The beginning of 2020

—-The journey anyone can enjoy reading—

February 2020

I was struggling with the most difficult heart work I’ve yet to experience. In the moments I was crying-it didn’t feel good. It was hard. I was reflecting and acknowledging things that I’d never given the time to. My last post was November 22! Wow, do I have a lot to share with you. November, I went to Tokyo for the first time. I liked it so much more than I imagined. Went to the busiest crossroad in-Shibuya. I was already happy because of the name…SHE BOO YA! You know I love that.

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Shinkansen, YES!

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Shibuya.

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Tokyo-Team Lab

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We went to Kamakura, which was an amazing site.

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  The entire experience was great. It was also shortly after I decided that I’d rather not drink. So-it was early morning starts, feeling like a million bucks. December-I went to Osaka to see my friends wrestle. Second time seeing a hometown friend, in Japan!

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I went to Glico company. You know, where they make POCKY!

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  December 14th, my family grew bigger by one. If you know me, you have since met, Otokonoko. I went to see the Kobe luminarie with an old student and her sister. I just adore this girl and am so happy that have met her.

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Christmas was a pretty typical day. Work. Had a Spokane/Nishinomiya Christmas party-lots of fun.

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The next day was extremely special. It was the birthday of three wonderful woman in my life. I went with Yuko, to Nara. I thought that this would be a place I would go with these ladies if they were here. I wanted to go here to dedicate my day to celebrating them. We went to see the deer and visit a famous Temple. While here, I lit a candle for each of these women and said a prayer for their year to come. Love you wonderful ladies, Kristy, Lois and Mama.

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New years eve I got to have a traditional Japanese dinner with one of my greatest friends, and her family. Soba! It was delicious. I also made MOCHI!!! This was the coolest experience and it only happens once a year.

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New years I got to spend with Ayano and her family. A traditional Japanese new year. We ate Osechi that her family made, went to a shrine and enjoyed the company of each other.

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Visited Kyoto with my friend from my last school. A dear woman in my life lost her daughter this day. I went to a shrine and prayed for her and her family. Love you.

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Participated in a kimono event! Pamela and I got to wear traditional kimonos and participate in a tea ceremony.

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You may have noticed that I have not spent as much time at the dentist. Stopped in for a cleaning. YIPEE. January 30th, I left for Sapporo, Hokkaido. The first three days were spent in the place of the snow festival. People were busy preparing snow sculptures. They were perfect.

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The next 3 days were spent at Rutsusu resort. I went snowboarding for the first time in almost 20 years. Born again, first timer. My body held up far better than I intended. I had more fun than I remember ever having while on a mountain. I think it was because I was by myself. The thought of slowing someone else down never crossed my mind, I expected a fall off the chair lift (never happened?!) and I was planning on just a few runs before calling it good.

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I never left the “family” runs. I’m okay with that. I went night skiing one evening which was fantastic. This trip was especially, wonderful, because I got to spend time with my friend that I met/visited for the first-time last year in Okinawa! Special little family that I got to join for a week. That right there is good for the heart. Thanks sister.

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Got home the 6th and headed back to work the 7th and off to the zoo on the 8th. Pamela and I got to be models for kimonos on the 9th. We also participated in an international café, where we talked to people for hours, in English. It was great to see people of all ages, gather with one thing in common-wanting to speak in their second language. The bravery of people never gets old.

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I adventured to IKEA! I didn’t know it was so close. It was kind of like a Costco adventure for me, minus the hot dog. Just walk around and enjoy. Valentine’s day in Japan…girls give boys chocolates. My mom sent me a wonderful package. February 15th, I went to an evening of Traditional Osaka Performances. There were 4 different performances which included, Ozashiki-asobi, Noh play, rakugo and koukyoku. It was in English. I hope to go again. The company was also great, as it tends to be here.

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The 16th I went to USJ! Universal Studios Japan. I’ve only been to Disney land once in my life, when I was 23. It was a one-time only experience. I’m not crazy about waiting for longer than 30 minutes or walking in crowded places. I was thinking USJ would be the same. However, it was raining and with the coronavirus going around, the amount of people was far less than I expected! HAPPY SURPRISE. We didn’t wait longer than 10-15 minutes for anything. My favorite attraction was Harry Potter. Those 4D rides are nuts. It was my first time on one. We loved it so much we did it three times in a row.

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You know everything I’ve done here in Japan, the things I wanted to do and the things I did for the experience…everything always turns out to be as wonderful or more than what I expect. Oh my Gosh. I haven’t posted in so long that I have more exciting news to share. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful people in Spokane. I am lucky to have had so many students impact my life and help make me a better person. I was due to depart Japan in July 2020. That is a quick 5 months away. I would have liked to return home. I will stay here though; I am so much healthier here in Japan. With that in mind I started to look for a job here. I am going to be an elementary teacher in Shizuoka. I’ll live in the land of the rising sun, where Mt. Fuji rests. I’ll be sad to leave Nishinomiya but I’m happy to be staying in Japan. Japan has been good for me in so many ways. 心豊かな経験と共に、今年でスポーケンの教職を離れることになりました。 静岡県のインターナショナル・スクールの小学部の先生として働きます。 『日の昇る国』に留まることにしました。 For all you knuckleheads that haven’t come to visit me yet…you got at minimum, 2 more years to make it happen. No excuses. No time, no money…money is cheap and it fills your pockets…but-life, memories, friendship, experiences, these things are expensive and worth every bit to make it happen…they fill your heart. Resigning from my career was difficult but I know that I’m doing this for all the right reasons. Every reason benefits me. The right thing isn’t usually the easy thing.

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MARCH is going to be exciting. When I was ~22 someone asked me my dream. Dream as in something I’d do if I COULD, but probably not attainable. My dream was to take care of an elephant. To have an elephant. Not at a zoo, but just in its natural habitat. My boyfriend at the time laughed at me. It made me so sad that my real-life dream was being laughed at, by someone I cared about so much. I left and walked home, possibly in tears. I’m laughing thinking about it now. That is my dream. 100%. Still. It has always been something I considered unachievable. [Idiot.] The only thing that can hold us back is OURSELVES. For my birthday I decided…I’m going to see ellys in their natural habitat. I’m going to go to Thailand and spend 10 days, with elephants. I still cannot believe that I am doing this. April, MY MOM IS COMING TO VISIT. I am more than excited to welcome her to Japan and to let Japan hear the laughter of the two of us.

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My mom and I have a great time together. We have these heart felt laughs that others can feel deep down in their bones. I’m excited that we are going international with our happiness. Time with my mom is time best spent. May and June will be my last full months in Nishinomiya, at my current job as an assistant language teacher. Then, July, this chapter ends, but the Japan adventure (book) continues.

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If you let it, time heals most things. If time doesn’t heal it, you will get stronger. The biggest barrier in life is US. Go out and get happy. If you want to be, be. You are loved, worthy, smart, brave, healthy, safe and free. You are enough. Do more and be more and do it now.

Do it scared. 

As always. Lots of love. illie

RB レイちゃん

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