I would like to thank all those who sent me birthday greetings. Your best wishes and kind words are deeply appreciated.

This year also marks for me forty-five years of Aikido training, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the opening of Aikido Seishinkai, and fifteen years of teaching at the Royal Ontario Museum.

I am grateful to have good health, and a fine family, friends, and colleagues. It makes life worth living.

I am fortunate to have had parents who set me on the right path and Aikido teachers and partners to help me stay on it most of the time.

I am also lucky to have been born in a country where democracy, the rule of law, and respect for the fundamental freedoms are a way of life, not just a dream. Of course, we can do better still, and we shall.

I say “no” to the Marxists, fascists, anarchists, and others who, malicious or merely misguided, would destroy the best parts of our world.

I say “no” to the authoritarians and conspiracy theorists who seek simplistic answers to problems that require thoughtful and detailed solutions.

I say “no” to the religious fundamentalists and fanatics who, through legislation or violence, would impose their way of life on others.

I say “no” to the racism, misogyny, and homophobia that still exist (although I have seen much progress in these areas during my seven decades).

I say “yes” to the conservatives who work to maintain the best of what we have.

I say “yes” to the liberals who strive to make things better still.

I say “yes” to the social democrats who remind us that access to public libraries, schools, and health care make for greater equity and opportunity.

Climate change, COVID-19, and structural unemployment are just three of the enormous problems that we face. Yet I remain optimistic that younger people today will meet these challenges successfully. I trust that I can still contribute at least a little in the time that I have left.

And for those who think that the institution of marriage is out of date, I ask them to see how fortunate I have been to share more than forty years with Gerry.

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