Truth be told, I have no emotional qualms about indefinitely leaving Canada. Permanent farewells to close friends and acquaintances became a regular part of my life from a very young age. Ever since fourth grade when my American best buddy from my early Hokkaido and Aomori days said: "Bye Luke, we're never going to see each other again!" I have increasingly fortified my psyche against the unhappiness associated with separation. After all, I have never in my life resided in one municipality for more than four years at a time.
However, the goodbye parties are a nice touch anyway. On Friday night, all three floors of the shared house I live in came together for a bbq to mark the permanent departure of Keiko and myself, and the temporary departure of Toru. In other words, all three occupants of the second floor. It is perhaps significant that during my final years in Toronto I have surrounded myself with Japanese people, both by attending a Japanese language church and by choosing to live in shared houses occupied by Japanese tenants. It is a fact that I am more fluent in Japanese today than I was when I ceased to live in Japan ten years ago. Above are photos of the three "departees" and of those who came to celebrate their departure.