Archive for the ‘Lucky cat’ Category

Summer holiday brings new ideas (and new Lucky Cat photos)

August 1, 2011

Story ideas come from many places and experiences, and there was plenty to inspire on a recent family holiday, which took me to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Old Quebec, and New York City, with train travel in between. You can read about my search for Lucky Cats in New York City on the Lucky Cat – Maneki Neko blog. To give you a taste, here are a couple photos I like, which didn’t make it into the Lucky Cat post:

If you’re interested in some glimpses of the rest of my trip, here’s the link to the photos I posted on my Facebook page.

Book Party!

April 26, 2011

My new book is out! Mystery of the Missing Luck (Orca Book Publishers), illustrated by Leanne Franson, is a chapter book for ages 6-8 about a young girl, her relationship with her grandmother, and what happens when Maneki Neko, a lucky cat statue, goes missing from the grandmother’s Japanese bakery.

Usually, when I have a new book published, I celebrate with a launch event at a library, book store, or other physical venue. This time, I’m trying something new –a virtual book tour, online book give-a-ways, and a special Missing Luck – Lucky Cat contest. The prize is a Lucky Cat bag full of unique Maneki Neko (beckoning cat) items from Japan (including a cute plush beckoning cat, a wooden prayer plaque from Gotokuji Temple where the first Maneki Neko originated, tabi socks, hashi/chopsticks, stickers, candy, charm, etc. as well as a signed copy of my new book). Anyone can enter the Missing Luck – Lucky Cat contest here on my blog or on Facebook. All you have to do to enter the contest is leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post letting me know you’d like to enter and telling me why you’d like to win our great prize pack. Leave a comment on my Facebook page for an extra chance to win. The Missing Luck contest is being co-sponsored by the Lucky Cat – Maneki Neko blog and Lucky Cat Facebook page, so you have even more chances of winning by leaving comments there as well. Spread the word by posting a link to the contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter, let us know, and we’ll give you an extra draw entry. We’ll be holding the draw May 20 and announcing the winner here and on Facebook.

Follow me on my tour as I hop from blog to blog, sharing stories about how I came to write Mystery of the Missing Luck, visited the home of the first Maneki Neko in Japan, and learned about an-pan, a special Japanese bun that inspired a cartoon super hero. Leave a comment after one of my blog posts, and the host will enter your name in a draw for a copy of Mystery of the Missing Luck. There will be a book given away at each blog stop (4 separate book give-a-ways, plus a book with the Missing Luck prize pack).

Teachers, if you have a class that would like to enter any of the draws, students can enter individually, or the whole class can enter as one (if a class wins the Missing Luck prize pack, I’ll make sure there are enough Lucky Cat candies for everyone in the class to try one, and I’ll add a class set of Mystery of the Missing Luck bookmarks). A downloadable teachers’ guide to the book will be available from Orca’s website.

Mystery of the Missing Luck tour schedule (2011):

April 28 – I’ll be visiting the blog of kc dyer, author of historical and contemporary fiction for kids and teens, including A Walk Through a Window and its sequel Facing Fire

May 2 – Check out my post on the site of Orca Book Publishers

May 6 – Find me at the blog of Tanya Lloyd Kyi, author of Burn: The Life Story of Fire, Jared Lester, Fifth Grade Jester, and other fiction and non-fiction titles

May 7 – I’ll be breaking with the virtual theme by joining the Burnaby Library‘s celebration of Canadian Children’s Book Week in person (at the Metrotown library branch)

May 11 – My stop will be the Children’s Writers and Illustrators of BC (CWILL BC) blog

May 18 – I’ll be joining fellow Orca authors for a group book launch (yes, this one is also live and in person) at Vancouver Kidsbooks, 3083 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC, 7pm [Note: this is a change of location from the previously announced, Ardea Books]

May 19 (or shortly after) – see photos of the group launch on Orca’s blog and the CWILL BC blog

May 20 – Missing Luck – Lucky Cat prize draw! [note: contest now closed, but if you’re interested in Lucky Cats there may be a future Maneki Neko-themed contest on the Lucky Cat blog and/or Facebook site]

Please ask for Mystery of the Missing Luck at your local book store, or order it through IndieboundAmazon.comAmazon.ca, or Chapters/Indigo. [note: if you plan on ordering the book through Amazon, please use my links -thanks!]

Travel stories

May 27, 2009

At my last book club meeting the conversation went from discussing A Year in Provence to sharing humorous travel stories (book club tangents are often more interesting than the actual book discussions). After hearing about several hilarious mishaps, inadvertent cultural faux pas, and near-disasters (most, funny only from the safety of hindsight and home), it occurred to me that problem-free trips do not make for very interesting travel anecdotes.

Both my trips to Japan were so well choreographed and shepherded by friends, that there was little opportunity for me to get lost, botch anything up, or encounter any risks or pitfalls. The funniest things to happen on my latest trip was having to ask a male friend to help me decipher the Japanese on feminine hygiene products (he was unable to offer any enlightenment as to the reason for the pictures of rabbits and flying pigs). The only other funny thing was, apparently, my pronunciation of Japanese words, which baffled some people and highly entertained others. Also, running out of money 2/3 the way through the trip did lead to some unexpected challenges and suspense.

So, if no problems means no stories, than I’m relieved to say I have no real stories to tell about my trip. However, that doesn’t mean I have no stories to tell. They just wont be about me.

Some of my favourite places and things experienced on my recent trip:

– stopping to eat a box lunch overlooking the Oi River and the lush green mountainside of Arashiyama (storm mountain), Kyoto

– hearing uguisu, the Japanese nightingale, call in the bamboo forest beside an old inari shrine

– shopping for kimono fabric and antiques at Kitano Tenmangu market, Kyoto (and escaping from the rain in a tiny tofu hot pot restaurant)

– eating a delicious lunch of fresh vegetables, rice and grilled tofu braised with miso sauce (if you scoff at the idea of tofu tasting good, then you’ve never eaten in Japan!), followed by exploring a school for samurai, a castle, and a ninja house

– enjoying the view from Kiyumizu Temple in Kyoto and Roppongi Tower in Tokyo

– following the beckoning cats signs to Gotokuji temple, the home of the first maneki-neko (lucky cat)

– experiencing Kabuki

– soaking in a natural hotspring beside a river in Wakayama

– walking down ancient stones stairs to the base of Nachi Falls

– following a crow through the huge tori gate at Kumano Taisha, the shrine of the three-legged crow

– walking on the old Tokaido hwy through the historic town of Seki-cho and sitting in a 370 year old shop interviewing the 13th and 14th generation wagashi-makers (who may or may not be related to ninjas)

– meeting highschool and university students, and chatting with people at my talks

– basking in the hospitality and kindness of friends and acquaintances (old and new)

 
I came away with two notebooks full of notes and ideas, as well as over 2000 photos (mostly for research and to help jog my memory), so look for a future story — possibly involving a 17th century girl, a wagashi shop, ninjas, a fire, and a trip on the old Tokaido hwy.… (that is, after the maneki-neko story).

trip-collage2