Posted on November 26, 2005
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A horn of plenty and hopes that Gods blessing will touch us all It's Thanksgiving in America, it is labor day in Japan.
What is it where you are? This is the first year that we will not roast a turkey in 22 years. The last time was because I was a vegetarian and we roasted a pumpkin instead. It was miserable, we ruined perfectly good stuffing, but in our youth we were excited. Today, one of our Japanese staff asked me what thanksgiving is all about, and I had to stop and think.

It is good to stop and think sometimes. The days go by so quick, and we are so bound and determine to meet deadlines and our goals that sometimes we forget to stop and think about what we do, why we do it, who we are, and who we are to the people around us. 17 years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. 17 years ago my doctor told me to go home and tell my loved ones and family that I loved them because he could not be sure how long I would live…. I had emergency surgery, I had radiation therapy, there were many prayers, and I am still alive. I am a father. I am the vision to my children of what it means to be an adult. I am thankful for the opportunity. The work is hard, and everyday my eyes force themselves closed long before I want them to. I push myself relentlessly to do more and be more effective. I love my work. I love my children. I love my staff. I love my life. Today, I am thankful. I pray that you are as well.

Principles and Creed

I had a question from a visitor to our website about the About Us page. That is a statement about our principles and creed. 

I think that people are more important than politics. Of course, international politics are complex and there are many causes that bring about conflict. What I do know is that if a group of people can put faces to issues, conflicts can be more easily solved. Because it takes away the power of people to say " those xxxxxx are all yyyyyy" Of course there are many nationalities, and it is normal to have pride in your country. But my point about the Chinese boy is not about Chinese. It is about a person who sees individual Japanese people as all being the same. Just like many Japanese people see Chinese as all the same. He has never had a relationship with a Japanese. And he can not see that individuals have individual ideas and hopes and dreams. Just like him.

If he knew my great friends like Chieko, Miho, Nabe etc. He would think different. That does not mean to say there are not bad Japanese. Of course there are. I have met many. But if we can create enough bridges between enough people. Then someday when someone wants to start a war or conflict. And says "Those Japanese/Chinese/Koreans..etc. are the problem because they….." If we have relationships and we know that there are individuals with individual thoughts, Then we can say " That is not true, some are like that but not all!"

Truth will bring freedom. That is the point of having cultural programs. Not so Americans can go to a temple and say "oooohh and ahhhhhhh" Or Disney can build theme parks in Japan. It is true that some Japanese people have trouble reconciling the past. And some do not know clearly about the past. Of course there are lots of Americans that don't know their own history as well. And that is a problem I hope we can overcome with our staff. Some Americans have done very, very terrible things in the past. But I will not ignore them, it is important for me to understand it and admit it. That gives me pride. Because I also understand the great things that my ancestors have done.

Japanese people can have pride too. But people that can not admit the truth of the past will never have true pride. They will just be noise makers. I have pride in who I am because I know that I am a good man with good goals. I hope that someday all of our staff can have pride in who they are. And we can all talk honest about the past so we do not make the same mistakes in the future. That helps make a relationship strong because they can not hide things. If we as people can be honest with each other. We will have strong and meaningful relationships.

That is my goal in all we do.

Barry Wyatt


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