Now, once in a while I get emails and reviews saying that I was a racist with Drawn. Others were nice enough to ask why I referred to Japanese as "Japs". Until these reader emails, I HAD NO IDEA THAT "JAP" WAS A RACIST TERM. Here in my part of the globe, it's simply a shortened term and WE LOVE SHORTENING WORDS. Like Filipinos are Pinoys etc.
Now I'm aware of course of the different connotation but I still stand by my decision to use the term "Jap" because I absolutely meant no offense when I was writing that. I actually thought it was a very hip way of addressing Japanese. I feel like I'm going against my principles by taking it back. All these years I have loved everything Japanese - you can ask my family and friends. They all know this. I self-studied Japanese and mastered the Level 4 basics in a week - I loved it that much. I studied that hard. I took one-on-one lessons from native Japanese tutors. I gobbled up everything I could of Japanese culture. Bottom line - I love the Japanese culture. Surely that should have been visible with how I wrote Drawn and to still imply that I was being racist - without even asking me why...well...
I feel like taking out the word "Jap" is just a way of allowing the negative connotation of word to persist. Wouldn't it better to apply reverse psychology in this case? True racists use the word "Jap" to describe anything / everything Japanese in a derogatory manner. But why can't WE - the ones who truly love all things Japanese - start working to make this term imply something positive? Why can't we start using "Jap" as a "hip" or "cool" term to describe Japanese culture?
That way, every time those true racists would say "Jap" the word would have lost its hurtful impact.
That would be the real triumph, don't you think?
I recently read a review on Park and Violet. It was a 2-star review. I didn't mind. The reviewer thought Park and Violet was "way to boring". I didn't mind that either. But the reviewer also said that the book was "weird" - and maybe I'm wrong here but the way I read it, the reviewer meant it was weird because it was all about Korean stuff.
And that was what made me sad. Is a book automatically "weird" just because it doesn't feature American / British characters and settings?
But at the end of the day, to each his own. That's the reviewer's opinion and maybe I read it incorrectly. But this is my opinion, too, and I think I deserve to say what I want since this is also MY blog. I'm just really, really sad about it. I've always seen books as the most wonderful opportunities to explore new cultures - it's through books I'm able to write about characters who don't live in the Philippines - if not convincingly then at least in a way that readers would enjoy.
Well, that's it for now.
To end on a happier note, I'm really really happy that Park and Violet is doing so well - Top 500! Honestly, all I was hoping for was to break into the Top 1000. I'm always aware that by writing a book that had Asian influence in it I risk getting lower rankings but I also feel that not writing what I really feel and care about would just make me deliver a bad and fake story. So I'm happy that 99% of Amazon readers proved me wrong and that they care about the story and the characters more than they care about which part of the globe it features.
Thank you readers for everything! :)