New Year, New Blog!

Do people still make New Year's resolutions? I haven't made a resolution in many years. However, this year I want to commit myself to resuscitating this blog. I also want to reinvent it a bit. I will still talk about travelling (need to blog being in Ireland and a short trip to Malta), food and working abroad, but I also want to include more discussions about books and reading. I'd be thankful if people had discussions with me about books because I absolutely love reading. I an enamored with books. I am a bibliophile.

Before we get book happy, I feel you deserve some context.

My love affair with books began early in life. My parents always read to me and made me read once I could. My mom worked in a bookstore for a few years when I was about five years old. I would walk to the bookstore after school. I'd be allowed to look at all the books but not touch them. Sometimes I'd be allowed to read a book, but I was never allowed to damage it: don't ruin the spine, don't fold the pages, don't eat and read simultaneously, don't let customers to see me reading books, etc... If I was given permission to read books, I'd hide in the backroom and devour them. Sometimes when children's books were on sale, my mom would buy them for me and my sister. It was a rare treat but what a treat!

Favourite childhood book: The Jolly Postman, or Other People's Letters by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

My reading experiences with my father were slightly different. Firstly, the books were usually in Japanese. Secondly, my father took me to our local public library all the time. He'd let me wander aimlessly around the small library. Once I found the books I wanted to take out, he'd give me his library card so that I could borrow them. How lucky was I? I felt even luckier when my family received parcels from our family in Japan. The boxes almost always contained Japanese books for me and my sister. We'd read them over and over again with fascination! My sister also inherited a love of books. Luckily, her fianc√© is also a big reader!

Favourite book: Winter of Fire by Sheryl Jordan (no longer in print but still sold on Amazon and Ebay)

Reading became a way of life for me. I ended up studying English Language and Literature at university (UWO). My BA—four years of English lit, history and Japanese language programs—kept me busy reading. Years later, I moved to British Columbia (from Ontario) to pursue my MA in Literatures of the West Coast (UVic). I could read Asian Canadian literature AND get a degree?!? Sign me up! I don't think I've ever read as much as I did as a master's student. My thesis focused on cultural appropriation in relation to David Guterson's 1994 novel, Snow Falling on Cedars.

 Valentine's Day '09: My MA literary friends celebrating Valentine's Day by hosting a F*ck Love concert.
Halloween '09: Another classmate and foodie. He co-coined "food baby". 
Halloween '09: The brilliant PhD students loved to party, too! I met amazing people in BC!

Favourite book at the moment: Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid

Writing also was part of my parent's lives: my father is a published writer in Japan (comparing Japanese and English languages and linguistics), and my mother wrote poetry (although she was never published).

If I consider my family's love of reading and writing, recount how many years I've taught English and ESL and include my experience as an editor, then books, reading and writing have been a part of my life since the beginning of my personal narrative. It's no surprise then that I cohabit with a book lover. The Irish chef has his MA in Linguistics and just completed his MA in Creative Writing. If you're interested in our (book, travel and food) journeys, I try to document them on Instagram:

Those, friends, are my credentials and literary background.

Birthday gifts 2020: homemade jam, chocolate, a card from my bestie all the way from Toronto, flowers, a delicious bottle of ros√© and Climate Justice: A Man-made Problem with a Feminist Solution. I left my review/thoughts on the book on Goodreads here: