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Adventures In Shiiba -- July 1996
Erik Kassebaum

Time flies when you're having fun

My three years as Shiiba Village's JET Program Participant has come to an end. Soon I will return home to California to be with my family and to start my next adventure. I wish I could tell you what's next in terms of my life and where I'll be living and working, but at this point I'm not sure.

To be honest if I had a chance to stay in Shiiba for another three years - I would. I have made many good friends here in Shiiba and it is not going to be easy to say "goodbye." Though I will be leaving Shiiba, Shiiba will not be leaving me. Shiiba has become a part of me and will influence how I think and act for the rest of my life.

It will not be easy maintaining a "long distance relationship" with 4200 people. But, I will try. One advantage that I have that Nasu Daihachiro didn't is the Internet. Just think of it "Virtual Kasabachi!"

[ Joke: Computer Virtual Reality (V.R.) ---- V.R.+Erik+Shiiba = Virtual Kasabachi ]

During my goodbye visits to the schools I told the students that I would return to Shiiba. So, don't be too surprised if you see me at a kagura, matsuri or maybe even at the opening of the new museum. When you do see me again, I'd appreciate it if you could tell me about the latest gossip and pour me a beer. Just don't start by telling me that I look fat or bald.

My parents wanted to express their thanks to the people of Shiiba for taking such good care of me and for providing me with an experience which will last a lifetime. They are sorry that they were not able to visit Shiiba while I was a JET. I have a feeling though that someday they will visit Shiiba.

Letters in English or Japanese would be very welcome. If you write in Japanese, please mark furigana above kanji.