Travel to Japan with Swords of Silence by Shaun Curry
Swords of Silence in Japan. Travel with Shaun Curry.
There are many books which transport you to the setting and country that is very different to your own. What is very special about Shaun curry’s book is that it’s set millions of years ago (well not quite) but you would need a time machine to get there. When you do arrive however, there’s plenty to see and Shaun is that nice, he’s given us all some tips about what to eat and drink. However, you may find that hygiene is better in the present day, so be sure to return for that once the literary adventure is over.
Shaun Curry, I have a few questions. I ask him to sit, but in the great tradition of Japanese customs, he invites me to sit on the floor and then suggests we have tea. When I say suggest, I mean, he asks if I would like to pour tea like the Geisha’s do. There is a lady all dressed in the corner, elegant and stylish as a Geisha. I go to pour the tea, but manage to spill it. Can I play the lute? he asks. I can play the recorder I reply. Well one tune. Would I like to wear the special wooden shoes they wear? I can’t even walk in heels, do they have slippers I ask? I have the feeling I would not a good Geisha girl make.
Where do you set your book and why?
The Swords of Silence (Book 1) and the entire Swords of Fire Trilogy takes place in Japan in the 17th Century. I decided to write about this time period because I feel it is a lost piece of history in contemporary times and this story needs to be told.
Why is that location special to you?
Japan is a special place for me because I used to live, work and study there. I am very fond of Japan and its culture.
What locations are in your novel and why did you choose them?
There are many parts of Japan in my novel, but the main ones are Nagasaki and Edo (now called “Tokyo”). I chose these two main locations because they historically central to the story in The Swords of Silence and the entire Swords of Fire Trilogy.
How do you research your books?
All in all, it took me over a decade to complete my historical research to formulate the series. Over this period, I conducted detailed research work in the archives of the British Library in London, the Metropolitan Library of New York, and dozens of museums, churches, and places of interest throughout Japan. Around this time, I also became an avid collector of rare books, maps, and artefacts dating back to the time of the shogun and the early missions in Japan.
As part of my historical explorations, I conducted comprehensive on-the-ground research in Nagasaki and surrounding cities and regions on the southern island of Kyushu. On a more global level, I interviewed and consulted extensively with priests, historians, and scholars, including members of the Society of Jesus in Europe, North America, and Asia.
Where could readers visit in order to see/experience your book?
I would recommend that my readers visit Tokyo, Nagasaki, and the entire Shimabara Peninsula along with the Amakusa Islands. All these places are historically fascinating and well worth the visit.
Do you visit the places within them?
Yes, I have visited all major places that have formed parts of The Swords of Silence (Book 1) and The Swords of Fire Trilogy series.
Which of your characters would you most like to holiday with and why?
I would like to holiday with Father Joaquim, Catechist Tonia, Master Watanabe, and several other main characters that emerge in Books 2 & 3 in The Swords of Fire Trilogy.
Best thing about Japan
Just how vastly different it is from the west. It simply feels like another world and I love the contrast!
Food and drink – you must have a story about these!
I love nearly all Japanese cuisine, so it is very hard for me to choose one dish over another. However, if I had to pick one meal, I would choose a large bowl of udon alongside a plate of katsu. And of course, I also like sake and shochu for jovial occasions!
Do you speak any of the language/want to learn?
I used to speak some conversational Japanese while I lived in Japan, but I have now lost quite a bit of it since I left. I really need to move back to Japan and pick it up again!
Thank you so much Shaun! What a fascinating world you have recreated. (And I promise to be better at making tea next time 😉