By the time you read this message, I will have already left Los Angeles after completing five wonderful years of my assignment. My deepest apologies for bidding you farewell ‘after the fact’ — I had to get on the first fight still available to Tokyo, before flights were cancelled, to assume a new position at the Japan Study department at the Foundation’s headquarters. There was a perfect plan — an announcement of leadership change, farewell message, and even a reception with both me and the incoming director to greet our friends. Everything went up in smoke as we have been scrambling to assure the safety of our clients and staff members. After arrival in Tokyo, I will be quarantined at home for two weeks and the new director will not be in place for another month (Deputy Director, Mr. Ishii will be in charge) as all of us at JFLA continue to work from home just like many of you.
My five years in LA have been such a great learning period for me in terms of having to be creative, inspiring, and engaging on every project we organize. Every time I felt like I had no more creativity left, there was always somebody on our doorstep with great ideas. I have been so blessed with such an eccentric (I mean, wonderful) group of people who never cease to amaze me. I also feel very fortunate to have had opportunities to work with kids and teachers who love to think and act beyond national boundaries and are never afraid of pushing the envelope to serve to the greater humanity rather than their own narrow interests. Whatever accomplishments I might have made during my five years, I owe them to those people’s courage and inspiration.
We are living in a crazy world right now. But that should not be a reason to limit yourself to what you already know. When we finally get out of this quarantined life, I hope we will have more honed sensibilities to the world outside. I just cannot wait for an opportunity to come back to LA in the future to see your smiles enjoying the projects organized by JFLA.
Thank you LA and I will never forget you!