Swet Columns

Toda Natsuko Talks About Her Life

If you watch English-language movies in Japan, you have probably seen the name Natsuko Toda in the subtitling credits. She is at the pinnacle of her profession. You may have wondered about the foundations of this pinnacle if, reading some of her subtitles, like me, you occasionally suffer a mental snort of disapproval at her Japanese renderings of English. Ms.... more

The New Self-Publishing in Japan: Seven Things You Need to Know

By Kathleen Morikawa

Since February 2013, I’ve called Zon (aka Amazon) home. Most of this galaxy’s self-publishers do. It’s a planet all our own where we try to survive, thrive and keep our books alive. Zon has many rules and many residents who try to skirt, ignore and overcome the rules. It’s a place inhabited by those who excel... more

Bento Books: A Translator-Driven Publisher

By Avery Fischer Udagawa

Alexander O. Smith, Tony Gonzalez, and Joseph Reeder founded Bento Books in 2011 to “bring contemporary Japanese fiction to new audiences.” The company has since published titles such as Math Girls by Hiroshi Yuki, translated by Gonzalez, and Cage on the Sea by Kaoru Ohno, translated by Giles Murray. Here the cofounders respond to questions from SWET about... more

Editing for an NGO: Eric Johnston’s Advice

by Stuart Ayre

What does it take to be a successful editor for a non-governmental organization (NGO)? And within an NGO, what is explicitly and implicitly expected of contributors? People have a tendency to blithely take on NGO work, editing and otherwise, without properly considering what is really being asked. Whatever altruistic intentions a person may have, what should be... more

Walking Through History and Writing about Culture

by Sumiko Enbutsu

On a hot July day in 2009, SWET’s Summer Party featured a kaiseki lunch at the Kantokutei restaurant in Tokyo’s Koishikawa Kōrakuen garden and a talk by Sumiko Enbutsu. Author of Discover Shitamachi: A Walking Guide to the Other Tokyo (1984), Water Walks in the Suburbs of Tokyo (2000), A Flower Lover’s Guide to Tokyo (Kodansha International,... more

Swimming with the Flow

by Jiho Sargent

Jiho Sargent was a technical writer and editor, proofreader, programming expert, and a SWET stalwart for more than two decades. She was also a Buddhist priest who served for a time at Taisoji near Sugamo station. Her health took a turn for the worse in 2006, however, and she decided to return to the United States to live... more