The line was for Brazilians only, most of them were leaving Japan. The flight with a stop in Germany was full of Brazilians going home. The dream of becoming rich in Japan was over for them.

The archipelago faces its worst economic crisis since World War II. The country which received Brazilian immigrants, mainly of Japanese descent, does not offer good working and living conditions anymore. The dreamed of savings which would guarantee a better future on coming back to Brazil are out of reach. The couple commented they had to squeeze everything to make it fit into the bags. They even let the air out of the soccer ball to make it fit inside the luggage.

I finally found the cat, inside a big cage. Afterwards, talking to the man, who had lived in Japan for the past 14 years, I found out he had wanted to take his dog, but it was not possible since it would be too expensive. So he only brought back his girlfriend’s cat, lighter and cheaper. He complained about having to leave his car behind, “I gave it to my brother, it was not even worth selling, I wouldn’t make anything out of it,” he said.

I could identify with their return, since I was on my way back as well. Truth it was a much shorter trip, only 14 days. My trip to Japan was coming to an end, after attending ceremonies in memory of the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after passing through the earthquakes in Tokyo and Nagoya, it was finally time to leave. The trip had been a profound experience for me.

In the last days I had several important meeting. The main one was with the peace coordination team of Soka Gakkai, a worldwide Buddhist social organization, present in Brazil as well. I am satisfied that my trip to Japan helped open paths for the work of Pressenza and the World March for Peace and Nonviolence in the Far East.

I was not bringing back a real cat in my luggage. Just a small, lucky cat (maneki neko) on a key chain. I wished the couple, that the Japanese cats, real and not, would bring us good luck on our way back.

*(Translation from Portuguese to English: Isabel Torres-Carrilho)*