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My Korean friend in Pennsylvania, Bong-san, has written she will be turning 90 at the end of this year. Whenever she mentions her age, I am surprised: She can’t be that old!

Of course, I should know better. During the 1970s, when she worked for my employer, the New York office of a Japanese trade agency, she already had grownup daughters. Yet, because she was the very image of the Buddhist goddess of happiness and prosperity, Kisshoten, I did not really imagine she would ever age.

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