A few years ago, when buying a copy of Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline” for myself, I decided, on a whim to order the Japanese translation at the same time. When that magical little Amazon box came, I opened it up and gave the Japanese copy to my wife. We read the book at the same time, and both enjoyed it. What’s more was that we enjoyed being able to read it together.
We seem to have very similar tastes in books, but, of course, we have a hard time reading in the other’s preferred languge. Anytime we can find books that we enjoy in the other’s language we try to get copies in secret and hold them until a gift-giving event.
For example, last Christmas, my wife gave me the complete set of the manga (Japanese comic) series “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds”, which is what the popular Studio Ghibli film was based on. It was her favorite series as a child, and she still re-reads them once a year or so. When she found them in English (Yeah, I’m not up to reading them in the original yet.) she was thrilled that she would be able to share this story, that she loves so much, with me.
Her birthday is coming up soon and I want to
exact revenge repay the favor in kind. So, I went onto Amazon Japan and had a look around. I found a copy of Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman: The Dream Hunters” and ordered it on the spot. (This was especially fortuitious because it is one of the primary sources that piqued my interest in Japanese mythology as the story revolves around the magic of kitsune – foxes, and tanuki – racoon dogs.)
I next decided to try my luck with Jeff Smith’s “Bone” and was quite pleased to find that translated as well.
When your luck is running strong you always press your bet, so I looked for Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” and Steven Levitt’s “Freakonomics” as she and I have talked about both books, after I had read them and was fascinated by them, but missed on both counts. However, Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” has been translated and into the shopping cart it went.
So, that’s three books to start with. I still have a couple of months and an anniversary to get through first, but I’d still like to find a few more. The trick, of course, is finding books that I think she’ll like, as opposed to books that I like.
That’s always the trick.
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