Part of the beauty of this job is that we are able to take an extended break during the Japanese Golden Week Holiday. This year, I decided to spend a few days in New York City and then visit my hometown in New Jersey- Pitman, a town that I left when I was eighteen years old and hadn’t seen since ( www.facebook.com/pages/Pitman-Today/380494663240). I rented a car and spent about two hours, mostly walking around the town in order to get a better idea of what had or had not changed.
Everything seemed smaller for some reason. Walking from “here to there” only took a few minutes, but as a child it seemed like forever. The houses all seemed smaller, even the house that I grew up in seemed smaller, and it is a large house. The quietness was striking to me, realizing I hadn’t appreciated that aspect as a youngster. The cleanliness struck me as well, remembering that it wasn’t as clean thirty years ago. The lake down the street, and the parks are indeed very clean. Progress… As I stood on the hill, overlooking the baseball field that I used to play on, I realized why my father had chosen to live there. What a nice, safe, quiet little town, a perfect place for kids to grow up.
Standing in front of my old house brought back a flood of memories, all good. My students here in Hashimoto were very interested in the photographs I took of the place, all of them commenting on what a nice, old town it was, full of small businesses on the main street, interesting architecture, the lake, the parks…
Now my students know more about me and where I came from. It has been nice sharing this with them and answering their questions. I feel very lucky to have grown up in such a nice, small, middle-class American town. My father certainly did the right thing.