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Japan was an enduring highlight of the year for me. I didn’t just write postcards from Japan, I wrote letters, with fine Japanese pens upon elegant Japanese stationery.  No matter what I started writing upon, I could not find enough space to describe how much I loved Japan.

In addition to the postcard above, here is an email that I wrote to Colleen Mitchell  on April 26th:

Colleeny!!

I am in JAPAN and omg it is amazing.

And I still owe you a long email! It’s overwhelming how much there is to say and so I never manage to get started.

So first, the bite-size chunk. Japan. Holy moly, this country. We’ve been here only two days and we are in raptures. The first day was an early flight out of Beijing and into Tokyo for a 7 hour layover before continuing on to Hiroshima. We went to the Digital Art Museum, which was otherworldly and futuristic. Beautiful lights projecting images onto walls/floors/ceilings, many of which you could interact with. Bonkers.

And yesterday we went to the floating Torii gate on the island of Miyajima, and then took a hike up through a Japanese maple woods park. Gorgeous.

Japanese etiquette fascinating. Much of it makes my heart sing–the attention to detail surrounding keeping outdoor footwear outside, the courtesy and attentiveness to others–and other parts I despair over–the attention to detail, the absence of clumsiness, the tidiness. I wonder how much of my shaping is due to the fact that my father lived here for three years. It’s quite likely that my own obsession with maintaining a border between outdoor footwear and indoor spaces is because of Japan, rather than parallel. I keep having these flashes of feeling like I’ve come home, amidst so many other moments of feeling like this place is utterly and gloriously foreign.

I love hearing the Japanese phrases that I grew up with. Dou itashimashite makes me especially happy because my father told me that it sounds like “don’t touch your mustache” and I told the kids that, so now they also glory in hearing it.

And the food. Food unbelievable. We are all swooning over it. So different and so delicious.

How are you and the boys? Adventuring and enjoying spring? Parco San Floriano glorious? I am picturing lush floral greenery, baby animals, and red wine. All of us continue to rate Italy as one of our favorite places. So grateful for all you did to make that time so magical for us.

Any plans for Idaho this summer? We are starting to sort out our return and are likely to be in Idaho for at least a week, either in early or late July.

Much love,

and aspirations to write more,
Janet