Happy new year!
In Japan, 2020 is known as the Year of the Rat.
This is a bit sobering, because I sent Year of the Rat New Year's cards when I was living in Shuho-cho, Japan ... and now I realize that was two 12-year zodiac cycles ago!
Still, a big part of my heart remains in Shuho-cho and, thanks to a chapter I've been writing for an anthology on rural Japan, I've been delving deep into that world again, at least in my memory, imagination ... and online.
Recently I actually "drove" around Shuho-cho -- the area featured in The Same Moon -- using Google maps' street view function. Here's an image from my old neighborhood, captured by the Googlemobile just last June. It hasn't changed a lot, at least outwardly.
And that's what I hope my friends in Shuho-cho will say about me when I return for a visit, later in 2020!
With warm wishes,