The Vancouver Experience 1: Los Angeles
Even though I was born in Hokkaido, Japan, I grew up in Vancouver, Canada. I lived there for 18 years, during which I went through grade school, university, and eventually got a job in sales and advertising. Now, I call Vancouver my second home, but starting a new life there when I was 8 years old has been one of the most challenging times of my life.
The decision to move to Vancouver had been sudden. My mother was a piano teacher and my father was an F-15 pilot in the Japanese Self-Defence Force. We lived all over Japan including Hokkaido, Fukuoka, and Okinawa due to the nature of my father’s job. At 8 years old, I was already used to adapting to a new life in a new place and making new friends. However, moving to a country overseas was a completely different story.
When I ask my parents now about why we moved to Canada, they say that it all started with a family trip to Disneyland in Los Angeles. A few years prior to making the decision to move to Canada, we had taken a family trip with my parents and my younger sister to Los Angeles. This was the first time for my sister and me to have been outside of Japan. Being in completely new environment, everything was new and fresh in my young, naive eyes.
For example, my father often talks about the time when we were in line for a ride at Disneyland. I was looking around and was mesmerized that the other guests had a different skin color than I. Plus, the color of their hair was different too, and I couldn’t believe it. My parents saw my sister and me in awe and saw a desperate need for us to be immersed in a foreign culture. It was not long after this trip that they told us they were going to leave everything behind and fly across the ocean to the Land of the Maple Leaf.
To be continued….