refreshing, especially considering the current focus of society on financial success and failure. In fact, Ito thinks of his bank as less about money and more about neighborhood activism. Read how he manages to keep his bank stable while doing all he can for the clients and employees who rely upon him.

The book is due out in November, and is available on amazon.co.jp for pre-order.

2009/4/21 火曜日

翻訳業、まだ安心です

Filed under: 日本語,翻訳業 — admin @ 10:08:03

今朝、インターネットの買い物サイトを調べたら、言語の選択ボタンに気づきました。日本語のサイトからリンクされた英語サイトなので、日本語がどんなものかなと思って、「日本語」をクリックしました。そしたら、Yahoo! Babel Fishの翻訳機能がでてきました。どうやら、翻訳をしたい英文をコピー、指定のボックスにペスト、そしてtranslateをクリックする順で日本語がでてきます。

このサイトで買い物をして、日本に品物を郵送した場合、問題があるかどうかの説明文を選びました。

Japan: Each order is limited to 24 items of the same brand. Otherwise, no problems in Japan.

翻訳の結果はどうなりましたか。

「日本:各順序は同じブランドの24の項目に限られる。さもなければ、日本の問題無し。」

いかがでしょうか。意味わかりますか。

たしかに「each order」は 「各順序」にできるが、この場合は「1回の注文」。24 items of the same brandは「 同じブランドの24の項目」よりも「同じブランドの24品」となるでしょう。Otherwise, no problem in Japanの「さもなければ、日本の問題なし」はなんとなくわかるが、お客さんに向けた言葉として適切ではないでしょう。

さて、私の下手な日本語でやってみましょう。

「日本:1回のご注文では同じブランドの製品を24個まで選べます。それ以外、制限はありません。」

2009/4/18 土曜日

Sleeping Dragon 龍は眠る

Filed under: English entries,,翻訳業 — admin @ 9:32:09

I have just got back the first edits  for Sleeping Dragon, the latest Miyuki Miyabe translation, due out by Kodansha International in fall 2009.

The editor this time is Elizabeth Floyd. Ms. Floyd also edited  Miyabe’s highly successful All She Was Worth  (translated by Alfred Birnbaum).

When doing a translation, it’s very difficult to completely detach from the Japanese to make the English smooth and readable. I’ve been fortunate with the people who have edited my translations so far, and it is a pleasure and a relief to be working with another good one.

2009/4/13 月曜日

Mills College  南向きの協力者の嬉しい流出

Filed under: 国際家族,学校,日本語 — admin @ 9:50:52

Mills College Front Gate

南向き翻訳事務所の一人の「協力者」が大学を卒業して、秋にはカリフォルニア州オークランド市所在のMills CollegeのGraduate Program in Public Policyに進学することになりました。アメリカによく知られた女子大学のMillsは美しい公園の中のキャンパスです。川もあって、原っぱもあって、建物も1つずつ個性的な作りでした。場所は広いが、生徒は1500人ぐらいと実はとてもこじんまりした学校です。勉強は厳しいと聞いていますが、こんな恵まれた環境で集中できるかちょっと不安です:)

2009/4/12 日曜日

群馬県立女子大  新学期スタート

Filed under: life in Japan,学校,日本語 — admin @ 19:56:33

長い春休みが終わりました。うちでは、卒業式、カリフォルニアへの里帰り、娘達のさらなら進路と色々ありましたが、やっと女子大に戻る時期になりました。

国際コミュニケーション学部

私が教えている国際コミュニケーション学部には素敵なお嬢さんがたくさんいます。先週の金曜日が初めての授業でした。久しぶりに会った生徒たちにハッグをいっぱいもらって、幸せな気分になりました。最近では若者について色々聞きますが、女子大の生徒こそは日本の将来です。エネルギーいっぱい、やる気いっぱい、好奇心いっぱい、ヒューモアいっぱい。いいでしょう?日本の宝物、世界の宝物、私の宝物!!

2009/4/7 火曜日

Call Me Okaasan by Suzanne Kamata

Filed under: English entries,life in Japan,,英語一般 — admin @ 9:25:03

Suzanne Kamata’s latest book is Call Me Okaasan, Adventures in Multicultural Mothering, published by Wyatte-MacKenzie Publishing and due out in May 2009. Having read her previous two books, Losing Kei, (Leapfrog Press 2008) and Love You to Pieces (also Leapfrog Press 2008), a collection of literary works on raising children with special needs, I was excited about delving into this one to find in it shared experiences and new inspiration.

Although located in Japan herself, Kamata managed to find a wide range of female writers located in Japan, Israel, Australia, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Iran, the Philippines, South Africa and Kyrgyzstan, among others. Some of the stories are about women in the US or Canada who are the product of international marriages, have an international marriage, were born and raised in another country, or who have children adopted from other countries.

About half of the stories–interestingly enough the first and last handfuls–were beautifully written, honed-down vignettes of multicultural mothering experience. They were what I was expecting and looking forward to; something simple and significant. The ones in the middle, however, were disconcertingly subjective and jumbled. At the beginning of each story in this group, the writer appeared to have a theme she meant to be writing about, but all the other details of her life got in the way by the second or third page, and at the end, the theme would be trotted out again. By then, though, I was exhausted by the other parts of her life I’d been privy to and ready to be on my way.

I wondered whether this could just be the part of my own life that I wanted to ignore and hoped to overcome. Multicultural mothering is messy and confusing! I wanted the stories to be summed up neatly and tied with a bow. I wanted to use them as a way to make sense of my own chaotic life, and instead I’d been presented with more of it on a platter. In the end, though, I believe short stories need to have a simple theme that is adhered to and expanded on. In that way, while the stories in Okaasan succeed in presenting an alarmingly accurate portrait of raising children in more than one culture, some of them lacked in literary quality.

Having said that, there were a good number of stories that I enjoyed for both content and style. Leza Lowitz in “Like the Lotus,” “Eleven Snapshots for Your Baby Book, Reconstructed in Blues” by Susannah Pabot, and “A Hundred Years at Fifteen” by Xujun Eberlein each eloquently tells the story of several generations of family, leading up to the youngest. A topic of personal interest that ran through many of the others—language—is arguably the biggest point of potential guilt and regret for parenting in a multicultural situation. The mothers here have struggled with whether to raise their children in two languages, give up the effort, or resist the temptation to do so in the first place. “Two Names for Every Beautiful Thing” by Violeta Garcia-Mendoza, “I Am Mutti” by Corey Heller, “Promises to Myself” by Devorah Lifshutz, and “So Are You American or Malaysian?” by Juli Herman all wrote about this dilemma and, much to my relief, came up with various results and conclusions, all of which were presented coherently and convincingly.

As the stories show, parenting over cultural borderlines rarely makes for a neat narrative or happily-ever-after ending. But in the abject wish for such, I choose in a totally subjective manner, my favorite character from the stories. The award goes to Connor, in “Some Olympic Wisdom for My Home Team,” by Rose Kent. Born in Korea and adopted into a family with Irish, Korean, Black and American Indian background, Connor embodies the joy and ability to embrace life and his own diversity in a way that is perhaps our most fervent hope for our multicultural children. While watching the Beijing Olympics, the thirteen-year-old exuberantly manages to find a connection between himself, real or imagined, and almost every gold medal winner. “Check this out, Mom!” he calls out “One of ours is catching up!”


2009/4/6 月曜日

Reviving My Blog–5 Months Later

Filed under: English entries,life in Japan,国際家族,,翻訳業 — admin @ 12:00:57

I had originally wanted to start a blog as a space to make notes and observations of my life here in Japan as well as my work as a translator. At some point last fall, though, both my life and my work got away from me. By the time March and the end of the fiscal year rolled around, I had translated three books from Japanese to English, supervised and assisted in getting several books translated from English to Japanese (opening up a brand new field of operations!) and been (much too deeply) involved in getting my offspring accepted to graduate school in the US. There is so much to say about that last one, but I won’t get started here. Suffice it to say that I might not have been so encouraging if I’d known how much work it was going to be for me! Rather than hearing about that, enjoy the pictures of college graduation below.

For now, I am back into my former life as a pay-by-the-page translator. Although it won’t be long before I’m back into high anxiety mode about what is NOT happening, I’m glad for a while to be doing work that is received today, finished tomorrow, and nothing but a pleasant memory in about a week.

I have missed reading for pleasure, and a promise to do a book review or two has finally urged me back to the printed page. In the next days and weeks, I’ll be doing a review of Suzanne Kamata’s latest book, and I hope to be introducing readers to the work of Deborah Davidson, a  life-long resident of Japan who has made translating and spreading the books of Ayako Miura her life work.

diplomas in hand

hakama for graduation

big sis controlling the photo ops

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