Japan left me humbled, grateful and totally inspired. It is easy to be lost for words in Japan and that has nothing to do the fact that I speak no Japanese. The degree of community consciousness, coupled with an unshakable foundation of honour and deep respect permeates the very air you breathe, throughout Japan. For example the two young men who loaded my luggage onto the bus that took me from the airport to my hotel, bowed low and long as my bus drove past them. They do that all day. Load luggage and bow. Or the beautiful woman from whom I bought a new skirt insisting she carry the bag to the door of the shop all the time profusely thanking me for the sale and wishing me a very good day.
The success of the workshop was in part due to my long time friend and colleague Wataru Suematsu whose invitation to teach two years ago introduced me to his friends, colleagues and of course his wonderful country.
This year my deep thanks must also go to the workshop caretakers, the delightful and energetic Masami Matsuda, Itoko Yamaguchi, a wonderful teacher in her own right, the gentle and warm Kaoru Watanabe and the very beautiful, elegant, big hearted Tamai Takeuchi who generously organised every detail of the workshop.
Last but in no means least I met for the first time, an old friend. After trying unsuccessfully to find an interpreter for a few weeks I let go of the idea, only to have my friend Helen Barton, who has worked in Japan for many years, offer to write an email to her interpreter. This is how I met Yumiko. Although it might be overdramatising it to say it was love at first sight we had an instant and beautiful rapport that guided our work together.
Having an interpreter enabled everyone to be understood as well as understand. This was for me a transformational experience. Having an interpreter slowed the whole process down and gave me the unique opportunity to choose with great mindfulness every word I spoke. Such a gift cannot be underestimated. How different this world might be if we all chose our words in such a way.