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2007 June 3 Sunday.

Today was a rather sad day in some ways.   

The very first English Conversation School in Asahikawa, which was started almost 30 years ago, closed it's doors for the last time today.   

I was invited to the good bye party. 

The school which was started in 1977 by an American man from Vermont and his Japanese wife from Tokyo, was originally called 旭川英会話 and was located on the 5th floor of the Hokkaido Bank Building in downtown Asahikawa.   

I worked there for 3 years from March of 1993 until March of 1996.   

In October of 1995, the owner and his wife sold the school to an American man from Niigata, and the whole family moved back to the Seattle area in the USA.   

The original owner offered to sell the school to me, and I seriously considered it for a while, but declined to buy it.   

Instead of paying a big chuck of money to buy an existing school, I decided to bet my entire life savings and start my own school at a different location.   

Eleven years later, I can say with certainty that I made the right choice. 

Anyway, the school which was renamed Asahikawa English Communication Services (A.E.C.S.) continued in business for another 11 years until Friday June 1 of this year. 

The final farewell party was held today from 14:00 until about 16:30.   

I saw many students there today that I haven't seen in more than 10 years.   

Everybody looked about the same. 

Except for me. 

I am much fatter now than I was at that time. 

Much fatter.  Of course everyone noticed it immediately.   

After eating some food and talking about the good old days for more than two hours, I said goodbye to everyone and walked on over to the Matsui Jewelry Store on the 2nd floor of the EXC Building, to get my silver Navaho bracelets cleaned by the owner, Kuni.   

Kuni is a big fan of American Country and Western Music, especially the Dixie Chicks.   

It was nice to talk to him again while he was making my sliver wrist accessories shine brightly.   

After that, I went outside onto the Kaimono Koen Pedestrian Mall and noticed the sound of a live band playing at the other end of the mall. 

Being a sometimes band member myself, I hurriedly walked down to the far end of the mall and got there just in time to hear the last 40 minutes of what had been a 5 hour event of free live music.   

Asahikawa truly is a music city.   A very nice place to live if you can find a job here.

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