Saturday, 2 June 2012

Things Japanese 日本のもの






Both novels are available at Junkudo and Maruzen now
It just struck me how my world has been entangled with things Japanese since I was a child.
My grandfather (the merchant  master mariner who inspired my novels and my working overseas) used to bring toys, watches and electronic goods back from Japan for me and my brother when he had been visiting various ports in the islands when on his round the Pacific voyages.  At university I took up Wado-Ryu karate and did some Bo-jitsu and Kendo too.  We had several Japanese students on exchange programs join the riding club at St John's College in York.  In the the course of my teaching I have taught several Japanese students in both England and the Philippines.  The parent of the student in the latter introduced me to the Japanese Ambassador there at her art exhibition, which was where I was shown how to eat sushi with chopsticks.  The student's grandmother gave me a fabulous coffee table book on Japan (that I still have) while I tried to organise a school trip from Kyoto to Tokyo on the railways via the hot springs and old inns, with a return planned on the Bullet (Red) Train to Osaka and then back to the school.  Unfortunately the costs were just too high and the time to short to organise it fully.
I was influenced by Japanese Manga cartoons that were briefly shown on UK television in the late sixties and early seventies.  Marine Boy was a favorite of mine I recall.  Even the cars I've owned have included Suzuki and Subaru.  There are similarities in the development and attitudes of the inhabitants Japan and the British Isles, given their island character, dependence on marine trade and fishing.  Polite society exists in both countries, though I would suspect that it is less widespread in both nations than it once was.
It seems that this trip I shall be coming the closest ever to, but not quite getting there, as I fly from Ulaanbaatar via Seoul to London after coming here via Amsterdam, Moscow and Beijing.
One day......

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