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Friday, 07 March 2014 08:35

Letters home inspire book on life in Japan

Written by  CSI Media News staff
"Just West of the Midwest: Chronicles of a Blonde in Rural Japan," by Anne Celano Frohna "Just West of the Midwest: Chronicles of a Blonde in Rural Japan," by Anne Celano Frohna

As a junior in college, Anne Celano Frohna spent a year in England. From there, she worked in rural Japan for two years as an assistant English teacher for Japan's Ministry of Education, and then spent a year in Italy as a nanny and family chef.

Returning to the United States, Celano Frohna began writing and editing for several publications in Walworth County, but never forgot the experiences she had abroad.

She's compiled the most memorable of those experiences in her new book, "Just West of the Midwest: Chronicles of a Blonde in Rural Japan," which chronicles those two years she spent living in Japan during the early 1990s.

"The project (began) about 22 years ago, when I found myself with ample amounts of idle time while employed by Japan's Ministry of Education in the farming town of Shintomi on the southern island of Kyushu," Celano Frohna wrote in a news release promoting the book.

"With time on my hands, I began sending a no-holds-barred newsletter to my oldest and dearest girlfriends."

What began as simple letters home soon turned into a public journal of what she describes as her strange, sometimes brazen, ever-intrepid and incredibly beautiful experiences as a 28- year-old foreign female living in rural Japan.

"It's a story of second families and cultural intricacies, ancient mountain festivals and strange cities by the sea, the follies of youth and the good fortune of good friends to share in the adventures."

Celano Frohna used Smashwords, a publisher of indie ebooks, for the project.

"I chose the non-traditional path of publishing an independent e-book for one very simple reason," she said. "I had a story, or should I say many stories to tell, and all I really wanted to do was tell them. And in putting my book out there ... if I can make a few people laugh and take a few others to places they've never been before, all the better."

She has a bachelor's degree from Manhattanville College, Purchase, N.Y., and a master's degree in English from DePaul University, Chicago.

Celano Frohna worked in Chicago's graphic arts, advertising and publishing industries as a writer, copywriter and editor for several industry publications, assisted in the production of television commercials and print ads, as well as helped promote the local art scene.

In Walworth County, she worked for several weekly newspapers, as well as a stint as editor of At The Lake magazine.

During the many years she spent as a writer and editor in Wisconsin, Celano Frohna was involved in the research and development, writing and editing of four local history books: "Discovering Waukesha County," "The Black Point Legacy," produced for the Black Point Historic Preserve in Lake Geneva, "Geneva Lake: Stories From the Shore and Geneva Lake Reflections" and "More Stories From the Shore."

Celano Frohna currently resides in Arizona.

"Just West of the Midwest: Chronicles of a Blonde in Rural Japan" is available from Apple's ibooks, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, FlipKart, Kobo, Library Direct, Oyster, Page Foundry, Scribd, Sony and Smashwords. It soon will be available at Amazon and Baker and Taylor.

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