|I met Mark 'Homer' Honma in 1992, in California. When I moved to Japan, he
was there to greet me and help me with my questions.
From our Tachikawa office, we could see Mt. Fuji on a clear day. When Mark and I were in the office on the same evening (not very often), we would go up to the seventh story and watch the sunset over Fuji-san.
I met Tsuzuki-san when I moved to Osaka. My 'Sushi Mama-san' has the biggest, brightest smile I've ever seen.
|Mori-san was my first cultural guide in Japan.
She introduced me to Japanese Green Tea. And she introduced us to 'monk food' in Kyoto (it was good, but I had to go to McDonalds afterwards to get full).
When I was promoted to Training Supervisor, Mori-san was my assistant, guiding light, and the primary reason for any success our department had.
A truly amazing woman.
|I could tell you about the time Nishi-san almost killed us in Sendai, by
driving the car down the wrong side of the road. "I thought you would want to drive
American style," he said.
I could tell you about how Kai-san and I tricked him into locking himself out of his hotel room, wearing only underwear.
But what I remember most is watching the fireworks in Tateyama, with Nishi-san standing
on the beach in his hotel Yukata, with business shoes and dress socks.
Speaking of strange people, there's Tsuji-san.
He's not strange, actually, just extremely funny.
He's also Japans' most eligible bachelor. His favorite perfume is kimchi, he looks cool on his motorcycle, and his hero is Connor Eichelberger (the son of our friends, Brad and Jolene).
If any ladies out there want to meet Tsuji (and you know you do), let me know.
Sadly, there's not room here for all my friends. I'll show Nii-san here, because even Japanese people have told me that Nii-san is a 'very Japanese' lady.
She's pretty, she's kind, she's soft-spoken, she smiles through the toughest times, and there's a sense of peace about her.
This is something that is unique about Japan. There are screaming kids, thundering trains, political speeches, loud construction, people everywhere, and a thousand other annoyances. Yet, Japanese women seem to radiate a Buddha-like placidness through all of this.
I'm sure that, inside, they're going just as crazy as the rest of us. But they rarely show it. Nii-san is one of those Japanese women. It's an impressive thing.