* The Tea Lies teas + paper horses only went out in the mail today, because I am terrible. Sorry! I included some extra stuff in there, as I presently have way too many tea sample packets lying around.

* I was translating Kazuya Minekura's blog posts for a while. People who were reading those will remember that she has an assistant blog-named Ringo, who is some kind of evil cake wizard who makes evil cakes.

Well, Ringo was at her dark work again for Christmas. Minekura's big text when the cake is unveiled says "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS."

It's a reindeer and Santa. It's not actually intended to be a Don't Hug Me I'm Scared cake.

And I missed a Ringo doom-cake for Minekura's birthday last April, too! Man, I had one job. That one's supposed to be Minekura's dachshund Kurosawa. I'm sure you'll work this out just looking at the post, but "あ" is how you write "a". Other useful Japanese vocabulary you will learn from this cake: "nori," "edamame," and "Black Mass."

I'm growing concerned that Ringo might secretly be Ukoku.

I do not foresee having the energy/visual focus necessary to actually translate these posts soon, so I would urge someone else to do so? They're probably somehow important to like. Future plot events in Saiyuki.
And this will continue for the foreseeable future. However, Minekura's birthday was the 23rd, and for reasons that will become clear, I felt an obligation to share her post on the subject with the Anglophone world. Also, her pictures, and her font-size selections.

I was a lot looser with the translation than usual this time, as I felt that the tone of this particular post would not be well-served by my usual stilted attempts at technical fidelity. (But if I screwed up something important, tell me so I can fix it.)

For context, Kinoko-no-Yamas are an inexpensive sort of cookie-ish thing. They're hard and crunchy, and thus not something a person with an artificial jaw could easily eat.


Black Swan

On March 23rd, I turned thirty-seven (or something). I received a lot of good wishes on Twitter and on the cell phone site - thank you all. I'm a very lucky person. I'm doing my best to pay you back, bit by bit. I'm working on a thank-you picture for all the people who commented on the birthday project on Minekura.net, which will be ready in a few more days.

Anyway, I'd might as well treat this blog like a blog, and talk about my birthday!

Because the day fell during a lull in work, we decided to get together and have a party. I was excited. When we got started, the current youngster in the group (though she's been working with me since the beginning of Gaiden), Ringo-chan (not her real name), told me that she was going to make a cake.

We've experienced Ringo-chan's astonishing cooking skills many times in the past. For example, last Christmas, after informing us mundanely, "I'm going to make a chocolate house!", she proceeded to produce something resembling a set of chocolate ruins, a deep crevice torn violently through the center. Into this crevice, she had crammed three boxfulls of Kinoko-no-Yamas, which were held down by a chocolate Santa Claus to prevent them from escaping. It was hellish scene reminiscent of Auschwitz.

...Incidentally, I assume that she did not actually expect me to eat any of this, given the state of my jaw.

Read more... )
This is the last and longest of the three posts that went up on Minekura's blog on April 1st. As before, things I wasn't sure of are in gray text.

Cut for length. )
This is the first of the three posts that went up April 1st. It's mainly promotional stuff for the Gaiden OVA.

In this one, I'm including small versions of the pictures she posted, mainly because I think the last one's funny.

Cut for length and images. )
There are two other posts, but they're mainly promotional stuff, so I thought I should do this one first.

As always, stuff I wasn't sure of is in gray text; let me know if you have corrections.

The Pacific Coast Touhoku Earthquake (This post will stay at the top.)

To those who were affected by the Touhoku earthquake of March 11th, I want to extend my most earnest condolences. I pray every day that recovery can be quick.

When the manager of the cell phone site told me that people were worrying about me, I was embarrassed. My sense of balance was affected by the surgery on my head, so I was throwing up for three days after the major earthquake, but that passed and I'm fine.

...But more importantly, to those who lived in the seriously affected areas - I can't find the words. To people who are already desperately trying to keep things together, it seems unthinkable just to say something like, "Try your best!" Even though I'm a writer, I can't put together even an imperfect statement - I'm such a useless creature. It's pathetic.

I wish I could do something for those who haven't been able to get back to their normal lives because of the aftershocks, and those who are living in areas hit with nuclear problems - but in my condition I would only cause more trouble if I went to help. So for now I can only think of my readers and do my best at my own work.

There were a lot of Saiyuki and Bus Gamer towels sitting in a storehouse at work, which I got to send to a nearby relief warehouse. They may have been thinking, "Where did all these weird towels come from...?", but I won't feel embarrassed about it - if they get to people who need them, I'm happy.

- 2011-04-01 00:05
The second of two posts that went up on the 15th; my translation of the first is here. Sorry for the delay.

As before, stuff I wasn't sure of is in gray. As with last time, there are several sentences in here where I was really guessing: both of the gray sections in the first paragraph, and the very last sentence in the last paragraph.

Work talk.

I was responsible for the storyboarding for the OP and ED of the Saiyuki Gaiden OVA. This was my one-eyed immediately-post-hospital project. *laugh* At first I hadn't planned to be drawing, but they'd been waiting for me to get out of the hospital... Thanks to my staff for working so hard! I got to see the finished volume one the other day, but the whole time Tenpou was on the screen, I was going "kyaa!" (laugh) That sort of character's so obnoxious.

It's late to be announcing this, but a Saiyuki Gaiden OVA Part 1 event has been announced for Ikebukuro on February 19th! There are more details here. For the first time in a long time, all four of the voice actors for the Sanzo-ikkou (Gaiden-ikkou?) will be there together - everyone's been working hard to set up a Talk Corner with them. Health-permitting, I'm going to try my best to be there, too. Oh, and I also made a special illustration for the event's pamphlets. There will also be Gaiden merchandise on sale (and merchandise from last winter for resale).

The fifth and final volume of the Saiyuki Gaiden drama CD will go on sale through Zero Sum on February 28th. Like before, I made exclusive illustrations for the cover and inner facing material! I was also in charge of writing a special omake segment. Once it's out, I'll post more details, including a report on the postrecording.

To the people from the cell phone site, thanks for all the New Years greetings again this year! The site managers packaged them all up stylishly for me again. There were so many that I just looked at this huge sheaf and thought, How can there be this many when I'm not even drawing manga...!?

So I've made it so everyone can download the New Years greetings image. ...Yeah, it's that rabbit guy. (laugh) Apparently the combination of crows and rabbits is lucky in China, so you can definitely expect good things to happen.

I'm trying not to blurt out all the new things I have to tell you all at once. First of all, in March some color illustrations from the new project are going to run in WARD and Zero Sum. They'll also include a "Commemorative OVA Release Saiyuki Gaiden Booklet," for which I drew four color pictures, for the including for the front and back covers. I put a lot into them, so really hope you like it! I'll give more details when we get closer to the release date. We've decided also to put some of it online, so please check back here!
This is the first of two posts that went up today; I may not have time to work on the second one until next week, if someone else wants to do it.

Things I wasn't sure about are in gray text. And I really wasn't sure about that last sentence; I'd appreciate it if someone else would take a look at it.

February Status Report

It's Minekura. Sorry for dumping a big empty space here. (sweat)

It's because I've been on bed rest - I lie, it's actually because I've been incredibly busy. I know I'm worrying people, but I've already been working on editing, project-planning, making 10 color pages (what?), and a bunch of other things! It's been about a year since the postrecording. I'm feeling well. Well, no, I'm not feeling well, but my days are stabilizing. I've gotten good at using my artificial jaw. I'm still really messed up and in a lot of discomfort, but when I'm working I can forget about all that. Things are better.

At the end of last year, when there were all these shock headlines saying "Kazuya Minekura's Face Collapses!", I started hearing from a lot of people - old acquaintances, friends from out of town - and even having people go out of their way to come see me. Somehow I started feeling lucky...? (laugh) An older man who got the same jaw removal surgery I did years ago sent me some advice; since it's such a rare procedure, that was really encouraging.

At first the facial collapse was as bad as when Koriki Choushuu becomes collapsed-in-the-oven-Koriki-Choushuu*. The scars are still in the process of shrinking, so we don't know how much I'm going to collapse, but the pain and itchiness drives me crazy every day. I don't mind the pain so much, but the itching is torture. (bitter laugh)

...In other news, as I mentioned before, becase of the effect on my right eye, sometimes, when doing fiddly work, my eyes won't focus. So for a while I'll be coloring using the Copics less and the computer more. - well, I've actually already done several pictures with Copics and colored pencils, but it turns out that it's a lot less strain to work on the computer, where I can blow a small detail up to fill the whole screen... Personally I prefer working with Copics, because they're faster, so I hope to use them when I'm feeling up to it.

I've started working on things other than painting (writing and stuff). Before I can go back to working on manga, I think I need to study and absorb and grow bigger (not bodily, but as a person) - like I'm doing a study abroad. Please keep an eye on me, everyone.

* Koriki Choushuu is a comedian; I assume she's referring to some kind of sketch he does here, but Google is not helping me.

Edited next morning to fix messed-up gray-out tags. Sorry!
There have actually been several new posts on Minekura's blog since I last translated one here, but I haven't had time to do them, and may not for a while. I apologize for the especially rough quality of this translation - I haven't been reading much Japanese recently, so I'm completely off my game. As always, if you have corrections, let me know. Passages I'm not sure of are marked in gray text.

Minekura says this in the entry itself, but I'll reiterate it here: her condition's extremely unpleasant, and she doesn't mince words in describing it. If you think it'll upset you, you really shouldn't click on the cut.


"I'm home."

This is Minekura. With your help, I've come back to life.

My family carried your gifts to me every single day in the hospital. The thousand-cranes... no, the tens-of-thousands-of-cranes filled the room until it was overflowing. The nurses said they'd never seen so many. After the surgery, when it hurt so bad I wanted to scream, the bright colors of the decorations in the room were incredibly encouraging. They tell me that my scar has healed very cleanly, and I give the credit to my good luck charms. I thank all the people who have supported me from afar from the depths of my heart. I'm so grateful to all of you.

I've been allowed to come home from the hospital, but my wound has yet to heal (it'll be about half a year before it settles down enough), and there are a number of things I physically can't do; it takes all my energy to get through my day-to-day tasks. ...But when I look around at all my beautiful good luck charms (<- I'm bragging), it gives me hope. When I put my manga on hiatus, I was so miserable I cried, thinking that people would be disappointed and angry with me. I feel honored to have received so much support and understanding.

Below the cut I explain my condition in detail. I feel I ought to give an explanation of why my manga are on hiatus, but those who don't want to see shouldn't click.

An explanation of my illness and my current condition. )
As usual, things I'm not sure of are in gray; please correct me.

ETA: Thanks to [personal profile] torachan for corrections.

Belatedly, an update.

It's Minekura. I apologize for putting up that notice about the hiatus, and then not posting anything else for so long. (sweat) I've been doing a lot of scrambling around, trying to get things done.

To the many, many people who have sent encouraging words about my illness - thank you all. I hate that I'm worrying people... A lot of you have asked what's going to happen with my condition going forward, and I honestly don't feel that I can answer right now... I don't know myself. The doctor said that due to the surgery's affects on my appearance, in terms of being able to go out and about, it may be a year or more before I can fully reintegrate into society.

Before I made my announcement, I had Sugino go over it and revise it for me. Originally, I put in some specifics about my convalescence period, but Sugino pointed out that they might be a little alarming, so I cut them. Unfortunately, that just seems to have worried everyone even more, so I'll let you know if the surgery is successful. Please hang on a little longer.

Somehow, incredibly quickly, people have already sent me two sets of 1000 cranes... The major operation will be on December 2nd (though there'll be a check-up operation before then...), and all of my lucky charms will be coming with me to the hospital!

I'm only talking about being sick, and I feel like this has already turned into one of those awful blogs that's nothing but excuses... I think that, and feel painfully reluctant to make this post. But I can't exactly post anything else without lying, so I've decided I'm just going to tell things how they are. I'll try to keep the stuff about work separate, so people who aren't interested in the disease parts can just skip over them.

Since I made the announcement, my mood has been a little lighter... but I still feel horribly guilty and impatient with myself. I've been sending out emails apologizing and explaining the situation, telling people what they'll need to do while I'm not working. When the webmaster of MinekuraKazuya.net emailed me saying, "Well, I'll just work even harder from now on," I teared up. I don't know...

I've got to go forward trying as hard as I can. I've still got 18 paintings to finish up; I won't be able to check in to the hospital with a clear conscience if I don't. (sweat)
This is her latest entry, from yesterday; she'll be putting all manga work on indefinite hiatus for health reasons.

Things I wasn't sure of are in gray; let me know if you have any corrections to make. Apologies for the quality, but since I haven't seen any full translations anywhere else, I thought I should go ahead and post it.

Edit: Thanks to [personal profile] starlady for corrections.

[Important Announcement] This Article Will Stay At The Top )
Minekura's blog is a lot harder to read (for me, anyway) than Kaoru Mori's - Minekura loves her run-on sentences, and any word that can be written in kanji, the woman is darn well going to write in kanji.

Also, Minekura's blog is clearly part of a conversation with her fans to a greater extent than Mori's is - there are references in there that I think assume more context than I have. So, I'm sure I'm missing stuff in here. Sections I had to guess about are in gray.

World is MINE )

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