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I was appointed to come to Japan and work as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher).
Imagining Tokyo and Kyoto and various popular culture, I was very excited.

However, when I learned where I was appointed, it was a place I had never imagined:
Ama Town, on one of the remote Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan,

with a population of only 2300 people.

At first, I was disappointed.
But as I came into contact with the Oki Islands and with the story of Emperor Gotoba,
Something inside me began to be born anew.

A self forgotten until now.

A self hidden until now.

That self peeled away, and began to change into a future self.

But I was not becoming a new self altogether,
Nor was I denying the self of the past.

Inside of me, who had received something,
The intense Ushi-tsuki bull sumo,
The strong swordsmith,
The tea offered to the gods,
The waka poetry that portrays thoughts

(Entō Hyakushu, “100 Verses from a Distant Island”),
The heart of Emperor Gotoba was projected and manifested.

Then, as I turned over one of the cards,
I found myself floating in the vast sea.

The past and future are connected from here.

To you, in 800 years.

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