Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy 1-Year Anniversary, Wednesday Afternoon Picnic!

Huzzah! As of today, I've been (fitfully) doing my blog for exactly one year!

I started Wednesday Afternoon Picnic partly as a means to stave off boredom, partly as a means to help my Japanese, and partly because it seemed like a fun thing to do anyway. This time last year, instead of being at school like I am now, I was waiting for my study abroad to Japan to start in late March. My girlfriend was still in school and I mostly worked nights at a movie theater trying to desperately save up for the trip, which meant that many of my daytimes were actually spent alone in our apartment, and when my girlfriend did get home she had to get through her homework.

Lonely and bored, The Kumozaru Project was the way for me to give myself weekly assignments that would be fun and help me improve my Japanese and get some experience in literary translation, which is something I see myself doing at least as part of my future career. For those of you who don't know, the Kumozaru Project was a weekly translation of Haruki Murakami flash-fiction from his collection Yoru no Kumozaru, which has not been published in English. Once a week I posted a translation and also a commentary on the process and any problems I had.

The amazing thing was, I actually kept up with this self-imposed assignment. I was on schedule for 6 weeks and well into the 7th installment when I got an email requesting on behalf of Murakami's rights management company that I not only stop but take down all the translations I had posted or face some serious consequences. A quick look through my archives will show you that I obviously complied.

Since then, it's been harder for me to keep the site active and regular without a clear goal like I had with the Kumozaru project. I've done the best I can to keep up with content that was diverse and (somewhat?) interesting, but there were certainly many dry spells, which was exacerbated by the fact that once I was in Japan, and back to school, I became incredibly busy. Looking through the posts, even without the Kumozaru posts those first three months had a lot more regular content that they do now.

I can't promise a complete turn-around in terms of frequency of posts, but I do love my little blog and will continue to add to it, with my New Year's resolution to always have a post at least within a two-week period. I know I've focused a lot on Murakami in the past, and I will tell you that I probably will continue to do so. He has so much unavailable in English, especially essays in little bite sized pieces, that as far as translation projects go, they're the perfect size for me to handle regularly on this site. I will also keep up with posts about Genichiro Takahashi, because of my misguided attempts to give him something akin to buzz - I really think he is one of today's most interesting active writers that English-readers would respond to. And since I've never gotten a comment about him that said "Hey! This guy sucks and no one cares!"I see no reason to stop. :)

But, for not just you anonymous members of the Internet, but also for myself, I want to diversify my writing and expand my knowledge of Japanese contemporary writers. At this very moment I'm formulating a new project to kick off the New Year that will help me achieve such a goal, so expect very soon an announcement regarding this new project. And although I've started projects that went nowhere and posts I wanted to do but couldn't get off the ground, I'm pretty excited about this one and really want to do it - so before I say anything more I'm going to figure out the logistics of it exactly so I don't regret anything down the line and have to drop it.

In the meantime, to all you out there who have started following me or just discovered an article or two by accident, thanks for coming and I hope you come back again! I hope to make this year bigger and better.

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