Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day!

Thank you for the compliments on yesterday's village. I think I'll write more about making that later.

Today is already Mother's Day in Japan and though probably a lot of us are going to do this, I thought I'd tell you about my mother.

Mom is 86 this year and in pretty good health. She lives with/next to my brother's family in her own apartment. Up until two years ago she was still driving around and volunteering at a neighborhood school but these days I think she mostly spends reading library books. I wrote a lot about her last July when I was in the States and I'll probably be saturating you with tales of her when I'm in California next month so I'm skipping anecdotes about her today.

One of the best Mother's Day presents I ever gave my mother was a book called "Grandmother". It is a book with lovely little country style illustrations and questions on different topics with blank spaces so that memories can be recorded. My mother and I wrote letters back and forth to each other for most of the 30 years that I've been in Japan and both of us have always been teased that we could write volumes if given a chance. In this little book, although there were only three or four lines given for each question, my mother got on the computer and typed out her answers and then pasted pages and pages into the book!

One of her entries for the page about her own mother was:

I was blessed with a dear, loving mother whom my father brought over to the U.S. from Japan in 1917... Her name was Taka Iwanaga before she was married. She was Japanese, as was my father. She was born there, lived with her family for a time in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. Then she moved to Kamakura where her family lived near the Ohki household.

She had studied English at a Methodist school, Aoyama Jo-Gakuin, and so was attracted to the opportunity my father offered her to marry him and live in America. So off they came on their honeymoon--which never ended, for my mother never returned to Japan during her lifetime.

It makes me smile to read about my mother's childhood memories and so see how her positive and cheerful personality shines through her writing. Not a mention of hard times though I'm sure that during the war years being a second generation Japanese must have had its hardships. I'm also grateful to her for recording her good memories about my father and their courtship and marriage though nearly 25 years later their marriage ended in divorce. Some sections of the book there are pages for photographs and for recipe cards etc. and Mom made copies of some of her favorite photographs from her childhood, from my own and all in all my family history on her side is written down in this little book.

Two months after I sent her the book she returned it to me with this handwritten note.

July 1, 2002

Dear Tani and family,

So many hours of pleasure I have had completing this beautiful book you sent me for Mother's Day this year.

I can't thank you enough for giving me this opportunity to reflect on my life so far of 80 years!

Much love,



meggie said...

What a lovely tribute to your mother Tanya. You must have inherited your gift for writing from her. The book is a real treasure.
Happy Mother's Day. It is also Mother's Day here in Australia, & New Zealand, today.

artfilstitch said...

You have a beautiful Mother and what a heritage she is leaving her family. Mother's Day tribute to your mother has been a special treat today. We are so blessed to have been trained at our Mother's knee.
Happy Mother's Day!

Shelina said...

Oh what a precious keepsake! My mother doesn't feel comfortable with her English skills to do such a thing, even though her English is wonderful.
Happy Mother's Day.

QuiltingFitzy said...

Happy Mother's Day Tanya!


marisa said...

Happy Mother's day.Ciao

marisa said...

Happy Mother's day.Ciao

marisa said...

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marisa said...

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Marilyn R said...

Your Mother gave you a treasure when she recorded family history!

andsewitis Holly said...

I gave my parents books like that but have never gotten them back! I found it interesting that your grandmother came to the U.S. and you did the opposite :) I enjoy reading about your heritage.

Denise (Nour) said...

Charming! Happy Mother's Day! I am now visiting with my mother who will be 86 this summer. Does your Mom comunicate with you through e-mail? Your heritage is very interesting. Thanks for sharing and enlightening us.