6/March/2023 in Tokyo
In a bookshop
Saw a new book by Kayoko Yamasaki
She is a Japanese poet & professor at the University of Belgrade
Remembered some uni students, I met last year in Serbia, who were taught by her
Read a couple of pages, then was thinking if she feels some sort of emptiness or meaninglessness in writing a book in Japanese & publishing in Japan
She was born in Japan in 50s, moved to Serbia for university in the early 80s, and ever since has lived there
For 4 decades already
People around her......neighbors, colleagues, shop staff, random strangers in Belgrade....must know she is a writer and they definitely say to her, "I want to read your books"
But obviously they can't, because her books are written in Japanese
(She can speak Serbian, so maybe she also writes books in Serbian, but most of her books in Japanese)
She is just one of Japanese writers who live abroad, keep writing Japanese books & releasing in Japan
Writing books in Japanese from a foreign country & publishing in Japan...... it means making something for faceless audiences who she never met & will never meet, instead of for those who live close to her & who know her in person
Wondered if it doesn't bring a certain strange feeling to her
I surely feel it. Now I'm connected with more people outside Japan & they are the ones who know the latest version of me, and they are the ones I'd like to read my books. But they can't, because my books are in Japanese. So every time they ask me, I have to use this magnificent excuse, "You have to learn Japanese first🥰"
This is when I feel huge restrictions & limitations in writing, compared to drawing or music
.....But after leaving the bookshop, I just thought it probably doesn't matter to her
"If my neighbours can read?"
"Do I meet the expectations from people around me?"
.......these rather "realistic", "rational" concerns are most probably secondary matter
She writes no matter what
She creates regardless
Nothing matters but an impulse
Nothing matters but an emotion