“The Beginning Times of Nippon Kan” by Gaku Homma

“A few days ago I passed a milestone as I moved from my fifties into a new decade of life; at least by the Japanese way of counting birthdays. It was almost 20 years ago that I decided that I no longer wanted to celebrate my birthday with big parties or a lot of “merry making”. In the last few years I have even stopped participating in many other celebrations as well including Christmas and New Year. Most of my students understand, especially the ones who have known me for a long while. I have done this as a reflection of my philosophy towards what I have experienced in my life, and it is comfortable for me.

I have lived for 37 years in the United States as a “sensei”. There was a time when students planned birthday parties so large it would take 30 minutes to open presents and cards containing checks or cash. There was a time when I actually expected parties and presents; it was common after all to the life of a “sensei”. ”

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