Greetings from Greg Peterson in Japan.

Greg Peterson, outdoor portrait, 3/4 right profile.
Greg Peterson at Yasugawa

I post photographsaudio recordingsmovies, and words about nature and culture in rural Japan. I hope this blog will help readers appreciate the natural world more deeply.

My home is in Shiga Prefecture, very close to Yasugawa (river), about 10 kilometers upstream from Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake, which provides fresh water to millions of people in the Kansai region. Rivers nourish a variety of wildlife, farmland, and thriving communities in Shiga Prefecture.


Before coming to Japan I grew up on an apple orchard in North Central Washington State (USA), graduated from Tonasket High School (1968), received a BA in Psychology from the University of La Verne (1972), and began working as a San Francisco Sheriff’s Department volunteer and full-time civil servant (1972), and then as a parole officer (1973-1975) under Sheriff Richard Hongisto (obituary).

After I received an MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (now TESOL) at San Francisco State University (1975), my wife and I moved to Libya, where I taught English at the University of Benghazi, Libya (1975-1977).

I began to work at Kyoto Notre Dame University in 1977. As a full-time lecturer, associate professor, and professor, I had many roles and duties in addition to teaching. For many years I worked in university administration and leadership. I served on and chaired numerous committees, and I was responsible for international programs (2004-2008), English language education (2008-2010), and library & information services (2000-2004, 2010-2012). Many of my leadership roles were directly related to my interests in intercultural communication, computing, and information services.

On March 31, 2014, I retired as a full-time professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Kyoto Notre Dame University (KNDU), where I have been teaching English, communication, and media since 1977. I must fully retire due to age (70) at the end of the 2019 academic year in March, 2020.

I have been blessed with an interesting and rewarding career. I was fortunate to spend my formative years at a tough job in San Francisco, where I had to get along with all kinds of people. I learned to listen deeply to people’s stories and to challenge prejudices and stereotypes that inhibit the celebration of our common humanity. As an educator since 1975, I remain grateful to the many dedicated colleagues and wonderful students I have met over the years.

In spring 2019 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (膵臓がん). On July 24th I underwent a nine-hour surgical resection, a pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure), to remove my duodenum and gall bladder, 50% of my pancreas, and 20% of my stomach. 

In autumn 2019 I gradually recovered strength and stamina. I was able to continue teaching in Kyoto and enjoying outdoor life in Shiga. By November I was strong enough to climb a small mountain, Mikayama (三上山), within walking distance of my house.

Cancer has returned. On January 6th, 2020, a CT scan revealed cancer in my liver. I was hospitalized and fitted with a chemotherapy port under my right collar, and on January 28th, again in the hospital for observation of first reactions, I began biweekly treatments that continue on an outpatient basis. Fortunately, Saiseikai Shigaken Hospital (済生会滋賀県病院) is near home, about 30 minutes on foot or 10 minutes by bicycle.

My working days are finally over. I taught the last class of my career on January 22, 2020, and I have submitted final grades and other paperwork. I already miss working, but at 70 I’m ready to move on.

Although cancer treatment consumes some time and energy, I continue to enjoy outdoor activities and everyday life. I count my blessings as I look back on many rich and rewarding experiences and forward to enjoying the simple pleasures of living.

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