Hirakata Memories

I can remember it now. The year is 2000. Y2K uneventfully came and went and I just finished my second Japanese winter.  Spring was in the air and I was headed back to Osaka. After nine months of the Japanese countryside, I was ready to be another gaijin in the second-largest city in Japan. I was headed to the heart of Kansai where I had been dying to get back to after spending nine monthe the prior year. And to make it even better, I was moving in with a relative of mine in a huge house (by Japanese standards) with a great view overlooking the city of Hirakata. My task: spread the good news of the gospel to all who would listen. This was not the easiest task to accomplish in Japan. But we tried. And we had fun in the process.

I remember the call instructing me to return to Hirakata like it was the other day. But it was ten years ago. Wow. Where has the decade gone? If you would have asked me back then what my life would look like in ten years, I would have included a lot more of Japan in my response. Yet, here I am. I still remember Japanese and it has been a part of me since I resided there. But I don’t speak it as often as I used to, unfortunately. I haven’t returned to Japan to visit or live, as I was convinced I was going to do ten years ago. And I can’t say my Japanese is better than it was ten years ago. But otherwise, my life is not too different than what I would have expected or wanted. My goal now is to maintain the language skills that I have until I can find a way to get back to Japan or make it more a part of my life. I wanted to then and I would still like to now. The question is how.

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