Sayonara

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Text and photo by Grigoris A. Miliaresis

On April 2012, I sent Greecejapan my first “Letter” from the, still, floating world called “Japan”; my idea, which the people from the website accepted enthusiastically, was to single out a small part of this world’s culture each week and to present it the way I understand it and feel about it. Having spent over 25 years in the media, I knew my writings wouldn’t have (and couldn’t have) any literary pretense, let alone value, but I thought they might prove useful to some people who would like to see  some aspects of Japan that haven’t been promoted that much. Today, four years later, I can say (and not just from personal impression) that the “Letters” achieved their goal and, perhaps, somewhat contributed to the increase of available Japan-related content, especially in the Greek language.  

Right from the start, Greecejapan believed that its readers would respond positively; personally, I had some reservations but I’m glad that they were right and I was wrong. Both the website’s fans and many, well, passersby, embraced my weekly funambulisms over Japan and rewarded them with lots of visits, likes, shares and the rest of 21st century Internet’s “medals”. And even though I brag that I remain undaunted in the face of acceptance or rejection by my readers, I am to a great extent depended on them: if I wrote for myself only, I wouldn’t publish my work therefore the warm acceptance I had from you reading this and, perhaps, my previous 199 “Letters” certainly  pleases me. And if these micro-essays were, beyond a pleasant way to spend your Monday afternoons, also useful, my pleasure is double.   

If the above sound like a farewell, yes, it is. I am not abandoning Japan or Greecejapan –I am only bringing this “correspondence” to an end because I believe the particular model has reached its limits; like most professional writers, I know that I can write twice this many but I wouldn’t be doing it with the same enthusiasm so I prefer to try something different (some new ideas are already under discussion and soon, I believe, you will see at least one of them in action). And yes, the fact somewhat saddens me but if there’s one thing I have learned from both my work and my host culture is that nothing lasts forever; this by the way is one of the characteristics of the “floating world”.

Once again, I thank you all for your support, for your interest in my writings and pictures, for the friendship that many of you expressed even on a personal level and for your help in my effort to point out that Japan is something more than geisha, sushi, Fuji, robots and samurai. I know that I only managed to scratch the surface of this magnificent world but perhaps even this might mean something: if even one single person finds in one single word a spark that might start a more in-depth exploration of Japan, the whole endeavor will have worth it; after all, this is how my relationship with Japan began and I think it didn’t work out that bad!

Mina-sama, kokoro kara kansha shite orimasu – 皆様心から感謝しております

PS
Like most things I do in Japan, the “Letters” would be tragically lacking without Atsuko’s help; therefore, it would be unacceptable to not choose for this last picture one where we are together. And yes, it is in Asakusa during the Sanja Matsuri…

Grigoris A. Miliaresis is a journalist and translator. He has worked for many newspapers, magazines and publishing houses and specializes on the Internet, the martial arts and Japan where he has been living for the last few years. For more information about his work and his writing, visit http://about.me/GrigorisMiliaresis and http://www.japanarekore.gr/ or see his interview in Tokyocheapo.

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