En route to a familial commitment in Japan two weeks ago, I decided to make a brief visit to my old homestead, the Nishi Okazaki Leo Palace Silver Residency, located on the outskirts of the greater Nagoya metropolis. Accompanying me at the time were two local comrades, Yu Kunimatsu and Hiroto Inui.

As we crossed the river into Nishi Okazaki, it was clear that things had changed since I’d last been there. Rice fields had been replaced by housing developments and a new school, and there was evidence of an overpass construction underway. Indeed, Nagoya’s suburban sprawl had rapidly encroached upon what was once a quiet countryside retreat.

When we reached home-sweet-home, something else was definitely awry. The title placard had been removed from the front of the building, the car park was empty and, on closer inspection, so were all the apartments …

‘It seems as though this building will be destroyed to make way for another,’ proclaimed a smirking Hiroto.

I was shattered.

‘The Palace’ and its surrounds had been ground zero for countless rad times, sweaty treks to swimming spots, fireworks missions, blood-red horizons, and bike rides into the unknown.

Accepting that all good things truly do come to an end, I thanked the place for having me before its walls fall—if only for a short while—then hit the road once more for a round at the bar.

Sayonara, Leo Palace.

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