One August, decades ago, I journeyed to Japan. It was the hottest August on record, the Tokyo sidewalks were scalding, one couldn’t walk on the pavement after five o’clock in the morning; when we went to the fish market at four a.m., the fresh fish were already spoiling in the heat. Even up in Kyoto, the sacred Temple Deer were lolling in the shade of the Gingko trees, too weak to move. Despite all the friends I have in Japan — despite my love of cherry blossoms, green tea, wind chimes and sushi (not to mention my thousands of Japanese readers) — I vowed never to return.
But now I have returned to Japan in a fascinating new way (complete with deer!): This is the picture of the house I rescued three years ago.
It had been hand-built in 1965 by a noted Japanese potter from the Corcoran in Washington DC, Teruo Hara, who used the downstairs as his pottery studio with kilns, and the upstairs as living quarters. But that jewel-like craftsmanship was executed nearly fifty years ago, the place had been owned by others, run to seed, boarded up for years: it was a disaster. Upon the suggestion of fellow author and International Thriller Writers co-founder M.J. Rose, I am turning it into a Writers’ Retreat. And I’m the first writer to retreat there! My new book, inspired by its hidden symbols and secret messages, will be completed soon.