The Surreal World

Bowlingual Voice (Dog Translator) at Tokyu Hands © Emily Shur


I got back to LA on Friday morning. The husband and The Baroness picked me up from the airport, and I was so so so happy to see both of them. The Baroness was her usually sleepy self, only looking up briefly from her car nap as if to say, “Oh hey…I know you…I’m gonna go back to sleep now.” If I had bought the Bowlingual Voice (pictured above) I’d know for sure what she was trying to communicate. Damn you, two hundred dollar dog translator! Shouldn’t dog translation be affordable for everyone?

Reflecting on my trip, I had a great time…a lonely and sometimes difficult great time. Since I speak zero Japanese, I opened my mouth so few times while I was there. I think it very well may be the least I have ever spoken in a full week. However, I think I balanced that out with an increase in pointing and smiling – two things that are not an overwhelming part of my normal repertoire. At times it did get hard to have no one to talk to, no one to eat with, and no one to share experiences with.

I’ve never travelled alone like this before. I definitely did things on my own that I would not have done if someone else was taking the trip with me. Many days I planned my activities solely around picture taking, which definitely wouldn’t translate into “fun” for most other people. So, in that regard, I was appreciative to not have anyone else on my conscience. I wasn’t responsible for anyone else’s enjoyment, thus enabling me to do only what I wanted. Before I left for Japan, I made a long list of places I wanted to photograph…some in the city, some outside of the city. I knew the list was too long to get through in one week, but I figured it was better to have too much to do than not enough. I prioritized the list for photographic purposes, but not everything was a winner. There were days that were very rewarding and some that were less amazing. On the two hour ride from my hotel in Shibuya to the airport, I was kicking myself for going to certain areas and not going to others. Though in reality, there was no way for me to know what was going to work and what wasn’t. I had to go in order to know. There’s always next time, and the list is still long.

Time to go pick up my film.

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