My Trip to Japan

I just returned from Japan last week….I go there twice a year to do shows for my Japanese distribution company, High Spirits & Yu. It's an incredible journey, really….an awfully LONG trip….it's not at all like going to Europe….very few people speak English there and the ones that do are so bashful about it and afraid to make mistakes that they don't speak very much at all. I've been told that almost everyone there understands English but just can't speak well or express themselves. They are honored by the fact that i can count in Japanese and say a few words to them. I've learned how to greet the properly and they appreciate that a lot. Yes, it's true that the cab drivers don't speak English at all so if you do go there, make sure you have a piece of paper to hand the driver that tells him or her where you want to go in Japanese. Remember to take another piece of paper with your return trip written on it too so you don't get stranded! They all wear gloves and masks too to prevent against germs. I thought I was careful about germs…..until i went to Japan!

I am always the tallest person around and everyone stares at me in the elevator. That's a strange feeling…The movie Lost in Translation is really an accurate view of what it's like.

I love the hotels i stay in there…my favorite thing to do is go for a swim and then soak in the Japanese Onsen Baths. In some of the hotels, they are even outside and in the midst of beautiful Japanese gardens. I usually go there in January and with the cold air, the warm water feels SO good. When you get out, they serve you hot green tea so you can stay hot on the inside while your body cools down. When staying in Tokyo, i recommend the Four Seasons Chinzan-so. It's really memorable.

I'm not a huge fan of Japanese food but i'm learning to enjoy the vegetarian dishes washed down with a good Kirin or Suntory beer! And the exotic fruits you can get in the marketplace are wrapped individually and are so sweet and tastey. But bring lots of money if you go. A glass of orange juice will set you back about $12 and breakfast costs about $75. I mention breakfast because it IS my favorite meal of the day.

By the way, the shows were great. I met a lot of wonderful people….especially a lot of Japanese dentists who collect my work! It was amazing. The owner of the Nagoya Dragons baseball team also came and bought the original I did for his team. It was great to meet him.

I am glad to be home but I relish the time i get to spend in Japan…it's an alternate universe!

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2 Responses to “My Trip to Japan”

  1. Kathleen says:

    Hi Charles,

    Your work incorporates so many different subjects, places, and cultures that naturally you have collectors of your art in many different countries. I was wondering which of your pieces are the most popular in foreign countries that might be about a completely unrelated subject. For instance, the Japanese will be especially interested in works which highlight Tokyo or the Nagoya Dragons, but what subjects of yours that are NOT about Japan are the most popular there?

  2. Charles says:

    Hey Kathy,
    I think you’ll be surprised to know that actually the Tokyo and Japanese images DON’T sell as well in Japan as my other images…in particular, the Japanese love the New York images…anything American…and believe it or not, i have a huge following of dentists in Japan…almost 1 out of every 5 collectors i met on my recent trip was a dentist! Then there are some pieces that make no sense. They like the piece i did a few years back on Delaware because of the color scheme and the title (“It Takes Courage to be First” ). Then there was the piece i did on Ireland that was in the shape of a shamrock. That shape has special significance for the Japanese and they loved that too.

    They also really love Marilyn Monroe, so i’m excited to be coming out with a new Marilyn piece in November that i’m anxious to share with them. Thanks for your question…..and take care,

    –Charles

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