When I stayed at the University of Chicago, Rotary Foundation and the University provided me with very kind support for my graduate study. $22,000 and $5,000 were a great amount of money for one year. It covered my tuition of 27,000 for the law school. Without their great support to me, I could not have finished my degree program. The remaining expenses must have been prepared by myself. I brought $135,000 with me, but it was not enough for boarding inside the campus. I sent a foundation a paper that won an award of $3,000. With the additional amount, I managed my summer stay after completion of the program and prepared for a bar exam.
It was 1999. Just before the examination, my money has almost run off. I had to live with five dollars or less a day. At the time, the Law School Cafe gave the left-over in the late evening on Friday. It was my custom to pick up salads, oranges, some tarts from the backyard. After the convocation, the cafe closed. I stayed all days for study in a McDonald's at the corner of the 52nd street that was a bad area. I often found a bouquet to commemorate a victim of crime. People of the restaurant were very nice to me. They are mostly Africans or Hispanics. They well know I am a student and poor. Around eight o'clock at night, they put hamburgers and some other left-over behind the exit for employees. I picked them up and survived the days. I really appreciate their goodness and kindness. Whenever I see McDonald's now, I remember the day of hardness. Again, I thank them now and then, but I also felt an uneasy ache in the heart.
I am proud of what I have accomplished in the States, but I always cannot but remind of the unpleasant ache in my memory. That kind of ache has let me learn patience and the importance of effort. I heard Japan's ministry of education gives a very affluent amount to foreign students coming to study there from around the world for four years. It's nice. But, sometimes, no, quite often difficult days surely give you experience which is not available with money. Furthermore, big money may become an obstacle for you to see the society in which you stay. Without a sufficient amount of money, God gave me a bunch of nice friends and chances to receive goodwill of people in the States.
I hope students studying in Japan experience such nice things even with the money, I hope.