Because I have changed


Entrance ceremony was today. If you have never heard of or seen an entrance ceremony, you need to google it. The gym is decorated and parents, students and staff welcome new students (1st graders). The band is playing, everybody claps for an extended period of time while the new class members walk in. There are flowers, music, clapping, and speeches to welcome the new students. I’ve never seen anything like it. The beginning and end of things are celebrated here-many ceremonies.

I’ve been going to the river each day after work to admire the cherry blossoms. I can’t get enough of the beauty and happiness of a single cherry blossom. I always say that babies bring people together. I find magic in a variety of things but especially in babies.

Children have the power to bring families together and put sparkle back in people that have lost it. There is joy, love and happiness that stems from the presence of children.

In Japan I see this exact magic in cherry blossoms.

There are people sitting below cherry blossoms in every direction. I hear laughter, camera shutters, cans opening and the running river. I see couples, families, friends and children all enjoying the company of one another. People are eating, drinking, playing games and people are genuinely, happy.  I even see people like me, enjoying the beauty by themselves.

I feel magic. Sakura season brings people together.

There are these poles that I imagine are to keep cars of walking paths. They are about three feet tall. I have nearly walked into them while I’m looking up at the flower trees. (My dad has experience with these…I learned from his mistake.)

I’m headed to Wakayama this weekend. I’m excited to go back.

I went to Yuasa, Wakayama all of Saturday, stayed the night and headed home early on Sunday. Check out was at 10:00 AM and I started to feel an intense sick feeling around 9. I walked the beach in hopes that fresh air, crystals and shells would help whatever this feeling was, pass. I also wasn’t going to miss out on one last beach comb, even if I did feel miserable.

The train I planned on taking home was cancelled. HAH. Of course it was. My two hour journey…took six hours. At one point I was suppose to switch trains. I missed that opportunity and took an hour detour. Oops.


Next week is a holiday in Japan. Golden week. I heard before moving here how big of a deal golden week is. However, this year it is extra special. For the first time in 50 some years there will be 10 days off in a row! You know what that means.

Father will be here.



Hard to believe that Golden Week has already come and gone. I’ve been back at work for an entire week.


Quick flashback of April.

Cherry blossoms.

School party.

Nishinomiya Storks basketball game.

Old Spaghetti factory

chipped tooth

Chichi arrived

Treasure stores

Tigers game


Osaka Aquarium

Nishinomiya Marina Celebration-new Emporer

Beach days at Suma

Shell collecting and crab hunting

Dentist x2


Little China Town

Nishinomiya beach-Kite flying and crab hunting

This day-my dad used his famous reverse psychology. “You can’t ride your bike through the sand.”

Tell me I can’t and I’ll show you I can.

Which I did…until the sand got too deep and I had this terrible, horrible, slow motion fall, into the sand. I was laughing too hard to get up and my bike was on top of me. My dad was watching from afar. After being on the ground laughing for a few minutes, a woman came and pulled my bike off of me. I was laughing from embarrassment and because falling off your bike is always funny, as long as you are okay. Then a group of children came and asked me if I was okay.

Children’s day

Dad left

I go to a Special Education school once a month. The teachers are some of the best I have ever seen. The way they care for the students and know each one is inspiring.


All sorts of new things at Mikura, in Kobe. I went to this amazing restaurant with my friend, Ayano. [When my bag didn’t make it to Japan, Ayano was the one who helped me at the airport-that is when our friendship began.] We went to her parents restaurant where I tried food I never thought I’d EVER eat.

I started by trying those tiny little [whole] squids and the fish with the skin. There was clam, squid, octopus, tuna and many more finely prepared fish. It was displayed beautifully and prepared by Ayano’s family. Her parents are the owners of this fabulous place. The tempura was the best I have ever had. Maybe, the best food I have ever had.

When I experience new things like this-I feel like a child. I am surprised and in awe. My facial expressions and the sounds I make, are a show for people to watch. Which I don’t mind…I love when I see a children experiencing something for the first time. I’d enjoy watching me too, where the same joy, surprise and happiness that is displayed by a five year old can be observed in a 29 year old who is just seeing a new world, for the first time.

Sei Tai-massage, muscle stretching, chiropractic work. AMAZING.

Out and about. Met new friends and a furry one 🙂

And this brings us to present day. Mother’s Day in the USA.


I know many wonderful mothers. Grandmothers who are mothers for the second time ‘round. People who care for children that may not call them, mom. I celebrate many people today, but most of all, my own Mama.

Mom’s are so busy with life and children that it seems like it would be easy to forget:

you have a little human who wants to be just like you.

I remember having the thought when I was younger-how can we all call an amazing, caring, loving, woman by the same name?  How can every single mother, be called mom?? How can I call my mom by the same name everybody else uses for their mom?!

I thought that each mom should have a name that is special to her, because each mom is special.

But it isn’t the name that is special. It is the woman behind the name.

Some people don’t associate the word mom with love, sunshine, happiness, flowers, support, animals, and joy-like I do. When I say I want to be a mother-I don’t mean I simply want a child.

I want to be that deep rooted starshine for a child. I want to be my mom, for my own. My mom brings sunshine to not only my life, but all who know her. I have the pleasure of saying, “I’m just like my mom, we love everything and anything makes us happy”. I can only hope that one day I have a child who loves me as much as I love my mama. My mom would read to me until I fell asleep. She would get me my favorite popsicles when I was sick. When I need to know how to cook chicken [or anything] I still call her. When I don’t know what to eat for dinner, I call my mom and she decides.


We laugh. My mom refills my heart. I miss you mama and I wait for your time in Japan.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.

I’m missing my favorite time of year in Spokane. I love when the grass is greener than ever and all that was sleeping during the cold is coming back to life. I’m already dripping sweat here.

I have a daily battle with my hair. I like to have it up high so it’s off my neck-but when it is up high I can’t wear my ball cap. [Therefore, they made visors.] However, I have not yet brought myself to get one. I guess I’ll do that this week. The thought of shaving my head has also crossed my mind a dozen times, but I’m too scared to just do it.


I’ve began to experience a different kind of joy, love and life that is new to me.

The more I love life and myself, the more life loves me back.

My thoughts shape my days. I’ve always been a positive person, maybe more so on the outside. Now I radiate happy because I’m positive on the inside. I guess my way of thinking has changed which is changing me.

This reminds me. My dad’s first visit here, we were talking with somebody about my first month here. I was explaining how people never smiled at me or said hello. They told me, “just wait, in a few months everybody will be saying hello and talking to you”. I thought…Hmmh, maybe they just have to see me around the neighborhood enough and be comfortable with me before the conversations begin.

9 months later, I don’t go out the door without seeing a student or saying hello to somebody. I told my dad this and he saw it when he was here. We thought of what the man had said about everybody saying hello in a few months.

My dad said something along the lines of,

“I don’t think it’s because the people here changed, I think it’s because you changed

Holy goodness. How powerful is that?

Because I’ve changed.

Yesterday, I went to my favorite Ramen Shop. Really just my favorite place in Japan. There was one seat open, in between two strangers. 10 months ago, I would have left. Yesterday, I squeezed right up in there without hesitating.

As I sat there, I thought…this is where it all began.

My first day in Japan. Rai Rai Tei is where it all started.


My change.

My love for Shirohige and Onepiece.


My appreciation for unspoken communications.

My love for Japan and myself.

Yesterday when I sat down, the employee pointed to what I always get and I said, “yes”. This is the majority of our communication. Yet, I love these people, the restaurant and I am comfortable here. We have never communicated in one another’s language, but we communicate. I look forward to seeing the staff and I feel welcome. I enjoy everything about this place and I go at least once a week. This is a special place for me. This new happiness, it began, there.

There are so many point cards used in Japan. I am a proud card holder for two craft stores and a mall.

The super nintendo is different for foreigners. The one they use here looks different.

Mother’s Day is not as big of a deal as it is in the USA.

Students are having a trial week. They are all out at different jobs, seeing what it is like for a week, in a work place!!

I am going to be helping some elementary students learn English a few times a month.

For the amount of time I have spent studying Japanese, you would expect me to be fluent. I’m uh…beginner level. Japanese is DIFFICULT.

I use a calendar now.

I’ve stayed up a few times until the sun comes up-who knew I was such a youngster still. I didn’t know I had that in me.

I stopped using my heat about a month ago. I started leaving my windows open…Now I think it is going to stay cooler if I keep everything shut!

Students here have 220 days of school, compared to our 180.

Students have club activity on weekends, which means teachers do too. One day off a week (maybe) for most teachers.

When I get home, I take my shoes off without thinking about it.

Chopsticks are easier to use for some foods-like noodles.

Most students are seeing green eyes for the first time, when they see mine. My skin is finally starting to clear!! YAY!


I’m in need of some new shorts now that summer is arriving. Even in the USA I hate shopping for shorts/janes. Finding a good fit is rare. Here, I have not had the energy to look, yet. However, the rising temperatures will force me to, soon.




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