Okaerinasai! Welcome back home! With those words, my dear friend and former art student Chapa welcomed me back home to Japan. As I stepped off the bus, jet lagged and hungry she embraced me and reminded me of why I love Japan so much. Good friends are a treasure that makes life so rich and worthwhile.
The first thing we did was check out all the new shops at Ikspiari in front of Maihama station and have some delicious buckwheat noodles with tempura at Hegiya Soba. Although there are so many new buildings around Tokyo Disneyland, in many ways my Japanese home town Urayasu has changed very little. This is the place where I learned how to be a mother and a foreign wife. Because of those experiences, a part of my heart will always remain here.
This coming weekend, I will connect with another part of my old life in Japan. I will be meeting with other foreign wives of Japanese men, like myself, for the first time since I moved to the States 9 years ago. We left in 1999 to find help for our youngest son who has autism. Unfortunately, Japan was not the best place to raise a child with a disability back then. I hope that has changed over the years.
We will be gathering at a hotel in Chiba for the annual AFWJ convention, where I will be leading a workshop on the “If it were my dream…” approach to dreamwork. AFWJ (The Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese) is a group which offers support to non-Japanese women who are married to, or who have been married to Japanese men. They were a terrific source of inspiration, support and friendship while I was living in Japan and I am looking forward to reconnecting with everyone this coming weekend. It really is a homecoming for me. Now to get some sleep and dream!