Thursday, December 13, 2018

Japanese actor playing a foreigner

The Actor Onoe Kikugorō V as the Englishman Spencer (from the series One Hundred Roles of Baikō, 1893), Toyohara Kunichika. Courtesy Cincinnati Art Museum

Japanese were fascinated by the strange customs, dress, and even food of the foreigners who arrived in their land. (Tempura was originally a Portuguese dish adapted by Japanese cooks.) This print shows a Japanese actor, Onoe Kikugoro V, playing an Englishman named Spencer who apparently demonstrated a hot-air balloon in Japan.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


A species of squid called "Firefly Squid" live in the Pacific Ocean off the Japanese coast. Each spring, they draw near to the coast, where they will spawn. They glow in an attempt to attract mates. It is also said that they glow to lure smaller fish that they will feed on. Just as Japanese people enjoy observing the blooming of the cherry trees, so too do they travel to the spawning grounds to view what you see here. After the squid eggs are fertilized and laid, the squid die. Their life span is only a single year, and when the new squid hatch, the cycle begins again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

I'm putting this up in case anybody's still looking at this blog. My main posting site is on the Samurai Detective page at Facebook.
The image I'm posting here is from a "fart scroll." No kidding, that's what the two men on the left are supposed to be doing. Here's an explanation from somebody who runs a blog under the name of Tofugu:
The whole scroll, which is called He-Gassen ("The Fart Battle") is just about people farting. Farting at other people, farting at cats, farting off of horses, farting into bags; just farting everywhere. Why? I couldn't really tell you. I've tried to do some research but, believe it or not, academic literature on Japanese farting is surprisingly few and far between. [...] I did find out enough to know that this isn't the only farting scroll out there in existence – in fact, in the 90s, a collection of fart scrolls sold for $1,500 at the famous Christie's auction house. I am not making this up.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Here's an interview a radio programmer did with us about our book, THE MONSTERS: MARY SHELLEY AND THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN.
Next year, by the way, is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein.

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Come Sit by Me"

Popular children's book author Lemony Snicket, writing in the NY Times, says:
"Want Teenage Boys to Read? Easy. Give Them Books About Sex."

Actually, my YA novel "Come Sit By Me" has some sex in it, but it's also about the world as seen through the eyes of a real teen-age boy. A teen-age girl who reviewed it said,

"I felt Come Sit By Me was written by a guy for a guy."
--Christina Li, Net Galley

Give it a try.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Group Biographies

Elon Musk, ceo of Tesla Motors, announced that he was reading a book called Twelve Against the Gods, which is a group biography of historical figures, such as Alexander the Great, Columbus, and Casanova. The book is out of print, but online price for it on jumped to $99. Previously, it was about $6. This is EXACTLY the kind of book our ex-agent told us never sells. (group biographies) We published a series of eight such bios, all linked to a certain country or geographical area. They too are out of print, but maybe we can interest some publisher in returning them to print. Look for French Portraits, Italian Portraits, South American Portraits, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, African, and Italian Portraits. Good reading!