Of all the out-of-nowhere signs of America that I’ve seen in Japan, this might be the one that took me most by surprise. One of my eleventh graders came to class wearing a Mercyhurst shirt today. Mercyhurst and Duquesne are both in western Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, where I grew up. (Pedants will point out that Mercyhurst is too close to Erie, in northwestern PA, to count…in my book, it’s still close enough to Pittsburgh for me to say it’s close to home.) Where my kid got a t-shirt that hails to my home – not even my country or state, but the very city I call my hometown – remains a mystery. It was definitely one of those “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world…” moments. Serendipitous things like this make me realize all over again that, even when the planet is vast, the world is small.