You’re Beautiful: the story of a novel, part seven

dsc01693

It’s autumn in England and it’s officially “winter” here in Bangkok with temperatures barely reaching thirty degrees. But in my Bath Novel Award shortlisted novel You’re Beautiful it’s summer. Japanese summer, that is. And that means beach bars, fireworks, screaming cicadas, oppressive heat, and typhoons—all of which I’ve managed to slip into the story. But there’s one key element of Japanese summer that never made it into the book and that’s the summer festival, when everyone gets dressed up in the summer kimono known as yukata and dances to ancient recordings of mournful folk songs played through crackly speakers. There’ll be someone keeping the beat on a drum, usually on a raised platform like the one in the photo above, and everyone will dance slowly around it in a circle, performing the same moves in unison, often moves that suggest traditional occupations like digging for coal or hauling in fishing nets. The whole scene can induce a spine-tingling nostalgia for a past that isn’t even yours.

Above is “my” beach, down the coast from Tokyo, where a group of little girls in yukata wait for the festival to start. Below is the rather ugly light-industrial Tokyo neighbourhood where I used to live, made beautiful with festival lanterns.

dsc03707

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s