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« Update on the Unapologetic "Apology" post (Sujatha) | Main | The Devil Is In The Details »

September 19, 2006


Welcome back -- sounds like you had a nice vacation!

It's wonderful to have you back and wonderful to be living vicariously through your descriptions. The politeness and cleaniness you witnessed must have made for a jarring transition once you were back. Thanks for posting the photos. Looking at the temples and sculptures, I'm reminded of how little history our country has. We're very much a youngling nation and, on top of that, fixated with immediate gratification; it's an interesting and sad combination. Er, I'm rambling...glad you are back.

The laughing Buddha and Mickey Mouse hand-in-hand probably has its parallels in the many humorous depictions of Ganesha during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in India-it's a huge business with all flavors of Ganesha depicted- as a cricket player, cell phone Ganesha, riding a scooter, etc.
Some images

Joe: Yes, I had a great time. I always do, in Japan.

Thanks for the link to the hilarious Ganesh images. Ganesh is a cutie. Incidentally, despite my thorough lack of religion, I love Ganesh and Buddha and collect prints and small statues of both in various poses. I would dearly like to own a Ganesh on a scooter (Bajaj or Honda?).

Instead of vicariously experiencing Japan, you should plan on going there some day. To that end, start saving up - Japan is expensive. But with some shrewd planning and a Japan Rail Pass, students and young people can manage within a reasonable budget. Be sure to have a traveling companion. Lacking fluency in the Japanese language, it can be intimidating and lonely there.

I find Japan a very calming place in spite of flashing neon lights, bullet trains and a fast pace of activity. I don't know why. Perhaps it is the stoic nature of the Japanese, the predictability and safety of the place or just because of the meditative Asian atmosphere. If I didn't have to care for our much loved elderly cat, my husband and I would have seriously considered a six to twelve month sabbatical in Japan - after acquiring at least a working knowledge of the language.

My son took a year off after graduating from college in 2002. Six months of that he spent as a volunteer research student at the university of Osaka. He traveled all over - to remote villages, towns and cities. He also learnt to speak fluent Japanese and even manages to read the script. On the whole, it was a great experience.

I'm always fascinated by the various and subtle or major differences in bathroom decor and etiquette around the world. Thanks for letting us know about everything!

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