Penning a dream

WP man writes Japan tales

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  • | 12:08 p.m. June 29, 2011
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Winter Park resident D.H. Cermeño poses with his book "Rising Sunsets," which is based on his experiences in Japan.
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Winter Park resident D.H. Cermeño poses with his book "Rising Sunsets," which is based on his experiences in Japan.
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D.H. Cermeño’s story has burned inside of him for more than 10 years, and now his wait is over, as he sits proudly smiling with a copy of his first book in hand.

“I wrote this from my heart, because this was a very personal story for me, on many levels, and it was something I felt that I needed to say and needed to get out,” he said.

“Rising Sunsets” is based on some of the Winter Park resident’s own life experiences, and the encounters, characters and experiences he endured while he was traveling and teaching in Japan in 1993.

The book is a story of a man who travels to Japan to teach English and prove his unsupportive father wrong, while unexpectedly falling in love with a Japanese woman and learning some powerful life lessons along the way.

“I always wanted to go to Asia, and it was very similar to the looking glass, where everything you think is appropriate here is not, and vice versa, so for me, it was a tremendous culture shock,” he said. “But I was ecstatic to be there and take part in that adventure.”

Cermeño’s adventure soon became more than just a yearlong trip. He quickly realized he was falling in love with an enticing culture so different from his own.

“When I got there I saw the beauty of the countryside and the generosity of the people, and the intricacies of everything they do,” he said. “And being the only American in this town of 11,000 people, I thought this is the basis for a really good story.”

Cermeño’s long-time friend Cynthia Toups helped him edit the first few chapters of “Rising Sunsets”. She said that she is very proud of the outcome.

“I think the outcome is a wonderful collection of not only his memories of the culture in a fictionalized version, but a compelling love story… and a story of healing,” Toups said. “And when I read it, I literally could not put it down.”

Co-editor and friend Kari Kron-Schmitz completed the editing of the book and said she enjoyed helping Cermeño bring the book to life.

“I’m proud of [Cermeño] for standing behind the book,” she said. “I’m just really happy that I was able to help his dream come true… and I think he’s only just scratched the surface.”

After receiving several rejections from publishers, Cermeño said he decided to self publish and fulfill his dream on his own. “Rising Sunsets” is now available in hardback, paperback and E-book.

He said the one huge lesson he learned from the Japanese was to never give up.

“What I hope that people can take away from reading the book is that whatever you want or go after, that there will be obstacles, but just be patient and endure, and it will happen,” he said. “A Japanese word for it is ‘gaman’, meaning to endure with fortitude and dignity.”

Learn more

A book signing for Rising Sunsets will be held at Urban ReThink at 625 E. Central Ave. in downtown Orlando on Sunday, July 10 from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Visit or


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