From a young age, traveling around all the time, I’ve grown used to not saying good bye, just saying ‘so long.’ I live with the hope that I will see most people again in some way, and it’s paid off in unusual ways.

I first met Ron via his blog before I moved to Japan. It’s hard to find a unique voice that writes well in the sea of expats blogging on Japanese matters, but he definitely was one. He was real, he blogged about interesting stuff (living conditions, food, fashion) and he was prolific. And to add to the greatness, he was blogging from Okinawa, not far from where I would be living. I stalked his blog for some time and finally emailed him (or maybe Twitter DMd?)

When I arrived in Tokyo, I met some of the other JET teachers at the airport who were helping with the new teachers orientation, and met his girlfriend at the time. I’m pretty sure I creeped her out by running up to her (a familiar face through the blog, but we had never communicated at the time) and saying “HI I READ RON’S BLOG AND YOU ARE AWESOME, NICE TO MEET YOU” while shaking her hand really hard on the sky bridge from the Narita airport to our bus.

Over the next year and more, I had a few great times out with Ron. He took Mike and I to a great gyoza place, and we shared many a beer with him, and had a great pancake party that first fall after I arrived. I was worried for him as he changed jobs and looked for a new one, constantly on the verge of having to return home. But, he stayed, he 我慢’d (endured). Very Japanese of him.

Long story short, he’s actually from the D.C. area, and after a problem with a trip this summer, he finally made the voyage home this fall, so we hung out. It was great to see him, share a few (ok, many) brews and eat a few Costco hot dogs while he stocked up for his trip back to Okinawa. Lord knows I know what that is like.

God speed, Ron-sensei. I’ll miss you – but it was great seeing you again. Albeit in a place I never expected I would. Who knows the next crazy ass place we’ll see eachother?