When asked about my hometown, three come to mind: one on the Minnesota-North Dakota border, where I grew up; one in Washington state, where I now live; and one in Yamaguchi-ken—where at age sixteen I spent a summer with the Maeda family. They welcomed me like a third daughter and introduced me to an on-again, off-again Japanese life.
That life has included summers sharing Japanese language and dance with children at an immersion camp in Minnesota, where I was known as “Michi”; teaching English in Yamaguchi-ken; studying the koto—Japanese zither—in Yamaguchi-ken and Portland, Oregon; and turning stories about my experiences with Japan into projects for an M.A. in mass communications, an M.F.A. in literary nonfiction and now a memoir.
Along the way, my stories and essays have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Japan Times, the Star Tribune, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Memoir Journal, the Font: A Literary Journal for Language Teachers and others.
I’ve worked as a reporter, science writer, college English teacher and communications consultant, and now am employed as a school public relations manager who also teaches yoga. I live … and try to remember to breathe deeply … with my family in southwest Washington state, where the topography, climate and people’s temperaments remind me of my hometown on the other side of the ocean.