Last year on Father’s Day, I wrote about traveling to Japan to meet my father for the first time. We had four long visits. I grew to like this man who only knew me as an infant. He was kind to me. He was quietly funny. He had a gentle spirit. We sat over coffee in our first meeting as he asked and answered questions. He took me to a Chinese Dim Sum restaurant and introduced me to a variety of foods I had never tried. He explained the pouring of fine tea as a waiter ceremoniou
When I entered the first grade, I had just been speaking English for about a year, just since I left my OBaachan with my adoptive parents. I was attending a Department of Defense school in Japan at Grant Heights. I did not know the other children. The other children were Americans and always had been, even those that looked Asian. My teacher was even Asian, but she spoke like an American. The only memory I have of this first grade class was this cute little stuffed white baby
At four and half years old, I was still living with my Obaachan in the little apartment in Chofu, Japan. Adjacent to the kitchen area was a living/bedroom area with a tatami floor where I spent my evenings after dinner and before the futons were laid out for bed. In winter, when it was cold and damp, a heater stood in the middle of the room on which sat a water kettle filled with water. By the time dinner was done, the water in the kettle was boiling and steam was coming ou
In Post WWII Japan, my father was an Army Intelligence Officer when he met my mother. He and my mother actually had a 10 year loving relationship! In 1955, after my mother was pregnant with me, my father got tuberculosis and was sent back to the United States. Back then, tuberculosis had a poor prognosis and my mother thought she would never see my father again. My father promised he would return to her. When I was born, my mother and I lived with my Obaachan. The notes on t
But I’m grown up now. I’m now over 60 (had my birthday). Most people I know my age, and even younger, have lost their parents. That’s the natural order of things. So now, finally, I’m normal. But, when a parent passes away, fond memories and a connectedness are still there. This, with parents, I don’t have. But, again, I’m lucky. I do have five years of fond memories and connectedness with my Obaachan who dearly loved me. I spent every day with her. I am still familiar with o
Although my father made me half Irish, I was completely Japanese. Japanese was my first language. My Obaachan was pre-war Japanese. I had two uncles, my mother’s brothers, who got married during that time, and my new aunts were part of the family affair that raised me. My favorite activity was dressing up in kimono. But, I was biologically only half Japanese. I was bigger than other children my age. My features were obviously mixed. I don’t really know how it is today in Jap
I love my life and lifestyle but it wasn't always this way ...