:: Mino's Message ::
These are Mino's seven messages to hundred's of his friends during his illness (July 2003 to May, 2004). He wrote in both English and Japanese.
Sent: August 05, 2003
Subject: This is Mino's sister, Yuki.
Dear Mino's friends,
I am Yuki, Mino's sister. As you all have received a mail "Message from Mino (English/Japanese)" recently, Mino asked me to send that mail to all of you. I accessed to his hotmail account and found the problem in sending all of you at once in one day, so I decided to send it from my own account. I will attach the original message again to this mail. I already have received encouragements and thoughts from some of you and I really appreciate that. I will visit him 8/14 to 8/25 and will bring your message to him. He is my dearest brother and I have a strong faith in him to overcome this sickness and recover as soon as possible. Please pray for him with me. Best regards,
*** Mino's message ***
I am sending this mail to every address I've got in my account. Please excuse me if you have not heard from me for years. Since I cannot access to the Internet right now, I asked my sister to send this to all of you.
It is unfortunate to tell you that I was diagnosed as Lymphoma. I am going to focus on my treatment from now on and my apology for canceling most of my near future schedule which may affect your plan as well.
I had a serious back pain and hospitalized, then soon doctors found a tumor in my spine and had an urgent operation. Last few weeks were truly dramatic, but it was not too bad as a life experience.
I am now experiencing rapidly reconciliation between body and mind, as well as quiet and deep exploration of myself. Such experiences are so precious and amazing that I am far from miserable. Furthermore, it is such a gift to be totally free from social obligations and doing what I really want to do (listening to good music, reading quality books, exploring inner self, etc.).
However, I understand some of you may urgently need to contact me for publication or administrative purpose. I am especially keen not to delay publishing procedures of which I have already submitted manuscripts. Please contact my sister in the U.S. who can handle English. She will let me know your message and I will try to settle things out as soon as possible. Just remind you that I am not able to respond to your e-mail because I don't have an access to the Internet right now. I am very sorry for this inconvenience.
Urgent contact: Yuki Hokari S.
Since my last 10 years was truly amazing and wonderful, the possible worst scenario does not bother me much. It could have been much more difficult for me to accept his sickness if it had happened 10 years ago. I am lucky. But anyway, I am planning to survive at least 20 more years! So, I hope to see you when I get back on the normal social life. Until then, take care of yourself!
Lots of love,
Mino (Minoru Hokari)
Sent: September 1, 2003
Subject: Mino's message 2
Please find the attachment, the second message from Mino. I left the US on 14th and got trapped in the airport when the blackout happened. I waited for 5 hours at the airport and finally took off 3 hours later, but missed a connecting flight from LA to Australia. I had to stay in LA for one night and caught a flight 24 hours later. I stayed with Mino for about 10 days, my parents arrived on 22nd, moved him to Melbourne on 25th and got back here in the US on 27th. I am heavily jet lagged. As a result, I am sorry to pass his message late.
Mino is doing really well. Not much side effects although he started losing his hair when we exactly expected it to happen. Maybe it was because I was with him during the recovery stage of a 3-week chemotherapy cycle, he had a good appetite and enjoyed my cooking. We talked a lot, laughed a lot, even argued, and allowed ourselves to spend money freely by making an excuse "Well, I (you)'ve got cancer, what a heck."
It is really encouraging for him to receive letters and phone calls, but it is true that he gets tired very easily by talking on the phone a lot. As the treatment goes, he might not be able to answer the phone so often, but please understand the situation. Even you can get to talk to him, try not to keep him on the phone too long. He has to save his energy to eat good amount of meals, take a shower every day to avoid infections and move around to use his weakened muscles.
I also met his doctor at the hospital in Melbourne. All the questions that we had were answered very well and I felt really good after the meeting.
Our parents are with him now until the mid September when I will go back there. We are amazed there are so many friends who are supporting him and us. Again, thank you very much for your support.
Yuki, Mino's sister
*** Mino's message ***
I again asked my sister to send this mail to you all. I've received unbelievable number of very warm and encouraging messages from all over the world. I really don't know how to express my thanks to you, but I must say I was moved to tears realising how much my life has been supported and cared by many many friends. My sincere apologies for not being able to write to you individually.
By the time you receive this message, I should be in Melbourne starting a serious cancer treatment (chemotherapy). As you probably know, it is expected that the more treatment progresses, the sicker and weaker I will be ? in my case, at least for next six months. Although it's tough, I have no doubt that this will help me to grow - to become a person who experiences and understands toughness of cancer treatment. I've already been through a major operation and radiotherapy. Chemotherapy will be the toughest challenge to win the grand slam of cancer treatments?!
A friend of mine called me "King Cockroach" ? impossible to kill Mino! I personally have a little more romantic vision that caterpillar-Mino enters a cocoon to come out as butterfly-Mino. Or, being inspired by Indigenous Australian tradition, I take this opportunity as my initiation ceremony. Ceremony cannot be hold by myself. Reading your encouraging messages, feeling your warmest support and love, I am now ready to enter the cocoon. Furthermore, I really hope our relationship is not just one-way traffic. I will send you "something important" for all of us from the cocoon ? it may not be visible, but I will. I never felt so strongly that it is such a simple truth that human cannot exist without connectedness, and the world (universe?) is connected. It was worth being sick for me even just to reach this deep realisation.
Since I will be extremely vulnerable to infection during this period, please forgive me that I may not be able to accept your kind offer of visiting me. However, let me repeat here hundred times that how much I am moved and encouraged by your web of love. I cannot wait to see you when a cockroach-powered butterfly coming into the world. Till then, let us make our lives move on to the future!
Lots of love,
Mino (Minoru Hokari)
Sent: November 15, 2003
Subject: message from minoru hokari
I'm finally writing a message from my own email account (not via my sister). At the end of forth cycle of chemotherapy, I had CT scan, PET scan and bone marrow aspiration to see how effective our cancer treatment was. The result was fantastic! I'm very happy to tell you that my cancer is now in remission. However, doctor said there was always a possibility of micro cancer being still alive and not detected by the recent technology. In conclusion, even though it may not be necessary, we agreed to have two more cycles to make sure of doing our best for the future.
I will be under chemotherapy for six more weeks until the end of this year. I don't hesitate to repeat here how tough and horrible chemotherapy is. I hate it! It is physically and mentally so challenging that I feel my 'life (power)'is threatened. For this very reason, I sincerely thank for your generous support and encouragement. I need your love and prayer in order to go through this difficult time - in order to survive. Please be with me for another six weeks, and the worst year of my life will be over. I cannot wait to see you at cafe, restaurant, museum, library, office, or on the street somtime next year!
Be brave, be cool, and be beautiful.
With many many thanks,
Sent: January 06, 2004
Subject: happy new year from mino hokari
Happy New Year Everyone!
I am glad and proud to tell you that I managed to survive through 2003, and am still alive and fine in 2004! I sincerely thank all of you for your generous support, love, prayer and encouragement, which meant a lot, a lot, a lot to me.
As you may heard from yuki, the last cycle of chemotherapy was over. I am still in danger of infection, but my everyday life is quite peaceful - reading books, listening to the music, meditating, eating and sleeping. My next challenge will be going to a cinema or reading a book at a cafe. My body weight, which at one stage I lost about 10kg, is now nearly back to normal. I plan to visit Japan in March, and (finally!) come back to Canberra in April.
It is true that I have to live with a risk of a relapse of cancer for next few years. But so what?! As I have always been so, I will do only what I want to do - a few books I want to publish, a few places I want to visit, etc. It is also true that I learnt so much from this sickness. I believe it is my new 'task' to make the best of this experience. It would be wonderful if we share and learn more from each other's life experiences.
Wish all of you and the world a better year!
Sent: March 03, 2004
Subject: message from Minoru Hokari
I must to tell you a bad news this time. It is unfortunate that the cancer relapsed rather quickly. I was warned by the doctor that if it happen, it would be quick, but I expected at least I could manage to visit Japan. Well, let's face the reality and go through it. I started my treatment again in Melbourne. Situation is tougher than before but nevertheless there is a hope of cure. I will continue training myself to become a more strong and smiley person. I hope I am not asking too much for your continuous support of me... I am here in this beautiful world because of your support. You are always with me, and I am always with you.
Sent: March 29, 2004
Subject: message from Minoru Hokari
Very sad news I have to tell you. Since my cancer is exceptionally aggressive, doctors concluded it would be impossible to reach remission again. Accordingly, there is no possibility of bone marrow transplant. In other words, from Western modern medical point of view, there is no hope of cure of my disease. I personally do not believe the dead-end of chemotherapy is the real dead-end. I practise possible alternative treatments to make my life as long as possible, and more importantly, as more meaningful and profound as ever. I will move from the current hospital to a new hospice in Melbourne. In order not to waste my precious time, I decided not to go back to Japan at this stage. For the same reason, please allow me not to see many visitors especially during the critical period (next few months).
Treatments I have been through were really tough, but I think it was worth doin g it. I have no doubt I grew up mentally and spiritually much more than ever before. It was truly amazing experience I have gone through. I was also very happy to receive hundreds of mails from many of my friends saying they were also encouraged by my messages. We are connected and in two-way relationship, aren't we? There is nothing like meaningless life, either. Experiencing interesting but depressing hospital life, many kinds of pain and suffer and deep conversation with my body, as well as receiving your generous support and love from all over the world, I cannot believe how fortunate and lucky person I am!
This is not the last mail from me. I will survive, no worries.
With full of love and thanks,
Sent: May 11, 2004
Subject: Message from Minoru Hokari
With my lots of tears, I have to let you know that my dearest brother, Minoru Hokari, passed away at 12:45 AM (Melbourne time) on May 10th. As he wished always, he didn't lose his consciousness almost all the way till the end. For the last nine months, he has been very brave, calm and positive, and we are very proud of him. We will have a memorial service here in Melbourne on Wednesday morning, cremate his body and take his ashes back home in Japan.
About a few days before he died, he mentioned to me that he might want me to translate his message to you into English. At that moment, he did not have strength to do it. Then, he got deteriorated quickly and he never handed his laptop to me. But his family decided to convey it to you. As he promised you in a previous mail, he wrote to you again.
He could have translated with different wording, but I tried my best. From his family, we appreciate all your supports for the last nine months. I have so much to tell you, but I can't right now. Maybe some day, I will write to you again.
Yuki, Mino's sister
*** Mino's last message ***
How are you, everyone? It's me, Mino, again. Yes, I am still surviving. At the hospital where I had gone through chemotherapy, my doctor told me that I would lose my consciousness in a few weeks, but my mind is still clear and I am myself just like I had been. These days I have to use a wheelchair even when going to bathroom. I don't have much strength so that I rarely answer the phone and don't see visitors either. I am totally exhausted by just speaking. When I do meditation, I feel rested.
Would you please do me a favor? Under this difficult situation, I don't accept almost all the visitors and phone calls. Simply, I cannot take it physically. Although I know this is my selfish wish, I am always grateful as I feel connected with all of you, my dear friends. So, please stay connected with me. Please do not make me feel lonely. I am here with you and I feel so much support from you. This is nothing to do with the facts that I cannot either answer the phone or see you because of the lack of strength. Within the loneliness, I stay connected with all of you, which has been and is deeply supporting me.
I have a great news for you. It seems that I can soon publish my book. From Ochanomizushobo, my maiden book will be published in June or July. If you are interested in Aborigines or oral history, please take a look at it. I am amazed myself that I finished it at the terminally ill stage, but it was made possible with all the kind supports from my friends. The possible title will be "Radical Oral History - Australian Aborigines historical practice" Although it might take longer, I am planning to publish an English version.
Well, I may be able to write to you again. Until then, why don't we live every minute and every second of our precious lives.