To be honest, I have not done a good job of teaching my children about their Japanese heritage. I don't speak Japanese to them. My kids cannot, for the life of them, use chopsticks. They are Canadians, through and through. Since she was very little, Maya has always wanted to go to Japan. The desire is so intense--more than just a little kid wanting to go to an amusement park or an ice cream shop. I could sense that she really wanted to know this part of herself --like a missing piece of the puzzle. I never knew if it was ever going to be possible for our family to go, but always hoped she could go while she is still young.
Although I am absolutely overwhelmed to let my little girl get on a plane all by herself to cross the ocean, I feel in my gut this is the right time and it will be an amazing opportunity.
Someone asked me the other day, when I was in Japan last. I responded, "oh about 10 years ago....in 1993". Wait a minute, that's 18 years ago! Sometimes, I long for the intense heat of the summer. I dream of showing my girls the Japanese countryside I grew up in. Catching cicadas and praying mantas and listening to the crickets at night. Going to get fresh peaches and fish that were just harvested/caught in the morning. The Hustle and bustle of the city centre. Food stands and fireworks.
What will Maya see? Who will she meet? I wonder if she will meet my neighbor who let me borrow the book, "Never Ending Story"? I am sure so much has changed but so much are still the same. As much as I want to be there to take her down my memory lane, I am glad she gets to go on her own. She will go without mom's agenda. She is free to decide what she wants to see and to experience Japan in ways that are meaningful to her.
We will look for books about Japan and make a list of things she wants to see and do. So far, she wants to go to Tokyo Disneyland. :) Maybe I might even give her a crash course on the language and how to use chopsticks.