The last post was in Japanese. If it looked like gibberish, sorry. I just felt moved to write in Japanese; my Japanese friends can read it.

Tonight my friend asked me to write about the real Japan. In the future: he wants me to portray the Japan that is not the Japan where every woman is a geisha and every man a samurai. I appreciate his desire, and I really do hope that I can help do that.

As you all know, I love Japan, I love Japanese culture. But it is important to remember I remain an American, a proud American. That is not to say I can't find fault with America: there's plenty of room for that. The important thing, to me, is to find value in both cultures, and I hope that perhaps some day I will be able to help reconcile the alienating tendencies of the two cultures.

There is a lot of resentment in Japan over the recent pick of films about Japan, and I agree: The Last Samurai, Lost in Translation, and, most recently, Sayuri. Lost in Translation bucks the trend the most, as Sayuri is about a geisha and The Last Samurai - well, you know what that is about. But Coppola's purpose in setting the story in Japan is to alienate the two characters so that they can find common ground; thus, once again Japan is exotic and, by extension, dismissable. Thus we see scene after scene of quirky Japanese traits with no real attempt to portray them as human beings. They are mere backdrops to Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

Many Japanese that have seen Lost in Translation are insulted; others are not. I understand what Coppola was attempting, but because of the general trend toward alienizing Japan, it irks me a bit.

Japan is different. Japan doesn't fit into the American, or European, mold. I think, however, that that really has little to do with it: China, too, is admirably obscure;