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“Satellite Love” by Genki Ferguson

It was sheer pleasure to have read “Satellite Love”. One day when I went home in Taipei, I noticed that a parcel had arrived from Canada. It was from Genki @genki_ferguson and it was his first book with his autograph on and encouraging words to me: “To Ikuya, with thanks for everything you do for literature!”. How much it brightened my day! Eventually, I was really lucky enough to be able to meet up with Genki in Tokyo (at a café in Shinagawa), who happened to be staying in Japan for research for his next book. We talked about many things, especially about literature! He told me that one of his favorite stories across the board is Yasushi Inoue’s “The Counterfeiter” and he looked thrilled to have got a pamphlet of a play of Mishima in Jimbocho.

The story unfolds with narration of Anna, Soki, Satellite, and Grandfather respectively. It is an unusual love story between a human being and a satellite. What I really liked about this work is Genki’s voice and the rhythm it creates as well as philosophical comments scattered around the story.

“No heaven, no celestial realm, no omniscient deity in sight. Sorry, Homo sapiens.”

“It was completely illogical, completely beyond reason, and completely fascinating. Fear, love, confusion, hope. Faith.”

I cherished this rhythm. This story also entails a number of intriguing observations about Shinto and Japanese culture. It gave me refreshing perspectives to them.

“In China, they’re lions, but in Korea, they’re dogs. In Japan, we just call them komainu. Dad says that shows how arbitrary religion is- the fact that everyone disagrees on a detail as simple as this means Shinto is doomed. Mom says it’s the opposite: people finding their own meaning in the same thing only shows how strong faith is.”

Lastly, I found it interesting that so many Japanese words remained untranslated on purpose: onigiri, hitodama, tonkatsu, Jizo, Yamabushi and Yokai. This book is a good introduction to Japanese culture as well. The week when I immersed myself in the world of Genki Ferguson and actually talked with him in person became such a memorable one for me.

Genki Fergusonとの記念写真

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