Bringing Keiko’s Journey to Life

Attending book readings has never seemed very interesting to me but when I published Keiko’s Journey, I started getting requests to come and do book readings. I wondered, how could I present my book in a way that was more engaging?

Thinking back to my elementary school years in Japan, I decided to re-format the first two chapters of my book into a play format. It’s amazing how childhood memories, like my recollection of doing plays from 1st to 5th grade, can resurface and inspire confidence to do something that you’ve never dreamed of.

My inner voice (a voice I’ve learned to listen to very closely over the years) said “Why not express my painful but nostalgic history with a group of players and let the audience really experience the soul of my memories?”

Rehearsal for Keiko's Journey book reading drama
Our recent rehearsal at the Nisei Vets Hall. (from left to right, Ats, Kenji, Jean, me and Geri Lynn)

I belong to a wonderful writing group that meets once a month. The club is called, Omoide, meaning “The days I remember,” and it was formed to encourage writers to share their memories from Japanese Internment Camps during World War II. When I told the group about my idea and invited them to participate, they were eager to help. Now, I perform my play with retired school teachers, a Journalist, and a retired Air Force Colonel. My niece, Geri Lynn Egeler and her husband Greg have created accompanying visual and sound effects.

Keiko's Journey Book Reading Drama

Getting to know each of the players has been really fun. Each person brings their own special skills to their part and it has been rewarding to see them blossom in their own way. None of us are actors but we are getting better and better as we continue to rehearse and iron out all the details.

So far, the audience response has been so overwhelmingly positive. There were about 40 people at the first reading. It started quietly as we told the story of having to beg my relatives for food after the war. By the end, the audience was singing my favorite childhood song, “Suzume no Gakkou (School for Sparrows)” along with us and some were even wiping tears from their cheeks. Chinami Daima wrote about it in more detail with this story published in the North American Post.

You are invited to attend... (1)

We feel that sharing this history is important and if you have a group of 30 or more people in the greater Seattle area, my cast and I would be happy to come and perform my book reading drama for you at no cost. Since it is free, all I ask is that I’m able to sell books at the location. Please email me to inquire.

I hope to see you at our next Keiko’s Journey Book Reading Drama on July 30th at 7pm at the Nisei Vets Hall, 1212 S. King St. Seattle, WA 98144. Open to all audiences, FREE.

Comments

Sharon Cox
Reply

You continue to soar! Love the book reading drama. Also checked out the Book 2 intro–but no chapters appeared below the video. Humm…

KayHirai
Reply

Hi Sharon. Glad you found the chapter. We will need to talk soon!

Aileen Toshiyuki
Reply

I haven’t read the book yet. Just found out that you’re Lois’s sister in law. I wish I could go to this event but I live in Los Angeles. When will you be in the Los Angeles area?

Aileen

Aileen Toshiyuki
Reply

I haven’t read the book yet. Just found out that you’re Lois’s sister in law. I wish I could go to this event but I live in Los Angeles. When will you be in the Los Angeles area?

KayHirai
Reply

Hello Aileen, Nice you found me. What a surprise that you know Lois. Its so much fun to find people who are connected to my friend circle or my family. I would love to take it down to Los Angeles. It’s a free program so someone will just have to connect us with an organization who is looking for a program like this. We will have to do some fundraising to pay for our travel expenses. Thanks for connecting.

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