Here are some newly published books that I've been busy working on for the past couple of months. Broadly speaking, all of them are "art-related": three of them mostly contain pictures, with brief essays and commentaries in Japanese and English, while two are essentially text-based.
This is a rather fabulous little book about humankind's long relationship with gourds, from containers to musical instruments to magical objects. Somewhat unassuming outwards, it is all the more striking when you take a look inside. It's printed on transparent paper, with the Japanese text to the left and my English translation to the right.
This is the English language version of the Japanese book shown to the right, and contains a series of conversations between Prof. Sugiura and other graphic designers from China, Taiwan, Korea and India. I've translated about half of it; some parts had already been done by another guy, and some parts were originally in English to begin with. This nice-looking volume has just come out (or is soon is coming out, I'm not quite sure) from Marg Publications in Mumbay, India!
Incidentally, my translation of another of Prof. Sugiura's books, Forms Come Alive: Spirits in Asian Design is forthcoming from Hong Kong later this year.
A collection of paintings by Japan's late great master of surrealist nonsense, Tiger Tateishi. They look like comics, but are actually huge oil paintings - and comics too at the same time, of course, full of science fiction gags and dimensional warps. The book contains a few bilingual essays and commentaries as well, with English translations by me.
A striking photo book about cosplayers of the night, luxuriously printed in six fluorescent colors. The shape and layout of the book is rather weird too. I translated the philosophical essay by Kai Iruma.
I happen to know the word for "butterfly" in quite a few languages. This is not because of any particularly profound interest in these winged creatures, but rather that they, like hearts and flowers, have a tendency to turn up a lot in popular songs - as symbols of female beauty or of male fickleness, as the case may be.
However, there is another striking thing about these words.
English : Butterfly
Swedish : Fjäril
Danish : Sommerfugl
German : Schmetterling
French : Papillon
Italian : Farfalla
Spanish : Mariposa
Portuguese : Borboleta
They are all totally different! Even in closely related Western European languages, where otherwise most terms tend to derive from a common Romanic or Germanic root.
I have no idea why this is, and don't know any other examples like this.
Apparently, the Dutch word is "vlinder", which once again is completely unrelated to the rest, but this is the only one I had to look up in a dictionary so I cannot really vouch for it. I guess I don't listen to a lot of Dutch popular music.