Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thoughts of Japan

I have lots of wonderful readers in Japan - thousands of them. People who buy and read my books so often  that just about all of them have been reprinted at least once - some more than once  - and have also been brought out in the amazing Manga editions.

I've even been privileged to meet some of these enthusiastic,  lively, warm and giving women when, some years back, I was lucky  enough - and honoured - to be  in a chosen group of authors who were invited to meet a special group of the Japanese Mills & Boon Readers' Club who had come to England to visit  and to  get to know some of their most favourite authors. 

Along with  - I think - 14  - of my fellow writers from all the lines, I had lunch at the fabulous Leeds Castle, talked with the readers, had my photograph taken what seemed like endlessly. And all the time there was this fabuolus buzz of excitment and sheer delight in which the problems of language and differences in cultures  completely dispapeared under a  wave of open joy in sharing the romance stories that were what had brought us together. I came home with my mouth aching from smiling so much.

Every single one of those ladies brought  gifts too, small, beautiful items - fans, chopsticks, I even sat entranced as one reader created just for me with nimble  fingers  a tiny, perfect origami bird  that flapped its wings if you pulled its tail. I still have that bird - and the fan, the chopsticks, the stamps,  the beautiful cloth ..  .  I  took them out of their box this weekend  as the news about the terrible earthquake in the country they came from worsened from minute to minute,  and looked at them - and I'm not ashamed to say my eyes filled with tears as I did so.

I didn't just meet with readers that day. I made some friends and several of them - one lovely lady in particular  - has been writing to me and sending me Christmas gifts ever since.  She always tells me how much she loves my books and we share a warmth that no distance can reduce. Only last week she sent me a note  and a beautiful little zip up pouch for pens or makeup brushes. Ihave it here on my desk as I write this.

I sent a thank you to Junko - but heaven only knows if it will arrive.  She lives in  Tokyo  and I have no way of knowing if her address still exists.  I pray that it does.

So if  by any chance you're reading this Junko - and Keiko - know that you are so much in my thoughts. As are all your families, friends, loved ones - your whole desolated country in this dark time for you all.   My heart aches for the suffering, hardship and loss you are enduring and I pray that these terrible days will ease for you and for everyone in Japan  soon.

Thank you for being part of my international 'family' of readers. I'm so glad that  my books gave us a connection we woudn't other wise have had.


Jan Jones said...

Lovely post, Kate. So unimaginably terrible for them all.

Praying you hear good news.

Nas Dean said...

SO heart breaking for all those people, Kate.

Our prayers with all those people who suffered this tragedy.

Sharon Kendrick said...

Kate, I was also on that amazing trip to Leeds Castle and know Junko and Keiko - I pray that they are safe.

One thing all the news reports make very clear is the fortitude of the Japanese people.


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