Saturday, December 24, 2011

The decipherer of an enigma.

Last night, I was having drinks with my best friend and literary agent Hamish Macaskill, in a Tokyo wine bar. While we were waiting for the British novelist David Peace (now resident in Tokyo) and Spanish film director/writer David Trueba, Hamish said something quite interesting. There is a trend, Hamish said, of English writers producing contemporary or period dramas based in Japan. In the genre, Hamish said, it appears that it is essential to write the details that a Japanese writer or those who are familiar with the Japanese culture (like Hamish himself) would omit. In fact, Hamish often finds the details described in a novel based in Japan (the smell of a soy source, etc.) unnecessary and disturbing.

"It seems that the novels that I don't like sell well!" Hamish said.

Hamish's comment stroke a chord of truth in me. We take for granted what we are accustomed to. The merit of an outsider is that he or she can decipher the implicit cultural codes. The writer becomes the decipherer of an enigma.

As the two Davids arrived, we went on with the wine drinking and deciphering business, bringing together different backgrounds, prejudices, hopes and dreams. (Hamish is originally from Australia) It was a fitting action for the soul and the body on an evening of pre-Christmas merriments.

David Trueba (left) and Hamish Macaskill. David Peace went to the restroom.


Tsumabenicho said...

That might be why we need crosscultural exchange.
The differences of homes, jobs and generations bring carefree and unprecedented comment.
" Moti wa motiya " in Japanese.
Every man to his trade.
It is probably true but motiya don't make rice cake not only for himself but for others.

Tsumabenicho said...

Sorry. Correction!(hah)

It is probably true but motiya don't make rice cake not only for himself but for others. →

It is probably true but motiya make rice cake not only for himself but for others.

chisa said...

I did! At last I found you, Mr. Mogi!!! I'm writing this letter from Brazil! I know that you don't know me but before I left Japan in 2009, I would read and your journal almost everyday and would also watch the TV you presented---I'm wondering you still have your own TV program? Now, I'm "far-away", kind of, from science but still have passion for it. The topics you picked up inspired me, always., I'm so excited! I'll check your journal afap. Thank you, any way.
ps.It's hot today here Brazil.I miss Japan, a little bit.