I sometimes am asked the question "how can you live in Japan?". After all, I'm a foreigner nearly half a planet away from my home village in the north of England living in a country where I can read less than half the words in a newspaper and when a subject changes in a conversation I can follow almost nothing for the first few minutes. It's a valid question. But one originating from days gone by, no longer valid in today's world.
I'm sitting, writing a blog post that will be read around the world, my Japanese wife sitting next to me posting on Facebook and my seventeen year-old son is downstairs, where he's adopted the ground floor of our house, playing beautiful guitar. The world is not the frightening place it used to be. There are constants and connections. Leaving home no longer has the implications it carried even twenty something years ago when I first saw Mozella scrolling up my screen.
I think about my son and it amusingly strikes me that he is exactly the same as I was at seventeen. Except he speaks two languages, reads and writes four alphabets, his artwork is displayed around the capital, his physics is outstanding (actually, mine wasn't too shabby either), has friends around the world and is about to embark on a university life in a country he's known from vacations. And he plays beautiful guitar. Apart from that, we're exactly the same. Wherever you're from, these days, Japan simply isn't that far from home.