"Our latest trip, a return to Japan after 23 years, to see old friends and old places is especially exciting. We feel at home. The essential politeness, cleanliness, naivete, kindness and curiosity of the people have not changed. It is very comforting, and we are so glad to have come back," said Barbara Abbate.

International friends from the years of their residence here are equally glad for the couple's visit and to see in them still all their old gracefulness and calm. Abbate, her husband and two young sons first came to Tokyo in 1977.

Earlier in their married life, the couple had an unusual and enviable experience that re-shaped their circumstances and helped set up their future.