2012 Official Appointment Ceremony

Every year after all the newbies have settled in to their new Japan lifestyles we ALT’s are required to attend this ceremony. This is the speech I was going to give to the Big Bosses of my Board of Education. However, I took far too long trying to translate it into Japanese. A couple hours before the actual ceremony  I thought up an easier-to-say-in-Japanese version of this speech. Not to be put to waste though, I give you the original here it is in it’s entirety.

Shimane. Adachi Museum of Art was really cool. Why is it EVERY time I visit a museum I’m always leaving with that thought, ‘I wish they’d let me stay in here just a little longer.’


They say man invented the wheel some X thousand years ago. Since then we humans have made leaps and bounds in agriculture, technology, and science. This cyclical, continuous, repeating shape is commonly sited as being a pillar of human civilization. However, I believe this shapes biggest contribution can be found on a slightly less tangible level: our conscious. Just as circles are imbedded in the natural world, from the smallest observable particles to large galactic systems, I believe it is natural if not instinctive for humans to think cyclically. After all, we are a product of cyclical events that have been occurring for millions of years.

Seasons would be the easiest example of this cyclicality. Summer turns to Autumn, Autumn to Winter, Winter to Spring, Spring to Summer and thus a cycle. Growing up on a season-less island I was deprived of this cycle. Needless to say, when I moved to the mainland and first experienced this cycle my body and mind needed to adjust. Consequently, my thought process gradually changed from an endless summer into a seasonal style. From stubborn to fluid. From linear to cyclical.

Many years later I’m in Japan where the seasons are so clearly defined. Each season is a world in of itself with different characteristics and festivities. However, I recently have begun to think that the reason people like any one season is not because of these individual characteristics. It is because there are 4 seasons any one seasons characteristic has value. The revitalizing feeling we attribute to spring is only because it comes after the dullness of winter. The beautiful red leaves in autumn are marveled only in comparison to their summer greenness.

Now having entered my 5th year I look at the bigger picture. One season is really one fourth of a lap around the sun. Personally I enjoy the whole lap. In fact I would like to keep running around this track over and over again. There’s no portion of the track I like more than the other. True, I like summer. Summer makes me happy. Yet I find far more joy in all seasons. And even more in experiencing seasons over and over again. Each round making new discoveries.

Put simply, to like one season is to compliment all. Seasons don’t change people do.

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