28 March 2008

Laotian in Motion Tour, Wrap-Up

The trip to Laos was a success of sorts, although not in the way I intended or expected. The next time I come on this trip, I'll prepare for the crowd a little better and know what to expect. I'm actually hoping that next year I'll be able to spend a week in Thailand with habitat for humanity, then have a week of conferences in Vietnam, and then a week in Laos, hopefully with the baby and wife hanging out on the Laos leg. We'll see. I still don't feel 100% and that probably is coloring the way I see things...  Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll have a better feel for it.

It occurs to me that in a couple of years, maybe ten or so, the main Japanese export is going to be confused, rich Japanese tourists, going to various countries and getting more and more confused, only to return to Japan with suitcases full of overpriced, airport chocolate and one or two stories that ignore the most interesting parts of the trip. One of the teachers on our trip said that he expected Japan to become sort of like Asia's Switzerland. Lots of money, lots of passiveness. I don't know about that. For me, Asia is anchored in Japan because I am anchored in Japan and my first experience with anything Asian was in Japan. But with the growth of China and with China gobbling up resources all over, what will be left of Japan... It's something to consider, but not for me to solve.