My buddy Matthew Hall - a guy I met on the Jet (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme has been holding out on me.
I have been hassling this guy over the past seven years to contribute something to this blog.
He lived in Ohtawara-shi, Toichigi-ken, a few blocks from my house. He taught at the junior high school just outside of the city while I taught at the junior high schools IN it.
Unlike me, Matthew wanted to go to Japan. Like me, he had a great experience there meeting good people who were entirely focused on us, while allowing us the individual freedom to grow as human beings.
We were lucky and as a result had an extremely positive three years (then the maximum) on the Programme.
Except Matthew stayed for a couple more years... mostly because he got married to a local woman and had his first of two kids there.
Matthew has always been (since I met him - I can't speak for before) a thoughtful, intelligent, funny and caring person, and is someone I have been proud to call my friend.
His wife Takako, too. She and I always had a fun relationship - she was so sarcastic that I could never be sure if she like me or not, but I know she did, because she was also thoughtful, kind and helpful to me.
Anyhow... Matthew... the guy was always there for me every time I was heartbroken over some woman (apparently, after re-reading my diary presented here in this blog, I was heartbroken a lot)... but Japan... Japan was always good to me.
Still... it turns out that Matthew, whenever I pestered him about writing something about Japan... not his experiences, per se, but about a subject matter he would like to broach... he would claim he didn't recall stuff... because well, it was nearly 27 years ago when when we first arrived in Japan.
I can relate... I re-read my diary and go... "I did that?" or "When the hell did that happen?" Or, worse yet "Who the heck is that person?"
Still... Matthew... he suddenly remembered he was part of a newspaper article back in New York...
I don't know how you forget something like that, but let's just chalk it up to old age. ;)-
From the Press & Sun-Bulletin, a part of the USA Today Network, comes this re-printed newspaper article written by recently passed columnist David Rossie.
Published in the February 10, 1992 edition of the newspaper, Mr. Rossie uses the help of Matthew to delve a little deeper into Japanese psyche re:... well... take a look yourself HERE.
Matthew, old chum... the offer still stands for you to write about something on Japan... like what a Japanese wedding ceremony is like... I never got to find that out - and you know how much that irks me.... no... not about you and yours, but on how things screwed up for me.
Or... what it was like for you after I left... and you not being on the JET Programme, but working nonetheless and driving that car... or what things were like for Takako and you and Michelle when you decided to leave Japan and head back to the U.S.
Stuff I can only guess at but will never have an inside knowledge at.
If you want, I'll send you some questions...
Regardless... for the rest of you readers... have a read at Matthew's press efforts above...
I'm still a bit miffed that he didn't tell me about this before - it's GREAT!!!! - but just miffed. I'm already over it. LOL!