Kanpai

Photo by Janet Donovan
Ambassador Kenichirō Sasae
Ambassador Kenichirō Sasae

“Look at all these friends,” said Kenichirō Sasae at his final farewell party at the residence.  “I wish I were this popular back in Japan.  I don’t even know this many people in Japan.  This is the last goodbye and this is a hard one. I try not to cry, but sometimes I do cry these days and I’m not that old yet, but I’m old [enough] so I’m getting loose in control in my [thoughts]. The people of this country, the people in the government and their institutions and organizations who we have come to know, have all made us feel welcomed and accepted. It’s been a remarkable experience for us.”

It was a touching moment when Amb. Sasae acknowledged his wife Nobuko: “She’s obviously my partner in life over these five years in Washington. I’m proud of all that you have done Nobuko and for the love and support that you gave me. And this is a pretty untraditional thing for Japanese, you know, men to say that, but I want to say in front of all of these friends, from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.”