Turning Japanese Summary

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In “Turning Japanese,” Julavits aims to tell the story of her “post-college” life in Japan, mostly the eating experience, and the process of comprehending Zen-like words: emotional freedom accompanies with the awareness of the existence of uncertainty. It is through hers keeping finding American sweet that finally causes Julavits to grasp the essence of Zen-like words. At first, Julavits moved to Japan to reach higher level of existence while eating amazing food. Gradually, she began missing American sweet and tried to find it in Japan. After several failures, she started to persuade herself to follow the “culture strengths”. However, one day, she encountered the bean cake and then, she received a two-month contentment with it. After losing craving for it, she was so worried that she may never desire anything else. So she decided to go to somewhere else. However, on the bus to Thailand, she suddenly missed the tekka-don. Then, she realized her iffy future and glad to find she had the desire again in her life. With changes of her desire and emotional feelings, readers will understand what means the certainty of uncertainty. Julavits uses her adventures in eating to make readers understand the Zen-like point: “Emotional freedom comes with being aware of the certainty of uncertainty.” I think Julavits’s experience affect this passage to some extent. She graduated from college during the period of global recession and coming war in the Persian Gulf. The whole world was in turbulence and her future was vague and uncertain, as she said at the beginning of passage: “I have no clue to do with my life.” I believe it is this period of time that makes she interests in Zen Buddhism.
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