Thursday, October 22, 2009

Marubatsu's Pond

This is one of the ponds that inspired my fictional pond at Marubatsu's temple Gizenji.

from American Fuji, p. 351: "The water was opaque pea-green and looked like paint. The surface, perfectly still. A herd of tiny granite islands jutted up through the pea soup, some rusty with moss, others bare."

It's interesting that Japanese readers find the character of Marubatsu a familiar type of person they readily recognize, yet my American readers think he's the most unrealistic of my characters. The only thing about him that's inauthentic is his name. I named this Buddhist priest after a kind of test: true (maru) false (batsu).


Anonymous said...

Beautiful! And is that a sculpture or lantern or just a random (ha!) pile of rocks in the foreground?

I think it's a tribute to your writing skill that you were able to create a character so un-American, if you will, and so Japanese. Thanks for the insider info about what the name means.


Diana said...

Lovely. Reading your blog is like reading the book with footnotes and illustrations.

Sara Backer said...

Thank you so much, Diana: that's exactly what I hoped my blog could be!

WAC, the correct answer is B, lantern. (Not a marubatsu test.) I'm sure Marubatsus exist everywhere, but the culture of Japan allows them to express themselves in ways self-righteous men in other countries don't. Actually, I prefer the more overt manifestation in Japan.