Leaving Japan

I am writing this in the train to the airport, and finally I realize that I’m really leaving Japan.

And I feel sad. Incredibly, indescribably sad.

I’m often asked about my best memories and impressions of Japan. On my last recording for NHK Radio Japan, I was asked this question yet again. I struggled for a while for an answer that would satisfy me.

By having to search my memories for the answer, did this mean that I had no impressionable moments in Japan? No, of course not. I have plenty of pleasant memories. But it did take some time to recognize that my most memorable moments were ones I spent in the company of friends in Japan. So that’s my answer. It’s actually the people I met here that meant the most to me.

Thank you to all of you. The people in Gaidai, Todai, the lab, NHK. The Monbusho people who were my family away from home. All the other people that I met here. Special thanks to the Sendagi team.

You all have enriched my life here, in every sense of the word. You have given me the most precious and irreplaceable gift of all, memories. With worldly goods, we would adapt to any new pleasure, thus the thrill of material gifts will fade over time. But these memories will be with me whenever I choose to recall them. The pleasant, the bittersweet, and all the rest.

Some of you I may never meet again in person. That’s what made me sad. But for some I feel that our paths will cross again, somewhere, somehow.

Hope we will meet again. Farewell.