It’s goodbye to the old year and greetings once again to the new year, as we bring you the winter edition of this website and a host of updates and additions.
A few years ago here in my local community in Japan, I gave a speech about the so-called “war on terrorism” by the USA and the war-renouncing clause, Article 9, of Japan’s Constitution. The ESSAYS page this time features the full transcript of that speech, along with the English translation. With the Age of Trump now upon us, my concerns seem even more urgent than they did then.
“Classical” and “spiritual” would seem to be the best description for the REVIEWS page this time, featuring the words and works of prominent figures in the arts and religion who continue to inspire so many people around the world.
We dig up some old news articles for the ARCHIVES page on the issue of “rights” (whether deserved or unfairly demanded), followed up by a couple of BLOG page postings on recent news topics — including the big confrontation over the oil pipeline by the indigenous Standing Rock Sioux nation in the U.S., who, I’m proud to say, I supported morally and monetarily in their struggle to protect sacred lands.
This season is an especially meaningful one for me, with December 2016 marking exactly 30 years since I first came to Japan and began a new phase of my life. During a semi-official trip back to the United States recently, I was able to retrace my footsteps back in time and literally stand at some of the exact spots where that journey began three decades before.
I took the opportunity while in the U.S. to visit places in several cities that were sacred ground in their own way to me personally for varying reasons. In doing so, I could look up a few old friends I hadn’t met in decades, mend some old fences, repair some burnt bridges, close some open wounds, and put the final period onto a long, unfinished chapter of the past.
I came back home to Japan with a feeling of being healed inside and even tangibly rewarded for more than three decades of work as a writer and journalist. In this personal milestone year for me, it is a very good place to be indeed.