I’ve always had a fondness for reading traditional stories from other countries, starting from age 7 when all I read were Greek tales passed down through the generations. I love seeing the differences between the first stories told in each country, and how similar the morals are in each. A couple of years ago I started reading traditional Japanese stories and fell in love with the imagination and messages behind each one. Some of the same basic stories are retold in several books, but reinvented in ways that make them completely fresh, and the morals of the tales are still extremely relevent today.
The two books pictured are my favourite ones to read: Japanese Fairy Tales by Yei Theodora Ozaki and Tales from Japan by Helen and William McAlpine. Most of the stories follow the same sort of format; the evil character learns a lesson by the end and becomes a better person for it, while the good character is rewarded in some way for their kindness and those who do not listen to warnings learn the hard way. I find them so interesting to read, and because most of them are quite short it makes them easy to follow and keeps your attention.
‘Tales from Japan’ also includes stories about the birth of Japan, and it’s fascinating to read what is basically the Japanese equivalent of the creation story. I’m not a religious person by any means, but I find these ideas on how the earth was born really interesting. These stories have been passed down for generations, just like the ones taught in my country, but are drastically different.
I like nothing more than to settle down in bed on a night, and read for a while before drifting off. But I never seem to use bookmarks and then get annoyed at myself for losing my page. I came across this cute Kimmidoll bookmark last week and it’s just perfect for marking my place in one of my many Japanese books.
For those of you who don’t know, I am a University student currently studying Television and Film Production, and last year I discovered a new passion for making audio books. For one of my assignments I rewrote two popular traditional Japanese stories; The Old Man Who Made the Trees Blossom, and The Young Urashima. I found a brilliant narrator, recorded the audio myself, recorded the foley (this was such an enjoyable task) and edited the two pieces. I was thrilled with the finished pieces and would be delighted if you could have a listen!
Arigatou for reading