How many hometowns do you have? How many places do you imagine when you listen to the song "country road?"
"Country road, take me home, to the place, I belong."
I think many of you might say one, and some might say two. For me, it's a little bit difficult question to answer, and I'd say three.
The first place I pick is Nishinomiya where I was born, raised and lived for twenty-five years in total. So Nishinomiya should be the place I most feel like belonging to. But I don't. That's because, first, I spent five years in Utsunomiya when I was an elementary student, so my childhood memories are rather attached to Utunomiya, not Nishinomiya. And secondly, because my family home that I grew up in was ,unfortunately, completely destroyed by the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake, and the sceneries that surround the neighborhood were totally changed. There is not many things that remind me of my young days. Nishinomiya is no longer the town I remember.
The second is Kurume. When I was engaged, my partner was transferred to Kurukume in Fukuoka and I joined him when I got married. I lived there for twelve years, started a family and gave birth to two children. I was a person who grew up in a town, so it was very hard to get used to the life in the country. For the first several years, I felt like being kicked out of the society, and my world suddenly became a very small one, my house, a tiny park in the neighborhood, and my kids. But once I came to know the way to enjoy the country life, my life greatly changed and we enjoyed many kinds of outdoor activities such as gardening of vegetables and herbs, driving, hiking, mountain climbing, and onsen! My life was so peaceful that I was like a retired person. I was thinking I'd live there forever in Kyushu.
Then one day, my husband came back from the office and dropped a bomb. He said, "have you ever imagining living in Tokyo?" It was like "What?! Are you kidding me?!!" Seriously. You know, my only condition for the marriage was that I'd never eve live in Tokyo. Tokyo was the last place I wanted to live once I get married. With the news, I was devastated and kept crying for two or three days. I tried very hard to be welcomed in the community in a small town in Kyushu, and I even tried to change my personality for the slow life there. Then why do I have to throw away everything and start a new life from scratch? But I couldn't accept the idea for a family to live separated, so I made up my mind and came to Tokyo.
Now, it's been about six years since I came to Tokyo. Partly because of the stress of the moving, I'd not been doing so well and one time I slipped a disk, got herniated disks. I wasn't able to enjoy the life in Tokyo at all. But little by little, I seem to be getting used to Tokyo and now my natural curiosity is getting bigger and bigger, and that led me to the meeting of TM.
I sometimes feel like an floating grass, which has nothing to be attached to. It's sad, really. But it can be said that I'm really lucky that I was able to experience three different kinds of cultures in Kansai, Kyushu, and Tokyo, I'd like to live more vigorously from now on and try to make Tokyo as one of my great home towns.