Thursday, February 25, 2010
I am notorious for having a poor memory for books and films, but I remember my first Miura Ayako novel as though it were yesterday. I was nineteen, and after two years at an American university, I was back in Japan for summer vacation, visiting my family home. But I had lost contact with most of my childhood friends (this was before Facebook, and even before email!), and I was bored.
I rummaged through my father's bookshelf and was drawn to a certain book by its title: Hitsujigaoka (literally: sheep hill). The author was Miura Ayako. Hitsujigaoka is the name of the area in east Sapporo very near to where I'd attended international school. I began reading, and became so caught up in the book that I could hardly eat or sleep for the three days it took me to finish it. Like all Miura novels, it has a stunning ending. That was the moment I decided to pursue training as a professional translator. Back at college, I threw myself into my studies and began corresponding with Ayako. And for the past 33 years, in the breaks between the translating I do for a living, I have continued to translate and promote this author's works.
How did you first learn of Miura Ayako? Which of her novels impressed you, and why? Please share your story with me.