Friday, July 26, 2013

Snake paradise

"I like snakes." No matter how many times I say it to myself, I can never really believe it. Countryside Japan is filled with snakes. It rains here a lot in early summer, so the grass grows faster than you can cut it, which makes lots of nice places for a snake to hide in.  And there are thousands of frogs, I can hear them singing in a wonderful chorus as I write this, so there's no shortage of food for a snake. Japan is a snake paradise. Which is good, because that means they don't come looking for food, they've got all they could want.
But a lot of them get squished because they lie on the road baking in the sun. When I came across this one early in the morning, I thought, Oh, here's another dead snake, and I gave it a prod with my shoe...and it moved. It stuck out its tongue, and shook its tail and then it tried to bite my shoe. Thankfully it wasn't a big snake. Only about 70cm long and no thicker than a banana without the peel. But it certainly was aggressive. I think this one was a juvenile Japanese striped snake, but correct me if I'm wrong. So this one isn't poisonous, but there are others that are. Hopefully I can get a nice photo of them without one of us being dead...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gon the fox?

 I was walking around my garden yesterday evening and just happened to look up at the cemetery behind our house and saw a fox settling down for a late afternoon nap. It wasn't long ago that I hadn't seen any Japanese foxes up close, but recently I've been seeing them quite regularly - like once a week. I think that is because I started getting up and going for a run early in the morning. Most of the time they are just lazing about in the middle of the road, soaking up the early morning sun.
I thought this one would be super sensitive to my footsteps so I crept up the slope to the cemetery with as much stealth as I could, making sure to take a lot of photos, just in case it made a quick getaway. Every now and then it would lift up its head and cast an eye around dreamily, but it never took any notice of me so I figured it just didn't care. So then I got careless and kicked a couple of stones and it quickly looked up and bounded away, and when I snapped a couple of photos without looking through the viewfinder I just got this one with the side of its head.
If you've read Gon the Fox, you'll know that Gon hides out in the cemetery so he can see who died, so I thought this was pretty funny that a fox should be visiting the cemetery behind my house so soon after I finished the English translation. Everyone loves Gon!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On the way to 10,000

   This morning I was just in between translations for one of my clients (that's how I earn real money), so I took a look at the statistics for the sales for Little J Books in the Kindle Store to see how things were doing. Another sale. Excellent! Thank you! That makes 23 for the month. I then added that number to the tally I keep in an Excel file. Wow. So far Little J Books has sold 160 books on Amazon and given away another 331. Closing in on 500 downloads from the Amazon Kindle Store.
   Then I took a look at the downloads from Smashwords and I realized that Little J Books has actually passed 1,000 downloads in total (Amazon + Smashwords)!Seeing that number gave me such a boost. If we can get to 1,000 downloads in only 6 months then 10,000 downloads is not so far off after all. Just think, all those people enjoying the stories of Kenji Miyazawa and Nankichi Niimi. I wonder how many readers had never even heard of these authors before. When I went back to work I looked a lot like the Little J logo (that's a raccoon dog by the way).