Today there's a guest post by Amanda Sun, author of Ink.
She will tell you about Summer Festivals in Japan.
Summer is one of the best times to visit Japan. I mean sure, the weather is so hot and humid that you’re constantly dabbing your face with a towel and sweating the minute you step out of the shower, but it’s not so bad if you remind yourself what winter back home is like. And anyway, summer in Japan means festivals. Fireworks, vendors selling kakigori (shaved ice), hot sweet potatoes, barbecued corn, sweets…and lots of fun festival games like catching goldfish and yo-yo tsuri (balloons you have to “fish” for in a plastic kiddie pool).
So much fun! And that’s why, as you’ll know if you’ve read the sneak peek at the back of INK, I decided to start RAIN at a Japanese festival. I wanted to share the sights, sounds, and smells of a Japanese festival with readers through Katie’s first experience of one. The music, the crowds, the beautiful yukata (summer kimonos) the girls wear…and the fireworks when it’s dark. There are even special little fireworks you can light and hold. Sort of like sparklers, but in more variety than we have here.
The first Japanese festival I attended was Gion Matsuri in Kyoto. Oh, the crowds! I could barely move through them to reach my waiting friends. But what a happy gathering of people! The music and chatter around me as the floats loaded with gleaming paper lanterns rolled along the street…I’ll never forget being a part of the ebb and flow of the crowd, with the old traditions alongside the new, the sound of the old instruments and the smell of the bonito flakes sizzling on top of the takoyaki (breaded octopus).
It’s into a similar swirl of sounds and activity that Katie starts Book 2 of The Paper Gods. What can I tell you about RAIN? Well, it’s another mini-vacation to Shizuoka, Japan. Wearing a yukata, tasting festival foods (plenty of food in RAIN in general!), looking at the items for sale in the market stalls. And it’s about seeing that mix of old and new culture that make up Japanese life. And just like that mix of new and old, RAIN will look into Katie and Tomo’s origins, and what makes them who they are. There will be more of Jun too, and some of the answers you may be looking for after reading INK.
I hope you enjoy this look into the summer festivals of Japan! If you can’t wait until April 2014, check out the first chapter at the back of INK to experience it for yourself. And I hope you all look forward to the next book in The Paper Gods.
May your summer be full of fireworks, games, happiness, and good food!
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.
Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.
Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.
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