Samuel in Japan

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Yesterday we went to EPCOT for the very lovely annual Christmas Processional they stage three times a night (in which the name of Jesus is actually spoken and all of the Christmas Carols are, in fact, religious--turns out to be a smart commercial venture for them, but, hey, whatever it takes.)

In visiting, we stopped by the "department store" that they have as a small exhibit in Japan and Samuel was able to speak to Arisa-san who arrived in the states two months ago.

"Did you live in Japan?" Sam asked.

"Yes. I come from Tokyo two months ago," says Arisa-san

"Do you know about Kitabatake Chikafusa?" Sam asks. This particular influential writer and leader of the Minamoto clan and also inventor/developer of Japanese Puppet Theater (if I remember correctly) has been a Samuel favorite for a while because the name is so much fun to say.

The young lady did not.

Sam said, "What about Tokugawa?"

Arisa-san, "You know Tokugawa?"

Sam, "Yes, Tokugawa Ieyasu." (I think the young lady was stunned to hear both names as many people may know Tokugawa, but few know the other.

"Yes, Tokugawa is very famous in Japan."

Sam, "He was the warlord. The shogun." He still hasn't quite gotten the notion that Tokugawa was essentially the founder and developer of the shogunate as a ruling clan--but that's all right.

Arisa-san, "That's right."

And Sam adds, "And my favorite film director is Miyazaki."

Arisa-san, "Totoro?"

Sam, "I like Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle better."

Arisa-san, "You know Howl? That is one of my favorite movies."

And as we left she gave a little bow and I think Sam said, "Sayonara Arisa-san."

I was impressed. It's amazing how little minds are just like absorbent sponges. Little things fall on them and are imbedded, seemingly permanently.

Later Update: Sorry, I confused the great politician Kitabatake Chikafusa with the master playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon. Oh, well, it was some time ago and I suppose the "Chika" in each threw me off. Sorry.

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Dear Steven,

That's a great story. How old is Samuel?

May the Riddles have a blessed Christmas.


Dear Joshua,

Samuel is 8 and has profound interest in all things Japanese. By the time we left the department store he had added Hiroshige and Hokusai Katsushika to his repetoire. (I think he can even recognize and name The Great Wave of Kanagawa) I guess he's a little influenced by his dad.



Hi, Steven. You might enjoy this radio documentary about Japanese pop culture and its worldwide influence.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on December 22, 2006 11:33 AM.

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