One year for Japan

                                                             Source: dribbble.com via Alexandra on Pinterest

 

 

As you know, I’ve been talking about Japan a lot these days.  We waffle back and forth weekly in our decision to either go back home for a “stint” or move back to Japan and this week we’re leaning towards the “go back home for a stint” side of things…it will probably change back to the “move to Japan” side within the next few days.  But as some of you may know, Japan holds a special place in my heart.  Not only was it a place where I lived for almost two and a half years, it was where we were “wedded” at a city ward office in the suburbs of Tokyo.  Unceremoniously, a Japanese marriage need only consist of some paperwork filled out at a city office, I think you pay around 3$ for the paper copy of the certificate and they send you on your way.

M and I were elated when we got the paperwork done.  We were married! And we got married in Tokyo! Our naive excitement lead us to the nearest bakery where we picked up cakes and pastries and brought them back to the city ward office to thank them for helping us with all the confusing Japanese paperwork and helping us do something that made us so happy! We wanted to celebrate! This whole idea is hilarious to me now as I think about the look on their faces and how this must have been perceived to them.  It didn’t even occur to us at the time (again, the naiveté) that this gesture which seemed so innocuous to us, could in fact be perceived as bribery and they were, in fact, only doing their job.  They tried to refuse the pastries in typical Japanese horror/modesty and we insisted.  They eventually took them reluctantly and THEN we went on our merry married little way.  Man, that story makes me laugh now.  Anyway…

That same winter, we took our first vacation since arriving in Japan and went to Thailand.  We arrived on Xmas eve and were in Krabi for December 26, 2005, one year after the horrific earthquake and tsunami that hit that region of the country.  Evidence of damage was still very evident despite the fact that the tourist season buzzed along, pretty much as per normal.  A year and a half after this event we were back in Thailand, actually celebrating our marriage with our friends and family with a proper ceremony and party.

So both countries are pretty big parts of our lives and our history.  And I thought about Japan a lot yesterday.  I don’t really have anything particularly profound to say about this.  I just thought about Japan and felt sad and thought about going there and thought about what I could do to help if we did go there. I thought about how soon it will be hanami (cherry blossom viewing season) there and how if we go there, I’ll probably not get there in time for this.  I thought about how important hanami is for the Japanese as a time to reflect on the transience of life and fragility, and on renewal. 

As I develop various ideas in my head for a future website and online shop I think about ideas of how I can incorporate this want to help.  I have some ideas about this, but we’ll have to see how the whole website idea materializes within the next year or so…

In the meantime, I wrote my ex-boss a short email to let him know I was thinking about him and his family and his country that I love.  It’s not much, but it’s something…

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