Hello again, this time from Boston. My son and I have completed our East Coast tour and are heading back to Japan soon. We've had a blast visiting various sites in Washington D.C., had an exciting time in New York at Coney Island and Times Square, stayed in a quaint Bed & Breakfast in Rhode Island that made me wonder if I might not experience Groundhog Day 15,532 times, then walked all over the "Kyoto" of America. We got to experience New York pizza from a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and learned that what they say about Boston drivers is true. Now we're tired, though, and more than ready to get back to our more peaceful life in Japan.
One place I made sure to bring my son was Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, since I feel that it's a place every American should visit, even if he happens to be half Japanese. It's a powerful shrine, and my son was amazed at the solemnness and history all around him. Of course, there's no place like Arlington in Japan -- there are no national icons to visit, no memorial to the Japanese war dead in the Battles of Midway or Leyte Gulf or Iwo Jima, as Japan was the loser in the conflict and is now very embarrassed at their past. Since he hasn't spent years in the U.S. absorbing our historic legends, it's been a challenge for my son to pick up the nuances of some of what we've been seeing, for example Paul Revere, whose actual deeds have been heavily fictionalized (he's as famous as he is in part because his last name rhymes with the word "hear"). Fortunately my son is familiar with Japanese history and the legends that have grown up around, say, the pivotal historic figure Sakamoto Ryoma, so he was able to understand the historic background pretty well.
I made sure to take my son to visit Arlington National Cemetery; we had an exciting time back east.