When I stayed in Yatsushiro, our class went on field trips with the IEC college students. One such trip involved climbing 777 steps. It was hard, even given all the exercise I’d gotten on the Japan trip to date. As I was huffing up the stairs, Kuni, one of the girls, told me to ganbatte, and when I stopped to recuperate she pressed a tiny Hello Kitty figurine into my hand and told me to concentrate on Kitty-chan, and I could do it.

I finally did make it up those steps.

I loved those smokestacks.

On one of our last days in town, Brandon and I visited the children’s store where my host sister worked. I didn’t get a picture of him, but there was a little boy at the shop, maybe the child or grandchild of the proprietess. He seemed shy…so I unzipped my backpack and pulled out the treasured Kitty-chan figurine.

I can’t remember if I said hai, kore or douzo, but I gave the figure to the boy, and he smiled. Everyone seemed to think that was the perfect thing for me to do.

But as you’ll note from the picture caption, I always sort of regretted giving that toy away, because of the memories associated with it.

This morning as I was driving in to 2go-Box, I suddenly thought that I don’t regret giving Kitty-chan to the little boy anymore. After all, what point would there have been in my keeping it? It would just be gone now, with all the rest of my stuff.

Funny how one’s perspective can change.