In March of 2011, I awoke in my comfy house in Connecticut to read of the Great Earthquake in Tohoku and the devastating tsunami that followed.
It was all we read in The New York Times for weeks on end, and the images were haunting. The Cuties made and bought paper cranes outside their school to send to Japan for relief efforts and we prayed for the people of Fukushima at synagogue.
One small thing I did that month was to purchase this t-shirt from J.Crew, knowing that 100% of the profits from the sale of the shirt were donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society to provide medical and emergency care to the area affected by the Great Quake.
Little did I know that a few short months later I would move to Tokyo and how special Japan would become to me.
It has been three years, two months, and four days since we arrived in Japan and it’s all been amazing for more reasons than I’m ready or able to enumerate.
My Japan Love shirt, as it was called by J.Crew, has been a weekly staple; first as a regular shirt with jeans, and later after it became threadbare and filled with holes, as a sleeping shirt. When my husband asked me over a year ago when I’d get rid of it, I told him only when it was time to leave Japan.
Today, while sorting belongings to pack in suitcases, to be packed for the air shipment and for the sea shipment to eventually head to temporary storage, I squeezed my Japan Love shirt and tossed it in the trash.
I’m being silly to feel such affection for a battered old shirt, but it’s one more sign it’s time to leave and one more thing about which to be sad.
We have moved a lot. We’ve made a lot of friends and liked living a lot of places. It’s never been this hard.
This time it’s different. The tears are different. I’m different.
Japan, I have loved you big red puffy hearts and to your rabbit moon and back.