Got a copy of Monkey magazine with my monkey on it!
Jon Klassen meets Motoyuki Shibata!
The editor of this magazine is one of my favorite people in the literary world. His name is Motoyuki Shibata. He teaches western literature at Tokyo University and has written many books on short stories from the English-speaking world. Through his books I discovered Italo Calvino, Paul Auster, Raymond Carver, Nicholson Baker, Barry Yourgrau and also the artist Glenn Baxter. His essays have been sort of a comfort blanket for me, a reliable set of wings to fly over the English/Japanese language abyss that I find once in a while. His charming, often very funny, always insightful views on literature go perfectly with Jon Klassen’s works and, when I think of it, of course it is perfectly natural that these two come together!
I hear Jon Klassen is going to Tokyo soon. I hope he meets Motoyuki Shibata and I hope the encounter is somehow recorded….
"You want to photograph me eating chicken?"
"Well, if I let you, I need you to help me deliver a message."
"I work at this library. And before that, I was coming here for twenty years. It’s my favorite place in the world. As many people know, the main reading room of this library is supported by seven floors of books, which contain one of the greatest research collections in the world. Recently, the library administration has decided to rip out this collection, send the books to New Jersey, and use the space for a lending library. As part of the consolidation, they are going to close down the Mid-Manhattan Library Branch as well as the Science, Industry, and Business Library. When everything is finished, one of the greatest research libraries in the world will become a glorified internet cafe. Now read that back to me."
Sheesh!! well, outta nowhere, I’ll be participating in the Tokyo Literary Festival next week! I hadn’t announced it because travel complications hadn’t allowed the plans to solidify, but everything came together this week, so it’s on! If you are going to be there, please come say hi! I’ll post more details on schedule stuff if they become available.
while I’m at it, here are other events scheduled for this spring:
TCAF - Toronto - May 10th-11th
BEA - New York - May 29- 31st
ICON - Portland - July 9-12
The Japanese version has a great translation using Kansai dialect instead of standard Japanese. This goes so well with the layered sense of humor of this book, and I am so glad the Japanese editors came up with the idea and ran with it. I should get a copy next time I’m home!