I generally do not post private matters, but some of you have met my sister and her daughter. I've told many of you about my mother and step-father. As you see in these photos, they are doing well. Before my departure, my sister suggested that I spend most of my time with mother, as she was getting older and tired easily. That was what I did. Well, she fed me so well and so much it was like a torture. Both my step-father and I would say, "That's enough," but she kept serving us.
My impression of my last trip to Japan can be expressed in two words,"very full." My family and friends often prepared rich foods in order to welcome my return, and I also prepared rich local dishes for my hosts. Food was like a token of love in the country, where people do not verbally express it. My stomach and heart had gotten very VERY full.
Here is how my niece Hoho looks now at Sweet 17. Gary and Bjo Shreirer made a sheet of rice crispy bars specially for her and asked me to hand it to her in Japan. The first video is from Hoho to Gary and Bjo when she received the gift. (Sorry, I did not want to spend too much time editing the clip.)
Hoho is a senior at Osaka High School of Music, training to become an idol. In the following film, you will see her soaring to the height of her dream. It may be a very impractical field, but it is obvious she is enjoying her youth to the fullest.
Happy New Dragon Year! Wish you for a speedy progress toward your dream like the way a dragon climbs up into the clouds.
When I headed for Miyagi Prefecture two and half months ago, I never expected that my mission in the tsunami-afflicted area would end with a phrase “See you again.” When the organizers of the project, which I had been involved in, asked me to return, I was indecisive. As I wrote in my previous blog, I was not happy with the fact that there was no private time. However, in the environment where all the people involved worked selflessly hard, we could not help developing respect for one another. I simply desired to continue to work with them. Collaboration is a Japanese virtue. This experience turned out to be an excellent occasion to learn the Japanese secret, which often leads to an accomplishment. When everyone works together for the same purpose, nothing is impossible. Even the restoration of the northeastern shoreline of Japan is not infeasible.
When I obtained an U.S. citizenship more than a decade ago, I automatically lost my Japanese citizenship. That meant that I needed to enter my home country as an American with a tourist visa. Its expiration date is approaching, and I have to go a Japanese embassy/consulate located outside of Japan in order to get a long-term visa. I am returning to South Dakota as scheduled. It will be nice to recuperate at my other home, while waiting for the visa to be processed.
I have been spending the new year holiday with my mother and stepfather in Akita. My sister and her children joined us two days ago, and we all came to a ski resort, so that the grandchildren could enjoy snowboarding. The stepfather is generously paying for the expenses. The gap between the poverty I witnessed in Miyagi and the luxury and wastes I am experiencing here is mind-boggling.
In the photo, my niece is "swimming" in the ski resort. Her mother is aiming a camera at her. What do you think of this? Is this a display of unnecessary luxury or of advanced technology?
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