One of my former students who was dispatched to Uganda by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) as a pharmacist has recently returned to Japan after her two years’ stay in the country. I was so pleased to welcome her back and to learn that she had a wonderful experience in Uganda helping a local government establish an efficient distribution system of medicines and other medical supplies. In retrospect, the first student of JETS Academy （founded 12 years ago） happened to be a nurse dispatched to Tonga by JICA. Although I, myself, am unable to go to these places to be actively involved in international volunteer activities, I feel so privileged if I can do something for those who work hard to make the world a better place to live in. I am so inspired that I will do whatever I can to pursue my dream: “Think globally, act locally!”
I’m sorry it had to end like this.は「このような終わり方になったことは残念です」であって、謝罪ではない。（sorryという単語が出てくると謝罪だと思うのは間違い。たとえば親しい人を亡くした人に、I’m so sorryというのは普通のことで、悲しみやシンパシーや遺憾の意を表現するのにもsorryは使われる。）テニスの試合の報道でもこのようなことがあるのだから、国際情勢についての報道でどれだけこうしたことがあるのかと思うと、恐ろしい気持ちになる。”
Typhoons, earthquakes, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis…. Japan is truly a disaster-stricken country. We learned from nature that materialistic matters are not permanent and they eventually fade in this transient world. Probably, words like “wabi” and “sabi” (quiet simplicity and subdued refinement depicted in Japanese art) came from this kind of thinking. This reminds me of a famous part of the opening chapter of the Tale of Heike, which goes, “The sound of bells echoes through the monastery at Gion Shoja, telling all who hear it that nothing is permanent. The flowers of the sala trees show that all that flourishes must fade. Proud men, powerful men will fall, like dreams on a spring night, like dust before the wind.” (There are several translations and it is fun to compare them.) I think this notion constitutes an important element of the foundation of Japanese culture.
関西空港の復旧、時間がかかりそうです。40年ほど前、神戸市が関西空港の候補地になり政府からも打診されていたのですが、当時の市長や一部の住民グループが環境保護の立場から猛烈に反対し…結局、国際空港は、大阪湾の埋立地に建設される事になりました。（市長は、その後、後悔していたそうです。） 当時、神戸に空港が建設される事をとても楽しみにしていた私には大ショックでした。神戸市を活性化するまたとないチャンスだったと思います。その後、関空の建設がはじまり、O-CAT（Osaka City Air Terminal)のビルのプロモーション会議で同時通訳をする機会が何度かありました。当時から、陸の孤島へのアクセスがベイシャトルなど神戸港からの海路以外は、”橋一本”しかない事が気になっていました。今回の問題（アクセス/地盤沈下/洪水）は、ある程度想定内であったように思います。その辺の事をネイティブ講師に力説してしまった私なのでした。このトピックになると、いつも熱くなります… 関空の復旧が遅れると、観光産業などに打撃があるのではないかと心配です。神戸空港をフルに使ってほしいです。
The recovery work of the Kansai International Airport damaged by Typhoon Jebi seems to be taking long due to the fact that the only bridge connecting the Airport and the mainland was seriously damaged by an oil tanker which crushed into it. This could cause a serious economic impact on Kansai, the second largest industrial district in Japan
In retrospect, before the construction of the KIX, the city of Kobe
was nominated by the national government as the most ideal site for an international airport about 40 years ago. However, the plan was not realized because of the strong opposition by the then Mayor of the city of Kobe and his supporters for environmental concerns and other political reasons. As a promoter of the construction of the international airport back then, I was deeply shocked when Osaka was chosen instead of Kobe; Had the airport been built in Kobe, it would have brought many businesses and employment opportunities to the area. Later, the Mayor of the city deeply regretted his decision, but it was too late. Eventually, Kobe ended up building a small local airport designed exclusively for domestic flights.
To alleviate the current problems at KIX, I hope that Kobe Airport will be actively used and that this occasion will serve as a springboard for Kobe to have an international airport by strengthening the existing facilities.