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Saturday, November 11, 2006

So the Tokyo Writers' day (sponsored by the Tokyo chapter of SCBWI - The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) finally came around today, and it was great! I'm so glad I made the effort to sign up and go! There were three sessions today - the first two were more 'intensive' workshops for serious authors (maybe I fudged it a little bit there, but so did most of the other program participants, it's not like they were all published or anything) Anyway, the morning sessions were limited to 15-20 people and took place in a tatami room which was a very interesting and intimate venue! The evening session was open to about 100 people, including children, and was much more formal in some ways. It felt VERY much like a CLR event in Victoria...

The first event was the one I was looking forward to the most, and probably ended up being my favourite - a talk on writing series for children by Linda Gerber. Her book, 'Now and Zen', a SASS book about Tokyo is probably the last book I read before stepping on the plane - it had arrived at Bolen's just days before hand, so it was great to meet her. Interestingly, she knew of my Mom and was familiar with the StableMates and some other Canadian authors - its a small world indeed! She told me she usually goes to a writing conference in Surrey, so of course, when I came home I had to google that - Mom, mark October 18-21, 2007 on your calendar, because we should TOTALLY be going to Surrey for this!
(Linda Gerber with her new SASS book)


Also in that presentation, sitting beside me was a counsellor/teacher from St. Mary's international school in Setagaya, who asked me if I'd be interested in tutoring a boy from her school in reading (sounds very much like the reading buddies program at GVPL), and coincidentally, he lives in the same area as us, so that could be pretty convenient! Linda lives in Tokyo (for the last three years), and played a part of founding the Tokyo SCBWI...

The next talk was by David Schwartz, who is well known for books such as 'How much is a Million', 'Q is for Quark: A Science Alphabet Book', 'If you Made a Million', etc. He talked about how a lot of his work stems from a lifelong curiosity with math and science, and a general sense of 'I wonder how this happens' in his childhood. He also had a projector with him, and showed some super funny examples of letters from students as well as examples of projects which have stemmed from his work, and several examples of children challenging the facts he proposes in his book. I wasn't so sure about this one going in (that whole math and science thing!), but it was great, and I really think there are better ways, like his, to teach these subjects - maybe I would have liked them more if they were this interesting! David is here in Japan on a tour of the international schools in Kyoto, Nagoya, and Tokyo.

Then we had a dinner break, where apparently the little crew who went to the earlier sessions went out for dinner, but I'd left by then so I missed out on that - too bad, but I heard it was rushed and expensive, so there you go!

The final event of the day was the 'blockbuster' talk by Lynne Reid Banks, who has written forty books (and is considering not writing anymore!) Including the Indian in the Cupboard Series (there are five, which I don't think I knew), and The Farthest Away Mountain (which I remember as a grade four curriculum book), and I, Houdini to name some of her more well known works. Her talk was great - she is such a character, a great older Brit, who you can just see as the eccentric Grandmother, telling fantastic stories about how her books came to be. For instance, the Indian in the Cupboard was a bedtime story she told her eight year old son over the course of three or four weeks. She didn't write it down then, but two years later, when she had a contract and no book, Henri reminded her of that great bedtime story he'd so enjoyed, and helped her to remember the story, collaborating with her to get it on paper. The Indian in the Cupboard books, which are over 25 years old have just been translated into Japanese, and I think that's why she is over here.

(Lynne Reid Banks signing at the end of her presentation)


There was one interesting thing (random detail), all of the members here and the ones from the states were calling the organization S-C-B-W-I, as in spelling it out, whereas I'd always thought of it as being 'Scubwi' like a word. Turns out that's how Lynne Reid Banks says it too - its like the British Empire pronunciation I guess... Anyway... it was a great day! I said I could help volunteer with upcoming events, and I'll be watching out for whatever else is going on - there's a party/dinner/meet and mingle at the beginning of December, so I might have to go check that out...

I got home at about 9, to find out that Peter spent three hours on the phone with Mom today figuring out how to get the slingbox to play on the big screen - very cool, we now have large scale Canadian television! We decided to go out for dinner/second dinner to this awesome cafe in Yoyogi - Uehara, called West Park Cafe, which was delicious and very gaijin friendly - I'm going to have to hang out there and work/eat some of the fantastic looking desserts! I got a chicken and avocado club sandwich and Pete had fish and chips...

Just blogging now, so I'm not doing it while all I want to do is fall into bed, which was the last few nights!! Then I'm sure we'll check out some early morning Canadian TV - Pete was watching 'Holmes on Homes earlier'....

D

3 comments:

John said...

My you're fast - a mere few hours after the event and a thorough write-up! Very glad you enjoyed the Writer's Day, I'll point other participants towards your blog, Please do come on down to the social get-together in December.

All the best

John
(SCBWI Tokyo ARA)

linda said...

Hey, there!

John's right - you are fast! I haven't even written about the day on my blog yet. Thank you for your kind words.

I do need to make a correction for you - the conference I attend in Surrey is *whispering* not SCBWI sponsored. It's the Surrey International Writers' Conference and it's one of my all-time favorites. Great group of people run the show. Definitely check it out.

And you've got Sling! My husband discovered it for sports last year and then I discovered it for Lost, Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars! :) An ex-pat's best friend.

Greetings to your mum!

Linda

dani said...

Wow! I'm impressed you found my blog so quickly (how? btw, I'm just curious how so many people are coming across it - which is great!)...

Linda, thanks for pointing out that I got the wrong end of the stick about the writing conference... somehow I just assumed you were talking about a SCBWI conference, and obviously skimmed the details on their website! Ooops! I need to do some better fact checking, obviously!

Either way, it looks like a great conference - I'd love to go next year....

And yes, yay for slingbox - I looove Gilmore Girls as well! I can't believe Luke and Lorelai aren't together anymore...They were a great storyline!

anyway, thanks for stopping by, I'll edit the conference reference in my main post...

Dani