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Some of my customers only pay me in rice. Sometimes, in the winter, I wish for warmth and warmer quilt for the cold nights, but winter does not last long here, and so, it is not such a big worry as others in my life.
In addition, I worry about the government, and their policy that seems to be leading toward cutting my country off from the rest of the world. We have enjoyed prosperity and new ideas through the Jesuits and others who have come to live and trade with us, and it seems that the government is going to ban foreigners, and even ban us Japanese from leaving our island. This worries me, because I fear that trade and our economy will suffer, and the government does not seem to have a way to resolve the issue. I know it is not wise to question our wise leaders, for they know what is best for us - much more so than a lowly blacksmith. However, sometimes I do worry about what the future holds for my country and my family. I do not speak of this to my family and friends, for I am afraid they would doubt me, and think I am weak for looking badly on my government. My lord is one of the Shogun's trusted advisors, and stood with him when he fought in 1600, and so, to speak against the Shogun would be to speak against my lord, and so, I keep these negative thoughts to myself. One can never be too careful about whom one trusts and whom one does not in this town.
A get much pleasure from my life as a blacksmith. I have a good family and even my parents and lord enjoy good health. We have a good house, and we attend festivals and music performances. I also get much pleasure from my work, for it is a good thing to create quality work, and have it appreciated by those who purchase it. It gives me much satisfaction to serve my lord and make him happy, too. Life seems happier today, and there is much laughter and activity in our town. This was absent for many years, and it makes me happy to see it return.
Sometimes, I have a little sake after a hard day with my friends, and I enjoy a good cup of tea and a large bowl of rice with some fish or vegetables after a long, hot day at my forge. I enjoy spending the evenings with my children and wife, and I enjoy any time we can walk into the countryside and enjoy the natural world that we love so much. To see the cherry blossoms in the spring and the rice fields in the summer is a rare treat for us. I work hard, and we have little time together as a family, but these times are important to me, and it is important to share them with my entire family. My parents live with us, and are honored guests in our home and in our lives.
A also derive pleasure from my craft guild. I have risen to the post of "elder" in my guild because of my age and service to my lord, and I derive great pleasure from my craft group and our camaraderie. As I mentioned, sometimes we drink a cup of sake or two together, and we have an annual festival where smiths from all over the area gather in our town to celebrate and share our wisdom with each other. This guild is an important part of our business and social life, and I look upon it with pride.
In conclusion, I think my life is quite common in Japan for this time. I work hard, I have a good family, I have worries, but I am a happy and content person. I believe the gods smile on us here in Japan, and that our island is the best on earth. I am loyal to my lord and to my country, and I look forward to passing my knowledge and skill on to my children, and living to a ripe old age with my family around me as I sit in the warmth of the sun and enjoy my leisure time.
Country in Isolation."…[continue]
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