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Keep Tradition in Japan

These days we have a lot of technology in our lives. We have computers. We have cell phones. We have fast trains. We have robots that make cars. We have robots that can talk. We have rockets in space. We are surrounded by technology.

When I was a university student I did not have a computer or a cell phone. I wrote my reports with a pen on paper. I used a typewriter. My car had no computer parts. My car had no navigation system. The only telephone I had was in my house. There were no DVDs or CDs. There was no internet. To you maybe, it seems like a long, long, long time ago. But for me, the feeling is not so long ago.

I am very glad today that we have wonderful technology. I love using my computer. I am very happy to have a cell phone. I am grateful to use the Internet. I use these things every day. My daily life is much easier than before.

Last weekend Otemae had Homecoming Day. Every year it is a great experience for the school and for students. Every year we can see the spirit and heart of Otemae. On Sunday morning there was a shamisen concert here. My family and I could come and see it. We all thought that it was really wonderful. It was a very rare and special chance to hear the shamisen, to hear traditional music, and to experience the heart and deep feeling of the music. Later on, all the students could perform traditional dance with taiko. These are very important and beautiful things about Otemae, and important and beautiful things of Japanese culture.

People all over the world look at Japan and say the same thing. People all over the world have a deep respect for Japan and the traditional art, music, sports, and culture that are here. Japan is a unique and important place where tradition is important. Tradition in music, tradition in art, and tradition in culture are things that give people an identity.

The world changes quickly with technology, but we must also think about how to keep tradition in culture too. Japan has an important cultural history. We can see this in things like kendo, karate, sumo, tea ceremony, igo, calligraphy, and music— like with the shamisen, sanshin, taiko, and koto. You are surrounded by technology, but you are also surrounded with culture.

I wonder if there is some way to bring those two things together. But that is a question for you, the next generation of Japan to think about. How will you keep your traditions? How will you keep safe the history of your country? How will you rush into the future with the world’s best technology and save your culture at the same time?

Your education here at Otemae may be the beginning of the answer to the question. Technology is an important part of future educational projects, but the keeping and teaching of culture and art of your nation is equally important. In the future, we will see changes in technology and art. How would you like to change them? I am very interested to see what you will do with your future.

I hope that you had a great experience for your Homecoming Day and made good memories. I also hope that you felt some inspiration. Maybe you would like to play the shamisen. I think that I would like to try it too. Maybe we can have a chance to make some music together. That would be wonderful.