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.