Wednesday, January 27, 2010

とらのとし The Year of the Tiger So Far…

It’s been an interesting Ichi-Gatsu of 2010. I started this year as I do every year in Little Tokyo. Every year I run into this same girl who wears a light green kimono who sells fortunes out of a wooden box. I dreaded her appearance this year given that I received a bad fortune from her last year. 2009 was a terrible year for me. I should have known given that the girl did not smile as she moved around Little Tokyo until she was selling fortunes. That’s a red flag I should have paid attention to last year. This year I was on guard. I received a good Omikuji fortune at the Koyasan Temple so I was not about to press my luck. It’s hard to say where I am at with it so early in the year so I thought I would reflect on that for a moment. I’m not sleeping very much which has played havoc on my Shinkendo training and progress writing my book. Despite my participation in all of the New Years events I’m still living on the edge since losing my unemployment last December. But all is not lost. For the first time in months my phone has been ringing with potential work prospects things are starting to pick up. Computer work is not what I really want to do but until I can get back into the film industry and write books and screenplays, this will have to do to help me back on my feet so one day I can live by my creativity.

The Year of the Tiger is supposed to be one of intense creative energies and so far But before I celebrate my lucky arrows I will remain cautious and continue to hunt for work while I continue to write my book. My book has undergone some major revisions since its initial thirty page screen play first printed last June of 2009. It has gone from screen play to full blow historical novel with close to eighty characters to which some are actual historical figures from Japan’s history of the late Bakumatsu Period. Where I am at right now is where my protagonist William Merrick has boarded the Japanese Warship Kaiten with the Elder Superintendant Okuda. They have set sail steaming out of Hakodate and on through the Tsugaru Straits to open seas heading South by Southwest to their clandestine rendezvous in Shimoda before the Kaiten will sail off to join the 2nd Choshu Expedition. My selected quote for this chapter comes from Captain Ikunosuke; “Today we fight for the Shogun. Tomorrow we may fight for our very lives.” It is a scene I could easily envision. I will reveal more of my story later for there is much writing ahead. This has proved to be a daunting challenge. Not only must I take care when my fictional characters interact with historical figures the story must also follow a degree of respect towards those figures as well as their logistical disposition corresponding with their recorded whereabouts of the time. So much to consider knowing that anyone who would be remotely interested in my work will be well versed in history so there is no margin for error because I know they will call me on it. So to avoid having my novel being panned as a literary suppository careful attention to detail and above all historical plausibility is a must.

So there we go. Ni-Gatsu is coming and I will hopefully gain some worthwhile employment. Juggling the time between work, Shinkendo, writing, and my relationship will be task. I am not sure how I will do it considering the slow progress I have made with my story. Up until now, the stress of unemployment and now the added stress of the Shinkendo Honbu Dojo’s potential move out of Little Tokyo has me on edge. The new Korean owners are forcing the Obata’s out of their dojo to make way for one more restaurant in the Little Tokyo Galleria. Not knowing where we will relocate has stressed me out. We have until mid February to find a new location. This is no good. Especially, when you are trying to write. That feeling of being constricted comes into mind. That makes it impossible to write with such distractions. My work search alone has eaten away at my writing time which only applies when I am motivated to write. The story has to flow and come alive for me in order to tell it. I just can’t set aside a narrow time slot in my day to churn out pages. I can do that with a screen play but not with a novel. It just doesn’t work that way for me.

There is just so much to consider when writing historical fiction. I not only have to go back in time but to a place and a culture that no longer exists. It would help if I could magically pull a rabbit out of my hat and fly to the West Izu peninsula but this is not possible. This adds to the complexity of writing a novel set in a country that I have never set foot in. However I will remain optimistic and hopefully find a way to complete this project and get it published. It will likely take place after I copy write and register my “Little Tokyo” comedy screen play with the WGA. Meanwhile I will continue to train and write until I can live off my creativity and make my way to the Land of the Rising Sun. Japan will be there for me. At least that’s what I have to tell myself. One way or another I will get there. And the girl in the green kimono? Well just like the year before she did not smile until she sold her fortunes. This time I smiled and walked away. I’m really superstitious about these things. I got my good fortune at the Temple and I enjoyed the good fortune of being around my Japanese friends and those I am close to. In that sense I did have some good fortune and perhaps there is more to come. I think this Tora no Toshi has some potential. We’ll see what comes next. We're only getting started!

1 comment:

  1. I wholeheartedly believe that this is going to be your year! The first of many :)

    And as far as your relationship goes, I don't think you have anything to worry about ::wink::