“Dear Miss Marina… First learn gomi law, second Japanese language, and third you can enjoy international friendship. This is like holding hands across a sea!”
And so begins If You Follow Me and our narrator Marina’s lessons in “gomi” (garbage) law, Japanese culture, and the workings of Shika, the small, rural Japanese town in which she is teaching English for one year. For Marina, Shika is more than just her home as a “temporary person.” It’s also an attempt to escape the reality that has followed her everyday since her father committed suicide. But as Marina comes to realize, in Japan, you can never really throw away your past.
Being an exchange student in Japan during the summer of 1987, I thought that I might read about the Japan that I experienced. That was not the case. I'm sure much has changed over the course of 23 years, but I'm afraid that I really didn't connect much with the characters. After realizing that I needed to put my time in Japan on the back burner, I was able to enjoy the story for what it was....a year in the life of Marina, who is trying to come to terms with her father's suicide. She believes that if she removes herself from that painful part of her life, that everything will be better. This is definitely a fish-out-of -water tale, but I honestly didn't find it very funny, although I did get the humor in regards to the way the Japanese interacted with her. Overall, it was an okay read.
Thanks again to TLC for asking me to be
a part of this book tour .
Check out other tour stops here.