Well, I don't know if anybody is reading the blogs, but here goes.
I am so sorry I suddenly vanished into the mists of cyberspace. In my own defense, you would not believe the year I have had! I don't even believe it and I lived it.
Last spring business in my company, Second Wind Co., Ltd., picked up astronomically. Unfortunately, it wasn't the profitable kind of business, just the busy kind. Our customers demanded some major revisions to the texts we use and I had to coordinate with the intellectual property right holder in California to get each and every revision approved. In the midst of all that, one of their European clients opened a customer service office here in Japan and wanted us to abide by the same financial and reporting contracts they had in Europe and America. It took some hard negotiations and explicit revealing of some internal numbers to convince them that we have a much different cost structure here in Japan and as a result, it simply was not possible to accommodate the limits and payment schedules they were used to. That also meant we had to negotiate a completely different system that would both meet their needs and cover our costs.
As if that were not enough, my father and stepmother joined my sister in Ohio and brought along my uncle, concentrating my surviving family members in a state I had never even visited. Then one of my sons decided he wanted to take a whirlwind tour of America and while he was at it, spend time with his grandfather in Ohio. At the last minute, my wife asked if I wanted to spend time in Ohio as well, so I agreed. Well, I got there and fell in love with the place.
Then the economy tanked.
Crisis brings with it opportunity, so after some delicate and time-consuming negotiation, I convinced my wife we should start planning on retiring in Ohio. We spend days and days combing the internet and assembled a list of nearly a hundred properties to look at, including several companies that build houses. We went back to Ohio together and viewed most of them. We finally settled on four acres in Wayne County and are now waiting for the paperwork to arrive so we can sign the papers and mail off the check. Once we receive the deed, then begins the long, laborious process of arranging to have a house built on the land.
Over the past year I have stopped in here from time to time to have a look-see, but did not have time to make a forum post or contribute additional material. I'm saddened to see the project finally had to be abandoned, but unfortunately, when team members must balance volunteerism with normal life, sometimes normal life becomes overwhelming; when that happens, volunteerism loses out.
For me, things are going to continue to be hectic for at least the remainder of this year, so I don't know if I will have much chance to stop in and chat. Whenever possible, though, I'll stop by and see how everyone is doing. Being able to contribute to this project was a great honor, and I have the highest regard for everyone here.
And in the end, no one knows what the future will bring. Maybe one of us will win the lottery or something.
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