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Question Month Q/A #8

March is question month. Ask me something, I will try my best to answer it...


mark_monroe wrote:

You may have discussed this before, but what's the deal with Japan? As a Japanophile myself, I'm just wondering: what fuels your fascination?

Well, it is all my parents fault. My Father was stationed at the Embassyin Seoul, Korea when I was born. After 2 years, He was transferred and we moved to Tokyo, Japan for 2 years. These are the formative years, I guess. Now that I look back on my life I have absolutely no recollection, not one memory, of any of my life before moving to the United States. Sometime when I was in Grade school, in some conversation with my Mom, she said in a matter-of-fact way, "You used to understand Japanese..." This little bit of information set me on course for the rest of my life. My Mom told me about living in Tokyo and about our maid, Yoko-san, who spoke very little English and how she would speak to me in Japanese. Mom showed me pictures of myself in Japan with friends. All of which fueled my fascination even more. I dove head first into all things Japanese. My Father pulled out an old Japanese Conversation text book, that he had used while in Japan, and it became my constant companion. For my 10th birthday, my parents took me to see the Grand Kabuki in Chicago. By 12 I was reading and writing the basics of Japanese, which seemed to be rather easy. Growing up I would consume anything and everything Japanese; food, clothing, language, culture. I was in heaven when we moved to California because there was actually a Japanese community in LA and there was a Japanese TV station that we could pick up in San Bernardino. I was so enthralled with everything Japanese, that my Mom once joked that she thought maybe I was Japanese in one of my previous lives. I Majored in Japanese Language in college and was very lucky to be admitted to the exchange program with Kansai University of Foreign Study in Osaka, Japan. That is one the best years of my whole life! I miss Japan very much. After graduating college with a BA in Japanese Lang, I went to work for a Japanese tour agency in Las Vegas. The agency, Yahiro Tours, was owned and run by and for Japanese. There were periods at which I spoke Japanese all day and most days of the week. After 2 years of being a tour guide, I became a salaried office employee. I was the only non-Japanese who actually became part of the office staff. Even thought I have spent most of my life living and learning about the Japanese there is still so much I don't know. I am still awed and fascinated with Japan and the Japanese. It has been many years (about 10) since I was last in Japan. And I don't use Japanese as much as I should, but I know that it is part of me.

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
kumazuki
Mar. 13th, 2008 07:35 pm (UTC)
That is a great picture. Thank you for offering it. I would love to hear more about your teaching.
pierced_20
Mar. 13th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC)
Brilliant and crazy. I'm somewhat opposite as I left the US when i was 2 yrs old, and spent 16 years in Japan, going to Christian Academy in Japan, going up north to Karuizawa for summer vacation or Takayama on the coast. I came back here in '86 and spent the summer of '87 in Japan and haven't been back since. I certainly don't use Japanese as much as I'd like to, I have forgotten tons of vocab, and I never learned Kanji...but I agree that it is and always will be a part of me. natural.
kumazuki
Mar. 13th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
Wow! I think I mentioned to you that we were probably in Japan at the same time. I was an exchange student in 85 & 86.

I do so miss it!
pierced_20
Mar. 16th, 2008 12:58 am (UTC)
You were in Kyoto? Osaka? in 85? 86?

Here is a question for you - I didn't come out until my first year of college, and while I knew I was gay before hand, I didn't have ANY experiences with Japanese men. do you have any stories? and would you want to get together and create the very first American Ofuro-ba? THAT is one thing I miss so much...
kumazuki
Mar. 17th, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
I actually lived right in between. I was on the Keihan line in Hirakata-city in Osaka-fu for the first semester then I moved a few stations north to Yawata-city in Kyoto-fu.

I also was not "out" when I lived in Japan. But I did go back for a short visit in 1999. I tricked with a few Japanese guys. The one that I met were very quiet, and very hair from the waist down. I need to learn more vocabulary for the gay life in Japan.

As for the ofuro. I would love to do that. I only went a few time. Most of the places I lived had one in the house. But I have heard that there are several in LA and SF.
fogbear
Mar. 13th, 2008 07:56 am (UTC)
That's a really wonderful story! I love learning things like this about my friends.
kumazuki
Mar. 13th, 2008 07:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you Jason, I could spend hours and hours talking about Japanese. I can br rather a ChattyCathy on certain subjects....
scream4noreason
Mar. 13th, 2008 09:38 am (UTC)
Inspiring!I had a similar fascination with all things Japanese since I was a child.I spen the last few years living with Japanese students,and now that I'm not,I really miss them and their culture.I have to say I only want to ever have a Japanese roommate again.Just this week,I started kendo,something I've wanted to do for 20 years!
kumazuki
Mar. 13th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
While I was in Japan on the exchange, the first semester we were required to live with a Japanese family. It was just incredible.

Oh, I envy you that you are taking Kendo. I have always wanted to. sword play was alway interesting to me.

剣道の練習,頑張って!
(Deleted comment)
kumazuki
Mar. 13th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
Well, thanks for asking the question. I could talk for hours and hours on that subject.

You will get there one of these days, and you will LOVE it!

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )