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Behind The Scenes

You are in: Devon > BBC Radio Devon > Behind The Scenes > Home Thoughts From Abroad

Brenda and Jo Loosemore

Brenda and Jo Loosemore in the studio

Home Thoughts From Abroad

Sushi and Scones is the dramatised story of how a Devon woman living in Japan kept in touch with her family.

Remember the days when the only way to communicate long-distance was by letter?

For Torquay woman, Jo Loosemore, it was the only way to let her family know how she was getting on in her new life in Japan.

Jo worked as an English teacher in three schools in rural Japan during the early 1990s and her time spent there has been brought to life in a short play for BBC Radio Devon. 

Jo said: "Living in rural Japan for two years was a fantastic, but challenging experience.

Jo Loosemore

Jo pictured during her time in Japan

"With no Japanese language, I was unable to read, speak or understand.

"As one of only five 'gaijin' or foreigners living in the town, communication was often difficult and sometimes hilarious.

"We relied very much on letters from friends or family and hoped every day that there would be post from home."  

Sushi and Scones is a one act play in which a proud but slightly confused Torquay grandmother corresponds with her adventure seeking granddaughter (Jo), a recent graduate who's left Devon and taken up residence in rural Japan.

Set before the major advent of the Internet and e-mail, the play captures the joys and drawbacks of a form of communication that few still practice, the art of letter writing.

Over a series of 10 letters, we learn how Charlotte is dealing with the cultural challenges of living in a new country, where finding the post office is no mean feat.

In return, granny keeps her granddaughter up to date with all the news from Devon and home.

Jo and Brenda

A Family Affair... Jo and Brenda

Jo said: "The play is based, sometimes loosely and sometimes closely, on letters to and from my grandmother, who still lives in Torquay. They outline our understanding and misunderstandings across continents, cultures and generations."

Jo plays the role of Charlotte in the radio play. In fact, the production is very much a family affair, as Jo's mother Brenda skips a generation and takes the role of granny.

For both of the Loosemore ladies, it was moving experience to perform the piece which recalls such a special and unusual time.

In one letter home, Charlotte writes about some of the new friends she has made, including the lively American chap who I enjoy talking with when I can understand his Gone with the Wind accent.

The 'lively American', is none other than the writer of the play, Randall David Cook. The New York-based playwright met Jo while teaching English in the same small Japanese town.

They became firm friends and helped one another navigate life in rural Japan. Their shared experiences inspired Randall to write "Sake with the Haiku Geisha", which premiered off-Broadway early in 2006. Sushi and Scones is one act from the larger work.

The play was broadcast on BBC Radio Devon in December 2005. It is one of a number of community dramas the radio station has commissioned.

last updated: 08/04/2008 at 14:58
created: 28/12/2005

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