Epilogue 終わりに

 I still remember the first day I arrived in Japan. I had anticipated this day since the age of 12. This was the age when I first began to think as an adult. I read a biography of General Yamashita Tomoyuki. At the end of the book, there was a letter he wrote to son, just before his execution. Of course, the execution sentence was totally unfair. An American would write about how terrible the sentence was, how unjust.

 General Yamashita wrote no such thing. He told his son that the duty to lead the family now fell upon him, he would have to take care of his mother and siblings. I was surprised. What a noble man he was. I wondered, what kind of country could produce such a man? This was the beginning of my fascination with Japan.



 When I first came, I was a new Marine, and I came to Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. When I walked outside the gate of the US base, I felt an immediate sense of belonging. I knew that Japan was my place, my home. It was a very mysterious feeling. Even though I could not yet speak Japanese, I could immediately understand what people were doing by watching them perform their everyday lives.


 As I gradually learned Japanese, I learned how Japanese society functioned. It was so well ordered compared to the America in which I had been born.

 And unlike in America, people worked hard, and took a deep pride in what they did. Well, of course in America people do work hard, and many do take pride in their work. But Japanese people have an intensity about what they do, they go into much more detail about things than Americans.



 And Japanese society functions on harmony. In America, with other people, they are always constantly trying to prove that they are better than everyone else.

 In Japan, even people of great ability, are modest about their accomplishments. I found this to be very admirable. From the first day I arrived, I knew I would live in Japan forever. For me, it is the most perfect place in the world.






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