The fruit of my hitch-hiking adventure on January 15th was being invited to a new year’s party in Shirone, a town now incorporated into Niigata city, by the former deputy mayor of the town, Mr. Tsubokawa. I met his friends, mostly ladies, and one gentleman by the name of Mr. Makiguchi. Two of the ladies are Christians who attend the local Lutheran church. All were former English students who like foreigners and especially Americans. Mr. Tsubokawa invited me visit Poland with him and his friends after he learned that my grandparents are Polish! I told him I have no money whatsoever to travel. He said he and his friends would foot all expenses in return for being their interpreter! Let’s see if it happens. :-)
I also met Mr. Makiguchi who is the director of an agricultural firm that turns vegetables into bio-ethanol. He seemed quite interested in what I had to say about politics in the USA.