Monday, August 31, 2009

If you (and your friends etc) are looking for a wedding dress slip size 4, you may visit...

Monday, August 24, 2009

My black cat was watching my dead bonsai tree and thought,

"Oh, Bonsai,
How you are dry
Like my my food."

................--O-Yuki the black cat

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My thesis project was accepted yesterday and Aaron congratulated me with my new favorite yellow flower.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Announcing a new national poetry prize to be based at Indiana University South Bend:

2010 Lester M. Wolfson Poetry Award

Deadline March 1, 2010.

Judge: David Dodd Lee, Series Editor

The Lester R. Wolfson Poetry Award is being created in an effort to bring fresh and original voices to the poetry reading public. The prize will be offered annually to any poet writing in English, including poets who have never published a full length book as well as poets who have published several. New and Selected collections of poems are also welcome.

The winning poet will receive $1,000 and publication of his or her book. The winner will also be invited to give a reading at Indiana University South Bend as part of the release of the book. Finalists, other than the prize-winning manuscript, will be considered for publication. The final selection will be made by the Series Editor. Current or former students or employees of Indiana
University South Bend, as well as friends of the Series Editor, are not eligible for the prize.

There is a $25, non-refundable, entry fee, made payable to Wolfson Press. There is no limit on the number of entries an author may submit. Simultaneous submissions are fine, in fact they are encouraged, just please withdraw your manuscript if it gets taken for publication elsewhere. Please include a SASE with each entry. Please include a self-addressed postage paid postcard if you desire confirmation of manuscript receipt. No manuscripts will be returned. Entries sent by e-mail or fax are not permitted; they will be disqualified.

On your cover sheet include name, address, phone number, and e-mail. The manuscript should be paginated and include a table of contents and acknowledgments page. Manuscripts will be accepted starting December 1, 2009, and ending deadline will be March 1, 2010. Manuscripts received prior to December 1, or postmarked after March 1, will be recycled and the entry fee returned. The winner will receive 50 copies of his or her book. With questions e-mail

Mail manuscripts to:
Lester R. Wolfson Poetry Award
Indiana University South Bend
Department of English
1700 Mishawaka Avenue
P. O. Box 7111
South Bend, IN 46634-7111

For more information and updates, please visit:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"White Avenue" and "Shigeru" are accepted by Epiphany / a Literary journal.


I slough off your blanket; your pubic hair: my lost
long hair; my toe dampens in a muddled snow rut;
snow: soundless snowflake, falls; I wear mourning:
the snow white mourning; a cloud flows in vacancy:
the vacant moon: no headlights; I carry my lithograph;
the plastic lithograph glued with a half eaten rotten
tomato; I die; no spring clod; no green stars:
his green eyes; sleet hisses on my skin when the first
acid rain: oval mauve acid, falls on my nape; a nameless
tree: the smallest vermeil bud opens; I’m a marionette; his
wrist: his artery: the warmest artery of his forefinger;
my thigh; his pulse: it is spring; the warmest spring;
footprints of deer are on the snow rut; I’m naked; the naked
heart: rotten tomatoes under the white blanket.


My grandfather received
his name on February 9, 1919. When he died,
he lost his name on the whitest
sheets in a nook of the hospital

It was November 9, 2008. A monk
gave him a posthumous Buddhist name.
It was written in poor
calligraphy on a memorial tablet. Shigeru,
the old name, slowly

whittled away in incense. It smoldered.
Chrysanthemums and orchids shrouded

the corpse. It was laid on an iron
board at a crematorium. When the eighteenth
oven was opened, I touched his limp
cheeks one more time. My grandmother placed
two stones from a Japanese chessboard with his glasses.

At the seventeenth oven, a little boy called, “Papa.”
A woman held him from falling into it. The nineteenth
oven rang as if an elevator
reached the last floor of this life. Fifty-seven

minutes later, my grandfather was ash. His skull,
cracked sternum, and a titanium
joint between his femur and shin. His burnt
bowels were green on the iron board. One
stone rested next to his melted glasses. I wanted.

I picked up the remnant. My fingertips were scalded.
The stone tumbled asunder by my feet.
The pieces on the ground like debris
after war. His friends were killed as war

criminals without trial after seven
Japanese colonels were hanged in 1946 when he was on a ship.
Two bags of saccharin and his torn permit to enter Japan;
the atomic bombs. War
orphans gazed at him by the shore in China. Toward the east,

his mother prayed for her son. Morning
glories are always purple under rubble. I closed

the elevator at his apartment. I carried
his ash. It was still warm. When the elevator arrived,
it rang. I was home. He stood by the sanzu-river.

A lantern lit on the boat.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Downtown South Bend News

July 8, 2009 — SOUTH BEND, IN – Downtown South Bend, Inc. (DTSB) and the Art Beat steering committee are pleased to announce the winner of the annual Art Beat Commemorative Print Contest. This year’s winning artist, Naoko Fujimoto, is a Japanese poet and fine artist living in South Bend. The artwork titled, Wedding Treasure Hunting at Art Beat, is a colorful pastel pencil and mixed material piece reflecting Fujimoto’s Japanese upbringing and culture.

Fujimoto commented on the thoughts behind creating Wedding Treasure Hunting at Art Beat. “This piece expresses the desire of a bride who realizes her wedding is the day after Art Beat! She is always a last minute person and is still missing many items needed for the wedding. The bride’s artistic friends, who make fabulous customized dresses, hats, accessories, party favors, stained glass candle holders and other beautiful things, are showcasing their works at Art Beat. This work of art gleefully depicts the bride rushing around Art Beat to collect what she needs for her wedding day.”

Fujimoto’s original print will be used in the design and creation of all 2009 Art Beat marketing and promotional materials which include; large commemorative prints, t-shirts, a program book, postcards, billboards and flyers.

Art Beat, in its seventh year, is a free public event to be held along the streets of downtown South Bend. The talents and works of fine, culinary and performing artists from five surrounding counties will be showcased for an entire day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Art Beat, traditionally held on a Thursday evening, will take place on Saturday, September 26 in conjunction with the official unveiling of the George Rickey kinetic sculpture installations on Michigan Street in downtown South Bend. “Usually held on a Thursday evening, Art Beat has moved to a Saturday to incorporate the opening celebrations of the multi-million dollar George Rickey sculpture exhibit in downtown and to accommodate a full days worth of activities for artists and visitors.” stated Art Beat co-chair Jitin Kain.

Visual Artists interested in registering can visit and then follow the directions for online registration. Culinary and performing artists can download a registration form for this year’s event, but cannot register on-line. Completed registration forms should be turned in by August 3, 2009 for consideration by the Art Beat Steering Committee. Participants are encouraged to visit the ArtsEverywhere Website at: and create their free profile for added exposure.

For more information on DTSB and other downtown South Bend events, visit: or call 574.282.1110.

Friday, August 7, 2009

This is not a Wedding Dress.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Writing Carrier

Becoming an American is expensive, painful, and sadly not exciting! I have already spent at least two thousand dollars to apply for permanent residency and working status, and my bank account is lighter than my cat’s hair. All my savings are gone. The savings for my wedding ceremony is gone. I have never experienced this insecure feeling of lacking finances. My death metal guy has two jobs to support me (with college) and we do not have enough time to spend even though we are a newly married couple. My working visa has not arrived yet so I stay at home looking at bills and bills and pretend to be a housewife. Well, I will eventually overcome this situation and earn money again, so I need to stop whining.

Let me whine just one more time. When I realized that I am actually one of thousands of immigrants here, my brain recalls a black and white movie about Elise Island I had seen on the History Channel. Hundreds of people lined up in the immigration office and received physical exams listening to unfamiliar languages. Some people seemed not to trust doctors and nurses; perhaps, they did not want to agree with the American way of exams. Some other people looked so lost on the first day in the new country. Failures of the exams were sent back to home countries or quarantined in hospitals separating them from their family. I wonder if they had regretted coming to America during those physical examinations?

I did. Last week, I had three painful shots of Diphtheria/Tetanus, Measles Mumps Rubella, and Tuberculosis so I was light headed a bit seeing the needles. In addition, I had two blood tests for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Syphilis. I was shocked by the two particular blood tests and felt alienated. I would like to complain that all immigrants do not have HIV or syphilis. Besides, I have not heard of syphilis since I took a history class in high school—Spanish adventurers brought the new virus to Europe coming back from South America in the fifteenth century— now it is the twenty first century, every immigrant is somehow infected by HIV, do really people think like that?

My Death Metal Guy explained to me that it is the government’s job to protect its people, and also that it protects the immigrants. He said that if an immigrant did come in with something, infected parts of a town, then the townspeople could become very prejudice, almost hostile without reason toward the immigrant, who probably did not know they had anything to begin with. I really understand what he said; moreover, nurses and doctors were very kind during the exams. I still did not like the shots or the feeling I got from needing them, but the people were nice and it all went well.

I knew that I am healthy, but when I received a result of the blood tests, I felt nervous to open the letter. Yes, I knew it. I am so healthy. I really understand American government would like to make sure all immigrants are healthy and wealthy enough to stay in America but total medical costs made my headache and my bank account more diarrheal because those exams unfortunately are not covered by health insurance.

However, the blood tests and shots are just the beginning of receiving a permanent residency status. Next week, I will have a USCIS immigration medical exam by authorized physicians, and then I will have identification interviews in the near future. I am scared by movies and stories about “green cards” and how the interviewer tries to trick people and find out fake marriages.

I heard that some questions are very personal like “what is your husband’s type of underwear and color right now?” I imagine that if the husband had a recent nervous experience in the public restroom and changed his briefs to trunks and their color red to yellow with Sponge Bob, the wife will be deported and their marriage will disappear into the Pacific Ocean with the yellow trunks. My stomach hurts if I think about screwing up my interviews; plus, death metal guy and I already have a disagreement with how we met. He said, “We met a coffee house on a storm afternoon” and I said, “No, we met at my art exhibition.” Our conversations are like a Beetle’s song, “You say yes, I say no…oh no…”

During the physical exams and processing paper documents, the Japanese ambassador suggested I do not leave America until it is over. Receiving a permanent residency takes three to six months. I wanted to spend the summer in Japan with my family, but I will patiently wait for my new status because the most difficult part— finding my prince charming— is checked.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Writing Carrier

Yes, I did not clearly answer the previous questions like: “How do you learn writing in the second language?” in the last blog post.

If readers are looking for particular answers on those questions, they should read books about how to write. There are tons of great textbooks. My writing professors used “The Poet’s Companion” by Kim Addonizio, “Your Life as Story” by Triatine Rainer, “Proofs & Theories” by Louise Gluck, “The Triggering Town” by Richard Hugo, etc… But I cannot guarantee that those textbooks are useful for each writing goal. If the readers can afford taking college classes with those professors, it may be a good idea for them to develop their own writing processes. In addition, if the readers truly want to understand how I learned writing in a second language, they may try to write some short stories or poems in their familiar second languages— French, Spanish, and German— those experiences may open their new ability to be creative.

To the truth those textbooks is that I do not understand what the authors really want to teach about how to write from that directly because at the some point in their essays, the authors confess that writing is not able to be taught. Writing is something like meditation and self-satisfaction. The writers have to learn how to write themselves. In that sense, it is the journey and not the destination, practice more than final product, and freedom to experiment with no expectations.

Meanwhile, I agree with Richard Hugo when he wrote “A good creative-writing teacher can save a good writer a lot of time. Writing is tough, and many wrong paths can be taken. If we are doing our job, creative-writing teachers are performing a necessary negative function. And if we are good teachers, we should be teaching the writers ways of doing that for himself all his writing life. We teach how not to write and teach writers to teach themselves how not to write. When we teach how to write, the student had best be on guard.” What he is talking about is personal style. When one simply imitates great authors, they become a ‘cover band’ of sorts and lacks the foundation for personal creativity.

I took Professor David Dodd Lee’s advance poetry classes for three years and learned a lot. I learned how to be honest in writing processes with the first narrative. I obsess with certain words and themes and write without fear of morality, public, and readers’ rejection. Probably my poems are built entirely on his writing poetry philosophy and lectures.

Then, I understand that I am good at writing in the first narrative with random thoughts and not good at writing straight forward messages like love confessions or research papers with fact and proof. I wonder why I took so long to finish my thesis analysis paper, “Challenging Louise Gluck, Failing, and Finding My Own Style in Meadowsweet, Koi Kokoro.” It took a half year to write and revise ten pages (as an excuse, my advisor disappeared for his vacation for two months).

There are many professors who influence my writing; for example, Dr. Elian Bender. She used to tell me all the time, “Naoko, write a story for each particular reason,” so I wrote “Meadowsweet, Koi Kokoro” for my thesis project. I read a direction of proposal guidelines for directed writing projects, needed to have a theory and scholarship, and realized that I did not have any confidence to discuss about my poems following the guideline. Therefore, I took a reverse process— I read Gluck’s theory and wrote a poem to fit in that theory.

It is not cheating to ignore my other poems and not explain them in my thesis. I simply do not understand why theories are so important. And at the same time, it is sometimes sad that I cannot clearly explain how I make decisions on line breaks and words using scholar’s opinions. But I am sometimes angry when my poem has to fit in one of those theories all the time.

So I have a brilliant idea that if I make my own theory, I do not have to have those conflicts any more. I start new column in my blog as “Writing Carrier.” I simply need to write something after the weekly column of “Empty Suitcase” and simply want to be a drama queen in a writer’s community.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Seeking Analecta Editor

When the new semester begins, the Publications Board will be accepting applications for the position of Editor of our student literary journal, Analecta. Applicants will be interviewed by the board. This is a paid position–a $600 stipend.

Duties include: advertising for submissions, reading and deciding on work (poems, stories, nonfiction, artwork) to be included in the issue, finding and working with an artist on the cover and design, creating a file of the final issue to send to the publisher, working with the publisher to make sure the journal is available in April, etc.