Most people want to know why I chose to come to Japan. Actually I didn’t choose Japan—my mother did.
In March of 1987, I was living in Texas when my mother who lived in New York suddenly became ill with an aneurysm, which from the onset till death was just a short week. After I received the phone call, I quickly bought an airline ticket and flew back to New York.
The hospital that my mother was in was the same hospital I had been trained at as a nurse, so I knew the doctors and nurses well. Therefore, they allowed me to take care of my mother in ICU during the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift.
During that shift, my mother, knowing that she was going to die, had asked me to do several things for her since she wouldn’t be able to do them. Of course, I promised her that I would.
One of the things she told me was that I needed to go to Japan! I, of course, thought that the medicine she was taking for her pain was giving her hallucinations, but she was very insistent. I couldn’t understand why I needed to go to Japan; I didn’t know the language or eat Japanese food. Needless to say, I promised her I would.
A few short months after her passing, I was able to find a job at Yokota AFB in Fussa, Japan, so in June 1987, I came to Japan. The moment that I landed in Japan, I felt connected.
I worked for 4 years at the base enjoying Japan, but still wondered why my mother wanted me to come here. In Dec 1989, I went back to the States to visit my father, during which time I went flying with him, as his hobby was flying small Cessna airplanes. After we landed, his pilot instructor who was also my friend, said he had a Christmas card to send to a student in Japan who had studied at his school. Then my father exclaimed, “Oh yeah, Hiroo! I remember him!”
Well, the address on the card said Kokubunji, which of course, was very close to Fussa, and in fact, I was teaching in Kokunbunji part-time. So I decided that instead of sending it, I would deliver it in person.
When I returned to Japan, I asked the secretary at the school if she could find a telephone number for Hiroo, and she did. That night, I called his house wondering if he would be able to understand me. Luckily he did. We decided to meet the following Monday night at the language school where I was working.
On January 21, 1991 at 9 p.m., Hiroo came to the school, and we met for the first time. For me, the world had stopped. I had an overwhelming feeling that I can’t describe, but I knew without a doubt this was the man I was going to marry. You can call it love at first sight, pinky strings, anything you liked but at that very moment on Monday 9 p.m. on a rainy evening, I knew why my mother told me to come to Japan and I am so thankful that she did!
The story becomes a little more interesting in that when my husband traveled with me to the States one time, I had checked his passport and the first time that he had traveled to the States was on Jan, 21, 1981. I believe it took us 10 years to meet as if we had met in the States, we probably would have lived there. I believe I was meant to live here, which is why we met here. So now Japan is my home.
I love my life here and I also love teaching English. My home is where my pillow is at, and I can live anywhere as long as my family is with me. When I travel to the States to visit family, I am homesick for Japan.
So now I give thanks to my mother for bringing me to my destiny. Thank you mom!