I just spent a terrific three days in Tokyo and I’m on the way to Hong Kong right now. My mother is Japanese and I spent 13 of my first 16 years living in Japan, so it’s always good to come back and visit — especially my relatives.
My brother and I arrived on Wednesday evening. We’re staying w/ my auntie and uncle in Setagaya in Tokyo. I have fond memories of Setagaya because this is where my Grandmother and Great Aunt used to live — I used to stay there during the summers when I was a young lad.
On Thursday, my Aunt Yasuko, took us to Yoshikawa, the location of our family cemetery — which is over 600 years old! It’s located about 90 minutes outside of Tokyo — and it’s where the Japanese side of my family, the Tobari’s, held major plots of land for centuries.
Every time I visit Japan, I made the trek to Yoshikawa to pay respects to my deceased relatives. I honestly gain so much strength and positive energy from these visits. The thought of standing where 600 years of my family’s history has lived and died is an incredible feeling.
This year’s visit took on special meaning since it was the first visit since my father passed away in Feb 2008. And, as I just wrote, one of my other heroes, General Guthrie passed away on Monday night. So, I took the time to pay respects to two of my heroes.
On Friday, the focus was business. I had a great lunch meeting with an attorney who does a wide range of business in Japan. Then, that evening, I went to a philanthropy event for the Asian University of Women, hosted by a number of Tokyo’s top private equity leaders. Similarly to how I’m constantly inspired by the youth in the DC area, we heard presentation from two remarkable young ladies who rose from tough backgrounds to achieve success (thanks in part to the philanthropic efforts of others).
So, I’m at Narita Airport now — getting ready for the 4-hour flight to Hong Kong. I’ll check in from there.
Oh, yeah, I was able to eat many of my favorite Japanese foods — ramen, zaru-soba, yakitori, croquette, sushi, tonkatsu, etc. It’s all good.