To Japan, With Love, Part Two

So the packers are here.

And just like that, our home in Tokyo is becoming bare and generic and filled with boxes and suitcases and all the undeniable signs that we really and truly are getting on the plane and flying fourteen hours back to America on a one-way ticket.

{and here’s where I had to pause from writing because I started crying again}

There are so many things that have made our time in Japan amazing but the most lovely part about it for me has been the friends I’ve made.

We’ve moved many times back in America.  I’ve always met terrific people, and have many wonderful friends.  But it’s been different this time.

When you move to a new city in America, you meet people slowly and fit into a community that already exists.  You join into existing book clubs, teams, and supper clubs.  It’s all really nice and enjoyable.

But Tokyo.  It’s a whole other world.  We landed on a Sunday, and orientation at school was Monday.  I remember feeling completely panicked when emergency contact cards were passed around to place in The Cuties’ backpacks for the hour bus ride to school and back.  Not only did I not know anyone to list for school to call in case they couldn’t reach me, I didn’t know my own phone number!  And yet, the next day at the bus stop, I met some parents.  Who were all in the same boat.  And we laughed about it.  And the Mom who introduced herself who lived in the building next door, gave me her phone number, told me to feel free to use her as an emergency number and invited me to go with her to Starbucks and Costco the next day.  And just like that, I knew it would all be OK.

See, I was up for the adventures.  The snow festivals, the tea ceremonies, the shrines, the sumi-e classes, the traveling throughout Asia.  What terrified me was everyday, simple Mom life and finding my people.

I wanted to run into friends at the grocery store, join the PTA, flip latkes at Hanukkah, go to lunch, and have an occasional glass of wine at a girls night out.

And my sadness at leaving Tokyo?  Well some of it is the sheer beauty that is Japan.  The things that are interesting, and unique and fascinating.  But really, it’s about my girls.

Three years have felt like a lifetime.

It’s leaving my girls.

In the blink of an eye, we bonded over common language, our embarrassing moments, being strangers in a strange land, shared our life stories, and made memories together.

They’re the best.

In fact, I’d call them my light.


And I will think of them with love every time I light my amazing lantern they gave me as a sayonara gift.

Ja mata my dears.

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2 Responses to To Japan, With Love, Part Two

  1. Gretchen says:

    My family has moved 9 times but all in the US. My sons were all ages when we packed up and moved on many times. Every time we moved our family unit became tighter, as we relied on each other as our “home base.” And when it came time for them to go to college, they were open to go anywhere – the whole world was available to them and they all left the nest with no misgivings. They were flexible and open to new places and people. At one son’s wedding we danced to the Beatles’ “Places I Remember” (listen to it and you will cry again)! You have given your girls such a wonderful gift. The place you were in – your beautiful Japan, was the icing on the cake, but the really bonus was the experience you shared as a family. Those memories will never leave any of you. Safe journey back – welcome home!

  2. Amma2013 says:

    I know how much you will miss so much and so many people in Tokyo, but I am selfishly happy that all of you are returning to the U.S. a new beginning awaits you all. Have a good last few days and a safe trip “home,”

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