"And then while I’m away
I’ll write home every day
And I’ll send all my loving to you”
I was very fortunate during my last 18 months in Japan to meet a man who I now consider a second father to me.
Imamura sensei and I first met during school. He was a new teacher, a retiree in fact who decided to return to teaching. His desk was placed next to mine in the teachers room and from that day, we became family.
Everyone loves him, students and teachers. He was respected by all. He hardly knows any English but his effort to communicate with me led him to use whatever resource he had, mainly his dictionary. We would talk about everything; favourite foods, which students were giving trouble in class, Japanese history, Trinidad culture, slavery, and movies.
A few months after meeting him, he invited me to his house. I met his lovely wife who is just as kind, gracious and giving. She’s the love of his life, and it shows everyday. If I brought something for him, he’d always take half of it home for his wife. She made bento for him every single day. Even though it’s part of Japanese culture for the woman of the house to make lunch, you could tell that he appreciated it. He was always proud of his bento.
They seemed so happy to have me over, and of course his wife made sure I was well fed. Imamura sensei gushed about how much we talked between classes and how much English he learned and told his wife that I am like a daughter to him. That day, the Imamura’s became my family. My mama and papa san. Even though they have three boys of their own, I’m their only daughter.
Mama san made bento for me every Monday without fail. I would cook on Sunday evenings and totally forget that I would receive lunch on Monday. She respected the fact that I don’t eat meat and always made a vegetarian or fish bento for me. Every Monday Imamura sensei and I would get similar bentos except mine had a note from Mama san and an extra treat.
I visited their house on several occasions. But the second to last time was hard. It was supposed to be the last time I would see them before I leave. We had a very simple lunch and chatted for hours. He then told me he had a present for me. He had just started teaching himself how to play the electric guitar and he had practiced “All my life” by the Beatle’s to perform for me. That song will forever have a place in my heart and I’ll always remember him when I hear it.
This man really cared for me. He wrote me a long letter wishing me all the best in my future endeavors and gave me moving money as a going away present. He also made sure to let me know that I’d have to bring my fiance to Japan so he could meet him before we get married. He took his father role seriously.
I’m going to send a letter to them tomorrow just to let them know I’m ok. They don’t have a computer at home and papa san hates spending time online so snail mail will be our only way of communicating.
Today was a rough day for me but I try to remember the amazing people I’ve met throughout my two years in Japan and how they’ve helped to mold me into the person that I am today.