This past week was the anniversary of two important eras in Japanese history, one symbolic and high profile, the other of enormous practical impact but much lower profile.
January 7th was the twentieth anniversary of the death of Emperor Hirohito
, the end of the Showa Era, and the start of the Heisei Era with the ascension of the current occupant to the throne.
That same day, Jun Murai
was at Narita Airport, on his way to Washington, D.C., for some rather obscure technical work. On about January 11th, he got it running: Japan was connected to the Internet, via IP over X.25, for the first time.
Several years later, when I left Japan for the first time, I gave my email address to many Japanese (and foreign) friends. Most said, "What's this?" I replied, "Hang onto it, in a few years you'll know." And indeed, I occasionally am contacted by friends from that time, though I suspect they come upon my address now via Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or another, mutual friend.