A trip of a lifetime. Japan was 12 nights of amazing sights and friendships. The trip was one of the best ever. Karly got to see her host family in Koriyama, the Peace Forum in Hirsoshima was impressive, the people were quite unlike North Americans. We had 4 fabulous nights in Koriyama, Fukushima hosted by Rotarians. Tokyo was incredible. I want to go back. Some of the highlights:
* Hiroshima was very green. The Peace Park where they remember the atomic bomb drop is something I could never forget.
* Touring the sight of where the tsunami hit land in Fukushima is hard to describe. Even after 2 years – immense work remains.
* The Rotary members in Koriyama treated us so well. We saw Japan in a way you couldn’t if you were on your own.
* The people have a quiet respect for one another. Very admirable.
* We spent time with 2 PR people from Tepco, the company that operates the nuclear power plant that was shut down after the earthquake. They have 1600 staff dedicated to improving the lives of the 150,000 people who will receive compensation as a result of the plant. The 2 apologized to us for the problem. It will take 35 years to clean up.
* Tokyo was a pleasure the 2 different nights we stayed.
* Meeting 2 special people – Ako was a Rotary Group Study Exchange student who stayed with us for 4 days, 7 years ago. Michiko was an exchange student who lived with us for 4 months about the same time. First time we saw both since. Very special.
* Standing in a train station someone said “stand back a train is coming”. I thought nothing of it until one zipped by – at 300 KM’s an hour!
* The food is very different. Lots of raw fish. I did not put on weight.
*Rotarians are the same around the world. All wanting to do more, all proud of their accomplishments. This summer my district will host 5 Japanese youth – all displaced from their homes due to the Tepco plant. Rotarians working together.
* Seeing and hearing daughter Karly speak Japanese. magic. So proud.
* Tea ceremony. An honour.
We had the most incredible two weeks. We attended a Rotary Peace Forum, we bought along a future leader (Caline), we experienced Karly’s Japanese families, we saw old dear friends and made new ones. What a trip.