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It's not necessary to know about the real bears to enjoy Memoirs, but it is certainly interesting to see how Tawada used their lives to inspire the book. Yoko Tawada was born in Tokyo in 1960, moved to Hamburg when she was twenty-two, and then to Berlin in 2006. She writes in both Japanese and German, and has published several books—stories, novels, poems, plays, essays—in both languages.