I’ve lived in Japan four times over the last twenty years. This summer’s return has garnered me a lot of room for reflection. In the five years since my last move, I’ve had five books and a novella published. I actually began writing on our last stint in Japan: one manuscript that will never see the light of day and my first Cherry Tucker mystery. Both stories were set in Georgia. Now I’m back in Japan and still writing about Georgia.
Why Georgia while in Japan? Setting aside the obvious—write what you know—I’ve often mused over the similarities between the South and the Land of the Rising Sun. And so I don’t reflect for days, I’ve whittled down a much longer list to three topics.
Lipstick. In the South, ladies still wear hats to church and lipstick to the market. I’m talking capital L ladies, now. The no white after Labor Day rules are still taught in polite society and children still do cotillion. In fact, where I lived, getting your child an invitation to cotillion classes can get competitive.
In Japan, ladies wear lipstick to the market, dress up for shopping and lunch, and still do kimono or yukata (a cotton, less formal kimono) for ceremonies and special occasions. As do men (except for the whole lipstick thing). There are specific suits and dresses for funerals, weddings, graduations, and any number of events. Lipstick and blush. Heels and pearls. Hats and parasols. If hoop skirts caught on here, we might have an East/West Gone With the Wind mashup. And I’d never rule out anything in the Japanese fashion scene.