At the age of 27 I did not yet have a passport. Since then, I have stamped my way through three passport books and seen every continent on the planet. One of my more interesting and memorable visits was when I lectured in Kyoto, Japan with my periodontist, and friend, Brian Chadroff.
It had to be about four years ago, but seeing the posters for the latest Twilight movie brought it all back. NYU had asked us to present in Japan to a group of over 1,000 dentists from all over Asia. Brian and I both lead busy lives and, over the years, we have perfected the art of travel by being able to leave on a Thursday night for just about anywhere in the world and make it home by Sunday to be able to be back at work on Monday. This gives us just enough time to give the 8-hour lecture and soak in some of the culture.
After giving our lecture, we were treated to a private authentic gourmet Japanese dinner. It was the first time I tried Blowfish (aka Fugu). Now, as far as I had heard- Blowfish is quite poisonous (100 Japanese die from consuming it every year!) and I couldn’t imagine ever eating one, but they assured me it was a delicacy.
I did try it. I can’t say I’d ever try it again, but I lived to write about it. Here’s what it looks like. It doesn’t have much flavor, actually…
The following day, we were off to visit the countryside of Kyoto and visit the Buddhist temples. Over 2,000 temples have been established over the last 1500 years. It was truly amazing to see the architecture of these temples, how they were nestled into the most magnificent countryside that was just so green.
There was even a place where we found hundreds of deer that would come up and take food from your hands. As we walked into an entry way leading to the Imperial Palace, there was a blind deer that stood and bowed to people as they walked by. It was one of the craziest things I had ever witnessed.
While on top of the imperial palace, something strange happened. At first, I noticed this large group of Japanese children gathering and whispering amongst themselves. I glanced back and one of the little boys had approached me with his camera and asked if he could take his picture with me. Well, I thought, maybe it’s because I’m American? It didn’t really cross my mind too much because, let’s face it, I have a huge ego and deep down it seems normal to me that people would want to take their picture with me.
That is a joke!
So… I took a picture with him and he went back to his group. Then the crowd of people started growing and growing and growing. The next thing I knew they started to rush me, wanting pictures and autographs…and through all the chaos I could hear them chanting Edward.
Then it hit me, they thought I was Robert Pattinson.
Ok ok, I know I look nothing like him, but at the time, I was pale as a ghost from not sleeping, not seeing the sun and traveling. I had on the black glasses and my hair was crazy from walking around in the windy countryside all day. Either way, they thought I was him. I started taking pictures, but the crowd got so big and weird that I ran away. Priceless, imagine the site of a dentist running away from a bunch of screaming children…usually the other way around! I ran down this huge set of stairs, got back to my group and they asked me, “where have you been?” Meanwhile, there is a group of probably 100 kids from up above screaming EDWARD EDWARD!!
My friend Brian looked at me and started laughing. What a trip.