New Project!

Finally, it’s May! Atrocious April is over, and from that low point, the only way is up, surely. And, as a sign that things are really going to change, I have started a new project! Well, actually, it’s not a really new project, I have started it several years ago already, but now it’s time to finally wrap it up and get it out there. Here’s the story:

A few years ago, I came across the book “Die 8 Gesichter am Biwasee”, written by German author/painter Max Dauthendey in 1911. The title is reminiscent of the “8 Views of Omi”, a series of woodblock prints depicting scenes from around Lake Biwa (Omi was the old name of the province where Lake Biwa lies). Dauthendey had visited Japan on his first voyage around the world in 1906, and he immediately felt drawn to Japan. He must have come across Lake Biwa (which is about 30 minutes east of Kyoto) or the woodblock prints, or both, and he was so inspired that he penned eight stories named after the woodblock prints.

Hiroshige - 8 Views of OmiThose eight love stories are set around Lake Biwa and perfectly convey the feeling of old Japan. Some of the stories are based on true events, but all of them are rather slow-paced (Dauthendey obviously liked to meander about), but once you settle into their mood, they are very beautiful. Interestingly, they have a very Japanese feel in my opinion: their pacing, choice of topic, and the way of leaving the reader guessing just at the right moments is something I have only encountered in Japanese novels. Since at that time, hardly any Japanese books had been translated into Western languages, this must be a reflection of Dauthendey’s own style (he wrote mainly poetry) rather than an emulation of the Japanese one.

Anyway, back to the project: Since those stories touched me so deeply, I have decided to translate them into English, and to publish the result.

In case you are wondering: Yes, that’s perfectly legal; the book is public domain pretty much worldwide – definitely in Japan and Europe – so that’s not an obstacle. The problem is rather my own inertia; I have started the translation a very long time ago, but never finished it. But now I have decided to do exactly that: Finish the translation, approach publishers who might be interested, and, if there is no interest, self-publish. As a deadline for finding a publisher, I have picked the end of this year; to get things published on my own will probably take another 6 months (I have no idea, I might be too optimistic here).

Being self-employed for the last few years has taught me one valuable thing: I am better at keeping promises that I made to other people than those to myself. Hence, to keep things on track and to really finish this project when I intend to, I have set up a Patreon page where people can sponsor my progress. It’s not so much about the money (although it will help replacing the losses from last month), but more about having a way to stay on focus. As a bonus, I will not spam you people here with progress reports all the time, you probably are already pretty tired hearing about my What’s Up In Kyoto page over and over again (yeah, I am bad at marketing).

So, if you like to keep updated on this new project of mine, head over to my new Patreon page, and maybe, you’d even like to become a patron. Thanks!

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