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.