Not really, but last night I dreamed that I was in Japan looking around in this numinously cute clothing store where everything was incredibly appealing, only I had not enough yen for even one item. SOB. But when I woke up, the kids and I softly chatting in bed before we had hardly opened our eyes, I told them about my dream and we started talking about how cool it would be to go to Japan for real. Out comes the ipad for looking at photos and maps and airline ticket prices, and wow, we started getting super stoked. What a cool long-term project it would be if we could pull it off!
We decided the first thing to do (besides saving money, of course, and I figure it would cost us all at least $10,000, a nice round number, haha *faint*) was to learn Japanese. Out came the ipad again and we downloaded a couple of apps for learning hiragana, the phonetic Japanese syllabary. In a few hours we had most of the 46 characters memorized, woo hoo! The Dr. Moku app was annoying but surprisingly effect. AIUEO-Hiragana was pretty and fun to play, although on its own it was not enough. Kana LS Touch was cool for learning to draw the characters right on the screen. Sophie is now writing secret notes, English written in Hiragana, haha, and hiding them all over the yurt. This is the beauty of homeschooling. You want to spend the morning learning Hiragana, then you do. Next, grammar, vocabulary and kanji, piece of cake, right? Or, I should say, piece of . And then, to conquer the world!
What with all our anime and manga consumption lately, we are steeped in Japanese culture at the moment and have been virtually visiting Tokyo daily for months. We’ll probably be surprised when we get there that everything is live-action, and not animated. In addition to anime, we just got this fun book from the library, Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan, a memoir-in-comics by Aimee Steinberger, a professional animator (and a nearly 6″ tall girl) living out the otaku’s dream of visiting Japan. It’s a charming book, totally made me want to go—and reading it yesterday is probably the source of my dream. An otaku, by the way, is kind of a geek, someone who is really into manga and anime—that’s us!—although, my understanding is that, like geek, otaku used to be quite a put down, but has been reclaimed. Age of the otaku, baby!
In Japan, Luc wants to eat his body weight in sushi, Sophie wants to visit the Aranzi Aronzo store in Tokyo, I want to see the Shinto shrines, and we all wanted to visit some hot springs and see cherry blossoms and walk barefoot on tatami. Doesn’t this sound like a fun project? It will only take, oh, maybe a decade to save up, cough. We can go for Sophie’s 18th birthday! Or, if we saved twice as fast, we could go in four or five years, that should be plenty of time to become fluent in Japanese, right? Not that you’d have to be fluent to go to Japan, but why not, right? If you’re going to do it, might as well go all the way.
Oooh, and we watched this really amazing movie last week, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” about the top sushi chef in Japan, or at least the most famous. A meal made my Jiro costs about $300 dollars and is, by all accounts, a masterpiece. I totally want to try it! Watch this documentary about Jiro’s life, highly recommended! It’s streaming on netflix, and I think the whole thing is up on youtube.
Doesn’t it make you want to visit? GAH. There has to be a way.