Today (Monday, though we’ve already crossed into Tuesday where I’m sitting), we took a round trip from Tokyo Station to Nagoya on the Shinkansen–the “bullet train.” The distance is about 340 kilometers one way–about 210 miles–and the trip each way took about two hours.

On the Nagoya end of the journey, we took a local train and subway out to the eastern suburbs to visit the Hattori family, who through some daring and generous impulse decided to take in a foreign exchange student in 1976. For me, it was an amazing and revealing day; in a sense, I got a chance to revisit not only the place and people, but unexpectedly to get a look at that long-ago self. Who was that bearish, bearded, wild-haired young gaijin?

And with that question, I’m signing off. It’s just too late tonight to both reflect on the day and write it. I will mention, though, that Kate and I simply couldn’t have had the day we had, or the trip we’ve had so far, without Eamon and Sakura. Their knowledge of the place, which can be so daunting to foreigners, has allowed us to relax in a way that I know I never could if I were doing this on my own. And Eamon’s language skills–astounding.

It’s bed time. O-yasumi nasai.

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