BBAW: Book Journey Interviews In Spring It Is The Dawn
My interview swap partner this years for BBAW is Nat from In Spring It Is The Dawn. What a lovely blog she has and for my readers that love books on different cultures, Nat is a Canadian who is living in Japan.
Whoa…. wait a minute. I get to go to Japan to do an interview?
Yup, that’s right! Nat is blogging from Japan about books I am drooling over as I nosed around her blog. Well…. I have to know more about Nat and I hope you do too. Please welcome to Book Journey this morning, Nat from In Spring It Is The Dawn.
So of course my first question has to be, Nat how did you wind up in Japan from Canada?
Nat: Well, just after high school I spent a year in France on a student exchange, and this experience gave me my wanderlust, my desire to travel to different places. When I came back to Canada for university I decided to major in Applied Linguisitics (Teaching English as a Second Language) since it seemed the easiest way for a non-scientific, non-mathematical person like myself to be able to live and work overseas. Then when I graduated, I looked into a few different countries but Japan made the most sense at the time. While I was teaching English in Tokyo, I met the man who is now my husband, and I guess the rest is history. I never expected to be here in Japan this long (it’s been about 9 years all together now!) and I do hope to move back to Canada or thereabouts in the next few years.
9 years! That is amazing! How long have you been blogging?
Nat: I started my blog, In Spring it is the Dawn, on January 30th, 2006, so it’ll be 5 years come next January. How time flies! Many of those early posts are quite embarrassing now though!
I hear you there Nat – I laugh about some of my early posts…. and almost 5 years! How did you start your blogging process? Inquiring minds want to know!
Nat: Before blogging I used to belong to several Yahoo book groups. They were pretty much my only way then to chat about books, as most of my friends in real life don’t read much. Some of the friends I made in those groups started book blogs, and after a while I decided to try it out for myself. (Andi, of Estella’s Revenge (http://estellasrevenge.blogspot.com/) is one of the first people I met online all those years ago, and her blog is one that inspired me to start my own.) And here I still am. Book blogging long ago replaced those online book groups as my main source of all things bookish.
I know Andi and her blog, I love that we all seem to remember those early connections. What do you like to blog about?
Nat: When I first started my blog I didn’t think I’d have enough to post about regularly on just books (I’m a slow reader) so I originally thought it would be part books, part photo blog, and I used to post photos more regularly. Nowadays you can find more of my photos on my dedicated photo blog, watashi no shashin, which in Japanese literally means “my photos”, and is a replacement for my older photo blog which had been on hiatus. I do still post photos occasionally on In Spring it is the Dawn, of places we visit here in Japan, or anything from daily life that somehow seems to warrant a photo. I’ve found though that there is no shortage of bookish things to talk about, so it’s now primarily a book blog, with a bit of everyday randomness thrown in.
I try to talk about all the books I read (although I’m woefully behind on reviews right now) which often ends up being a mix of various genres, but inspired by my circumstances of living in Japan, my blog has evolved into having more of a focus on Japan and Japanese literature over the last couple of years. To that end, I host a Japanese Literature Book Group, as well as some read-alongs of Japanese lit. Plus, I also host the Hello Japan! monthly mini-challenge, with topics and tasks (and prizes!) related to some aspect of Japanese culture. I’m enjoying discovering some great Japanese books and authors myself, and am happy to hopefully bring a little taste of Japan to the blogging community.
You are very community oriented! I love that! Are there certain genres you prefer?
Nat: I like to think I’m willing to at least try most genres but I definitely have a fondness for literature in translation. Whenever I hear about a book that’s been translated into English from another language, my ears always perk up! I think it goes back to my original travel bug, as I love experiencing different places and cultures through books. Otherwise, if you look at my shelves you’ll mostly see literary fiction, classics, my bookshelf dedicated to Japanese and Japan-related literature, and with some YA/kids lit, and non-fiction mixed in.
Ok…. let’s have some fun. You have been given a 30 minute notice that your boss is sending you to a remote island for a little weekend R and R. There will be no electricity just plenty of sun and beach time. The limo (I like to think big) will be picking you up in mere minutes – what book do you grab off your shelf and why?
Nat: Just one book? Something thick then, to last the weekend, and which promises to be entertaining. In other words, a book to get lost in. Perhaps The Passage by Justin Cronin, which I got at BEA but still haven’t read yet. Or maybe it would be a good time to finally read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Or maybe a big classic like The Count of Monte Cristo, which I started earlier this year but has been languishing on my nightstand. Or maybe The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, since I haven’t read any of those yet. Ultimately, it would probably end up being whichever one caught my eye as I madly dashed around throwing a few things into a bag to take with me.
LOL… that would be my first reaction too Nat, “just one book?” What is one thing you wish you would have known from day one of blogging that you would like to share with those considering or starting out?
Nat: I often wonder if I would have ever started blogging if I’d known how much time it would take, and how much my To Be Read stack would explode from all the book recommendations. But now, even when I play with the idea of giving it all up, I can’t really imagine my life without it.
Great answer! I always like to know how other bloggers pre for a book review. How do you do yours?
Nat: While I’m reading I’ll add little sticky notes to any passages that stand out, or that I want to refer back to later. Then when I’m finished reading the book, I’ll try to put down some of my thoughts about it. I usually let a review sit for a day or so after I’ve written the draft as I invariably seem to change it up as the story continues to rattle around in my head. I used to be quite good about writing reviews just after reading the book, but this year I’ve gotten so behind that I sometimes write reviews quite some time after I’ve finished the books. This can make it hard to have enough to say though, and I certainly don’t recommend it.
If you could hang out with any fictional character who would it be and why?
Nat: Hmmm… one of the first that comes to mind is Thursday Next, from Jasper Fforde’s series. It would probably be a lot of fun hanging out with her, meeting all those characters, and visiting inside their stories. It sounds like a book geek’s fantasy come true! But then again, Thursday does seem to find herself in trouble quite a lot…
Please share a little known fact about yourself.
Nat: I used to play the piano, and took lessons for years. One year at the local music festival, my friend and I even won a medal for our piano duet. (I wonder where that medal is?) Sadly it’s been years since I’ve even touched a piano. It’s not something that would fit in our typically small Japanese apartment, that’s for sure. Besides, I’d rather save that precious space for books!
Thanks Nat, this was so much fun getting to know you! Readers, please take time to stop in and see Nat’s gorgeous blog and leave her a comment or two or three…. :D She will also be interviewing me today!