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Larry K. and Lorna Collins

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Member Since: May, 2005

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31 Months in Japan - the Building of a Theme Park
by Larry K. and Lorna Collins  Larr y K. and Lorna Collins 

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Books by Larry K. and Lorna Collins
· The Memory Keeper
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Publisher:  iUniverse ISBN-10:  0595345840 Type: 


Copyright:  April 13, 2005


31 Months in Japan is a first-hand account of Americans living and working in Japan building a world-class theme park.

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Lorna & Larry Collins
31 Months in Japan

 31 Months in Japan—the Building of a Theme Park is the story of two Southern Californians embarking on the adventure of a lifetime—moving to Japan to participate in the construction of the Universal Studios Japan® theme park.

Join authors Larry K. & Lorna Collins on an odyssey into a foreign culture where they are often misunderstood and frequently confused. Discover the challenges and frustrations of building a world-class entertainment venue outside the United States. Enjoy the adventure as they discover the beauty and the people of Japan. Share their laughter, tears, surprise and final triumph as the park is completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Meet fascinating characters like Jurassic Jack, the Nihon Cowboy and Dote-san through their eyes.

31 Months in Japan—the Building of a Theme Park combines interesting details and behind-the-scenes descriptions of how magic is made in the entertainment industry with funny and touching personal remembrances. The stories will be of particular interest to those visiting or intending to live or work in Japan, people doing business with the Japanese, theme park aficionados and anyone with a sense of adventure.


I was lost, thoroughly lost, in a country where I neither read the signs nor spoke much of the language. I was just trying to get to a dentist. The crown on my front tooth had fallen out the day before, and English-speaking friends had recommended their Harvard-trained doctor. I called his office and made an appointment for that afternoon. Then I boarded the train.
“Take the JR (Japan Railway) to Amagasaki where you’ll catch the local to the Koshienguchi station in Nishinomiya,” they’d said. What they hadn’t told me was there were three different local trains as well as an express and a limited express heading that direction. Only one of them stopped at the specified station, and it wasn’t the one I was on.

Professional Reviews

Fascinating Look Into Another Culture Through the Authors' Eyes,
I was utterly charmed by the experiences related from the viewpoint of the author husband and author wife. Not only were the glimpses of the Japanese culture intriguting and fascinating, but I was also awed by the descriptions of the different places visited by the authors. The insights into the actual building of a theme park in a foreign land kept me turning pages.

Having had the opportunity to see the authors at the recent Epicon made it even more interesting as I could imagine them as I read their words.

This is definitely a book for anyone who likes to read about new places and learn more about a different culture from first hand sources.

Thank you for many pleasant reading hours.

Marilyn Meredith, author of Wingbeat, latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series.

Book a tribute to all the people that made Universal Studios Japan a success
Reviewer: Reader Views "" - See all my reviews
Reviewed by Kelli Glesige for Reader Views (3/06)

Co-author Larry K. Collins was a project engineer assigned to the construction of the amusement park Universal Studios Japan, and Lorna, his wife was in Document Control. For 31 months, Larry and Lorna lived in Japan during the building of Universal Studios Japan, moving to Osaka in August 1998 from their permanent home in Dana Point, California until the park opened on March 31, 2001. "31 Months in Japan" is the story of the culture shocks the Collins encountered, the wonderful friends they made, and the sharing of their many interesting challenges and adventures, beginning with the first obstacle in May 1998 when they learned their building site was contaminated and the subsequent 18 month clean-up.

"31 Months in Japan" will entice those curious about traveling to or possibly living in Japan. The behind the scenes work that goes on during the construction of a theme park is also covered, so if you are enthralled with all the plans that go into building a theme park from the obtaining of the land until the gates are opened to the public, you will be entertained.

The book is written like a journal, Larry writing about his encounters as a project engineer, working on the Jurassic Park and JAWS water rides, along with the Water World show, then Lorna sharing her experiences with obtaining housing, cooking and working in Japan. They cover the gamut in telling us about Japanese fashions, home furnishings, festivals, holidays, weather, roadways, maps, parking, waste removal system, communal bathing, golf, rituals, work ethic, appropriate social behavior, and obtaining and preparing familiar food.

At the beginning of each chapter, a new Japanese word is introduced with its pronunciation and meaning, and we are then told a story of how that Japanese word relates to an encounter shared by the Collins. By the end of the book, we should have a few Japanese words in our memory.

The differences between America and Japan were eye opening. Larry experienced driving with only " between his left front tire and a three foot ditch running along the side of the road. When passing another vehicle, Larry relates there would be only a scant 1/4" space between the two vehicles door-to-door. Also, before purchasing a car in Japan, the Collins learned one must first have an assigned place to park it. A final random thought I found interesting was that American pizza in Japan has corn atop, is drizzled with mayonnaise, and has toppings of seafood and seaweed.

The Collins eagerly and enthusiastically share with us their experiences of Japan. They tell us about Jurassic Mark, Raouf Iskander, the Nihon Cowboy, their Japanese "daughter" Yasuko and Jurassic Jack. The Collins came back changed individuals but only for the better. It is obvious of the great love they felt for the many special friendships solidified by their times in Japan. The Collin's book is a tribute to the great number of colorful personalities that came together to make the building of Universal Studios Japan a success!

West meets East
Reviewer: Rebecca Brown "rebeccasreads" (Clallam Bay, WA United States) - See all my reviews
Rebeccasreads highly recommends 31 MONTHS IN JAPAN as a must for anyone planning on traveling to or working in Japan. It teaches about & shows a very different lifestyle, & how our American ways of doing things can make for both funny & embarrasing moments. Throughout, you sense the authors' excitement, their appreciation of beauty, hard work & friendship.

Elegantly presented, in simple & brief language, 31 MONTHS IN JAPAN tells the saga of how Larry & Lorna Collins got there, the inevitable culture clashes, setting up house, social gaffes, typhoons, festivals & construction woes, together with photographs of the team.

A unique & engaging read.

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