Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mikio and Hokuto Arrive

Entry for 4 April 2007:

Mikio Shimizu is a professor of psychology from Hosei University in Tokyo, here for a year’s sabbatical, to learn about how we do training and research. He and his son Hokuto arrived last week and are learning their way around Glasgow. Diane and I have been doing our best to orient them and help them get set up.

Mikio is gentle, friendly, helpful man, just a couple of years older than I am. He says he’s shy, but he’s actually better at small talk than I am. Diane and I find him quite charming. He is extremely considerate of others. I feel that he has a lot of integrity and shows a mix of hard work and good humor similar to what I try to cultivate for myself. He and I share a common academic background: Both of us have been teaching in psychology departments for many years and are enjoying our time away from that. Mikio is particularly interested in learning about how we do therapy/ counseling training here, and also how we supervise and do applied research.

He introduced his 25-year-old son Hokuto by explaining that Hokuto’s name means “7 stars in the north” (I gather this refers to what we call Ursa Major, or the Big Dipper.) Hokuto is a bit shy but friendly enough. He has just completed his training as master of the tea ceremony, or as he explained to us tonight, the Way of Tea, a discipline which tries to imbue with meaning and significance all aspects of the preparation and serving of traditional Japanese green tea. We are looking forward to hearing more about this, especially its connections to Gestalt therapy, which Hokuto plans to study when he goes on to graduate school in psychology.

The two of them are currently staying in student accommodations next to Partick Thistle Football Club, and mostly traveling around by bus. We are currently helping them look for a better place to live. They came for dinner tonight, and we had a lovely evening together, getting to know each other better. It’s really nice to be able to use our recent experiences here to help ease their transition, and we are looking forward to many interesting discussions and times together.

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