Author Baye McNeil and translator/interpreter Nikki Tsukamoto Kininmonth have teamed up to translate McNeil's 2012 bestselling award-winning memoir, “Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist,” from English to Japanese. On Wednesday, the duo will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5,000, the funds required to accomplish the localization of this critically acclaimed work.
Kickstarter is a web-based crowd-sourcing platform that allows individuals to pitch their ideas to the public in hopes of receiving funding towards their project. Both Japanese and non-Japanese backers will be approached and in exchange for their support backers will receive copies of the translated “Hi! My Name is Loco...” Backers will also have the option of receiving as a reward McNeil's highly anticipated third book in his Japan trilogy, called “Winning Abroad.”
“Hi! My Name is Loco...” was the author and columnist's first published work. It is based on McNeil's personal brushes with racism in the U.S., and the racist notions he uncovered within himself after moving to Japan. He uses both humorous and deeply personal anecdotes and insights from his time in both countries to highlight the insidious nature of racism, and the dangers of responding to it with apathy. The book received high praise from readers and critics alike, was selected top 10 books by African American writers in 2012, and voted top 5 Expat books.
The task of translating such a work to Japanese is one McNeil never took lightly.
“I was approached several times by translators with designs on translating this book, and had even gone out and tried to recruit a few on my own” McNeil says. “Most were Japanese who, while skilled experienced translators, very few had translated material even approaching the subject matter I tackle in 'Hi! My Name is Loco...' And the ones who had were way too expensive. Then I met Nikki. And I knew she was the one to do it. She got me and she got the book almost immediately.”
“As a Tokyo native as well as a 'hafu' (half-Japanese), I felt all too familiar with a lot of the stories and emotions Baye explored in his book,” says Kininmonth, a professional translator and interpreter for over a decade. “We both know that localizing this work for a Japanese audience could be potentially controversial, even confrontational - but also that these are very real and relevant topics that need to be addressed to a wide Japanese audience.”
For “Winning Abroad,” McNeil has been interviewing movers and shakers in Japan, and been granted access to everyone from high profile celebrities to people operating behind the scenes and below the radar, but are making things happen in Japan, nonetheless. On the strength of his previous two works, and his reputation as a columnist and blogger, they've agreed to share with him the inside dope on how they've managed to “win” abroad.
“'Winning Abroad' is more than simply some book I'm throwing in for supporters who can't read the Japanese version of 'Hi! My Name is Loco.' This will be the ultimate book on how you too can make it happen in a country outside of your own,” McNeil says. “In 'Hi! My Name is Loco,' I told my story, straight up, no chaser. In the second book, 'Loco in Yokohama,' I focused on Japanese people, friends, family, colleagues...basically my love letter to Japan. But, in 'Winning Abroad,' I direct my attention to the non-Japanese people living here. People of different backgrounds, perspectives, nationalities, blacks, whites, Asians, Latinos, and biracial people, working in a variety of fields. The only thing they have in common is the place we all call home: Japan. And, that they're making it happen, here, big time. This is my passion project! I've been working on it for years, and I think readers will be blown away by the results!”
For more info or to support this Kickstarter campaign, visit the website at www.locoinyokohama.com.© Japan Today