If you haven’t already noticed, the news out of Japan opened a floodgate of nostalgia for me. I’ve been into my photo albums, decided to cherry-pick and show you guys images of my six week exchange. Get them over in one fell swoop.
Because most of my pictures involve other people, and can’t be shared without their consent, I don’t have a lot. In fact they’re mostly about me, albeit to provide a peek into a wonderful culture.
First, though, some business to do with the Elizabeth Loupas interview: 😉
- In the matter of the Moleskine Passions Book Journal, Amy Bai was favored by the RNG. Amy, if you e-mail me your snail mail addy, I’ll forward that to Elizabeth.
- Because of your comments, Elizabeth will be donating $210 to the Red Cross’s special fund for Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Relief.
- Kimberly Hays, your signed postcard is in the mail already.
Many thanks to all who participated! Elizabeth and I had mixed feelings about proceeding with the interview, but I’m glad we did. You guys made it all worthwhile.
Now the photos:
I don’t think my first host family had a lot of social standing. Papa-San operated a small car dealership. Regardless, we Lions Club exchange students were treated like royalty, as demonstrated in this photo. That’s me being welcomed and interviewed in a newspaper office. A small article appeared in the local paper the next day.
At the same meeting I was given a glass-encased, kimono-clad doll and a chan-chan horse, which I treasure to this day.
In my second family’s home, we spent several nights attending street parades and parties. Because of the language barrier, I had little comprehension of what we were celebrating — only a sense it related to the fall and harvest.
During the festival, at times and without warning, I’d find myself a minor celebrity and be thrust into the middle of drumming and singing. That’s me in festival clothing. I’m probably thrilled at the crowds, but awaiting the tap of a threatening/benevolent finger on my shoulder, and another moment in the spotlight.
In the image below, I’m wearing a silk kimono, rented for the day. This photo dates back to the 1980s. I’m told my outfit was worth thousands then. I can’t imagine its equivalent in today’s dollars.
At any rate, behold: The Tart — spoiled, cossetted, corsetted (that belt’s a tight sucker!), and in full Japanese regalia.
Yes, my feet show signs of their Amazonian dimensions in this photo.
If you’ve been lucky enough to travel, either as a youngster or mature adult, which culture or location made the biggest impression on you? Why?
For me it had to be Japan because of the length of my trip, the ability to glimpse a brand new culture as an insider, and my first taste of adulthood away from my family-of-origin.