venerdì 14 ottobre 2011

Julie Otsuka: "Come, Japanese!"

Come, Japanese! (from the novel The Buddha in the Attic) 
Julie Otsuka

[This excerpt was published in the Spring 2011 issue of "Granta" (114: Aliens)]

  "On the boat we were mostly virgins. We had long black hair and flat wide feet and we were not very tall. Some of us had eaten nothing but rice gruel as young girls and had slightly bowed legs, and some of us were only fourteen years old and were still young girls ourselves. Some of us came from the city, and wore stylish city clothes, but many more of us came from the country and on the boat we wore the same old kimonos we’d been wearing for years – faded hand-me-downs from our sisters that had been patched and re-dyed many times. Some of us came from the mountains and had never before seen the sea, except for in pictures, and some of us were the daughters of fishermen who had been around the sea all our lives. Perhaps we had lost a brother or father to the sea, or a fiancé, or perhaps someone we loved had jumped into the water one unhappy morning and simply swum away, and now it was time for us, too, to move on.

Japanese immigrants arrive at Angel Island Immigration Station. Thousands of "picture brides" passed through the station between 1910 and 1924.
Credit: California State Parks Collection
  On the boat the first thing we did – before deciding who we liked and didn’t like, before telling each other which one of the islands we were from, and why we were leaving, before even bothering to learn each other’s names – was to compare photographs of our husbands. They were handsome young men with dark eyes and full heads of hair and skin that was smooth and unblemished. Their chins were strong. Their posture, good. Their noses were straight and high. They looked like our brothers and fathers back home, only better dressed, in grey frock coats and fine Western three-piece suits. Some of them were standing on sidewalks in front of wooden A-frame houses with white picket fences and neatly mowed lawns, and some were leaning in driveways against Model T Fords. Some were sitting in studios on stiff high-backed chairs with their hands neatly folded and staring straight into the camera, as though they were ready to take on the world. All of them had promised to be there, waiting for us, in San Francisco, when we sailed into port."

Keep reading HERE.

11 commenti:

  1. Non te lo so dire di preciso... vedo ora su che l'uscita di "Venivano tutte per mare" (questo sarà il titolo italiano) è prevista per il 14 ottobre 2011, e cioè... oggi!

  2. Ok, grazie mille... Anche se ho appena letto le pagine in lingua originale e sono molto indecisa su quale delle due versioni prendere... però sono molto curiosa anche della traduzione italiana... Intanto leggendo queste poche pagine posso già dire che mi sembra un libro che prende davvero tanto...

  3. Sì, è bellissimo. E non è mia abitudine lodare un libro solo perché l'ho tradotto io (motivo, questo, per cui non posso consigliarti se leggere l'edizione in italiano o quella in inglese!).

  4. Certo! Figurati, magari li leggerò entrambi! Ancora più interessante per chi magar come me si occupa di traduzione. Perché no!Grazie comunque!

  5. Sarebbe bello potersi confrontare di più su questioni legate alla traduzione. Se vuoi, sono sempre contenta di parlarne!

  6. Certo molto volentieri! Avrei sicuramente molto da imparare da te! Quando vuoi!

  7. Interessatissima a questo libro! Grazie della presentazione!

  8. E uno dei più bei libri letti in questi ultimi anni. E che bella traduzione!