Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Hello Japan! mini-challenge: January links

Hello Japan!

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Hello Japan! mini-challenge for January. To celebrate the new year, January's Hello Japan! task was to try something Japanese that you haven't before. I really enjoyed reading about all the new food, books, authors, movies, and other Japanese things you tried. Just click on the links to visit everyone's posts.

Novroz of Polychrome Interest read The Paper Door and other Stories, a short story collection by an author she hadn't read before. She also watched a Japanese movie, Okuribito, that she hadn't seen before, and that was also about a Japanese tradition she hadn't known about before.

Uniflame at She Likes Bento tried a new Japanese snack, Hello Panda chocolate.

Sam of Sam Still Reading tried a new author and read The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa.

Gnoe of Graasland used a new ingredient, shiromiso.

Sabrina of Thinking About Loud tried a new-to-her author, twice! She enjoyed Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto so much she went ahead and read Goodbye Tsugumi as well.

Judith at Leeswammes' Blog tried sushi for the very first time and shared her thoughts on the experience.

Chinoiseries used a couple new Japanese ingredients in her cooking this month.

Mel of The Reading Life read Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima, the first book of the Sea of Fertilitiy Tetralogy.

JoV at Bibliojunkie read a new author, Junichiro Tanizaki's Quicksand.

Litera of Litera-tour discovered Yukio Mishima. She read about the man himself, and a couple of short works, which left her wanting more.

Kate of Nose in a Book went out for a night of karaoke!

sbk at Pictures, Thoughts and Comments watched Seijun Suzuki's early movie, Take Aim at the Police Van.

Tony of Tony's Reading List shares his thoughts on Kenzaburo Oe's The Silent Cry.

Teresa discovered the illustrations of Yuko Shimizu.
While reading a comics novel, "The Unwritten," I discovered the illustrations of Yuko Shimizu, http://www.yukoart.com/ . She is based in NYC now, but she did grow up in Japan. I was struck by her drawings, which led off each 'chapter' of this book and are credited as the 'original series covers.'

This is from her website: 'I grew up in Japan in the 1960s and 70s with comic books and TV cartoons. I naturally started drawing by imitating them. I stopped reading comics or watching anime by the early 80s, but by then I wasn't able to get rid of my early influences and actually hating it. After I moved to New York and started art school, my initial goal was to learn to draw and paint “like an American”. It didn't take long to realize that din’t work. I just don’t think, paint, or use colors like Americans among other things. My instructors helped me realize it is OK to being a Japanese person who’s work had early influences of my own popular culture. Of course, the process was not easy as it sounds here. It took me a long time, starting from learning not to hate my own work.'

While doing more research on her, I discovered via Wikipedia that the woman who created 'Hello Kitty' has the same name but is no relation to this artist.

And for fun, I tried a new, somewhat unusual drink from a vending machine. ;)

Now for January's Prize, the rabbit strap and magnet. With a little help from random.org, the winner this month is ... Sabrina.

How perfect is that? She mentioned in the comments that she was born in the Year of the Rabbit so it was meant to be! Congratulations Sabrina. I'll be in touch soon for your mailing address.

Also, you might remember that in November I mentioned that in addition to the regular prize for that month, there was an extra prize going to Novroz for participating in almost all of the Hello Japan! mini-challenges last year. If you're wondering what she got, check out her post.

Stay tuned for the February mini-challenge, which will be all about Japanese cooking.


  1. Congratulation Sabrina :)

    Glad to see so many participants this month :)
    Ah...February is so challenging.

  2. Congratulations Sabrina. Good for you finding an author that you really like!

  3. Thanks so much for those beautiful prizes, tanabata.

    Participating in this mini-challenge was amazing. I will sure join some more in the future.

  4. Congratulations Sabrina!

    I thought I could make an effort to try the mini-challenge every month until you mention next month it will be about cooking.. I not so good at cooking.. ha ha :)

    Thanks for hosting this challenge.

  5. Congrats to Sabrina on winning the kawaii usagi charm!


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