SoraNews24’s ace reporter Mr. Sato meets with another one of his international fans–an encounter that was a year in the making.

The following is written in the words of our Japanese-language master of disguiseluxury coffee drinker, and likes-to-play hooky reporter. Take it away, Mr. Sato. 

Hello, this is “Worldly Sato” here. I hope you’ve all had a good start to 2019. I humbly ask for your cooperation in dispatching crazy news about myself to all corners of the world in this coming year.

Already in the beginning of this new year, a shy youth has journeyed all the way across the ocean from California in the U.S. to meet me. He arrived in Japan during the final days of last year and we met up earlier this month. Now, looking back at the photos we took together, I noticed something a little bit strange about them.

In fact, my correspondence with this young man actually began over one year ago, in December of 2017. Carl, as I’ll call him, was a 23-year-old resident of California. As astute readers of this site may recall, that’s the same month that a young university student from Singapore also paid me a visit (thankfully, not to call me “garbage” for once). Carl read that piece and then reached out to me in order to arrange a similar meeting:

▼ (The English-language edition of RocketNews24 was renamed SoraNews24 in April 2017.)

To my chagrin, I was going to be in my hometown at the start of 2018, and we were unable to find a time that worked.

A year passed but then Carl reached out to me once again that he would be visiting Japan at the end of 2018. I must confess that I was taken aback yet honored that he still wanted to contact me! I was incredibly appreciative. Every day within the workplace and in the outside world as well, a middle-aged guy like me is barraged with a slew of unflattering words. Just knowing that someone would actually cross the ocean to meet me was enough to make me tear up.

We made plans to meet earlier this month near Tokyo’s Shinjuku Kabukicho district. I had no idea where he was actually staying, but he readily agreed to meet under the Godzilla head at the famous Toho Cinemas screen.

Shinjuku Station is a veritable maze for those who are unaccustomed to it. I began to regret my choice of meeting place, but Carl was using an app to find his way to the right spot. Just to be safe, I sent him a photo of where I was standing:

Finally we were able to meet face-to-face! Thank goodness.

Carl first became interested in Japan thanks to the influence of someone who taught English here and practiced his Japanese by watching subtitled anime. He’d last been to Japan on that previous trip, and this time as well he was doing some sightseeing with his family in Osaka, Kyoto, Hakone, and Yokohama. By the time we met up his family had already gone home, so he was continuing his travels by himself.

He had been reading SoraNews24 since he was a high school student and was also encouraged by his friends to visit. Although it sounded like his Japanese reading skills weren’t quite there yet, he was thinking about a future career in web writing.

While it was only for an hour, Carl was able to speak some Japanese so we managed to communicate. At one point I asked him, “Do you mind if I turn your visit into an article for the site?” He replied that it was fine but he would like me to cover his eyes as he was a bit shy. I thought that there was nothing to be shy about, but of course I acquiesced to his request.

When I actually added a line over his eyes in the photo, it turned out like this:

Although I was following his wishes, I thought that something looked off about it.

I also covered his eyes in the photo we took together:

Huh? Yeah, something definitely seems odd…

Let’s meet again, Carl.

In the meantime, I’m so sorry about the strange photos…

Well, that’s a wrap! Carl, if you’re reading this, rest assured that Mr. Sato was flattered by you seeking out his company and promises new photos during your next trip to Japan. And for more of Mr. Sato’s eagerness to meet his overseas fans, check out this article about his visitor from Peru!

Photos ©SoraNews24
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