Obrazaru-i pentru o japonezca. The warrior's mask is for a Japanese girl. An epistolary novel
digital printing, acrylic; A5;
edition of 30
The original Romanian title resembles the phonological structure of a haiku: 5+7+5 syllables - this is an allusion to Japan where the story takes place. A haiku is composed of letters, abstract phonological forms, but also, in Japanese writing system, each letter is filled up with multiple visual content. No haiku printed in any European language can express this visual dimension. The way the book looks now is the result of my attempt to create letters with intrinsic visual content; when put together, a linguistic and visual unity is achieved. An approximate English translation of the title is: "The warrior's mask is for a Japanese girl". The word "obrazar" is almost out of use nowadays in the spoken Romanian language. The word has a few meanings: a beekeeper's bonnet that protects the face against the bees; it is also a mask that some sportsmen put on when fighting, for example a mask of a ken-do swordsman/swordswoman. It could also be translated as "mask", although the word "mask" does exist in Romanian language. The image on the cover showing a girl's face hidden behind a ken-do mask is supposed to make the reader think of the analogy to a person who had to become a fighter by nurture. The main female character of the book, Kaori, is such a "fighter" who always had to be ready to retaliate. She is a young Japanese girl who graduated from the Arts department, where she had studied sculpture. However she doesn't go in for her profession. Instead, she became an air hostess working for Air France. Also, assembling puzzles is one of her hobbies.
In Haiku, one says a lot using just a few words. Sometimes a whole book can be hidden under its elegant literary form. There is a book hidden behind "The warrior's mask is for a Japanese girl" as well.
The plot of the novel: Troy, an East European student, comes to Japan to continue his postgraduate studies. He falls in love with a Japanese girl, Kaori. They live in the same dormitory. She is about to finish her studies. Troy is also enchanted by Kaori's hospital stories. She had been suffering from tuberculosis. But Kaori has an Australian boyfriend, so Troy doesn't stand a chance. She graduates and leaves Japan for Australia to study English and to be with her boyfriend. But they break up. Kaori writes a couple of letters to Troy. At some point she invites Troy to visit her grandparents. It is summertime. The village where they live is at the seaside, but far from tourists attractions. Kaori falls in love with Troy. They split again but their correspondence is growing both in intensity and in volume. They get together again in Tokyo, couple of weeks after the seaside trip.
The book is composed of the texts of the two main characters' emails, of the postcards and letters they used to send to each other, as well as of their chat room dialogues. It is also illustrated with sketches - copies of some more or less famous art works that Kaori did during her trips.