Monday, August 27, 2007

Sensual, Sensuous Japan: The Journey Begins

Okay, so my novel is coming out this week and it’s time to get interesting here on my blog. Amorous Woman is the story of a Western woman’s love affair with Japan and it’s appropriate, I think, to let you all know more about my own yearnings for the country and its culture. I plan to introduce you to my favorite places in Kyoto and Tokyo, take you to the rustic, but elegant hot spring inn that is the setting for many of my stories, tell you about some of the parts of Amorous Woman that are based on my life, talk about Japanese porn comics and delicious blowfish dinners and even my favorite Japanese restaurants in Berkeley for a mini-trip to Nippon. Plus, now that I know how to download pictures, there’ll be some gorgeous eye candy as well.

I wasn’t sure how to title this series because I was a little confused about the exact meaning of the words “sensual” and “sensuous.” Webster’s College Dictionary has this to say about the matter: “both refer to experience through the senses. ‘Sensual’ refers to the enjoyments derived from the senses, especially to the gratification or indulgence of physical appetites. ‘Sensuous’ refers to that which is aesthetically pleasing to the senses.” The examples they give are “sensual pleasure” and “sensuous poetry,” which sort of divides them into low and high culture in a way. Both apply in this case, however, and I may switch back and forth depending on the topic. I realized that “sensuous” will forever be a dirty word for me because of The Sensuous Woman, which is the first dirty book most girls of my generation ever read--hurriedly at recess in a hidden corner of the school yard. But it turns out Webster’s thinks “sensual” is worse!

So wipe your hands on that hot oshibori towel, tear off the wrapper of your chopsticks and get ready for the feast to begin….

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