I would have to say that part of what made this vacation so extraordinary was the experience of staying with my hosts in Japan. I will forever be in their debt for allowing me to experience a part of Japan few gaijin will ever see. These friends invited me into their homes, took time out of their busy schedules to act as tourguides, translators and traveling companions. Their friendship and hospitality will forever be part of my memories of Japan.
To each of my hosts, I would like to say, "It is both an honor and a pleasure to have you be a part of this wonderful adventure. You have helped me make a dream come true. Thank You!"
Please meet my hosts...
(in chronological order)
I would like to thank the Miyamoto Family (Fumihiro, Kiyoko, and their sons Kentarou and Kouhei) for inviting me to spend my first few days in Japan with them. They met me at Narita Airport, settled me into their home, and then proceeded to take me all over Tokyo for the next 3 days. I would also like to thank Kiyoko for all the wonderful meals she prepared and for helping me understand more about Japanese home life.
I met the Miyamoto's during a visit to the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins near Cancun in the early 90's. Fumihiro and his new bride Kiyoko were celebrating their honeymoon. We were 125 miles from civilization and the tour guide could barely speak English. Unfortunately, the Miyamoto's could barely understand English. As it turned out, we were able to communicate using broken English-Japanese. In celebration of their new marriage, we took them out to dinner at a Mediteranian restaurant. Since that time, Fumihiro and I have exchanged emails a couples times a year, including watching his two children, Kentarou and Kouhei grow.
I would like to thank Hiroshi Sato for helping to arrange almost all my accommodations, taking time out of his busy schedule to personally take me around to many of the places I visited while in the Osaka area, and for inviting me into his home and world.
I met Sato-san while working for C-Cube Microsystems. We have worked together on many occasions both in the USA and China. In fact, Sato-san was an attendee at my very first training in Shenzhen, China. Over time we have become more than colleagues, slowly becoming friends as we talked of Eastern and Western cultures, especially my obsession with Japan. Sato-san was instrumental in helping to make this trip more than I could imagine. While on this trip I had the opportunity to not only meet his wife, Sachiko, but his parents Takanori and Toyoko. I will be forever grateful for all he has done for me in the name of friendship. My most humble thanks, Sato-San!
I would like to thank Yoshizu Taira for taking time out of his busy schedule to personally take me around Yokohama and for taking me out for an incredible dinner at his friend's restaurant. It was a sushi (and sake) extravaganza!
I also met Taira-san while working for C-Cube Microsystems. We really got to know each other while working on a car DVD player for a Japanese customer. Over time we have have also had time to develop a growing friendship. My sincerest thanks for the experiences you have shared with me!
During my stay, Sato-san's parents invited us to have dinner and spend the night in their home in Kobe. Sato-san's father, Takanori, and I hit it off immediately. I enjoyed a wonderful evening listening to him tell us about his visits to America, discussing cultural ideals, drinking plenty of Beer and wine, sampling his homemade Plum wine (Taka-san gave me a bottle to bring back that tastes incredible). I had a great time and hope that I can someday return the hospitality the Sato's showed me should they come to the USA in the future. My host humble thanks for inviting me into your home and lives!
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