Friday, February 16, 2007

Reminiscing about Japan

In about 24 hours from now, I will be picking up my mom and my aunt at the airport. They're coming for 11 days for a bit of a holiday. Well, okay, their real motivating factor is to see Rod Stewart in concert next week. To heck with me. I'm just providing space to lay their heads! (Kidding! Kidding!) I always enjoy seeing family; I guess that comes from having been away from them for so long. From ages 19 to 22 I bounced back and forth to Saint Pierre et Miquelon, and then at age 23 (in 1993) I left Canada to go to Japan for three years. I haven't lived in my home province since then. Wow, that was almost 14 years ago. What happened? Where does the time go?

So much time has passed since then; I feel like that part of my life is almost like a dream. You see, while I was in Japan, I was dating a very handsome Japanese man (Yasuhiko is his name), and he and I were a couple for about three years. Even when I left Japan, we tried the long-distance thing for awhile, but neither of us knew when we would see the other, so after four or five months of that, we let it go.

But through all these years, Yasu and I have stayed in touch. We send e-mails now and then. We send Christmas cards (well, okay, he sends me Nenga-jou, or New Year's cards) and we keep each other updated on our lives. I even invited him (and a number of my Japanese friends with whom I still keep in touch) to hubby's and my wedding in 2004 but unfortunately he was unable to make it.

Each year, I get a card from him and I get to catch up on what he's doing. He told me when his mom passed away (I was blessed enough to meet his parents; a huge thing in Japan that is often a prelude to popping the question). He told me when his older brother (Hirohiko) got married. One year, a card arrived and he told me that he had gotten married to a lovely lady by the name of Chiemi.

This year, my Nenga-jou arrived shortly after the New Year, after hubby and I returned from our trip to Florida. Lo and behold, with that card was the announcement of the birth of their baby girl, born on Christmas Day 2006, and in typical Japanese fashion, imprinted on the card was a tiny picture of the baby.

For a split second, I stood in my kitchen and bit back the tears. Yasuhiko and I had talked about marrying and having children, all those years ago. But at that time, he wasn't ready to ask me to stay in Japan; he wasn't ready to pop the question, and before you can say "Gaijin" I had to be on a plane back to Canada before my visa ran out. I cried buckets of tears on that airplane, leaving him and Japan behind. So that dream never panned out and life moved on.

And now Yasuhiko and his wife have a beautiful little baby girl. And forgive me even saying this babe (I know hubby reads my blog) but one little tiny part of me had hoped that his children would have also been mine.

I'm thrilled for him of course. But this year, seeing my step-son at 11 years old and my step-daughter at 12, well, I wonder what would have happened if I'd stayed in Japan in 1996 instead of getting on that airplane.

Life leads us down many paths; I guess it's up to us to figure out why and to keep walking.


Anonymous said...

I have often thought of the past relationships and wondered what if.

I have a friend who I was seriously involved with years ago, we parted ways and married other people. He has a daughter that is 18 months old. The day I got the birth announcement was terrible. It made me wonder about all of those what-ifs and what if things hadn't ended with us. I can totally understand where you are coming from.

It is natural to think about those kinds of things.

I hope you have a good visit with your mom and your aunt.

Anonymous said...
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Aurelia said...

Same here, I've thought about it every time I see an ex, especially one I cared about, who ends up announcing a pregnancy or the birth of a's very hard to not wonder, "What if?"

And I give you all the credit in the world for being able to be honest about it.

Anonymous said...

funny you should mention this as i was just thinking about these things the other day...i admire your honesty...

ps...hope you're having a great visit with your mom and aunt!