Wednesday, May 10, 2006

a book review, sort of

I finished Memoirs of a Geisha last night. I am not much of a reader, although I should be, I just need a little help getting started. My friend Jenn gave me this to read. Most of the novels I've read are books people have loaned me.

This was great for my mind... the writing was incredible.

I just love the use of words in this book to describe things. Here are a couple of examples...

"I'd sometimes hear her stomach making noises from hunger that sounded like an enormous door rolling open."

"She seemed to regard her hair the way a train regards its smokestack: it was just the thing that happened to be on top."

In my mind I saw some of the characters as people I know, and it brought back memories of my 1994 trip to Japan. I stayed with my friend Kaori and her parents and sister in Shizuoka. We did some traveling too, including Tokyo and Kyoto.

This is our friend Kazumi. When I thought of what Mameha in the book must look like, I thought of Kazumi. I used to joke that Kazumi is the lady on the box of orange Celestial Seasonings tea.

We went to a sumo tournament in Tokyo. This was nothing like watching American sports!

Here's a guy with a rickshaw in Kyoto.

Kaori's neighbor was a professional kimono dresser, and another neighbor was a photographer. The lady here dressed us up and then we got our pictures taken. Yes, I know I'm sporting a headband. I'm not the only one who wore a headband in 1994.

We visited another friend, Tomoko, who lives in a house surrounded by rice farms. Nobody in the book made me think of Tomoko, because there is nobody like Tomoko, real or fictional. She is the one there on the moped.

Tomoko's dad there on the left of this picture, for some reason came to my mind as Chiyo's father in the book, even though his head looks nothing like an egg.
This boy is Tomoko's nephew, proof that Japanese kids are not much different from American kids. I love the face he's making. This is one of my favorite pictures.

Here's Kaori and her mom. I guess you could call this the livingroom. That sumo wrestler on T.V. is the one who won the tournament while I was there. Takahanada. I still remember his name. People were so excited they kept yelling it when he came into the ring.

Anyway, back to the book... as soon as I read the first chapter I couldn't put it down. I brought other books along with me on vacation to read in St. Martin, but all I read was this.

On Friday Jenn, who loaned this to me, is coming over to my house and we're going to watch the movie. We're going to make it a matinee, while George is still at work. This is not a guy kind of movie for sure. George is not the least bit interested in this.


Michelle said...

Jenn, i loved reading this post. So glad you enjoyed the book, it really is one that carried memories for a lifetime. The photos are fantastic, i learned to speak Japanese for 4 years in high school :o)

kaori said...

Hi Jenn, this is my first time to leave comment to anyone. I don't mind my photos but I hope no one I know will see them! I look terrible.... no wonder I didn't have a boy friend!? I was glad that you visited us. It's a great memory!! The flowering tree seem like plumish? I have no confidence, by the way. I like your kitchen table with your work spread out. I like to see people's work areas, seeing the behind the scenes of the artwork.

Jenn said...

Michelle, that would have been so cool to have Japanese as an option in high school! Do you remember much?

Hi Kaori! Well, I really didn't think you look bad in these photos. If you'd like, send me the best picture you have of yourself now, and I'll put that up so everyone can see it!

Bar Bar A said...

Jenn, this was so fun to read and look at! Tell your friend Kaori she is beautiful!!!!!!! And so are you! My boyfriend is from Japan and he said it is RARE for a caucasian woman to look good in a kimono - you look great in one!

Meow said...

I agree with barbara ... Kaori is beautiful. Your photos are fabulous, thank you so much for sharing them.
I'm glad you enjoyed the book ... I couldn't put it down either. Let me know if the movie is as good, as I haven't seen it yet.
Take care, friend ... Meow

Anonymous said...

Oh no! No more cartoons, picture of human. :) All of you are so photogenic and beautiful. Great friendship abroad. Keep it up!

Saur♥Kraut said...

I love this post! How interesting! And I was wondering about the book. Now it's on my reading list!

Karin said...

Well maybe I am the only one but man you are tiny thin in these pictures. You did look great in the kimono, and no you weren't alone in the headbands back then. You are a lucky girl to have already traveled so much. I leave the continent for the first time on the 22nd.

EmmaSometimes said...

what a great trip. I want to visit someday. Japan is an amazing country. I loved the book too!

Sarah said...

Great pictures, Jenn! Thanks for sharing them!

Michelle said...

Meow, the movie is very average compared to the book.

Yes Jenn i do remember some, i can't converse fluently but i know enough to get by.

Kaori is so sweet to comment :o)

Jenn, i nearly fell off my chair watching amazing race last night! The hippies came last and i thought they would be eliminated but no!! They're off to Australia...looks like they're diving where i live, i will be interested to see if they're diving the Great Barrier Reef!

Jenn said...

bar bar a, that is so interesting that your boyfriend is from Japan. Thank you for the nice compliment.

Meow, I am anticipating the movie being disappointing... I just hope they don't mess up the story too much.

prayer warrior, I did draw some doodles in Japan, I actually posted those way back, maybe in January.

Saur, I would imagine you read a lot of books.

karin, your eyes do not decieve you, I am indeed tiny thin. Actually, I thought the pictures where I'm standing next to all the tiny Japanese people make me look bigger than I actually am.
...Wow, the 22nd, it's getting close!

Emma, I want to go again. There was nothing like staying with people and getting to know the real culture up close.

Sarah, yup, from my single days!

michelle, I only know a bunch of phrases I learned while I was there. I don't even know where one word leaves off and the next begins... but they worked!
I watched the next to last of the Amazing Race last night. Next week here is the two hour finale. It is getting really exciting.... you're really going to enjoy it. I don't remember where they were diving. Once in that family show they came close to where I live, around the Niagara Falls area. I live not close, but about 40 miniutes from there.

Badoozie said...

i think we should discuss this book on the gobhole book banter. i think we should really read it first though.

Michelle said...

OOOooo, i can't wait Jenn :o)
The Niagara area is beautiful, how lucky you are :o)

momyblogR said...

So the book was good, huh? I may have to give it a read.

I spent 14 days in Japan back in 1991...what an experience to say the very least.