I was born and raised in the countryside of Japan in 1970s. Of course, there was no internet back then and international knowledge from around the world was exceedingly limited. Despite the lack of understanding of the outside world, I was always fascinated about different civilizations, especially Western culture. I always imagined what kind of world lay beyond my small hometown and even the shores of Japan, an island nation which had been isolated from the rest of the world for so long.
One day, when I came back from school, my mother gave me special U.S stamps. They were omiyage (souvenirs) from her friend who had just gone to America for her business trip. When I saw the stamps, I determined that someday when I grew up, I would travel to many countries and meet many people and see interesting scenic landscapes. Continue reading