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my wings have grown

thumbnail_2hofu12.jpgGathering pictures 
to present on my time in Japan,
I found a photo of myself
in front of the floating torii
of Miyajima

I was there. Of course
I remember my awe
standing before
that gate (between
the profane and
the sacred); still,
seeing myself
there inspired
a rush

That all really
happened! I didn’t
just dream it!
Read more…

The memory of typhoons

In 2004, I experienced my first typhoon in a small coastal town on Japan’s main island, Honshu. I filmed myself standing in the middle of a street while everything shook and swayed around me.

All was silent and still in the eye of the storm. I couldn’t believe the winds would soon whip around me again, but they did. I howled with them when they returned. The windy days I’d loved at home were nothing compared to this.

I enjoyed my later typhoons, too, but none invigorated me the same way my my first one did.

Today, an ocean and a dozen years removed from my first typhoon, I look out my SoCal windows and see the trees thrashing in the wind. The wind rattles my home’s windows, slamming sheets of rain against them.

I don’t know what it is about the wind, but I have always loved it. I will always love it. This wind-advisory afternoon, I’ll snuggle up with my husband and my little boys, content in now … but also remembering the thrill of being one small body standing strong against ferocious winds.

The Return of Deborah-Sensei

I moved to Japan to teach English a week after graduating from law school.

I enjoyed meaningless videos like this.

OTOH, I enjoyed making meaningless videos like this

One of the very first things I did in Japan was to learn a verb song to open up my little kid classes. By the time I’d sung the song 100 times, I never wanted to hear it again. I kept right on singing it, though. The kids loved it!

When I moved back to the United States, I never wanted or expected to sing it again. Occasionally little bits of it would flit through my head before I swatted them away and thought, “Never again!”

But this morning, my toddler saw his older brother marching and said, “Marching!” I immediately started humming the song. Read more…

Merry Christmas, Mr. Jones!

The first post in my reader this morning sent me tumbling back in time.

I once lived and taught English in Japan, where I called three separate towns home.

In my first home, I had roommates in a smallish but bustling ocean town. A couple of cats would leap through open windows to visit me.

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In my third home, I lived in a small town-subsidized complex with many of my students. I loved working in a little garden out behind my apartment, and would open the apartment’s front and back doors so my students could run through during their playtime. The town was incredibly rural, but it felt anything but to me!

So, so many hours of work to clear the plot by hand!

So, so many hours of work clearing the plot

Read more…

With love from Japan

“Can I give you your gift now?” my husband asked me on Wednesday.

“Let’s just wait until Valentine’s Day. I mean, we don’t even usually do anything, so I’m a little confused.”

“Mmm,” he replied.

“I didn’t get you anything,” I added.

This morning, Anthony excitedly asked if it was time for me to open my present.

“Sure,” I replied casually.

“I hope it matches!” he exclaimed. “I can get a new one if it doesn’t. It’ll just take some time.”

Matches? What is he talking about? Read more…

Learning languages: The priceless promise of adventure to come

I returned from teaching English in Japan eight years ago.

hiroshima9I’ve dreamed of traveling there with my family. I dream most especially of returning to Hiroshima and watching my young sons place their own paper cranes at an angel’s feet.

My husband would like us to visit Australia, where he and other early castaways were sequestered while fellow Survivor competitors finished up their time on the island.

We’d also like to visit places we’ve never been. Time and money are sparse, so we’ve taken to dreaming now of travel later.

I’ll be traveling internationally again soon. My new job will assign me certain territories, and I’ll periodically visit customers within those territories as part of my job.

Which territories? Read more…

19 Novembers

On sleepless nights, I often feel pulled toward the past.

Where was I this day many years ago? How has my life changed? What has remained constant?

Haven't changed a bit

June 1995

Having blogged since June 23, 1995, I’m lucky to have almost twenty years of searchable archives. On a night like tonight, where sleep eludes me and I’m enthralled by whispers of the beckoning past, I meander through those archives.

Think I overpunctuate now? Seventeen years ago tomorrow, I demonstrated a love of punctuation not otherwise seen outside 18th century Germany:

Speaking of worse, my father wrote my mother a note saying that he’s not going to send her child support if she doesn’t “allow” us to visit him. Read more…

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