Tag Archives: Asia

372J: Stowaway Samurai

I read it in the late 90s, so it was written before then.  The person that lent the book to me called it a ‘cult classic’.  If I had to guess, I would estimate that it written in late 1960s.
I seem to recall that it involved a Japanese samurai, but he could have been a giant.  It also could have been from China.  They were a stowaway and travelled to USA.  I believe it was San Francisco.  It may have hidden in steamer trunk.
This was not YA.  More of a fantastical book for adults with nice meaning.
I’ve been wondering about this book for about twenty years.

372G: Fortress Novel (Solved!)

Several years ago I was trawling through Wikipedia lists, and I believe while on some list of ‘greatest books’ (but I cannot recall which one) I came across a book that at the time I didn’t really give a second thought but later I became fascinated by. The details are as follows. It was written I think sometime in the 1880s or 1890s, and I believe by an Italian (though this is tentative). However, it’s setting may have been ‘Central Asia’ in the general and indistinct sense. The framing was that there was some very large fortress that was on the edge of a desert and the main character is serving there, with some sort of army. What I think was what struck me later is that it wasn’t exactly supposed to be the Russian army (which is what one would expect, as the Russian conquest of Central Asia was just wrapping up at this point, and there were indeed several fortresses, as inane as it sounds to say), but it was just ‘an army’. Furthermore, the Wikipedia page described it as a novel about futility and hopelessness, and vaguely anti-war. These things all further intrigued me, later on, as I came to reflect that it at once reminded me of Kafka’s The Castle, Mervyn Peake’s Gormeghast, and Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky.

There was an image associated with the Wikipedia article as well, but I cannot recall if it was a cover or an illustration. At any rate I shall try to describe it. It seemed to be set at night, and there was a eerie olive-dark-greenish hue to it all. It seemed to be done in a hazy sort of pastel way. The image itself was very reminiscent of this (link embedded) illustration of the British retreat from the first Anglo-Afghan war, so much that I am worried in fact I am filling this in artificially. On the left side of the image there was a large fortress, set probably half way up the page, on a rocky outcropping. Down below, on the right side, on what looks like a small road, there was a small silhouetted figure on a horse that was rearing up on its hind legs. This figure and their horse only occupied the smallest part of the page. Beyond them, on the right side, the desert stretched off “ringed by the flat horizon only”. The ‘right’ and ‘left’ sides may be flipped, but I am fairly certain of the features and relations of this composition.

That is as much as I can recall of this book. I would be very grateful if you could find it for me, but please do not put any pressure on yourself to find it.

367H: Dragon of the Mountain (Solved!)

I came across a website called “what to do when you can’t remember the title of a long lost children’s book” and I used their guide to scrape the inside of my skull for details to give your group-mind.

Now, I’m only assuming the title of the book is “Dragon of the Mountain,” but I could be mistaken. That’s just… what the book was about, and since nothing comes up on Google or Amazon, I’m probably mistaken. Maybe it was Tears of the Dragon, or who knows, uh, Dragon Mountain and How the River Came To Be or…. take a guess and yours is as good as mine, honestly. So, here are my scrapings:


STORY–Write down what you do know about the story.
It’s about an Asian (Chinese? Japanese? I don’t know where, just somewhere in Asia…) folk tale of a village that lives in fear of the Dragon of the Mountain, except for one little boy who goes up to visit the dragon, because he thinks the dragon must be very lonely, and then the dragon starts to weep with joy, and floods the land, and the boy is going to drown, but the dragon takes him on his back and they float down the river of tears together, and the dragon turns into a boat, and sacrifices himself to save the boy.

Do you remember character names or where the story took place?
The title character is the dragon, and it takes place somewhere in pre-industrial Asia. Can’t be more specific than that.

Were there anthropomorphized animals in the story?
Only the dragon, insomuch as he was able to speak and reason. He was still fully a dragon, of course.

Do you think the person reading the story to you may have “improvised” a bit?
No one read the story to me, but given that it is a folk-tale, I would assume the author probably did.

ILLUSTRATIONS–What do you remember about the illustrations?
Were they colorful or monotone?
Very colorful illustrations!

Very detailed or line drawings?
I have the impression in my mind that they were watercolors, but that might just be because of the subject matter, with all the tears and the flooding and the boat and it being an Asian story.

Did they fill the page or just accompany the text?
Just like a Dr. Seuss book.

Do they remind you of any specific illustrator or artist’s style?
Uh, watercolors. They were beautiful watercolors, at least in my mind’s eye they are.

BOOK FEATURES–Physical features are important, too: was the book you read hardback or paperback?
It was hardback.

Was it a picture book or chapter book?
It was a picture book.

What color were the covers?
My memory is extremely vague on this, but I remember a predominantly maroon-ish feeling. I honestly never paid much attention to the cover, I was interested in the inside, not the outside.

Was there a dust jacket?
I don’t remember one, but I don’t have dust jackets from any of my books from back then.

How big was the book?
Similar to a standard Little Golden Book or Dr. Seuss Book.

Were the pages glossy or matte?
I believe they were glossy.

MEMORIES–Personal information is also helpful. How old were you when you remember reading the book and what year was it?
I’m pretty sure I had it at least by the age of eight, which would be 1979.

Were you able to read it yourself or did you need someone to read it to you?
I read it entirely on my own.

Do you think it was a book bought for you at the time or was it a hand-me-down from an older sibling or a parent?
I believe it was bought for me, though I could be mistaken.

Was it borrowed from a public library for you to read?
No, I owned it.

Did you read it in school or at home?
It was my own book, I read it at home.
I just would love, as all your customers would, to be reunited with my old friend.

359W: A Lifetime With You

Looking For a completed version of NovelCat/FoxNovel A Lifetime With You. Characters are Ava Nagel And Damain Radbury. Currently the book is at 459 chapters. Usually these books are from either Chinese or Korean Authors and then translated to a English Version with English names and a different title. So I would like to find the original version and then using my iPad to translate.

347L: A Japanese Boy Turns Into a Peach

I am looking for a book from my childhood (1975-1985).  It had the most beautiful detailed pictures.  I remember each one like a painting of another word.   It’s about a Japanese prince …  He flies up to the gods.  Then I think there’s something about dragons … I think he turns into a peach and ends up flying over the land.

Not this book


Or this book


The pictures were so beautiful.  I hope you can find it.

347J: Emperor’s son’s birthday wish is for all citizens to shout at same time but no one does

This is a book I bring up endlessly when fretting about voting patterns and bystander effect. I no longer can believe whether I really read this book as a small child or not! I recall that it took place in an Asian nation, illustrations were styled after Chinese landscape painting, I recall lots of red color. The emperor's son wants for his birthday to hear what it sounds like when everyone in the nation shouts out at the same time. Horse-riding messengers are sent all over the land to inform the populace to comply, but when the time comes to shout as one, everyone assumes that someone else will do it, so the end result is no one shouts and there is silence over the land.

346O: Man-Hating Girl With Two Horses Named Prince and Swan

Can’t remember the title of a book. I read it about 10-12 years ago as a child. It had an orange cover I think, and I remember the words swan, golden, or road were maybe part of the title? It’s about a young girl who lives in some sort of Middle Eastern/Asian/Russian country I believe? And she always has suitors but she rejects them in a man-hating sort of way. The most memorable part is I think she has a horse called Prince and maybe a white horse called Swan. At one point she is locked in a cave/tomb with only a jug of water and a jug of oil for lighting a candle for days on end. After that she grabs on one of the horse’s tail to pull/drag her out? I read a query on the NYPL website which may be this book, but it has not been answered. I’ll include a copy paste of the person’s query below. Thank you for taking the time to read this and search.

The NYPL Query:
I’m looking for this book,it’s a historical romance.I remember it was about a very wild girl who had sent all her suitors away by being wild.Her father decided to take matters into his own hands and summoned her ‘betrothed’ .It however turns out that there was no betrothal and the man he sent for was the son of his late best friend who is yet to be married.Her father lies to both his daughter and the guy who was incredibly handsome that the betrothal had been signed by the dead best friend leaving them no choice but to wed.It’s a very hilarious book with the girl doing so many things to try and and make the guy bow out. However both of them hilx honour above everything and none can break the promise each made to their parents to push through with the wedding.They eventually fall in love and get married at the end but the journey is very hilarious.oh!The girl has a very big love for hoses and considers their Cossacks as her brothers.And the guy goes all the way to collect her from their home.She rans away before they get married because she is pregnant and tries to find a husband for herself because she believes the guy doesn’t want her I think her favourite horse was called Prince somefhing .please help mW find it.

300J: Asian Children’s stories

The book I am looking for is a Chinese children’s book from the 1970s or early 1980s that had been translated into English, with illustrations in the style of PRC propaganda posters. My parents purchased it at a University book fair. 

The book was divided into several short stories. 

The first story was set in a kindergarten, and featured illustrations of the children working in the garden and growing tomatoes in the school garden. There were a few illustrations in which the children were wearing face masks, and were helping their teacher to spray fertilizer on the tomatoes.

A second story featured a little girl getting ready for school. On the radio, she hears that it will be very cold and rainy in the afternoon. She asks her mother to pack three sweaters, not just one. “Why three sweaters?” her mother asks. The girl replies that she knows that two of her friends have parents who are assigned to work far away from the village, and so will have left home early, before they have a chance to hear the weather report. The sweaters are so her friends won’t be cold.

A third story features children playing in a school room. There is one boy who is trying to horde some of the toy blocks, but he has so very few that he can build nothing with them. The other children convince him to pool all the blocks together, and they are then able to build a very big and impressive castle. 

A final story is set in Inner Mongolia, and tells the tale of a girl and a boy who train horses. They have picked their young horses and are training them to ride in the yearly race, a very important event which will be attended by party officials. During training, the boy is bucked off his horse and falls, breaking his leg. His friend helps nurse him to health, but he is still angry because he has lost his chance to enter the race. When he is allowed to take off his cast and walk, he steps outside and finds his friend waiting for him with his horse – she has spent months secretly training it for him so that he can achieve his dream of winning the race. 

On the day of the race, there are many, many horses. The starting gun is shot, and they’re off and running. Another racer’s horse is startled, and veers into the girl’s horse, knocking her off. The boy is in the lead, but when he looks back at his friend, he sees that she has fallen onto the field. Without hesitating, he turns his horse around and runs back into the oncoming racers in order to save her. And that’s why they’re called Chairman Mao’s little soldiers.