Before I get too verbose and lengthy, as I am prone to do in writing, may I say again that I am a big fan of yours and I am afraid that your statement that you will be more careful with what you write the future, will adversely affect one of the things I like about your articles, the ability and honesty to write in a conversational style and to write what others are afraid to say even though they may be thinking it. I want you to continue to be brave and not let crlticism hamper or affect your excellent writing style.
A tempest in a teapot, except when it happens to storm in one's own teapot. As a public school teacher for twenty years in the Los Angeles area, I have suffered the anger and villification of the public on numerous occasions on statements made in the classroom and sometimes about my incompetence as a teacher. I have had a number of artlcles published in newspapers and magazines, with only a smattering of letters regarding the articles from readers, all flattering and full of praise. So it was very surprising for me to read the violent and strong criticism you got from the Szalapskis and perhaps others, from what to me seemed very innocent articles about a normal average Amerlcan as he walks around Japan and evaluates different situations on a numerical scale. It is surprlslng how many hotheads there are out there hidden in the reading public.
From a literary viewpoint, I think your writing is just great and it should be between the hard covers of a book rather than in little newspaper articles in the Alien Times. "Fall Colors" is a fine artlcle and needed for newcomers to Tsukuba, but it hardly puts you on the edge of your chair with excitement.
The articles of Martin Pauly, on the other hand, are the kind that you can't put down until you finish them. I have recently finished re-reading the books of Garrison Keillor (Lake Wobegon etc.). You have to be a native Minnesotan to truly enjoy and understand the fine nuances in his humor. In many ways, he writes like a minister composing sermons and there is that strong undercurrent of religion in all that he writes. The hotheads might take umberage at his statlng that Lutherans at Communion, drink coffee rather than grape juice, or implies as much. One article that I wrote ends with "He finaly got a Harley; God rides one too, you know."
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