Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Eric Paul Shaffer on Living in Okinawa

I noticed that living in Japan changed the way I related to my native English language. I spoke, wrote, read, and even thought differently. Did living in Japan change the way you wrote poetry and fiction?

Absolutely. Not only did living in Japan supply entirely new subject matter for my writing, but Japan provided me a completely different perspective as a writer. Because of my new location, I began reading more and more about the history of Japan and America, two nations whose histories are so inter-twined that they will never be free of each other again. Because I am a student of literature, I read novels, non-fiction, and poetry by Okinawan and Japanese authors. In another way, living in Japan broadened me as a writer in ways that I might never have experienced in the USA. If we are each the sum of our experiences, then I was most definitely changed, and I hope it was for the better, by living on Okinawa and in Japan.

Care to explain the visual pun in your photo?

It’s a Japanese crane and cherry blossoms: symbols of longevity and transience side by side.

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