I miss my accordion. Having played the instrument for 68 years, it brought both personal pleasure and for a time was a source of significant income. It was always in evidence during the holidays and at other gatherings of family and friends.
Sadly, I decided to sell the accordion just before departing for Japan. It would have been a welcome friend to spend time with during the pandemic. Perhaps I would have occasionally joined the various street park musicians on a weekend!
The NY Times recently printed a wonderful story about a master accordion repairman in Mexico that sparked many memories and stirred my desire to once again to play my beloved musical instrument.
Because Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday is not celebrated in Japan, means that I am able to spend time reflecting on my feelings of thanksgiving for family and friends and to count my blessings for so many things.
I have such warm and wonderful memories of the holiday centered around food and family! Images of the Macy Thanksgiving Parade in New York City still brings a smile and tears of joy.
I will miss again the aroma and experience of preparing a turkey. The traditional meal is available only at a few specialty stores and some restaurants. The absence places more significance on the strength of my emotional dependence on family and friends.
To all, my gratitude for your friendship, support and love. Thank you.
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
–– Charles Dickens
Although Thanksgiving is not an official Japanese holiday, Japanese retailers have started embracing Black Friday — the day after U.S. Thanksgiving that marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.
This coming Friday is the start of this year’s Black Friday sales period and major brands and retailers across the country are once again launching sales campaigns to lure customers to their stores and websites. This year the nation’s retailers are expecting customers to go on a shopping spree following last year’s weak sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another interesting practice is the decoration of streets and buildings with Christmas lights, or winter illuminations.
Because of the Covid pandemic, my daily life became a boring but safer, isolated and lonely existence. The experience caused a strange mix of feeling vulnerable but stress-free at the same time. One consequence was less enthusiasm for writing my regular blog posts on my life in Japan.
I tried to use FaceBook as an alternative but quickly realized that my earlier decision to abandon the platform was the correct course. I was better off without the social network.
Over time I felt more confident that my vaccine inoculations would protect me and as conditions began to improve Keiko and I more initiated a more active but far from “normal” social life. We dined out more frequently, began tennis lessons and playing regularly with friends, and I focused on my golf game. A new neighborhood indoor practice facility and an easily accessible (and affordable) golf course, have added significantly to my improved mental and emotional state.
Today, with significantly reduced cases of infection in Japan and the first weekend in months without a state of emergency against the novel coronavirus in effect in any prefecture, I am looking to the future with hope and excitement. I have renewed my commitment to fulfill the many plans I had put on pause since moving to my adopted homeland in the fall of 2019.
This coming weekend, Keiko and I are off to Kyoto to enjoy the spectacular autumn foliage, historic sites and exceptional food the “soul of Japan” offers. Travel on a Shinkansen will greatly add to the trip’s anticipated pleasure and delight.
Also, with rekindled enthusiasm, I will regularly be writing and posting my views and reflections on my life in Japan as well as other random thoughts and opinions. I realize now how important the disciplined process of writing was for me as well as an opportunity to maintain relationships with a small but loyal audience of family and friends around the world.
So, I’m back and living my life again!
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