Memories Out of Season

Alan's haunting novel of the AIDS epidemic, As If Death Summoned, was released on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2020, and has won the Foreword INDIES LGBT Book of the Year Award. Watch the book trailer here. Read the reviews here.













In the early 1980s, when living and teaching in Japan, I enjoyed playing tennis with Japanese friends. During my first year, they invited me for a “tennis weekend” at a mountain resort in central Honshu.

The second day was hot on the clay courts, and at one point I stripped off my T-shirt. While culturally appropriate on any tennis court back home in Seattle, I apparently scandalized all of Niigata Prefecture. With great embarrassment, my doubles partner whispered that I could not “play nude.”

I quickly apologized, slipping my shirt back on. However, I'll admit this embarrassment struck me as odd since just the night before, we--men and women--had all bathed together in the resort’s large o-furo, which I’m pretty sure is not culturally appropriate in Seattle, without anyone showing the least embarrassment.

It was my first lesson in understanding the peculiar logic of a different culture, and I later included the experience in Tales of Tokyo.




[First posted: October 21, 2013]

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