Karen Hill Anton: See, my focus on the deep humanity of the connection between all of us, regardless of ethnic background, the various ways we look and which we have absolutely nothing to do about. And all of these things that are dividing people now, lots of people read my book and see that theyre grateful for the reality of a perspective that not only doesnt emphasize distinction, but highlights, not in a shallow method or, you understand, its not even like Im trying to do it, thats what my experience has been. Ive lived abroad, Ive grown up in the United States, I do live in a community of people who dont look anything like me, but I say that you can make your place.
A lot of it, you understand, we could see, you know, going to the Metro Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art and he simply linked it with us, you know, and you understand, here we were, you understand, black, Jewish, Puerto Rican, Greek, Irish, you understand, from those working class families. Karen Hill Anton: I understand in Denmark and Sweden, I could have made a career there simply from being black, as a model or as a black, young woman, I was thin, like, maybe I was attractive, however you know, I could have been a dancer, I might have quickly made a career there as a design, however after my child was born in Denmark, when I returned to the States, I went to live in Vermont. Karen Hill Anton: I can say that Ive never felt that I was a black female living in Japan, Ive constantly simply felt that, you understand, Im a foreign woman, Im an American, were an American couple, and when we go to the United States, you know, of course, were not traveling now due to the fact that of the pandemic, however I constantly felt that as quickly as we stepped off the plane in Los Angeles or New York or wherever, then we became an interracial couple. I was at Kings March, you know, so I know what it was like, however I likewise know the United States has come very far.
Howard Lovy: And it was in Japan where she discovered her writing skill. She started adding to Japanese papers, composing as an American in a foreign culture. Her columns became incredibly popular and, as they say, Karen became huge in Japan.
last eight years enhancing the voices of independent publishers and authors. He deals with authors as a book editor to prepare their work to be published. Howard is also a freelance writer concentrating on Jewish concerns whose work appears routinely in Publishers Weekly, the Jewish Daily Forward, and Longreads. Find Howard at howardlovy.com, LinkedIn and Twitter. Check out the Transcripts of My Interview with Karen Hill Anton. Howard Lovy: My guest today is Karen Hill Anton.
And we did, you understand, and I would state in my case that I think it was changing in lots of ways. Likewise, once I really went to Europe, and I went to the British museum, and the Louvre, and the Prado, and all of these locations and, you know, it was fascinating and wonderful, however I found I was more fascinated with individuals, you understand, and their lives and how they lived.
Howard Lovy: But what really attracted her to abroad travel was the art and architecture she discovered abroad. Karen was amazed at whatever she saw.
My guest today is Karen Hill Anton She is a black lady wed to a white hubby, residing in a little community in Japan. But Karen would be the very first to tell you that none of those descriptions truly matter. Karen would inform you that she has actually taken a trip the world, and resided in lots of places, and in the end all we have is our shared mankind.
Howard Lovy: What Karen hopes readers leave with after reading her memoir is a sense of shared humanity.
It just opened an entirely brand-new world.
Actually, I stopped my task. I was operating at a college at the time, and I need to throw this in that, Louise Glück, who simply won the Nobel reward, she was my next door neighbor, who simply won the Nobel prize in literature. But yeah, I left the life of Vermont behind and I stated, yeah, all right, sure, lets do it. Ill go to Japan with you.
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I believe I had, in fact, growing up in New York City, the only other states I had been to were New Jersey and Connecticut, however you get out in the world and you see, oh, you know, what you thought you knew, and even at 19 you already believe you know a lot, you discover out yeah, you know, lots of different methods of doing things, methods of, you know, methods of consuming and about food and dress and even what kind of house you have and what interiors you will have and, you know, how people communicate and spend their time, their leisure, and, you understand, the pastimes they take up.
of New York City and see the world. Karen Hill Anton: When I was 19, I left the United States. I went to Europe for the very first time. I went alone. It was my first time in an aircraft. I went initially to England, and then I hitchhiked all over Europe, you understand, the length and breadth of France and Spain, and I entered into Morocco and after that I remained in Denmark for a while and I remained in Europe for about a year, and I havent been the exact same since. It changed my life, it just opened a brand-new world, you understand, to see whats out there. The only thing I understood was the United States. I think I had, in fact, growing up in New York City, the just other states I had been to were New Jersey and Connecticut, but you get out in the world and you see, oh, you know, what you thought you understood, and even at 19 you currently think you know a lot, you discover out yeah, you know, great deals of different methods of doing things, methods of, you know, methods of consuming and about food and dress and even what type of house you have and what interiors you will have and, you understand, how individuals communicate and spend their time, their leisure, and, you understand, the hobbies they take up.
York City, which is simply North of Harlem, and I went to George Washington High School. I guess I was
It wasnt that she was turning her back on the United States, however she had found a home in Europe, even though she was a little bit of a novelty as a black woman in Denmark.
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Howard Lovy: Karen likewise discovered that her cultural and even physical differences in the end do not matter in her rural village in Japan.
Karen Hill Anton: Because Ive had something of an uncommon, certainly an unconventional life, you understand, not everyone drove with a five-year-old in a Volkswagen bug for as far as Europe through Afghanistan.
And when you do that, and Im not going to state people didnt see me as various, you understand, naturally they did, there are no immigrants living where I live, however I believe they might likewise see, well, yeah, she looks various, shes taller than any of us, you know, has longer legs, et cetera, but shes a member of the neighborhood.
Karen Hill Anton: In my last year of high school, we had a brand-new course introduced into the school called art history. As I state in my book, taking this course was as if the entire curriculum was lit up. We had the most fantastic instructor, he introduced the world of great art to us, beginning with the Venus of Willendorf, and Greek architecture and, you know, the French impressionist, and he just went through all of it. And, obviously, were right up in New York City. A lot of it, you know, we could see, you know, going to the Metro Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art and he just connected it with us, you understand, and you understand, here we were, you know, black, Jewish, Puerto Rican, Greek, Irish, you know, from those working class families. He didnt make, I would say, any distance in between us and the world of terrific art, its almost as if he presumed we would be able to take it in.
Oh, absolutely whatever I wrote about, you understand, my neighbors and my interactions with them, and the school, and taking part in the PTA, and then being vice president of the local kidss association. I composed a lot about education since, as much as I respect what Japan has done in education, which is, you know, we have almost a hundred percent literacy in Japan, which the United States can not say, its still, you know, I just felt so much of education here was suppressing and conformist and, at the time there was school on Saturdays, thats no longer true.
I had stories to inform and I felt that I might do it, and I can tell you up until now, the reception has been definitely terrific.
Shes a black woman, wed to a white husband, living in a little community in Japan. But Karen would be the very first to tell you that none of these descriptions actually matter. She would inform you that she has actually taken a trip the world and resided in many places, and in the end, all we have is our
shared mankind. She wrote a narrative about her travels called, The View from Breast Pocket Mountain, where she discusses her lifetime journey from New York City to Japan. Karen Hill Anton: Hello everyone, my name is Karen Hill Anton. Im the author of the just recently released memoir, The View from Breast Pocket Mountain. Im American. Im initially from New York City, however Ive been living in rural Japan with my American spouse and our four children since 1975. My memoir discusses the, I would say, the trajectory of my life and how I became living where I am. I matured in the Washington Heights area of New
She composed a memoir about her journeys called The View from Breast Pocket Mountain, where she talks about her life time journey from New York City to Japan.
Listen to My Interview with Karen Hill Anton.
Karen Hill Anton: At one point, the Japan Times, which is Japans earliest and biggest English newspaper, opened up an area called, Living in Japan, and it was open to the readers of the Japan Times to contribute some, you understand, about their experience of living here. I heard, about this and believed, oh, fine, well, you understand, Ill write something, and I sat down and I wrote something, and when I looked up, it was 2000 words. If an editor asks me for 500 words, they wont get 501, theyll get 500, and they reacted, the handling editor wanted to publish it as a function article, not simply for this little area, and also with pictures.
Howard Lovy: After composing her paper column, it was not such a huge stretch to compose her memoirs. After all, shes lived a rather unique life.
, I do not understand if you would say a typical student, certainly not excellent, but constantly a reader. And I wasnt an author. I cant say that I began thinking I would be an author. In fact, I wished to be a dancer and
most particularly, a dancer in the Martha Graham dance business, where I studied after high school for numerous years, until I had the realization that no chance was I going to get into the Martha Graham company, I just was unsatisfactory. Howard Lovy: While dancing wasnt in Karens expert future, she was uneasy to go out
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, and has invested the
Howard Lovy: She is accepted as a member of the neighborhood in Japan, that makes her wonder why the very same thing can not take place in the United States, where there has been a current summertime filled with a racial strife.
And then some years later when I approached them, since he encouraged me to continue to contribute to the Japan Times, and at the time my kids were young and so I wasnt doing much writing, however when I could, I approached him again, the paper again, with this idea that I d write a column called, Crossing Cultures. I would state usually about the experience of an American female, wed to an American, raising kids in rural Japan and taking part in society here at every level.
Howard Lovy: Eventually, Karen found her way to Denmark, where she worked as a healthy foods cook for a high school. She was abroad in the unstable year of 1968 and learnt more about the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr, and Robert F. Kennedy, while she remained in Europe.
Its simply absolutely everything.
Karen Hill Anton: I found out to focus early on and observe, and one of the things that I understood pretty soon, which is that I was expected to work together. You know, residing in a little rural neighborhood, you have your obligations in the community; putting out the trash or, you understand, cutting the weeds or being, you know, the traffick display for, you know, when the children go to school, whatever it is, youre anticipated to cooperate.
Karen Hill Anton: I know in Denmark and Sweden, I might have made a career there simply from being black, as a model or as a black, girl, I was thin, like, perhaps I was appealing, but you know, I might have been a dancer, I might have easily made a career there as a design, but after my child was born in Denmark, when I went back to the States, I went to reside in Vermont. And I lived there for four years, rather happily. I definitely liked it. Wasnt insane about the winter seasons at all, but I actually loved it, and I would most likely still exist if my spouse, well, he was invited to Japan and asked if I would include him. At the time we werent wed, however I stated, yeah, sure.
Karen Hill Anton: I can state that Ive never felt that I was a black woman living in Japan, Ive always simply felt that, you know, Im a foreign lady, Im an American, were an American couple, and when we go to the United States, you know, of course, were not taking a trip now due to the fact that of the pandemic, but I constantly felt that as soon as we stepped off the airplane in Los Angeles or New York or anywhere, then we ended up being an interracial couple. What can I state, I dont care about that, as long as it doesnt affect me. In basic, just observing whats been going on in the previous few months and throughout the summertime, from my point of view, I just see it as awful; to have this terrific concentrate on a race, when its a concept I dont even accept. And I felt, you understand, that weve come so far. Im not stating that no racism exists or whatever, but leave United States, walk around the world since its in many locations and, oh, its incredibly frustrating. Its incredibly discouraging, and I see things, you understand, where theyll write whole short articles about like, oh, think of being the only black individual in the room, and I go, what the hell? What the hell? Im 45 years as the only black person for a hundred miles, or whatever it is, it does not need to be an issue. Why make it an issue? I was in the United States, well, I matured there. I protested versus the Vietnam War, against segregation etc. I was at Kings March, you understand, so I understand what it resembled, but I likewise understand the United States has actually come extremely far.