October 10, 2005: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Writing - Philippines: Japan: Press Release: Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa by Philippines RPCV Karin Muller

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Philippines: Peace Corps Philippines: The Peace Corps in the Philippines: October 10, 2005: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Writing - Philippines: Japan: Press Release: Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa by Philippines RPCV Karin Muller

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-66-59.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 2:06 pm: Edit Post

Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa by Philippines RPCV Karin Muller

Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa by Philippines RPCV Karin Muller

Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa by Philippines RPCV Karin Muller

A Year in Search of Wa
By Karin Muller

"Karin Muller achieves a kind of harmonic 'wa' in this year in Japan by
following that most intense journey, that of the self, in extremity. Whether challenged by the rigors of living in the hermetic world of a Japanese family; or flung about with an island cult, she maintains her composure and delight, and so do we."
~Jacki Lyden, NPR senior correspondent and author
of Daughter of the Queen of Sheba

"Messy, independent, and talkative, Muller has a hard time shoehorning her boisterous personality into a country full of quiet nuance . . . [but] Muller is not nearly the oafish American she makes herself out to be; she's actually a sensitive observer with a great wit and a talent for deciphering a country and decoding behavior"
~Body + Soul

"The diverse activities and excursions to far-flung places make this a fine travel memoir, but it's the backbone of Muller's voyage that gives her book resonance and richness . . . Muller went to Japan to find wa: a quality of dedication, inner strength and spiritual peace. Her memoir isn't an account of achieving those goals, but it is
an engrossing, rewarding record of her travel toward them."
~Publishers Weekly

"Muller's engaging, funny voice turns what could have been a superficial picaresque account into a deeper exploration of a Westerner longing to fit in."


Wa. From her years of judo practice, Karin Muller knew that the Japanese had a word for the seemingly effortless state of harmony that she longed for, but she wasn't sure exactly what it entailed-and she certainly wasn't sure how to get it. Living in a soulless apartment in Washington, D.C. and "casually dating a divorce lawyer who was casually dating at least two other women," Muller knew she needed a change of scenery as well as some spiritual peace. Craving the focus and calm that seemed to accompany the elusive wa, Muller decided to move to Japan for a year, to immerse herself in its rich past and colorful yet conflicted present. The result is JAPANLAND: A Year in Search of Wa (Rodale / October 2005 / $23.95), a uniquely American odyssey into the ancient heart of modern Japan.

Related with intimacy and humor, JAPANLAND tells the story of Muller's immersion into Japanese culture, which is filled with poignant moments of clarity and hilarious incidents of impropriety. As she seeks out the many unique and sometimes obscure subcultures of Japan-including sumo wrestlers, samurai swordmakers, geishas, Buddhist monks, and even the now-iconic workaholic, career-track salary-man-she experiences the great diversity and proud humanity of a nation rooted in the past but looking toward the future.

JAPANLAND is also a journey of growth and personal awareness for Karin, as the rigid norms of Japanese society force her to adjust, acquiesce, and learn to appreciate the idiosyncrasies of her host country. An independent, thirty-something, single American woman with a strong sense of curiosity and a less fine-tuned sense of the baffling intricacies of her adopted culture, Muller quickly discovers just how maddeningly complicated it is being Japanese. Along the way, she-and we-get to know the cultural biases and all-too-human quirks of an absorbing cast of characters, including Muller's host mother and nemesis, Yukiko, who spends most of the day preparing impossibly artful meals and finding fault with her adopted daughter's every move; and Junko, Muller's Japanese "sister" and one of Japan's rebellious New Human Beings, who's aggressively modern and dismissive of her parents yet utterly dependent on them (at twenty-eight, she parties almost every night but must get married in the next two years or lose her job).

JAPANLAND is an honest, engaging narrative made all the more insightful and enjoyable by Muller's sharp eye for detail and keen sense of humor. Opening the door on a land of culture and contradiction, JAPANLAND will strike a chord with travel buffs, explorers of distant cultures, and all readers looking for some wa in their own lives.

KARIN MULLER's four-hour documentary series, also titled Japanland, will air on public television in fall 2005. Her previous documentaries, Hitchhiking Vietnam and Along the Inca Road, premiered in 1998 (on PBS) and 2000 (on the National Geographic Channel and MSNBC), respectively. Muller is an expert lecturer on Japan for the National Geographic Society; she has been featured on National Public Radio and on Minnesota Public Radio's Marketplace, and her writing appears in National Geographic and Traveler magazines. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

JAPANLAND: A Year in Search of Wa
By Karin Muller
Rodale / October 2005
Hardcover / 320 pages / $23.95
ISBN: 1-59486-223-6

When this story was posted in September 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina Date: September 4 2005 No: 725 Returned Volunteers respond to Hurricane Katrina
First and foremost, Give. Carol Bellamy says "In situations such as this one, money is needed the most" and added that Hurricane Katrina's impact on New Orleans is comparable to last year's tsunami. Thailand RPCV Thomas Tighe's Direct Relief International has committed an initial $250,000 in cash to assist hurricane victims. Mayor Tom Murphy (RPCV Paraguay) says Pittsburgh is ready to embrace refugees from devastated areas. Mark Shriver of Save the Children says it will assist rural communities it serves in rebuilding. Brazil RPCV Robert Backus is among the first Vermont doctors to volunteer to travel to Louisiana to treat victims. Ohio Governor Bob Taft (RPCV Tanzania) says students displaced by "Katrina" can enroll in Ohio Colleges and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (RPCV Tunisia) is sending soldiers to help residents of Louisiana. Do you know what it means to lose New Orleans? Contact your local Red Cross to Volunteer.

Top Stories and Breaking News PCOL Magazine Peace Corps Library RPCV Directory Sign Up

Military Option sparks concerns Date: August 23 2005 No: 714 Military Option sparks concerns
The U.S. military, struggling to fill its voluntary ranks, is allowing recruits to meet part of their reserve military obligations after active duty by serving in the Peace Corps. Read why there is opposition to the program among RPCVs. Director Vasquez says the agency has a long history of accepting qualified applicants who are in inactive military status. John Coyne says "Not only no, but hell no!" and RPCV Chris Matthews leads the debate on "Hardball." Latest: Avi Spiegel says Peace Corps is not the place for soldiers while Coleman McCarthy says to Welcome Soldiers to the Peace Corps. RPCVs: Read our poll results.

Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger Date: August 25 2005 No: 717 Why blurring the lines puts PCVs in danger
When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger.

Upcoming Events: Peace Corps Fund in NYC Date: August 20 2005 No: 710 Upcoming Events: Peace Corps Fund in NYC
Peace Corps Fund announces Sept 29 Fund Raiser in NYC
High Atlas Foundation Hosts a Reception in NYC on Sept 15
Jody Olsen to address Maryland RPCVs at Sept 17 picnic
"Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" in NY thru Sept 30
See RPCV Musical "Doing Good" in CA through Sept
"Iowa in Ghana" at "The Octogan" in Ames through October 7
RPCV Film Festival in DC in October
RPCV's exhibit at Museum of Man in San Diego thru May 2006

Top Stories: August 20, 2005 Date: August 20 2005 No: 711 Top Stories: August 20, 2005
Jack Crandall writes "Memories relished by WWII Generation"
Cris Groenendaal plays Phantom of Opera on Broadway 19 Aug
Peace Corps Director Travels to Madagascar 19 Aug
RPCV presents "Artists and Patrons in Traditional African Cultures" 19 Aug
Robert Brown to head Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA 19 Aug
Peter McPherson to head national university association 19 Aug
Len Flier says US has lose-lose scenario in Iraq 18 Aug
Ruth DeMaio sends aid to Niger 18 Aug
Bob Taft pleads no contest to ethics law violation 18 Aug
Antoinette Allen is Field Hockey coach at Hun School 16 Aug
Tony Hall Avoids Mugabe on Zimbabwe trip 14 Aug
Peace Corps Receives 2005 Medgar Evers Award 10 Aug
Jeff Wray is filming "The Soul Searchers" 10 Aug
40th anniversary of Shriver's Foster Grandparent Program 9 Aug
Tom Petri writes "It's not just about highways" 9 Aug
Terry Dougherty brings students from Afghanistan to US 8 Aug
Chris Newhall is leading volcano scientist 5 Aug
Douglas Biklen appointed dean at Syracuse University 5 Aug
Greg Kovalchuk and Mike Kelly Find Rare Fossil 4 Aug
Edward O'Toole salvages furniture for schools in Honduras 3 Aug
Gary Mount is Apple Grower Of The Year 1 Aug

The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related stories in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can find hundreds of stories about what RPCVs with your same interests or from your Country of Service are doing today. If you have a web site, support the "Peace Corps Library" and link to it today.

Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000  strong Date: April 2 2005 No: 543 Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Press Release

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Philippines; Writing - Philippines; Japan


Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.