Every step took me deeper into the ancient heart of Okunoin, the largest and most revered cemetery of Japan, a shadowy forest of giant cedars and stone markers; of mists and mosses; of ghosts present and past. The trails, hidden under mud and needles, pulled me away from the well-maintained and heavily visited formal areas of pagodas and pavilions. Water dripped from overhead branches. Old stones leaned gently together. I slowed and followed a weak beam of sunlight to a mismatched pair of eroding markers, when a sudden vibration in my pocket interrupted my reverie. Was someone trying to reach me? It was the fall of 2015 and I was staying in a temple in the small mountain town of Koyasan, between visits to Tokyo and Kyoto. Previous travels in Japan, some years ago, had involved my high tech business career. At that time, the enigmatic silent politeness I encountered made negotiation challenging. It hadn’t start smoothly. One of the first executives I worked with casually mentioned that women walked two steps behind in his culture, a comment he came to regret when he learned I controlled his investment budget. His culture and I never matched wavelengths.
LEFT COAST WRITERS BOOK LAUNCH: Patricia Dove Miller, Author of Bamboo Secrets: My Quest through the Shadows of Japan Saturday, June 11th, 2016 || 7pm Book Passage-Corte Madera|| 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera || www.bookpassage.com While living in Japan in 1993, Patricia Dove Miller’s dream of a year of exploration and personal growth was shattered when her husband was suddenly detained on drug charges. Bamboo Secrets: One Woman’s Quest through the Shadows of Japan weaves together four story strands: a mature woman in search of herself; a marriage in trouble; an American’s love of Japanese culture and her study of its traditional arts; and an outsider’s struggle with Japan’s dark side. As a special feature: Patricia will play a brief piece on her shakahuchi flute for you. Patricia Dove Miller is a third-generation Californian, born and raised in the Berkeley hills. She has lived in the mountains outside of Cali, Colombia, in a tiny rice-farming village in North Thailand, and also at the edge of the northeastern hills in Kyoto, Japan. She attended
Join noted author, editor and Left Coast Writers founder, Linda Watanabe McFerrin, if you can, for a breathtaking once-in-a-lifetime introduction to Japan, land of mountain temples, soothing onsens and people known for their extraordinary grace and generosity. It was her home for many years, a place she has returned to again and again and one that she’s always excited to share with others both on the page and in person. Participants will depart on Saturday, September 5th to arrive in Tokyo, “the new capital”, on Sunday, September 6th. From quiet Shinto shrines to silvery high-rise towers, from the ancient to the newer-than-new, you’ll be dazzled by one of the world’s most exciting metropolises. From there a bullet train will whisk you to “the old capital”, Kyoto, truly one of the most picturesque places on the planet, where you will relax and explore surrounded by beauty while enjoying the cultivated experience of the literati and glitterati of this centuries-old center of art and enlightenment. The journey doesn’t end in Kyoto. You’ll also enjoy a temple stay
LEFT COAST WRITERS BOOK LAUNCH: Wendy Nelson Tokunaga, author of Love in Translation Saturday, December 12, 2009 || 7pm Book Passage-Corte Madera || 51 Tamal Vista Dr. Corte Madera || www.bookpassage.com Wendy Nelson Tokunaga is back … with an new novel. Wendy is the author of the novels, MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT (St. Martin’s, available now) and the newly released LOVE IN TRANSLATION (St. Martin’s, November 2009). Japan and Japanese culture have been major influences on her life and this is reflected in much of her writing. Her novel, NO KIDDING, won the Literary/Mainstream Fiction category in Writer’s Digest’s Best Self-Published Book Awards in 2002. She is also the author of two children’s non-fiction books, and has had short stories published in various literary journals. Wendy signed her two-book deal with St. Martin’s just as she was beginning the MFA in Writing program at the University of San Francisco in 2006. Along with her MFA, she also holds a BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University. Wendy is also a jazz vocalist and a Japanese karaoke singer. The San Francisco Chronicle called Wendy’s debut novel a “terrific rist novel.” Now she’s back with her second book, which again explores the themes of being a a stranger in a strange land. Wendy lives with her surfer-dude/musician husband Manabu and their cat Meow in the San Francisco Bay Area, a short walk from the Pacific Ocean.