Japan Journal #1

I’ve a long-held fascination with Japan. I studied Japanese for three years in secondary school where I was fortunate to be taught by a brilliant teacher. Mr Scott, thank you. Domo arigatoo gozaimasu.

I had to change schools for VCE due to a family move south and, unfortunately, Japanese wasn’t on the curriculum. I resumed my study of Japanese in first year university and was spectacularly unsuccessful, perhaps due to the two year hiatus, perhaps due to my initial tertiary education culture shock.

My first visit to Japan was a six-day sprint with a mate who had a stopover on the way to the US. We used the bullet trains and visited three cities in rapid-fire fashion. I loved it. It was also mighty surprising how much of Mr Scott’s teachings came back after twenty years in hibernation. And a beverage or two.

My family booked tickets to travel to Japan in 2011 but, after the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear catastrophe, being tourists in a devastated nation didn’t seem like a good thing. Our household’s love of Japanese culture (manga, Studio Ghibli and more) continued to grow though. When we received an invitation to spend Christmas 2013 with friends in Japan, we didn’t have to ponder over our answer for long.

We departed a week before Christmas and were away three weeks. I planned to post my impressions while we were away but issues with wifi stymied that. Instead I took notes for the novel I am currently working on (part set in Japan,) and even managed to write a few thousand words.

I’m now sitting with a view down my favourite coastline, about to stroll to the beach. The Japanese winter seems a distant memory. Work and the daily grind is approaching quicker than I’d prefer. What does this mean? It means I need to blog my Japanese impressions while they’re reasonably fresh. Please fasten your seatbelts for a series of Japanese posts over the next few weeks.

Happy new year to all my readers!


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