Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Madam Butterfly- Japan 1989


I was Cio-Cio- san from "Madam Butterfly" for a forensics competition in Kuala Lumpur...back when I was a senior in High School. I won an award for my interpretive reading. I should have given Kayoko the award; she was my best friend. She was a Japanese and I 'stole' her accent for my reading. When I stood up on the ISKL stage reading my excerpt, I had no idea that Japan would one day become my home...at least for 7 years.

With Sean tagging along behind me and Katrina safely tucked in my arms, I followed Daniel to Urayasu, Japan. The home of Tokyo Disneyland. The place of small apartments. The kind of small which entails you to stand up so someone can squeeze by you to get into the restroom. You can't allow yourself to have claustrophobia otherwise you will never be able to use the toilet. The walls look like they are creeping in on you. Oh, but the ofuros make up for the small toilets. The lovely hot baths in the deep tubs. The water is so hot it makes your skin blush.

Japan is the land of seasons. Every year I went with the women to the park to watch the cherry blossoms come in. It didn't matter that we went the year before and sat in the same spot with the same little obentos. This was tradition. Every year there would be the time for fireworks. This was summer. Sometimes it was enough to just have the children walking around in their cute little kimonos with sparklers. It didn't matter that we did this last year and the year before; this was tradition. Every festival had its location and its tradition. I fell comfortably into these expected seasons and events.

Japan embraced my family. She welcomed us dutifully like a waiter in a Ramen Shop, "
Irashaimasu." It didn't take us long to figure out we were there on her terms; afterall, she was Japan.

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