Now seated comfortably on the bus toward Narita Airport, I thought about that first night in April when I arrived not knowing what to expect but completely open to new adventures. As I waited on that chilly night for transportation to take me to Tokyo, I saw a porter bow deeply at a departing bus. I was struck by the grace of the salutation, the expression, and the ultimate acknowledgement of respect. Throughout my stay, I was bowed to, my students bowed to each other, and I too began to bow: apologetically for not knowing the language well enough to communicate freely, but most of all as way to express my appreciation and gratitude.
One late afternoon in June I was walking toward the Gotanda Station and passed the same spot on the bridge that is in the image of the first posting of this dairy: trees sprinkling their fading blossoms along the river one rainy day back in April. The sun was now setting on this very same scene, casting a dreamy golden light on the buildings and water. The trees were now a fresh green. I stopped for a moment to take a picture. Later when I compared the images, I was struck by the differences—spring to summer—which not only indicated the passing of time, but renewal and transformation.