Taste of Japan

This weekend I got three doses of Japan:

1) I’m almost done reading “Around the World in 80 Dates” by Jennifer Cox. The book is about travel journalist and author Cox, who realizes that while her work life is great, her love life is horrible. So in an attempt to fix this, she asks friends and friends of friends to help her set up dates all around the world. The book – part travel, part memoir – follows her thoughts as she goes through 80 dates around the world, all in the hopes of finding her Soul Mate.

Anyway, she just dated a few people in Japan and I enjoyed reading about some of the sights to see and things to do in Tokyo. I think I was more interested in reading the details about the area than what her dates were like. Just kinda =)

2) As many people had mentioned that I should watch it before leaving, I watched “Lost in Translation” last night. The movie is about two people in Tokyo who are just lost in their lives and desperately need to be found. I enjoyed the movie for its story, the acting, and also all of the hints as to what to see and do in Japan. As much as I see all these images, I still can’t imagine what it’s going to feel like to be in a car driving through Tokyo and seeing all the bright lights and people.

3) Today I watched all three hours of the mini-series “Kelly Osbourne: Turning Japanese” on Much Music (it originally aired on the UK’s ITV2). Kelly Osbourne is quite the character but I was really pleased with her in this series. I couldn’t help but laugh along with her and be impressed by her determination not to disrespect people and to try and understand. After all of her complaining or uncomfortable moments, she learned to understand. I enjoyed watching her go to different places in Tokyo, work various jobs, and take part in certain activities. Ha, I will never forget the Love Hotel segment. The best part was when she went to Kyoto and entered a Tea House to train with the Maiko for a week. It was great.

Anyway, as a result, I’m really itching to go to Japan and see everything that’s there. I think the biggest thing I’m worried about is being polite enough and not offending anyone. I’m just going to keep saying “sumimasan” (sorry) often to play it safe.

The time leading up to this trip has been very interesting for me so far because as part of the projects I’m working on at work, I’ve been reading and writing a lot about Japan, Tokyo, and Japanese history, customs, and traditions. I’ve been reading about things to see and do, talking to people about it, and also going through pictures to get a better idea. After watching both “Lost in Translation” and “Turning Japanese”, I’ve realized that I will definitely be overwhelmed by all that there is to see and do and how different things are in Japan from how they are at home.

It will be an interesting experience for sure. And I’m already beginning to think I’ll have to go back to Japan again in the future to see and do all the things I won’t be able to do this time around.