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One day next year, and the year after that, someone will ask me in the course of a conversation why I decided to stay in Japan. I know this because it ranks among the top questions I’m asked — by Japanese and non-Japanese alike — since I arrived here back in 2004. And on the day I’m asked, my answer will begin: “Because I had to be here when 2018 rolled around.”

But let me backtrack a bit.

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