Sunday, July 24, 2016

Return to Tokyo

All good things must come to an end. Saya and I have officially finished our cycling trip from Tokyo to Kyoto and back. I always feel a little down when a big adventure comes to an end, but the sadness is quickly replaced by many good memories and the excitement of knowing that we will come up with more challenges to share in the future.

On Monday, July 25, I will give a 90-minute presentation to the management team and employees at Intel Corporation in Tokyo. I'll talk about ways to use discomfort to your advantage, the power of informed risk taking, and the secret to optimal performance. All these were top of mind as my 9-year-old daughter and I cycled over mountains and through Japan's summer heat in the past two weeks. Whenever the trip felt overwhelming, Saya and I laughed and said, "The harder things are, the more interesting stories we'll have to tell afterward!"

Yesterday, I attended a memorial service in Tokyo for my father-in-law, who died a year ago at age 86. The Buddhist priest who presided over the ceremony said that it's natural to feel sad and lonely after someone we love dies. But their death is also a reminder of how precious each moment is. Each of us can craft a meaningful life full of gratitude for our short time on this little blue ball falling around the sun. 

My father-in-law experienced so much in his life: World War II, working in the U.S. and Europe, raising a family, losing his wife to cancer. As I looked at the many people who attended the memorial, I realized how much energy he put into building and treasuring connections with people throughout his long life. He understood that humans are designed to connect with one another, that we need support and love, and that we always have the opportunity to grow and change and help one another along the way. I miss him.

Here are some photos from the past few days:

Saya being her usual silly self

Saya and I with the owner of Sunaba Minshuku on Cape Irago. The food was excellent, the sunset amazing, and the futons super comfortable.

Saya and Kinpara-san, who took a day off work to cycle with us. He rode from his home in Hamamatsu to meet us in Cape Irago, then he guided us back to Hamamatsu, riding 140 kilometers!

Kinpara-san and his wife invited us to their home in Hamamatsu for a delicious home cooked meal. We were very lucky to meet such kind people.

If you wear these water shoes while cycling for many hours a day in the hot summer sun, your feet will look like this!

Saya taking a snack break

We cycled through the pedestrian-only Meiji Tunnel while riding over a mountain into the town of Shizuoka. Saya called it "spooky and great!"

Back in Tokyo, we were reunited with my wife Eiko and our son Sho. This is at the memorial service for Eiko's father.

After the memorial service, we ate dinner with our family in Tokyo. My niece Arisa is in the middle holding a photo of Eiko's mother and father. The cake says "Happy Second Birthday Arisa." She survived cancer three years ago thanks to a bone marrow transplant, and she carries a beautiful energy full of gratitude and hope.

My brother-in-law Aki drove me to Shizuoka to pick up the bikes I left behind when Saya and I had to take a train back to Tokyo to attend the memorial service. It hurt to put the bikes in a car. My heart still wanted to be on the cycling trip. But that's okay. I suspect there are many more to come! 

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