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All Request Day: Japan

WhyLaw says, "I would like to hear more about why you went to Japan, how you went to Japan, and what you did while you were in Japan. And if you speak Japanese."

That's a tall order! I could write enough about Japan to fill a book. In fact... I did! But that's a fictionalized account of my time there, and even if it got published, it wouldn't be an honest answer to your question. So here's the straight dope.

Basically I went to Japan because it was a foreign country where I really wanted to go, but I knew I'd have more problems trying to go there on my own than say England. The nice thing about study abroad is that everything's set up for you in advance. Plus, my school had a good Japanese language program so I could learn quickly while I was there. This was good since I didn't speak a lick of Japanese, really, when I went over there. By the end of my time in Japan I was okay with it; I could order food, ask for directions, talk about the weather; really, I could get along by myself without much trouble. Hmm... that just about answers 3/4 of your question, I think.

Now for what I did while I was there. There's so much to tell. That trip was sort of the final nail in the coffin for a 1.5 year relationship with my girlfriend at the time, for one thing. And I made a really good friend that went with me on wacky adventures all the time. I went to class sometimes, but I barely remember anything about school. I went to a bathhouse, visited temples, ate raw chicken... oh, that reminds me, I became a vegetarian in Japan. I lived with a host family and met students from all over the world. I read, for the first time, On the Road and Catcher in the Rye and Slaughterhouse 5. I went to dance clubs and tattoo parlors and a mountainside hot spring on the island of Shikoku...

Too many memories to count. And yes, I would go back in a heartbeat. Well, that wraps up today's responses. Be sure to drop me a line with additional requests, and remember, the sky is the limit. See you tomorrow, when I talk about college, comics, and romance.

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