We have been talking about this for months and finally we’ve made it: We are going to go to Tokyo for four days and take in the culture, the hectic city, tranquil parks and shrines, the fantastic food and try to understand some of the traditions and habits.
I am really excited about this, especially after I’ve heard so much about Japan from our friends and just read “36 views of Mount Fuji” to learn more about Japan and the way of life there.
The book is really fascinating, in 1980 Cathy N. Davidson travelled to Japan to teach English at a leading all-women’s university. Back then living abroad was a lot different than today – international phone calls were only possible through operators, there was no Internet/E-mail easily available and the stereotypes about foreigners in Japan must have been very strong and not easy to overcome.
Davidson tells captivating stories and I enjoyed the glimpses at a Buddhist funeral laden with ritual and the trip to a remote island inhabited by one of the last matriarchal societies in the world. She even spends a few unforgettable weeks in a quasi-Victorian residence called the Practice House, where Japanese women were taught American customs so that they would make proper wives for husbands who might be stationed abroad.
Of course, I am not going to experience any of this while visiting Tokyo for just a few days, but it’s a very interesting background read that I enjoyed very much (thanks Monica!) and I am now looking forward to my first trip to Japan.