New Year's Greeting!

I recorded this version of Born Free on my Yamaha P-515. This song has always been special to me for a number of reasons. I love the message and loved reading the book and seeing the movie. I have always loved the lyrics and the melody. Lastly, it was the first song I learned on the piano. 

In 1976, I rode a motorcycle from Seattle to San Francisco. Each night, I camped on the coast. Before losing the light, I would practice this song on a melodica, a flute-like instrument with a short piano keyboard. My mom inspired me to try this instrument as she used to play one on our sailboat. 

After I returned to Alaska, I took piano lessons. I will never forget when I hit my first chord to match the first note of this song. I fell in love with that harmony!

The pictures are from a recent day I spent with my friend Rohan in the Shinjuku area.  Thank you to Rohan for your guiding! The Godzilla figure is perched up high on a building. The other two photos were taken at a very photogenic cemetery.

I am doing double-duty with this message. I am putting it on my blog and am sending it to my email data base. For those in the data base, feel free to let me know if you do not want to subscribe to these updates. 

Given that it is now 2024, it seems appropriate to reflect on this past year and think about 2024. Here are my thoughts.


  • I am so thankful for so many things and so many people!
  • First and foremost, I am thankful for all the people in my life, including all of you. Thanks for your messages! Please keep them coming! I will respond to all messages!
  • I am thankful for my good health. I know that many people are struggling with a variety of health-related issues. My heart goes out to them.
  • I am thankful for Rohan, Stuart, and Dana, three friends I have spent time with since moving to Japan. You have been wonderful!
  • I am thankful for Setsuko, my amazing wife. She has made the move to Japan one of the best things I have done with my life. While I miss all of you who live in the US, I am enjoying this new adventure.
  • I am thankful for the resources we have. While Setsuko and I have worked hard to get where we are, I also know that we have been very fortunate.
  • I am thankful for the technology that enables me to do so much, including staying in touch with all of you!
  • I am thankful for the organizational skills I have developed that help me stay on top of my many responsibilities. 
  • I am thankful for the discipline I have to make good choices and decisions. It is not always easy!
  • I am thankful for the ability to read and for the access I have to so many great books. What a treasure!
  • I am thankful for forgiveness. I have certainly made my share of mistakes. I fee fortunate that people have graced me with some slack!
  • I am thankful for the opportunity to live in Japan. I realize this is an opportunity that is not available for many people.
  • I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to work in the special education field. I am loving my job at the American School in Japan!


  • Sending two North Eugene High School singles players and a doubles team to the state tourney.
  • Another successful year as a special education teacher at North Eugene High School.  
  • Leaving the US knowing that I did my best for the community in the areas of tennis and special education.
  • The sale of our home in Springfield, Oregon. This enabled us to move to Japan.
  • The move to Japan. 
  • Putting time into friendships here in Japan.
  • Helping Setsuko realize her dream of returning to her homeland and living close to her daughters and grandchildren. 
  • The consistent cycling and strength training and photography in Japan. 
  • Sharing music and photos and updates on this blog. 
  • Joining the Japan Citizen's Climate Lobby group and putting more time into environmental studies. 
  • The satisfaction that comes from knowing that I am doing my best to live a productive and meaningful life and that I am living according to my values and principles.


  • I am concerned about the environment. While I understand this is a controversial topic, it seems to me there is some substantial evidence to suggest that we need to make some major changes, especially when it comes to the use of fossil fuels. I plan to continue to study this topic and learn as much as I can and then take steps to act on my conclusions. 
  • I am concerned about the divisiveness and lack of grace in the United States, especially as it relates to politics, social justice, race, guns, and other controversial and sensitive topics. I desperately hope we can improve our capacity to have difficult conversations in a respectful manner.  

I hope 2024 is a great year for all of you. May we work together to make this world the best it can be!

All the best to you, your families, and your friends,



  1. Bob, I miss you so much. We have gotten through another winter break without any snow. Bummer because I bought a snow blower and was waiting to try it out. They are starting to fence off the old building, so they can abate the asbestos before they tear it down. It will be a sad day when they rip into it. I have 20 years of memories there. Everyone was so happy to go to a new building, but we have had many problems. The roof leaks, the alarm goes off whenever it wants to, and we still don't have enough custodians to keep it clean.
    I wanted to tell you that Bethany had her baby on December 12. His name is Finley, and he is adorable. I have graduated from my medical coding course, and am now just waiting for my certificate. In a few months, I am going to sit for my Certified Professional Coder exam. I want to study as much as I can first and take a few practice tests to see how I do.
    I hope your holidays were great, and I wish you a very Happy New Year, my Bob. Take care, June

    1. June,
      Thank you very much for your nice message.
      I am sorry about you not having snow.
      However, there is still time!
      I am very sorry about the old and new buildings.
      I am also sorry about the continual shortage of custodians.
      Some things just don’t change!

      Please give my best to Bethany and tell her congratulations!
      Also, congratulations on your medical coding course.
      Keep up the good work!
      Good luck with the coder exam!

      Our holidays were good but very different.
      I miss all of you!
      Happy New Year!


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