Book launch for Japan’s World Heritage Sites at Tadg’s Bar in July 2014. Fellow authors Preston Houser, Eric Johnston, Robert Yellin and John Einarsen can be seen amongst the guests.
John Dougill signing a copy at the book launch
Amy Chavez, guest speaker at the launch of Writers in Kyoto on April 19, 2015
Richard Steiner, Eric Johnston and others listen to Amy explaining how she managed to make a living being a freelance writer in Japan – by no means an easy option.
In the foreground Terry Futaba, an earth pilgrim, with Michael Lambe of Deep Kyoto behind him taking pictures. The left of him Mark Richardson, poet and scholar, is distracted from Amy’s talk by the intrusive camera.
Bernie McMugen and Kevin Ramsden in bibulous discussion
A.J. Dickinson and Mark Richardson
Amy signs a book for Michael Lambe, editor of the e-book Deep Kyoto Walks
Amy hands over a book while Ken Rodgers of Kyoto Journal discusses the coming issue
Two Friends – Poetry Reading by Mark Richardson and Mark Scott (At The Gael on June 21, 2015)
Mark S. reading from one of his published collections
Mark Richardson gives a reading
Following the poetry, there was a musical celebration of the solstice
Meanwhile, in the street outside the pub an anti-fascist demonstration was calling for peace to go along with the poetry
WiK Policy Meeting June 2015 at Tadg’s Restaurant
The WiK open policy meeting held at Tadg’s on July 5, 2015
The Two Davids: presentation at The Gael Oct 12, 2015
John Dougill introducing David Duff
David Duff presenting at ‘The Two Davids’ event on Oct 12, 2015 at the Gael. His talk featured his current project on Japanese cats.
David Joiner talks of his experiences putting together a promotion tour for his debut novel and the valuable lessons he learnt. For those concerned with marketing their books (which sadly means nearly all writers nowadays), this was an excellent talk and we’re grateful to David for having travelled down from Kanazawa for this.
Dinner with Karel van Wolferen at the Mangebien Restaurant on Nov 8, 2015
Dinner for ten WiK members with Karel van Wolferen (centre left), whose thirty-minute talk provided much food for thought. Seated from the left are A.J. Dickinson, van Wolferen, Eric Johnston, Bernie MacMugen, Chris Rowthorn, Mark Richardson and Gordon McClaren. (WiK treasurer Paul Carty kindly took the picture.)
Van Wolferen held the group mesmerised as he delved into his personal involvement with political developments in the postwar period and the changes that had taken place. His close association with leading Japanese politicians allowed him a unique insight into the workings of big power politics, and some of his revelations were fascinating.
WiK Winter Solstice Event at Robert Yellin’s Gallery featuring Allen Weiss and Preston Houser (Dec. 18, 2015)
Allen Weiss speaks to a full house in the atmospheric setting of Robert Yellin’s Yakimono Gallery
Allen extols about collecting ceramics in front of the display of precious pottery pieces assembled by Robert Yellin
Preston Kaido Houser provides the perfect shakuhachi atmosphere for contemplation of the surrounds and the sipping of saké (this photo and the two above courtesy of Robert Yellin)
TALK ON ZEN TERRORISM IN THE 1930S BY BRIAN VICTORIA (At the Gael, on Feb 28th, 2016)
Brian Daizen Victoria giving a power-point presentation about Zen terrorism in the 1930s, subject of his next book
David Duff with Paul Hays, intent on the shocking revelations
WiK treasurer, Paul Carty, pen in hand to take notes as others listen eagerly
Lawrence Barrow and other members of the audience listen to the wartime words of Zen masters
ROBERT WHITING TALKING ABOUT HIS LIFE AS A WRITER (THE GAEL, APRIL 24 2016)
Eric Johnston of the Japan Times, whose contacts in Tokyo enabled the visit of Robert Whiting to Kyoto
Robert presents to an audience of some thirty people at the Gael
Robert chats with Amy Chavez, our previous year’s speaker
Robert tells one of the many engrossing anecdotes about his life as a writer, both in terms of the baseball players he’s known as well as the gangsters he’s encountered
Following the talk, WiK held a dinner party at which Robert regaled members with further anecdotes and, in true journalist style, consumed a fair amount of alcohol.
WiK’s first Anthology launched… June 12, 2016
Bernie MacMugen talks of the new publishing venture he is launching for handmade books. Fifteen people turned out on a rainy evening for a convivial evening at Cafe Maaru near Gojo Kawaramachi.
Chief editor of the anthology, Eric Johnston, announces the launch of the publication and its distribution to publishers, magazine editors and reviewers.
In the foreground Jeff Robbins looks through the contents of the Anthology. Jeff, who writes pieces about Basho for the website, came all the way from Fukuoka.
Peter Mallett, winner of WiK’s first annual writing competition, came all the way from Kobe to collect his copy.
Food, drink and bonhomie.
David Duff proudly shows off his copy of the Anthology. David was in high spirits after winning a contract from Tuttle for a book about Japanese cats.
As the evening wore on, the conversations became more animated and people broke up into groups. Some of the discussion looked forward to next year’s anthology and how we can build on what we have learned from this year. The future is very much open and input is welcome.
WiK WW1 READINGS TO COMMEMORATE CENTENARY OF THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME (July 1, 2016)
Mark Richardson at The Gnome Irish Pub, July 1 2016. About 25 people gathered to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and to remember the sacrifices of WW1. Mark read poems from Thomas Hardy’s ‘Moments of Vision’, pub. 1917
John D. (brief introduction)
Lawrence Barrow (Wilfred Owen)
Mark Richardson (Thomas Hardy)
Araki sensei and Paul Carty (Japanese nurses)
Ken Rodgers (maternal grandfather’s personal account)
Preston Houser (Frank Scott, Villanelle)
Felicity Greenland: singalong medley of WW1 songs
2nd session: 8.30-9.00
Felicity Greenland (song: Willie MacBride)
Gordon Maclaren (John McCrae/Canadian involvement)
Bridget Scott (Vera Brittain)
Preston Houser: (Dylan Thomas)
Kev Ramsden (African-American involvement)
Eric Johnston (US politician/Brit journalist)
John D. (Siegfried Sassoon)
Felicity Greenland: singalong medley of WW1 songs
Bridget Scott, whose great aunts suffered personal losses in the Great War, reads from Vera Brittain’s touching poems. The writer whose experiences in the war turned her into a pacifist suffered the loss of both her brother and her fiance, as can be read about in Testament of Youth.
Gordon Maclaren, a trained historian, gives an overview of the Canadian involvement in WW1, including the complicated situation with Quebec which still has repercussions today. He ended with a reading of the Canadian poet, John McCrae.
Felicity Greenland led two wonderful singalongs of World War One medleys she had put together, which included old favourites and some that were new to many people. She also did a fine solo rendition of Willie MacBride, the song by Scottish folksinger Eric Bogle about the grave of a young Irishman he happened to chance upon .
Ken Rodgers does a reading from his maternal grandfather’s diary about his firsthand experiences at the front, all the more moving for being so matter of fact. There was humour too in the unexpected appearance of Winston Churchill in French uniform.
Paul Carty reads a translation done by Araki sensei (pictured stage right), who uncovered the little known story of Japanese nurses sent to help with the casualties in France. Their observations contained some wry comments on the differences between nationalities in the attitude to suffering.
Kevin Ramsden enlivened the evening with an impassioned plea to remember the minorities involved in the war, since the images we are familiar with are all almost exclusively white. He talked in particular of African and African-American involvement, noting that the latter in particular excelled in bravery yet were despised at the time and subsequently overlooked.
Eric Johnston, whose idea the whole event was, brought wartime copies of the Japan Times, from which he read an extract, together with the speech of an anti-war US Senator whose sterling words are sometimes still quoted in opposition to recent foreign adventures by the USA.
ALEX KERR’S BOOK LAUNCH FOR ‘ANOTHER KYOTO’ (WRITTEN IN COLLABORATION WITH KATHY SOKOL, WHO HOSTED THE EVENT IN THE GORGEOUS OLD MACHIYA IN WHICH SHE WAS LIVING IN THE KAMISHICHIKEN DISTRICT NEAR KITANO TENMANGU (OCT 2, 2016)
A packed house listens to Kathy Sokol explain about how the book evolved over twelve years in all
Alex Kerr makes a point in his presentation about aspects of Kyoto aesthetics
Gary Tegler (of Core Kyoto fame) takes a video of the event, which has been posted on youtube (search under ‘Another Kyoto book launch’)
John Dougill as WiK chairman looks on while Kathy introduces the making of the book, whereby she recorded the words of wisdom that Alex offered on their outings to different places in Kyoto. It gives the book a conversational feel.
One of the many rooms in the machiya that belonged to a geisha for many years until she died at the age of 102. Thanks to her, the machiya has been preserved in more or less its original state, with some fine fusuma paintings and decorations. Here we can see a tearoom, with tokonoma to the right, a split roof above (for server and guests) and an intriguing square patterned fusuma.
BASHO COLLOQUIUM OCT 28, 2016 AT RYUKOKU UNIVERSITY
Speakers: Stephen Gill on ‘Basho: A Self-Portrait’; Robert Wittkamp on ‘Reading Oku no Hosomichi as a literary work’; and Jeff Robbins on ‘Humanity in Basho’
Stephen Gill reads from his paper on Basho’s self-image as a traveller and ‘a wandering crow’
Robert Wittkamp makes a point about the deliberate fictionality of Basho’s Journey to the Far North, not so much a travel account as a consciously crafted piece of literature
Jeff Robbins quoting from his own self-published material about the humanity behind Basho’s writings in his renku and private letters
The audience, prior to moving on to a nearby hostelry afterwards for socialising and further discussion
Bernie MacMugen talking about publishing matters at a WiK event held in Cafe Maaru on Sun Dec 11, 2016, attended by 10 people in all.
ROBERT YELLIN ON POETRY AND POTTERY (APRIL 23, 2017 AT THE GAEL)
Robert Yellin kicks off WiK’s third year with an inspiring talk at The Gael. He talked of his personal journey into the world of Japanese pottery and his passion for the beauty he found there.
FOR A REPORT OF THE TALK, PLEASE SEE THIS LINK.