Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Seeing Family from Japan

In the great state of Ohio this past weekend, I managed to visit some family of mine that hail from Japan. My cousins that were born there are pretty good at math and like electronic music. They also happen to have light brown hair, blue eyes and speak fluent English with no accent. My Air Force brat cousins and my favorite uncle were here stateside to buy a new home and visit colleges. I had not seen them for 3 years, and it is amazing how much time flies through the physical features of teenagers. My aunt did not look like she had aged at all, but my uncle looked a little more like my grandfather than I think even he wanted to admit.

It was great to catch up and for me to tell them of family stories from days of yore. When my aunt and uncle had retired to bed, I could impart on them bits of knowledge I learned while in college. I told them to study hard, but to remember to take a little time to enjoy life while at school. I tried to give them pointers on how to avoid the worst in relationships, the worst in spotting bad friends, and the best times to call home to keep mom and dad happy. I still have to work on that last one. My wife was there to back me up and offer bits of advice herself. As we said, "don't make the same fricking mistakes we and everyone we knew did". My cousins offered great insight into the weird happenings in Japanese culture like the men and women wearing the same clothes and styling their hair to look more and more androgynous or the Japanese version of Goth kids. I still don't understand that.

My uncle has bought a home right as he is retiring from the Air Force. He and his wife have their US jobs lined up in Ohio, and they are very excited to come back to the US. He bought it now to establish residency in case his kids go to a public school in Ohio and can take advantage of the resident tuition rates. Ohio State tuition rates for Ohio residents is about 15K with room and board. My alma mater is 46K with room and board; I hate you Cornell. His family has always lived on base housing. My aunt sacrificed a lot, while my uncle put his life on the line in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afganistan, Iraq again, and even in Tsunami relief. I mentioned to him that he might have wanted to wait for a while to buy a house. From his hints and choice words, I got the strong impression that he has a tiny mortgage if he has one at all. I'm happy for him. I'm also happy he's only 2 hours away. He hasn't lived closer than a 20 hr drive from me for the last 20 years. I'm forever in his debt for what he has done for our country and for being a great uncle. I can't wait for his first Thanksgiving hosting.

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