Friday, December 16, 2011
Paper Tigers Blog is the blog branch of Paper Tigers.org, a website about multicultural books in English for young readers, focusing primarily on the Pacific Rim and South Asia. Recently an article on the Ainu oral tradition was posted on the blog, in which credit is given to Project Uepeker for some of the information in the post.
I have been thrilled in recent years to observe the gradual spreading of awareness about the Ainu among ordinary (i.e. non-academic) people with a healthy curiosity about the world we live in and a respect for unfamiliar cultures. Blogs have played a huge role in this spreading awareness, and that's one of the reasons I enjoy discovering new ones and introducing them here. I was particularly delighted to discover Paper Tigers because it shares my own enthusiasm for storytelling traditions and a commitment to support the preservation of such traditions in the form of books for young readers. Paper Tigers was chosen by the American Library Association as one of the "Great Web Sites" for Teachers, Librarians and Parents. Do check them out!
Monday, December 12, 2011
TOMO, an anthology of short stories with particular relevance to teens, will be released this coming March from Stone Bridge Press. Its aim is to bring Japanese stories to readers worldwide, and in doing so, to help support young people affected or displaced by the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. Proceeds from the sales of this book will go directly toward long-term relief efforts for teens in northeast Japan, the area most affected by the disasters.
My translation of the Ainu folktale, "Where the Silver Droplets Fall," accompanied by two simple etegami-style drawings, is included in this book. As one of the contributors to the anthology, I was interviewed on the TOMO blog. In the interview, I share a bit of my personal background and what led to my becoming a translator of Ainu folklore. But more importantly, it gives a glimpse into the life of Chiri Yukie, an Ainu teenager who struggled to value herself and her cultural heritage, at a time when both were despised by mainstream society. By the time she died of heart failure at the tender age of nineteen, she had become a forerunner of a movement to save her people's oral tradition from oblivion. Click here to read the interview.