I am huge! in Japan…
2009 is shaping up to be a big year for me. On the heels of being awarded Closeup Magician of the year, I have just now returned from a 2+ week tour of Japan. Let me explain.
Two years ago, when I was working the Magic Castle, I stepped outside for a little fresh air. I was approached by a rather stern looking Japanese fellow who introduced himself as Ken Kurita. In broken English, he asked me if i was interested in lecturing in Japan. When asked for more details, he produced a piece of paper that was packed with information. Among all this info was a schedule that was one night after another of lectures in different cities including two on Sat and two on Sunday.Of course I would be traveling with an interpreter, Shigeo Futagawa, a reknowned coin magic expert. Shigeo would be with me every step of the way. I had actually done something like this in Germany and Austria several years before and I knew how hard it was. I smiled and nodded and politely told him I would think about it.
The info kicked around my desk for all this time. I would occasionally come across it, read the whole thing and shake my head thinking that this was a trip for a younger man. But I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away.
As 2009 rolled onto the calendar and bookings appeared somewhat slim, I got another email from Ken asking if I had given this any more thought. I asked for the names of those who had preceded me down this road. Every one of them expressed the opinion that this was an opportunity not to be missed. I agonized over the decision knowing how isolating it is to be in a foreign country with no knowledge of the language and having one person be your conduit to understanding. I remember the feeling of being in a capsule and the only way out was through one person, my interpreter. Everyone around me was talking about magic but I couldn’t understand a word of what was being said. It was like a nightmare. and they wanted me to do 12 lectures in 14 days? I could not get myself to say yes.
Then it dawned on me that my son Mack was graduating with his Masters from CU and would be available to come with me and help. I told them that the only way I would do something like this would be if Mack came along. They eventually agreed so we moved forward.
The planning began in earnest and I again tried to figure out the proper things to bring over for sale. Deciding what to bring and how many is always a tricky proposition. After much deliberation and discussion, we packed our bags and readied ourselves for this adventure.
I had agreed to work the Magic Castle the week before so Mack joined me mid week and we ‘did the Castle’ in grand style. Packing the Castle with old friends and new, we had a great run there. Occasionally leafing through a guide book to Japan, we really had no idea what we were about to experience. The pages could only produce a two dimensional understanding of what lay ahead.
What lay ahead was the grandest adventure I have ever had.
This is where the travelogue portion is supposed to be. “Then we went here and then we went there” can be boring unless someone has an understanding of the geography. To keep it simple, we started in the western part of Japan and slowly, with 8 stops, made it eastward towards Tokyo, our final destination. We made a couple of side trips that took us to the north coast and then a couple of stops on the south coast before we cruised into Tokyo. Most of our travel was on the bullet train-the Shinkansen. These trains are amazingly fast (100+ mph), quiet and efficient. We loved traveling on these trains.
On the weekends, we did two lectures a day, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, often with a train ride in between. These were brutal days but Mack and I formed a strong understanding of the pace and once we understood what we needed to do, we did it. And it worked.
I am composing the blow by blow description of Japan for those interested, as well as a photo album. I’ll let you know when these are ready for viewing. But for now, just let me say that this 2+ weeks in this fascinating culture was epic on many levels. Spiritually, emotionally, physically, and several levels that I am still assimilating. It is a trip that has changed (and will continue to change) our lives forever. Immersing ourselves into the totally foreign culture and way of life, opened our eyes to things I never thought I would see or feel. Their culture is 3000 years old while ours is 300 years old. There is something very deep and profound about how they live.
I have been deeply effected-positively- by the time there. I can’t wait to go back.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to do such a trip at all. The fact that i was able to share it with someone else made it even more special. The fact that that someone else was my son was over the rainbow.