The Same Moon: a memoir

Charming … a journey through Japanese culture and a journey toward self-understanding, security and faith.

Scott Hewitt, The (Vancouver) Columbian

Release day video — June 18, 2020 — for The Same Moon

The Same Moon in a nutshell

Many of us experience a time in life where we’d like a do-over, and I sure felt that way about my early twenties.

After being briefly wed and quickly divorced by age twenty-four, all I wanted was a fresh start. I abandoned my Minnesota life for a job teaching English in Japan, planning to take a year to reflect, heal and figure out what to do next. 

I ended up the lone English speaker in an isolated rural area, where I was drawn into serving tea to my male co-workers, performing with a koto (zither) group, advocating for female students and colleagues, and embarking on a controversial romance.

Of course I signed on for a second year — not because this was the Japan I was seeking, but because it turned out to be the Japan I needed.

The Same Moon offers a story of encouragement and hope … and a little escape — to 1990s Japan!  

15 percent off The Same Moon

Camphor Press is offering 15 percent off purchases of The Same Moon. Please sign up for my e-newsletter, “The Same Loon,” to receive the discount code.

“The Same Loon” flies every couple of weeks, sharing updates, good reads and writing prompts to help you tell your own story.

See recent issues here.

Purchase The Same Moon … and learn more about it

People are saying …

Sarah Coomber has written an insightful story about her journey to Japan and a journey to find herself. Readers will enjoy an entertaining and honest account of a young woman’s self-discovery in a foreign land.

Laura Kriska, author of The Accidental Office Lady: An American Woman in Corporate Japan, and cross-cultural consultant

With sensitivity and humility, exploring no one’s story but her own, Coomber addresses the question of this American hour: how to honor—even cherish—fellow humans regardless of divergent cultural, political or spiritual convictions. The Same Moon injects hope into the current American climate of intolerance.

Natalie Kusz, award-winning memoirist and author of Road Song


More stories of rural Japan

I’m delighted to be part of this anthology from Camphor Press (2020).

From the Camphor Press catalog: “Inaka: Portraits of Life in Rural Japan is an affectionate but unsentimental taste of authentic rural living: inconvenient superstitions, the tough realities of training to be a Buddhist monk, the mystery of an abandoned shrine, an ancient pilgrimage given new life, fishermen’s tales, cycling adventures, examples of rural revitalization in tea farm tourism and the indigo dyeing industry, hypothermia-inducing housing, and friendly neighbors sharing old customs and local histories.

“The Japanese word for the countryside, inaka, carries a slightly pejorative meaning of “the sticks,” of being far from culture and amenities; and inaka is applied not only to truly rural areas but also to small towns and cities away from metropolitan areas. Likewise, Inaka: Portraits of Life in Rural Japan includes a look at small-town life and areas in the urban–rural zone of interaction rather than only purely remote settings; a messy mix of city and country is much more representative than hermits hiding in the wilderness.

“A combination of brilliant, experienced writers and fresh young talent makes Inaka a delight to read, and an absolute must for anyone interested in life outside the crowded Japanese cities.”

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