Hawai'i Ways, Hawai'i Days
Mom and Dad visit in Tokyo
By Kelley Ann Sakai
Special to The Advertiser
"Moshi moshi," dad said, as I answered the phone.
I smiled, glanced at my sister, Kerry, and said, "Hi, Poppie!"
It was 2 in the morning Japan time (7 a.m. Hawaii time), and Kerry and I were celebrating her twentysomething birthday with a few glasses of gin tonic.
I heard the phone rumble and instantly knew mom was using the cordless.
"Oh, hi, Baby," she said sweetly. "I miss you so much and can't wait to see you and give you a big ..."
"Eh," dad interrupted, "No can talk long cuz, ho!, da phone bill was expensive last month. Not cheap, you know, fo call Japan. Anyway, you know da plans fo today or what?"
"Uh, yeah," I said, trying to recall the information he'd sent me via e-mail. mom and dad were headed to Tokyo to meet Kerry and me for a family reunion.
After traveling from the inaka (country) town where I lived to the busy city life of Tokyo, Kerry and I found our hotel located in Ikebukuro....
Kerry and I checked into our room and relaxed. We waited, waited and waited until we heard the door open and someone complaining. "I told you not fo bring so much stuff cuz I always going end up carrying um'," dad's voice echoed.
Kerry and I giggled. We quickly raced to the door that connected both rooms and peered through the tiny opening, as if we were mischievous children awake past our bedtime.
I stood in silence, observing my parents. It had been eight months since I last saw them. Their fragile bodies glided gently across the room, and their faces depicted a look of exhaustion.
The door slowly opened, and soon the Sakai family was reunited....
I felt safe and secure in my parents' arms. As they held me tight, the maturity I had gained quickly vanished, and like an innocent child, I cried.
During the next few days, we traveled around Japan. Dad's eyes widened with excitement and curiosity while we strolled through the lively fish market in Tsukiji. Kerry's sense of adventure was sparked when asking for directions led to a night of fun with our new Japanese friends from Kyoto. Mom's face glowed with delight as we spent a night at a ryokan (traditional Japanese-style inn) and enjoyed relaxing in an onsen (hot spring) hidden in the forest mountains along the Izu Peninsula.
At the end of eight memorable days spent together, it was time to part. At the entrance to the Shinkansen tracks, I handed mom and dad their tickets ... With tears in our eyes, we hugged and said goodbye ...
The day I returned home to an empty apartment, I received a call from Trisha Tyau and Jason Koyanagi, two of my Hawai'i friends, inviting me to spend the weekend with their parents, who were also visiting from Hawai'i. I happily accepted.
Not only did I enjoy the sights of Tokyo, but I enjoyed their company as well. I was intrigued by Grandma Koyanagi's stories of her journey through life. I laughed with Donald Koyanagi as he shared his memories of his son's youth ... I gained new ideas and views from Mitsy Koyanagi, a retired teacher. I relaxed with Sandra Sakata (Trisha's mom) over a few American beers and slot machines. By the end of the weekend, I felt as if I was part of their family. When it was time to say good-bye, I hugged them all with an emptiness in my heart for I was saying sayonara once again.
Time passed since our families came to visit. Jason, Trisha, and I continue our everyday lives in Japan, with the exception of just one realization. We realize the importance of family and appreciate the unconditional love, sacrifices, guidance, and support. But, parents, please do not worry, for in three months we will return home into your precious arms ...
Kelly Ann Sakai of Honolulu is working as a teacher at Izu Chuo Senior High School in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.