A Happy New Year to each and every one of you! As you saw out the old year to see in the new, I imagine that many of you spent time reflecting on your life over the last 12 months, thinking about your plans and aspirations for 2022, and catching up with friends and family. For me and my family, we counted our blessings and prayed for peace and goodwill for our relatives, friends, and the world at large at Christmas Mass. Likewise, during Hatsumōde, the traditional first shrine visit of the year, I wished for good health and successful endeavors for myself, my family, and my colleagues in the coming year.
What has it been like for you looking back on the last year? I assume that for many of you there were moments that, despite the pandemic, were filled with happiness and inspiration. For others, I know that you faced immense challenges. I ask that you reach out to and count on your friends and community to see you through. Before you know it, your sorrows may turn to joys. In times like these, I find myself especially encouraged by the following lyrics from the second verse of the school's Alma Mater, the Juku-ka.
This flame I steward
Is wisdom's light
Illuminating the way forward
Let us put the hardships of the last year behind us, join together, and "go the distance" down the right path.
What types of goals have you all set for yourself in the coming year? In a present which is constantly being reshaped by COVID-19, Keio University must become the engine for society to transition its way out of the pandemic. The onus is on us to pave the way in designing a post-COVID-19 society. It is my hope that in 2022, Keio University, an organization equipped to combine the diverse elements of knowledge at our disposal from the social sciences, humanities, medicine, natural sciences, and engineering, will usher in the society to come.
I am looking forward to all we might accomplish in the coming year.