European and American companies were trying to figure out how to emulate Japan's success, a country riding high on a skyrocketing stock market and land speculation boom. From the scrum of greed emerged an insider trading deal known as the Recruit Scandal, forcing a number of prominent Japanese politicians into retirement. The Showa Tenno (Emperor Hirohito) continued his state duties with only months to live.
And I arrived in Japan.
I don't remember the date, though it's probably noted somewhere in a stack of old letters in a box in an Atlanta attic. I remember my first festival in Japan was an evening bonfire by the riverside to welcome the ancestral spirits home for the Obon holidays. I spent about a week in Tokyo before being shipped off to my job and home in Himeji, so I had to have arrived late July or early August.
Before leaving the US my mother said I'd be ready to come home after a year. I thought I might like to stay at least two or three.
This summer marks 20 years. 240 months. 7300 days.
A lot of things have changed in the interim.