• 2021.09.22
  • Well done, Dad.
My father was finally awarded a medal! Congratulations, Dad!

My dad is retired now, and every spring he eagerly looks forward to the list of medals and decorations put out by the Japanese government to see if anyone he knows has received one—so I’m overjoyed that he lived long enough to find his own name there among the recipients. Dad, I’m so proud of you!

My mom is a classic city girl, and loves any chance to celebrate. When she found out my dad was awarded a medal, she could hardly contain herself My dad just sat beside her, pretending not to be excited.

I have no idea how everybody found out about it, but the presents started flooding in from everywhere—commemorative gifts, congratulatory gift, you name it—along with information from the companies who produce them. I could understand a frame for the certificate or something, but in came the Japanese lacquer boxes with the chrysanthemum imperial crest, vases with the imperial crest, a golden cup with the imperial crest, gold lacquer, Edo-kiriko cut glass, a crystal shield, and all kinds of confections with the imperial crest as well! Everything looked like it cost a fortune.

As my mom was jumping all over the place talking about what kind of souvenirs they should order and what gifts they should hand out, my dad started looking glum. “If you’re going to do all that,” he said, “I’ll refuse the medal.” It stopped her cold.

Previously, my mom had been talking about the award to the nurses at the hospital where my dad gets treated. Apparently, he wasn’t amused.
It’s probably because he’s a bit shy, but my dad was never ambitious, and he doesn’t like to stand out. During his working years, he was the type that would never do anything for show just for the sake of his own success or agree to something illogical—even if his boss asked him to. My mom had a hard time because of it when she accompanied him on a long overseas assignment. So I hope he’ll at least let her have her fun with this one—after all, it’s certainly something to celebrate.

Finally, the medal itself arrived. And it was even more exquisite than we had imagined.
My mom readied the Japanese sake and wine with the chrysanthemum imperial crest. Dad likes to drink, so I’m sure she thought he’d be pleased with that, at least.

Actually, my father-in-law was awarded a national medal as well—the Orden del Mérito Civil (Order of Civil Merit). It was presented to him by the King of Spain for his many distinguished years as the chairman of the Casa de España—a kind of Spanish association in Portugal. As I recall, he was invited to a ceremony held at the Official Spanish Residence in Lisbon about ten years ago to receive it.
When you think about it, I guess my kids are pretty lucky to have a grandfather who’s been awarded a medal on both sides of their family.
I hope they’ll take some pride in what their grandpas have accomplished.


  • Megumi Ota
  • JobConservator, interpreter, and coordinator / Insitu (restoration), Kaminari-sama / Novajika, and others

I’m a conservator and preservationist living in Portugal. I specialize primarily in paintings (murals) and gold leaf design, and am involved with UNESCO World Heritage structures as well as the interior of the Palace of Belém. I derive great satisfaction from having close ties to my community in the rural village near the Silver Coast where I live. My hobby is gardening.

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