This is my first speech for an ice breaker and I'm going to start it by singing an old popular song, "Country road, take me home, to the place, I belong."
When you listen to the song, I think you might picture some clear image of your hometown. It would make you feel warm and peaceful. But I rather feel down and miserable whenever I listen to the song. It makes me feel as if I turned into a floating grass or a leaf, which is wandering and drifting aimlessly. It has no anchor. No hometown.
＊＊＊My life started at Nishinomiya in Hyogo. I was born there and lived for twenty-five years in total. So Nishinomiya should make a hometown I feel like belonging to. But no. 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 divided into two places, not only Nishinomiya.
And secondly because my family house that I grew up was torn down completely by the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake. Not only my family house, but the sceneries in the neighborhood were totally changed, so there is not much that reminds me of my young days in Nishinomiya.
＊＊＊When I got married, I moved to Kurume in Kyushu and lived there for twelve years. I started a family, and gave birth to two children, son and daughter.
Tell you the truth, the first several years were like hell in Kurume. 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 shrank into a tiny one of my house and a small park in the neighborhood, where I played with my kids.
Yet, as time passes, I came to learn the way to enjoy the country life. As a family, we enjoyed many kinds of outdoor activities such as growing vegetables and herbs, driving, hiking, mountain climbing, and of course, Onsen! I began to think I'd like to live in Kyushu for the rest of my life.
＊＊＊Then, one day, my husband came back from the office and dropped a bomb. He said, "have you ever imagined living in Tokyo? I said, "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 cried and cried for two, three days. But I didn't like the idea for a family to live separate, so I made up my mind and came to Tokyo.
It's been six years since I came to Tokyo, and of course it's extremely difficult for a middle aged woman to live in a super hectic town like Tokyo, but lately my curiosity has been growing, and that led me to a new challenge,to practice making a speech with you.
＊＊＊When I look back the old days, I can't help feeling like an floating grass and that makes me sad. But if I look at it from the different perspective, I can be said to be very lucky that I was able to experience three different cultures, Kansai, Kyushu, and Tokyo. So I'd like to focus on the positive side of my wandering life and enjoy it to my heart's full content.