Friday, March 23, 2012

Russell's Ken-Bun-Ki June 27, 1996 "My Parents Visit Aya"

Last week my parents visited us in Aya for the first time. They visited Japan while I was an exchange student at Miyagi Universty of Education in Sendai, but at that time they only visited on Honshu. After we have lived in Miyazaki for ten years they finally visited us in Kyushu. It was the first time we had seen each other in three years.

Their purpose was not to sight-see but to visit with my Japanese family and friends adn to experience our daily lives. Of course, we took them around Aya.We showed them the Suspension Bridge, Aya Castle, the Flower Clock, the Horse Park, and Shusen no Mori (the brewery). I had sent them videos of Aya before, so they would often say, "Oh, I remember seeing this!" or "Where is th fabric dyeing facility?" or "Where is the glass blowing studio?" There were many places thy wated to see, but they were all in Aya! We didn't go anywhere else in Miyazaki. Also they were interested in where their grand-daughter went to Nursery School and in my English Coversation classes, so I took them on visits to both.

My parents are both in their Sixties, but both still work. My mother is a teacher at an elementary school so she is on summer vacation right now. My father took time off to travel here. Every year at about this time they travel somewhere. In America there is no set retirement age. The age for retirement benefits is 65, so may Americans work until they reach that age. My parents love to travel, so they work hard and  save their money. When they have enough for a trip they go somewhere. Of course, they are also saving for the future. If things work out well their savings and their retirement money will allow them to continue to live life as they are accustomed. However, just like in Japan, the number of Senior Citizens is increasing in the US. The Social Security and Medicare systems are in difficult situations. My parents will probably continue to work as long as they continue to travel.

Their impression of Aya was, "It's a town full of nature, surrounded by mountains, and much easier to live in than any big city." They thought the mountains after a rainfull were especially beautiful.

This was written 16 years ago. Since then, obviously, I have moved away from Aya. My parents are both retired and they don't travel so much any more. I see them at Thanksgiving and at weddings or graduations and things like that. I plan on seeing them next week when we take a quick trip back to St. Louis. They are basically healthy, and are economically well-off. So they are enjoying their time together.

When we were back in Aya over Christmas/New Years this past year my daughter happened to meet her Nursery School teacher. She spoke with pride about meeting my mother (a fellow teacher) when they were in town, as written about in this article. 

As an extra added bonus, here's a photo of my favorite spot in Aya, its castle.

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