＊＊＊I have a question. How many hometowns do you have? How, many, hometownS. There is a popular music, "Country road, take me home, to the place, I belong." How many places do you imagine when you listen to the song?" I guess many of you might have thought, "What a stupid question she's asking! Of course each one of us has just one hometown" But for me, the answer is not one, but three. I'm going to tell you why.
＊＊＊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 Nishinomiya is no longer a special place for me.
Because, firstly,when I was an elementary student, I spent five years in Utsunomiya in Tochigi, so my childhood memories are devided into two places, not only Nishinomiya.
And secondly because my family home that I grew up was, torn down completely by the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake. Not only my family home, but the sceneries in the neighborhood were totally changed, so there is not much that reminds me of my young days in Nishinomiya.
＊＊＊The second place is Kurume in Fukuoka. When I got married, I moved to Kurume and lived there for twelve years. I started a family, gave birth to two children, son and daughter.
Tell you the truth, the first several years were like hell. I was a town girl, so I didn't know what the life is like in the country. I felt like kicked out of the society and my world was shrank into a tiny one of my house and a small park in the neighborhood, where I played with my kids.
But as time passes, I came to know the way to enjoy the country life. As a family, we did many kinds of outdoor activities, such as growing vegetables and herbs, driving, hiking, mountain climbing, and of course, Onsen! I was beginning to think I'd like to live in Kyushu forever.
＊＊＊Then, one day, my husband came back from the office and dropped a bomb. He said, "have you ever imagined living in Tokyo? It was like "What?! Are you kidding me?!!" I was not one bit interested in living in Tokyo.
Why do I have to throw away everything I'd built in Kurume and start a new life in Tokyo from scratch? I was devastated with the news and kept crying for two, three days. But I didn't like 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. It's extremely difficult for a middle aged woman to get used to the hectic life in Tokyo, but lately my curiosity has been growing, and that led me to a new challenge of making a speech in Toastmasters.
＊＊＊Sometimes I feel like an floating grass, which isn't attached to anything. No anchor. No hometown. But if I look at it from the different perspective, I'm very lucky that I was able to experience three different cultures, Kansai, Kyushu, and Tokyo. So I'd like to enjoy the life in Tokyo to my heart's content.