Tag Archives: culture

The Eureka Moment

Ever have that moment when “Eureka” is the most desirable thing to say? I did last night when I was trying to go to sleep.

Earlier in the day, I was thinking about my vlog channel. What should I do with it? The topics were repetitive. I needed to be more creative if the vlog is to succeed. And while I was recording something about watching Attack on Titan on Netflix, I talked about my past experience living in Japan. I thought about it for a while, and before sleeping, it came to me. Do the vlog in the point of view of someone who has returned to his home country after years in Japan. Do vlogs about adjusting to life in Canada. This will involve a lot of discussion about living in Japan and how it compares to Canada, as well as any difficulties I’ve had adjusting to Canada again.

This may appeal to people who live in Japan, as well as expats who plan to return to their home country, and former expats. I hope it’ll have a broader appeal, too.

But I don’t plan on having it all about Japan, but also about other things, such as travel, current events, and so on.

So, what do you think? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Authors Answer 105 – New Knowledge Wishlist

Welcome to our third year of Authors Answer! This is the first question of the new season, and we’re going strong. Last week’s question had a wonderful response and proved to be a very popular question. It was shared many times on Facebook and Twitter, and I think we have to thank our guest authors for that.

This week, we tackle a topic that makes us wish we had instant knowledge. While writing, we often have to do research. But there are some subjects where we wish we could have more knowledge to aid us in our writing.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 105 – What subject or topic would you like to improve your knowledge of so you can use it in your writing?

Beth Aman

We writers joke about things that we have to research, and how we hope the FBI never looks at our internet history.  It’s true – I’ve done research on arrow wounds and stab wounds and swords and death.  I’d love to have an extensive knowledge of all of those things – swords, knives, bows, guns, wounds, death, infection, illness, edible plants, hunting, building a fire, etc.  (I write high fantasy and there’s a lot of woodsy and outdoorsy stuff.)

Jean Davis

I’d love to have the brainpower to get more into the science end of sci-fi. I tend to hang out on the softer side but there are times when more a more in depth understanding of the information would could be useful to add more sci to my fi.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Monsters. Not that I don’t have a fair bit of knowledge in that field already thanks to the types of books/shows/movies I consume, but I could always learn more. My writing genres of preference are horror and fantasy, both of which are much more enjoyable with an interesting, well-written monster, so I’d love to learn everything there is to know about things that roar and shriek and otherwise go bump in the night. Plus, the research is fun. 🙂

H. Anthe Davis

There are lots of topics I actively look up and study in preparation for writing various scenes, but it’s all from an academic standpoint — I don’t plan to go climbing mountains even though I send my characters almost to the death-zone in a few scenes, and I won’t be headed to medical school despite the intense biological focus of some of my characters’ magic, nor will I be planning any real cities or growing any real crops.  It’s always a piecemeal sort of investigation, so I just hope the details mesh well enough for people who understand the topics — that I’m not pulling them out of the story with bad information.  Frankly my answer would have to be EVERY TOPIC!

Eric Wood

I don’t think there’s just one topic. The children’s books I enjoy reading (and now writing) have a touch of truth to them. Chris Hadfield’s “The Darkest Dark” is about a child scared of the dark until he watches the moon landing on TV. He eventually grew up to be a commander on the Space Station just like its author. But I suppose if I had to pick it would be how to write realistic dialog.

D. T. Nova

The local geography of places I’ve never been. The laws of specific places as well.

I also don’t think it’s ever really possible to know so much about physics that knowing more wouldn’t be potentially useful.

Paul B. Spence

Well, I’m always reading the latest in scientific developments. There are some interesting things happening out there.

I would like to read more philosophy, religion (any), and mysticism. I think that the science of the mind and the question of what is consciousness are fascinating.

C E Aylett

Not a topic so much, but more of a skill and that skill would be how to research thoroughly and more efficiently.

Linda G. Hill

It varies in that there’s invariably something I want to know more about, every time I start a new project. What always trips me up is what my characters do for a living. It’s the one thing people in any given profession will read about with a keen eye, and I hate making mistakes!

Gregory S. Close

Right at this moment I would love to download a decade worth of research into Native American history, religion and customs directly into my brain.  I’m daunted by what I don’t know, how much I need to know it for my work in progress, and finally how little time I have to do anything about it.

Jay Dee Archer

There’s something that’s lacking for me. I write both science fiction and fantasy. I’m confident in my ability to navigate through science, geography, politics, and culture. However, the thing that I would love to improve is my knowledge of military and battle tactics and terminology. Both genres I write in often feature battles, both individual and military. I want to know about large scale military battles and strategy, as well as hand to hand combat. I need to know more about weapons, as well. It would be extremely helpful.

How about you?

What would you like to know more about? It doesn’t matter if you’re an author or a reader. Let us know in the comments below.

Top Ten Time Periods in Historic Novels I Want to Read

I love to experience different cultures through books. Seeing what life is like in different countries is very interesting. However, while we can experience those easily in modern times, it’s much more difficult to experience times from the distant past. Here are the time periods (and places) I’d like to visit through fiction:

  1. Ancient Greece, more than 2000 years ago
  2. Ancient Rome, more than 2000 years ago
  3. Ancient Japan, around 1000 years ago
  4. Mayan civilisation
  5. Incan civilisation, pre-Columbus
  6. Norway, around 1000 years ago
  7. Scotland, more than 1000 years ago
  8. Australia, before European colonisation
  9. North American plains, before European colonisation
  10. Mesopotamia

What are some time periods and civilisations would you like to read about in fiction? Let me know in the comments below.

Difficulties of Worldbuilding

I love worldbuilding. I’ve created a world, Ariadne, that is an entire planet with many countries, cities, cultures, and of course a large variety of landscapes. But making an entire world isn’t easy.

For me, some things were difficult. I think everyone excels in a different aspect while worldbuilding. Some difficulties are:

Culture

It’s so easy to create a world that’s populated by people from a single culture. But is that realistic? Not at all, especially if you’re looking at an entire world. In fantasy, it’s extremely common to have several cultures. But it’s also easy to copy cultures from other books. To make a truly unique set of cultures is difficult.

Language

If you’re not a linguist, you may have some difficulties with creating a rudimentary language. But it’s not always necessary to. A lot of fantasy novels use a “common language” or “standard tongue” or something like that, and it’s always written in English. That’s fine. But if you want to make a language, then you should probably try to set up some rules. That’s the difficult part.

History

You can’t have some cultures on a world without a history. It’s extremely important to create a history for all of the cultures. It often helps dictate cultural relations. But to create a history that goes back for hundreds or thousands of years is a lot of work. And that can be difficult.

What do you think is difficult about worldbuilding? Let me know in the comments below.

Am I Privileged?

Having lived in two countries, I can definitely tell you that my level of “privilege” is different in each country. Here in Canada, I’m part of the majority. I’m white. I’m what people would consider privileged, a white male in a rich country, married, have a kid, and a university degree. I haven’t been discriminated against in Canada.

In Japan, I have been discriminated against. A couple times, actually. I was in the minority there, so I know what it feels like to be treated differently because of my race. I was sometimes a novelty to some people.

What’s interesting is that foreigners aren’t treated differently in Canada, because people are used to them, and there are so many. Canada is an immigrant country. In Japan, there are many people who have seen tourists, but rarely interact with them, especially in the countryside. I’ve been talked about by children who stare and are surprised that there’s a foreigner near them. But of course, I did get an advantage that many Japanese people didn’t. I was treated better in some cases by the companies I worked for, because I was the product.

I took a Buzzfeed test about privilege. I find Buzzfeed mostly stupid, but I took it anyway. My privilege score was 56 out of 100. How about you?

Getting Used to Canada Again

The big skies of Alberta are so different than the building-restricted skies of Japan. The clouds are different. But I know the clouds can be incredible in summer.

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That’s just one difference I can easily get used to. But what about everything else?

So far, supermarkets are no problem. I haven’t used Tap yet, as my bank card doesn’t appear to be activated yet. I have to get that done tomorrow. But the content of supermarkets and Costco are much the same as what I remember with a few differences. A lot more flavours of potato chips, for one thing. Also, we are living in Mill Woods, which has a large Indian population, so lots of Indian foods in the supermarkets.

Getting registered for health insurance was interesting, but turned out to be no problem.

Early closing times on weekends are difficult to get used to. In Japan, everything is open as late as weekdays. Here, everything closes around 5 pm. Very annoying.

The weather hasn’t really been any different than in Japan. It’s been kind of warm. But the sunset is much, much later. Sunrise is a bit later, though.

I thought I’d hear a lot more English than I do now. Actually, this neighbourhood has a lot of Punjabi.

I think the biggest thing I have to get used to at the moment is what to say while shopping. At the cashier, there’s a lot of small talk. Nothing is said in Japan.

Well, there’s more to get used to in the coming days. There’s a bit of exciting news in the next post, coming up soon! If you have any comments, let me know in the comments below.

Canada Seems Foreign to Me

After eleven years in Japan, Canada feels like a foreign country to me. It’s familiar, but I’ve become used to Japan. Here are some things that will feel strange to me:

1. Everything is so wide open. Many wide streets, open spaces, and even significant gaps between houses.

2. Staff in shops talk to customers.

3. No temples or shrines.

4. Convenience stores aren’t convenient.

5. Less efficient public transportation system.

6. No bento, or prepared meals, in convenience stores.

7. I’ll hear and see English everywhere! A total lack of Japanese.

8. Japanese food will be different. Edo Japan is more Chinese than Japanese.

9. No variety shows on TV like Japan.

10. Toilets are in bathrooms, instead of separate rooms.

There’s more, and I’m sure I’ll be talking about them on video after we’ve moved to Canada.

Ever return to your home country after living in another country for a while and find things a bit strange? Let me know in the comments below.