Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sapporo and a Special Guest

Some readers of American Fuji write to me tell me their own stories of living in Japan. If there is anything I learned living in Shizuoka City and traveling in Japan, it is that Shizuoka culture isn't like other parts of Japan. One of the many reason I wrote American Fuji is that Japan writing by Westerners up to that point was centered in Tokyo or Kyoto, which are decidedly different experiences. I wanted to show Japan wasn't only about Buddhist meditation, karate dojos, Japan Inc., or falling in love with bar hostesses.

I remember one Japanese student at Shizuoka University who returned from her exchange year in Omaha, Nebraska and reported that all Americans are devout church-goers who never eat seafood. Just as Omaha is not San Francisco or Boston, Shizuoka is not Tokyo or Osaka. I welcome an opportunity to hear from others who lived in different regions of Japan, and how they related--or didn't--to what Gaby and Alex observed.

My first guest is Liz Sheffield who taught English in Sapporo about the same time I was in Shizuoka. I took a brief winter ski trip to Sapporo and had a wonderful time practicing slalom at Furano on the former Olympic course--until the ski patrol told me I shouldn't. That's me in the pink jacket. I was only in Sapporo three days, so I'm happy to provide Liz's point of view as my guest blogger on Saturday. If you have any questions for her, please leave a comment. Welcome, Liz!

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