Four Stories – Osaka

Yesterday afternoon I left my tearful son and cheerful daugther with their grandmother and took the bus to Osaka. I was there to participate in the Osaka debut of the successful Boston reading series Four Stories. The event was held at the Savannah Bar & Grill at the heart of Shinsaibashi (not too far from where I once went to see Hootie & the Blowfish perform). The a/c was out, but they had a lot of fans blowing so it was fine.

We pulled in a crowd of about 40-50 expatriates with a love of literature, including a couple of editors I’d worked with before but never met. I actually invited Ken Rodgers, managing editor of the consistently stunning Kyoto Journal to sit at my table, though I was a little intimidated by him. He has rejected more of my stuff than he has published, but he seemed pleased to meet me and asked me to him KJ in mind for future submissions. So that was cool.

Part of the attraction of reading in a watering hole was that I would be able to loosen up with a drink beforehand. Unfortunately, I found out that I was reading right away, before I even had time to order a glass of wine. I was a bit nervous, and my legs were shaking a little, but everyone listened raptly and laughed in the right places.

It was fun to bask in the limelight for awhile. Today I came back on the bus, to my usual life, where I am the loser mom who’s always forgetting to pack her kid’s pocket tissues or whatever.

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6 thoughts on “Four Stories – Osaka

  1. Your comment about the wrong tissues really goes to my heart, actually. I lived in rural Tottori for two and a half years; I was single, lived on my own, and my behavior wasn’t going to reflect (positively or negatively) on anyone besides myself, and I still went insane when people felt compelled to tell me what I was doing wrong and how I didn’t measure up. It’s got to be exponentially harder when you’re living with one critic and having to deal with others on a daily basis, and it all revolves around your childrearing skills.

    I don’t have any good advice (although, after a point, you’ve just gotta be you and everyone else be damned), but you have all my good wishes. It takes a whole lot of strength to raise kids overseas; when “overseas” happens to be non-urban Japan, it seems to take even more.

    Glad to hear you got to have a little trip to Osaka – it’s good for the soul and that’s one of my favorite cities in the world!

  2. Oh Suzanne, the pumpkin took you away too soon. You will find your way into KJ and all else. I’m glad the reading went well.

  3. Wow, how nice you got to be a part of the Osaka Four Stories and that all went well at the reading. I followed the link to “Kyoto Journal”, it really does look like a great magazine, it would be wonderful if you could write for them. I notice their cover issue has an article on the “Ainu” people. Are they the indigenous peoples of Japan?

  4. Actually, my work has been published in Kyoto Journal – a short story called “Hawaiian Hips,” that you might be able to find in a Google search, and a review of Leza Lowitz’s short story collection, GREEN TEA TO GO. But Ken has rejected at least four other pieces of writing that I sent in.

  5. Oh, and I forgot to add that, yes, the Ainu are the indigenous people of Japan.

    I read from my novella-in-progress about the girl with cerebral palsy and a sculptor mother at Four Stories. It did my heart good that the audience appreciated my y/a story. I get annoyed with people who can’t relate to stories about other generations.

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