Today is the Day! Discovering Yamaguchi Sake

Today, 21 February 2023, is the official release date of my first authored book, Discovering Yamaguchi Sake.

The cover of the book Discovering Yamaguchi Sake by Jim Rion, foreword by Melinda Joe. It features small images of labels from 23 sake breweries in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

It’s hard to believe the day has finally come. I first conceived of the idea way back in the spring of 2020, when the pandemic was first making its presence known and I found myself with extra time to fill. I must be honest—it was kind of a whim at first. I was looking for something to do with my time and my interest in sake, and I wanted to help bring attention to the local brewing scene. But when I got started, it all just seemed to take on its own momentum and somehow I managed to make it all the way through.

It has been such a fun, interesting ride, too. I met so many wonderful people, and learned tons that I doubt I ever would have without this. And above all, I have been so, so moved at how supportive everyone has been. From the very beginning, I was surrounded by friends and family who helped me believe it could actually be done. And here we are.

I must admit to feeling a little grumpy about the fact that I, personally, still don’t have any copies of my own book—it takes a long time to ship from America these days—but the idea that it is out there and getting read is truly astonishing to me.

So, to everyone who has helped make this happen—including all of you who have ordered or are going to order it—thank you and kanpai.

Now, go on, Buy My Book!

2022 – Year in Review

It might be a bit premature, but as it looks like I’m moving into the year-end holidays a little early, I think this is as good a time as any to look back on my work life during 2022

Despite the ongoing pandemic, this was one of my most productive and exciting years as a translator and writer.

The cover of the book Discovering Yamaguchi Sake by me, Jim Rion. It features scans of Japanese sake labels from every brewery in Yamaguchi.

The biggest individual developments were two books. I signed a contract with Stone Bridge Press to publish my book Discovering Yamaguchi Sake in February, and signed with Pushkin to translate Akuma ga kitarite fue wo fuku/The Devil’s Flute Murders in June. Both books are coming out in 2023, and do feel free to buy as many as you want!

Read more about those here: Discovering Yamaguchi Sake and Coming Soon: The Devil’s Flute Murders

The cover of the book The Devil's Flute Murders. It features an outstretched hand, looking limp, and near it a fallen bottle of what looks like poison.

I also had a big year on other fronts that might break down a little more numerically.

I translated 285 pages worth of articles for Nippon.com, which is over 100,000 characters by their count.

As for other random website and article translations, it looks like I did over 450,000 characters worth.

I also wrote seven articles for outlets like Sake Today (upcoming), Sake Times, Nippon.Com, and AllAbout Japan.

I hosted online events, made connections, and generally made good use of my time. I also took some photography classes and started getting serious about learning to take proper pictures for my stories.

I plan to make use of all this experience in 2023 with a new book (I’m thinking pottery, this time), and hopefully another book translation.

Despite lots of chaos on the global scale, personally, 2022 was pretty good. I hope you can find a way to say the same.

Happy Holidays, and peace be on you all.