DIALOGUE BY Karleen C. Chinen

Are you familiar with this century-old Japanese children’s song, “Furusato?” I’d heard the melody before, but I didn’t know the lyrics or what they meant until I attended a Honolulu Fukushima Kenjin Kai event late last year at which there was group singing of this song. Fortunately for me, the lyrics and translation were printed on the program that was distributed to the attendees.

There are other songs that speak to the longing to return to one’s furusato, meaning “old home” or “hometown.” My favorite is a song by Japanese pianist/singer Mayumi Itsuwa titled “Shiosai.” The Obunsha dictionary defines shiosai as the “murmuring of a rising tide.” It was a recurring tune in former newscaster Bob Jones’ 1985 Japanese centennial documentary, “Land of the Rising Sun.” You can find the tune on YouTube.com.

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