Lawrence Hosken : Departures : Land of the Rising Sun

[Photo: Ferry on the Seto Inland Sea]

April 10-22, 2000, I vacationed in Japan. I was sick; I accidentally injured myself a few times; I got rained on; I was jet lagged; I got lost; I spent some nights in unpleasant hotels. (I like to think that this qualifies this trip for "Xtreme" travel status.) I woke up before dawn most days. I visited a lot of maritime museums. I partook in a few conversations. I bought a lot of music, ska and otherwise. I saw Jimmy and his fiancee Minjung celebrate their upcoming departure and marriage. I wrote about it.

Warning: This document contains some Japanese writing. (Don't worry, Westerners. Japanese fonts include English characters, and I avoided using characters which Japanese fonts tend to leave out.) If you're a typical Westerner, when you configured your browser, you might not have configured your Japanese font the same as your Western font; it's probably still at the default setting. You might not even have a Japanese font; it might try to render those symbols in an English font. Some strange symbols may appear. But if you don't know Japanese, it would have looked like strange symbols anyhow.

You don't need to know Japanese to read this document. When I toss in a Japanese term, I translated it. Except for these:

Literally, this means "foreigner." I use it to talk about non-Japanese people in Japan.
The Japanese language system has at least three writing systems, used for different purposes. Kanji are pictographs, like Chinese characters. They tend to be used for roots of words. I don't understand very many of them, but I struggle along with the help of a dictionary.
The Japanese writing system they use for foreign words. I can read these pretty well because Japanese people use them to write out many computer words.
"Salaryman". Businessman. The geek term would be "suit", with a cultural assumption of male gender.


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