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Heian Shrine
Heian Shrine, Kyoto


It's embarrassing to admit, but when we started planning our trip back in January, I was looking at more as an obligation than a vacation. It had been three years since my wife had a chance to see her family and friends and other attempts to go were delayed by work (or lack of it). I've always found Japan very interesting and my first trip there was exciting, but I had little opportunity to really experience the country.

As our departure date got closer and my wife's detailed plans came together, I found myself looking forward to the trip more and more. As we passed through customs after we landed, the courtesy and efficiency of the agent began to rekindle my fondness for this culture. And when the Kansai Express slid away from the platform and the city lights of Osaka began to flash by, I began to feel something like homecoming. It was good to be back.

Now, I believe my desire to return to Japan may even be stronger than my wife's. After three years of trying to teach myself the language, I have finally enrolled in a good (albeit quite rigorous) class. We are doing whatever we can to make sure that we will be able to return regularly to Japan. Quietly, I am thinking that is where I want to live when I get nearer to retiring.

The memories I was hoping to preserve with this journal have taken root deep inside of me. It may be futile to think that anyone has read this far, especially considering the unquestionably anti-literary medium of the Web. If anyone has, I hope you were able to take some of the same things away from the journey that I did. (And it would be great if you sent me a note to let me know.)





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