Update: The DH has done his mathematical random drawing thing and I’m pleased to announce my winner is Tina Rucci! Congrats, Tina. I’ll be sending you an email to gather your mailing info. For everyone else, thank you for leaving a comment. If you didn’t win here, I hope you’ll pop over to my website and enter my contest there. The Grand Prize is a set of my entire print backlist!
I just returned from a week long trip to Japan. My DH had to go on business and I tagged along for pleasure! There are so many amazing things to see there and I’m sharing some of them on my blog and later this week on Facebook. But today, I’d like to talk a bit about this sign I saw near the Imperial Palace Gardens. I think it really sums up the Japanese way of looking at things.
Every society has a collection of rules, either spelled out or tacitly accepted, that helps things run smoothly. For example, in Japan people drive on the left hand side of the road just like the Brits. Which means they also queue and walk on the left as well. I can’t tell you how many times I caught myself walking into oncoming foot traffic because I automatically drifted to the “right” American side of the walk way.
Money does not literally change hands there. It took me a bit to notice that there is always a little tray by every cash register where I was expected to place my payment and where the sales person would place my change. (However if I was having trouble figuring out the money, it was perfectly safe for me to hold out a handful of change and the vendor would take out only what was needed to complete the transaction. The Japanese are honest to a fault.)
If however, someone handed me something, it would be with two hands, indicating their total attention to me. It would have been bad manners for me to accept it with one hand only, but I really had to concentrate in order to make myself use both hands.
Being “others-centric” seems to be the Japanese way. No one pushes to the head of a queue. Everyone defers to those around them. And they do it with a smile and a bow. They follow the rules. In a city of 12 million souls, it’s almost a requirement in order to have peaceful coexistence.
Every society has their own rules and while following them leads to harmonious life, it makes for very boring fiction. Which is why my characters tend to be rule breakers big time. Take my heroine Lady Julianne Cambourne from Touch of a Rogue, for example. She’s a widowed countess, but she refuses to come to heel when her step-son tries to marry her off to one of his friends. If she were a “pattern” sort of lady (“pattern” being a huge compliment during the Victorian era because it indicated a thorough conformation to the expected course of action) she’d accept the man the new earl wants her to wed. Tired of living under a man’s thumb, Julianne doesn’t want to give up the freedom of widowhood and she’s determined to do what’s necessary in order to maintain her independence.
This is a sentiment my hero Jacob Preston applauds until he realizes he loves her and wants her to surrender her widow’s weeds…to HIM! For a peek at how Jacob and Julianne met, click here for an excerpt. While you’re on my website be sure to enter my contest. I’m giving away a complete set of my print backlist there.
Today, I’d like to offer a copy of Touch of a Rogue to a commenter here. Share a time when you broke the rules. Share a rule you find impossible to follow. Share a time when following the rules was the absolutely right thing to do. Whatever you leave for a comment will enter you in the drawing. Good luck!