Nearly final draft of Japanese Reader No. 1!

Today I received a ‘nearly final draft’ of Reader No 1: ‘Nihon wa hajimete desu’ (First time in Japan) from Karen for review. As I mentioned in my last post, I am finding it hard to believe that my dream of producing these readers is finally coming to fruition! There are still a few minor glitches to fix—glitches in matching the text to the illustrations. These misunderstandings have been the result of my inability to explain clearly the Japanese text. I tend to forget that it really seems to be ‘gobble-dy-gook’ to anyone who has not learned the code. We have had several meetings to discuss the meaning of the text and also to get the cultural significance, not only correct and appropriate, but also relevant to the current generation of high school students.

The illustrations are great. Karen has been very professional in her approach to this project, and her illustrations are colourful and appealing to Aussie kids as well as reflecting and highlighting the culture of day-to-day living in Japan. 

Today we discussed the latest draft by phone and have now planned a meeting for next Monday, to have a final discussion of this story and work out a storyline for the next one. We realise we still have our work cut out to complete our deadline of four readers by early- to mid-November.



Back from a Break, and here to stay

I don’t seem to have been doing too well at this blogging thing. Sadami, my illustrator, suddenly found herself with a new set of deadlines and had to withdraw from illustrating the readers. Life got hectic in other areas and keeping up with the blog became too much. Now, I’m back on track and committed to regular posts—at least twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays.

Fortunately, Sadami had recommended a book designer, Karen Carter, before she withdrew. Karen and I had already made contact via email, and when I called her to say that the project would be on hold for a while as I had lost my illustrator, she said: ‘I’m also an illustrator.’ This was fantastic news for me, and she sent me a copy of her portfolio. I liked her work, she is very adaptable and has now been working on the project since the beginning of April. She will design and illustrate the books and each book’s individual cover, as well as a theme for the series, and she will deliver the books to the printer in the appropriate format. So far  this business of self-publishing seems to be progressing very smoothly indeed!

As Karen doesn’t speak any Japanese, I give her translations of the script and we meet periodically to discuss ideas. She has conducted extensive research on Japanese manga-style illustrations, and I am really excited with what she has come up with. We have decided that this first series of four readers will be in picture book format, with manga-style illustrations, and each reader will be 28 pages in length. The stories revolve around the experiences of an Australian boy who wins a scholarship to study Ninjutsu at a special junior high school in a small town in the mountains in Japan. I am expecting to get a finished version of the first reader in the series by the middle of this week. I can hardly believe that what has been a dream of mine for some years is finally coming to fruition.